The “Smart Charger” Is Butane Powered, Tiny, and Holds About a Week of Power for your Smartphone

If you are on the go it may be problematic to keep your smartphone or/and tablet batteries charged at all times. You can always buy extra batteries but you need to remember to charge them before you go, and they may not hold enough power for your needs. Kobion is trying solve this problem with the “Smart Charger”, a charger powered by Butane holding up to 37.2 Wh of power (about 5 to 10 times a typical smartphone’s battery capacity) that you can carry around with you. The charger is in development, and the company is looking for funds in Indiegogo, asking for pledges of $59 (early bird), and then $69 to get the product manufactured at a low cost. You’ll also need to add $5 for shipping.


Here are the technical specifications:

  • Dimensions – 120 x 60 x 20 mm
  • Weight – Around 200 grams (empty)
  • Nominal Energy – 37 Wh
  • Charge Voltage – 5V
  • Charge Current – 1A
  • Tank Capacity – 0.06 Liter
  • Charging port – Standard A Type USB
  • Chassis – Aerospace Aluminum
  • Type of Fuel – Butane

Here’s a demonstration showing how you can refill the charger, connect it to your smartphone via the USB port, and start the charger in less than 27 seconds.

This looks pretty neat, if you ask me.

But let’s compare it to an equivalent USB power bank. Typically, USB power banks capacity is expressed in mAh, so let’s convert 37.2 Wh into mAh first with the formula:

milliampere-hours = (watt-hours × 1000) / volts

37.2 Wh is then equivalent to 7440 mAh, if my calculations are correct.

You can find 8000 mAh USB power banks for less than $30 on Dealextreme and Aliexpress, so the Smarter Charger costs over twice as much. For some unknown reasons, 30,000 or 50,000 mAh USB power banks are about the same price as, or even cheaper than, 8000mAh ones. I haven’t looked into it in details, but Butane price is also certainly much higher than electricity price.

Let’s compare dimensions and weight too. 8000mAh USB powered banks weight about 200 to 250 grams, which is about the same as the Smart Charger. Dimensions are also about the same. It’s a draw here.

Then there’s the question of durability. USB power banks I’ve seem claim they can be recharged about 500 times, enough for a few years. I’d guess the Smart Charger is likely to last longer, but since it is a newer product it’s difficult to evaluate. Any comments of this point?

However, the Smart Charger is a clear winner when it comes to charging. It takes a few seconds to fully refill, whereas several hours are needed to fully recharge a USB power bank, and as long as you don’t run out of butane, you will never run of power, even if you’re in the middle of nowhere. I guess this can be interesting in places like where you may not have regular electricity, but you still need to use your phone.

You may find more information on their Indiegogo campaign, and/or ask questions on the Crowdfunding Forums. The charger should be delivered in November 2013.

Share this:

Support CNX Software! Donate via cryptocurrencies, become a Patron on Patreon, or purchase goods on Amazon or Aliexpress

ROCK Pi 4C Plus
Notify of
The comment form collects your name, email and content to allow us keep track of the comments placed on the website. Please read and accept our website Terms and Privacy Policy to post a comment.
10 years ago

I buy TEG (Peltier) from DX too. Perhaps it could generate power for phone from thermal.
By the way, seems this calculation uses 5v, not 3.7v.
Or we should use super cap
Q = CV
-> Q/t = CV/t
-> IV = CVV/t
-> IVt = CVV
-> Watt.sec = CVV
-> Wh = CVV/3600

10 years ago

Its more expensive, but this will charge your phone and cook your dinner, plus you can run it on twigs!

10 years ago

Thanks, this looks like a much more useful item than the gas powered ones which seem a bit useless to me. A bit expensive though and they don’t seem to ship to my country for some reason but cool nonetheless especially if you do a lot of camping.

10 years ago

I recently was looking into getting a power bank and looked all over the internet for a good deal on a respected product. A friend of mine recently bought a 50,000mAh bank, but as typical of most products from a Chinese company, it wasn’t operating as stated. It is supposed to be able to output 5V at 1A and 2.1A, but that isn’t the case, it actually only outputs 500mA, enough to charge a phone, very slowly, but not enough to run a tablet. The actually capacity is another issue, from reviews all over the net, the actual capacity will… Read more »

Khadas VIM4 SBC