I am designing a battery + hub for the rMB and I need your help

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by voltus, May 4, 2015.

  1. voltus, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

    voltus macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2015
    Hey guys, I would really appreciate some feedback on a product I'm designing. It's a combination USB Type-C battery pack and hub, and it's specifically designed to work with the new Macbook.

    The project I'm working on is called Voltus, and it uses the Macbook's Type-C connector to deliver power on the go while providing two USB ports for connecting your traditional USB devices. When you're at your desk, it sits between your charger and your Macbook, acting as a desktop hub and always staying fully charged. When you're travelling, it acts as your Macbook's companion, extending its battery life by 12h and expanding its connectivity options for when you need to connect a coworker's flash drive or plug in a friend's camera.

    I'm working on creating a Kickstarter campaign for this product, and any feedback you might have would be incredibly helpful. Would you use this? Any ideas for additional features you might want?

    Thank you in advance!



  2. kingofwale macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2010
    I like the idea, what's the price and release date on this?

    Also it would really help if it can have HDMI built-in.

    Also, can it be plugged in and also charges Macbook at the same time? (that way I don't need a second charger on he go)
  3. squirrrl macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    I'd also like it to make smoothies, cool my beer and shoot lasers.
  4. M Chow macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2015
    1. SD card reader included will be perfect.
    2. The battery better provide a full charge to the Retina Macbook
    For sure I will buy one.:)
  5. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

    Jul 25, 2011
    I see a couple problems. First, to be a desktop hub, you need video and prefferably LAN. Second, for travel, this negates the portability you wanted in buying the MB in the first place.

    An alternative to the Apple dongle with some different functionality like SD reader might be cool. But anything not extremely light and compact is a loser in my opinion.
  6. squirrrl macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    here's a good idea:

    How about a dock (with all the inputs: usb-A, hdmi, dp, ethernet, etc) and then a part of the dock can be removed for travel. This part would have a battery, USB-A and USB_C. This way you can dock when you get home, and when you leave, you unplug the battery/USB part that has been charging on the dock for travel.
  7. Mattymoocow macrumors member


    Jun 27, 2010
    how about just an ac adapter replacement with the following ports;
    Ethernet, 2x USB, HDMI, DP, 2x USB-C

    I don't think too many people are using their rMB and wanting bigger battery. Most people are wanting better connectivity options.
  8. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    And you lost me.
  9. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    If you could keep it relatively small and possibly offer it in the same colors as the MacBook (Space Gray, Silver and Gold) I would bet you could sell a ton of them. I'd contribute to a Kickstarter for it. I personally don't see a need for all the ports (why I bought it in the first place) so a couple USB-A ports seems fine to me. The biggest issue would be size. I didn't buy this little 2 LB wonder just so I could carry a big brick with me when traveling. So, keep it as small as possible!
  10. headcase macrumors 6502


    Jul 4, 2007
    Raleigh, NC
    +1. I really like that idea -- it would make this offering really unique and stand out from the other solutions bound to be offered.
  11. Dayv macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2009
    Personally, this wouldn't be the product for me because I'd favor portability over the added weight of a battery. If it weighed more than a pound, I'd probably find something else.
  12. usernames.taken macrumors member


    Apr 27, 2015
    I'll be buying something that has an Ethernet port and also is a real product. (I've got kickstarted things that still haven't shipped after 2 years. The computer will be obsolete by then)
  13. Tulani macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2012
    design preference

    I would be biased towards such a design (as attached) that has ports and can also be sat on by the Mac

    Attached Files:

  14. tutux macrumors member


    May 4, 2015

    It should be as big as the google pixel adapter with these ports and it will be the perfect combo!
    If i can plus my mini dp to vga in it when required it'll be top nutch!

    If you want to add a second serie with an built in battery for an extra 50$ why not bit you should build both as i will buy 2 without battery for home and office and one with to carry with me... If it's 200g heavier max
  15. noobinator macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2009
    Pasadena, CA
    One important question I have before discussing this further:

    Is Jack Campbell involved in this at all??

