First, we want to reassure everyone that we have not gone dark. We have been gathering together as a team to discuss a proper response to the concerns from some of the backers based on the comments we have seen posted on IGG.
We take these concerns seriously, and we care deeply about our backer’s feedback, and we stand behind the quality of all the products that we build as Omnicharge, from the beginning, and into the future. So let’s start addressing your concerns:
Choosing BAK Cells
Yes, we chose to use the BAK cells. But it seems everyone has a misunderstanding of why and have a stigma that these are poor quality “Chinese” cells. On the contrary, they are not and here is why:
These cells are chosen because of their charging characteristic and life cycle; these cells have been used in the EV (electric vehicle) market for many years, and have stood the test of time that they are best utilized in high charge and discharge environments, which we needed for the Omni Ultimate. Additionally, the cells are built to last 1000 life cycles and still retain over 75% capacity which allows the Omni Ultimate to have a longer product life cycle in the field, which we felt was important for this type of item.
Also, BAK is one of the largest lithium battery producers in China, top 3 as a matter of fact and in terms of size are comparable to among the largest in the world. So in terms of reputation and capability, this is not your run-of-the-mill operations company that we’ve chosen. The price, quality, and safety standards were part of the reasons we’ve chosen them over others.
Head to Head Performance Testing Results
During our selection, we came down to either choosing LG or BAK (Sanyo wasn’t ever in the plan due to supply constraints and extremely high cost vs performance). We made that choice through thorough testing and validation. We’ve noticed many of the comments made were just based on the specs and validation on the cell level, which we have also done, but beyond that, the most important testing is actually building battery packs in order to test the performance under the most extreme use cases and look at the holistic performance of the entire system instead of one single cell performance.
Of all the testing, this one is the main differentiator that stood out:
The test is between LG cells and BAK cells, on their performance under 100W continuous discharge (6 cells for each battery pack):
|Environment Temperature||Battery Brand||Charging Time (Min||OT During Discharge (times)||Total Discharge Time (Min)||Total OT Time (Min)||Effective Discharge Time (Min)|
|100W DC Constant Discharge||23℃||LG||164||5||68.4||32||36.4|
|100W DC Constant Discharge||35℃||LG||/||6||80.6||44||36.6|
One of the main columns to pay attention to is the number of times that the battery pack was in the state of OT (over temperature which we set at 65 degrees Celsius) and how long it took to recover from the OT status.
You will notice that under different environment temperatures that LG cell pack frequently hit our OT and required much longer cooling time than BAK cells. Just focusing on one scenario, under 23 degree Celsius, discharging at 100W DC, LG cells would trigger OT protection 5 times, whereas BAK would trigger 1 time, and LG would require 32 minutes of cooling, where BAK only took 6 minutes. In the end results both achieve roughly the same discharge time, even though from the outset it looked like LG cells spec sheet looked better.
So why? This is because the frequent temperature protection resulted in LG cells consuming more energy (energy is lost through heat dissipation) and we couldn’t get all the energy from these cells. BAK performed much better in this environment.
We also did some reference tests to see what happened and we found the internal resistance of BAK cells is lower which means it consumes less energy when working. The internal resistance of the battery cell affects a lot on the cell’s performance, especially for high power output scenarios.
|Battery Brand||Model NR||Rated Capacity (mAh)||Voltage||Internal Resistance (mohm)|
Pack Performance vs. Cell Capacity
So why do we focus on pack performance? It is because the purpose of the Omni Ultimate is to provide a power supply solution for high power electronic equipment such as laptops, drones, video equipment, and even though you can charge your phone and tables, that is not what the Ultimate power system is optimized for.
The cell capacity shown in the spec sheet is standard capacity in a specific environment with specified output current (which is called a lab test results). But in a real world scenario, what we care about is how the cells performs once put together as a pack, going through real-world testing situations. So our goal at Omnicharge is to do our best to find the battery cells with high power performance and capacity utilization in the most demanding use case scenario.
As for the cells rated capacity vs the cells effective capacity, we’ve chosen to use 140wh effective capacity instead of the cell rated capacity. We apologize if this created any confusion and if you felt mislead. But our reasoning is if the LG pack which is 140wh performs the same as the 125wh pack from BAK, then the end result is the same. We wanted to give you the final performance results which in hindsight we probably should have listed both for better clarifications. And we are learning based off your feedback and we need to improve our communication and transparency throughout this crowdfunding process
Going back to the beginning and where we are today….
When we first launched the Ultimate campaign, this was a product idea, an innovation we wanted to bring to the market with your support and backing. We chose to crowdfund because product development is inherently risky and the success of a product is not guaranteed. But through hard work and dedication, and with your support, we have gone through four campaigns, all of which have been delivered into your hands and we have received much support from our community.
This Ultimate campaign has been particularly hard compared to our other campaigns since we pushed our limits on the power engineering design and also came to market with features that were first in the industry. Raising $1m on crowdfunding wasn’t enough to bring this item to the market, once you’ve factored in the R&D, tooling, and manufacturing setup, we already invested our own money in order to fulfill all of the orders to you our backers because that is our promise, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard since we treat our backers as our own friends and family.
Our goal is to bring you a product that works in the real world. If you measure us in that sense, this campaign is successful. If you want to measure us based on our communication or our accuracy on spec sheets, we definitely have room to improve. But at Omnicharge we stand behind our work and engineering, we have dedicated our lives to bringing the best power solutions to market, that is what you’ve backed and received. And so far it seems from all the feedback, the product works as intended despite the debate on capacity ratings.
I can only ask you to remember that this is crowdfunding, you are the early adaptors that support crazy ideas from makers like us. We are not perfect, we are not a Fortune 500 company like Apple, Google, and Samsung, where they have unlimited money and people to handle everything. But even then for those companies with unlimited resources, they can also make mistakes when delivering new products and innovation.
For us, we are delivering the best performing Omni Ultimate that we can deliver. We ask that you look at this beast, look at the performance, the design, the engineering, and look at we’ve brought to the world today. Look at how we were able to bring you a version 1.0 product that is also almost perfect. We can only ask that you forgive those errors that we’ve made in communication and promise you that we will improve. Let’s put aside the 15 wh viewpoint difference between us, and celebrate that the Ultimate is born.
I want to personally thank every passionate backer that is on the campaign raising your concerns in the comment section. I apologize if our communication hasn’t been timely and we hope that our above explanation in some way comforts you that our product decisions were made out of our best intentions to deliver the best product we can make. We are a startup and we run on your support and understanding to make all of this happen. Even through all of the hardship and difficulty of bringing the Ultimate to market, we want you to know, we didn’t give up, and we’re keeping our promise to deliver.
For those that haven’t received your products, please know that we are making every possible effort to ship these around the world. Logistics for batteries is never easy, so we ask for your patience as we sort out the process of getting you your products. We know things are late, and we are making every possible effort to deliver. We won’t rest till we do.
On behalf of our team, we only ask for your continued support and understanding so we can continue to innovate and bring the best power solutions to the market. It’s because of everyone’s support we can carry this dream further.