  16. SSD-GUY, May 5, 2015
    Last edited: May 5, 2015

    SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012
    London, UK
    P1ss off. All you do is add negativity to threads.
  17. bmustaf macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2007
    Telluride, CO
    I'm curious what problem you're trying to solve. I don't mean this as a leading question, but I do have some concerns (at least from the perspective about why I use a rMB) that lead me to answer this question.

    First, I (and I suspect a huge amount of rMB users) use an rMB because of it's uber portability, form factor, and weight.

    Simply judging by the device's scale by looking at the ports, it appears this device itself is probably as heavy as the rMB itself, and further, many times thicker.

    Where do I even put it? If I had that much room (or wanted to carry that much weight/size), what does this device bring me that a MacBook Pro (or just carrying the rMB's wall wart adapter) doesn't?

    I suspect the answer is "where you don't have mains power and need more than 7 hours of battery life" - I further suspect this is a highly niche and rare situation, one that is likely already being addressed in those situation by other factors such situations carry along with them (for example, when out in the desert or mountains on long trips or expeditions are situations I generally end up in, there are usually solar cells, vehicles, or even heat-based generation solutions there for other devices, and carrying a battery/hub brick isn't a useful thing).

    I think you're on to something. Something really good. I think it just needs to really, really focus on the use case and requirements that most rMB users have, and, this is just my thought, of course, but I think most rMB users put a major, (almost monotheistic) premium on weight, portability, and "I want to carry one thing, a thin sleeve, nothing more", at which point, lacking a LAN/TB/HDMI port, this is just an overpriced/underfeatured desktop hub if it's not coming along on most times the user is mobile.

    My thoughts? Go with some of those new super thin (not cylindrical) cells, max thickness being the thickest part of the rMB), compromise the mAH rating for this to an extent, fine. Integrate a male USB-C cable and ship a male USB-C to female USB-A part (engineer it so maybe it even snaps onto the casing so I don't carry an extra thing) so I can use my USB-A accessories but not pay the constant form factor and weight penalty for that luxury (that will only get more occasional as time goes on and USB-A goes away).

    If you bought a rMB, you probably don't need a huge amount of extra ports. I am not sure about the wisdom of a hub if it comes at a large form factor cost.

  18. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    In no way is having concerns about Kickstarter and all of the scams that go on there adding negativity to this thread. You might want to do some research on Kickstarter.
  19. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2011
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    Good call - I don't like Kickstarter for these kinds of items.

    All I really want it this:


    But with a USB-C power passthrough.

    This is the size that I'm looking for to match the rMB's portability.
  20. Thalesian macrumors member

    May 12, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    I saw your Voltus design - I think it is fantastic! The only recommendation I would have is adding a VGA/HDMI adaptor option. I give talks frequently on my computer, and having a battery + VGA would be fantastic. I know I can combine with other things, but in terms of the appeal of a minimal design, this would be an improvement.

    That way, instead of scrambling for power cable and a VGA dongle I could just slide my USB-C cable into the Voltus and have a solution to both problems.
  21. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    Personally I think it`s overpriced for the functionality, add in HDMI or DP and the Voltus would be far more compelling, as it is, it`s just a battery with a USB passthrough. It`s also bulky I would look to use the soft pouch type lithium cells not the off the shelf cylindrical ones, Retina MacBook is all about portability after all.

    I would look at a 6 & 9 hour capacity in a smaller form factor, add in HDMI, LED indicators on the top surface so you can see at a glance and a less blocky design. I would also rethink the use of aluminium as sandwiched between plastic is just that...

  22. voltus thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2015
    Great feedback. We've been considering a smaller, lower-capacity version, so it's great to hear you'd be interested in that. Send me a message at cedric@getvoltus.com if you'd like to be a beta tester!
  23. techfinder macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2015
    I feel like this product that i found on Kickstarter solves your issue more directly, The KADi Port https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/714748206/the-kadi-port-a-macbook-essential
  24. techfinder macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2015

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