Since 1996, EarthWalk has provided schools around the world with mobile computer carts and extended power solutions. We have learned that creating a sustainable, technology-based learning environment means more than simply storing devices in a cart and plugging it into the wall.
Key attributes of mobile carts—low energy consumption by devices (laptops, tablets and Chromebooks), flexibility of use in a wireless environment requiring little or no infrastructure, and long-term cost-effectiveness—have led several manufacturers to develop laptop carts of varying costs and capabilities. As a result, there are numerous models on the market and no two are built alike.
EarthWalk mobile carts and labs provide affordable, flexible and energy-efficient solutions that can operate successfully no matter the location or condition of the learning environment.
Unique features of our technology solutions include our patented High-Efficiency (HE) power management (which utilizes AC adapter-free charging), and environmentally friendly battery charging capabilities (providing longer operation times and battery life span than traditional lithium-ion batteries) that enable consistent, all-day, uninterrupted laptop or tablet use.
EarthWalk’s portable, fully integrated systems configured with our HE & HE-Z charging systems operate at 85% electrical efficiency from one power outlet, solar panel or portable generator and require no additional infrastructure—enabling schools and organizations to deliver sustainable, versatile, and cost-effective e-Learning initiatives.
The chart below shows a graphic example of the amount of electricity and electrical costs saved using EarthWalk’s HE charging system versus traditional AC adapters that come with devices.
Solar Energy to Power Our Future
After 20+ years providing technology tools to schools, EarthWalk recognized the increasing energy consumption and demands of electricity as digital devices and peripheral equipment use is more widespread in education. After much research and many revisions to our initial plans, we launched SolarWalk.
SolarWalk is a clean, reliable, renewable technology that generates electricity via solar panels mounted onto durable, lightweight carport structures. We have aligned ourselves with experts in the solar power field and offer a turn-key solar developer solution to save school districts millions of dollars in energy costs. Plus, there is NO COST to schools; we take care of everything (from permits and solar panels to construction and maintenance).
The solar power generated replaces about half of the electricity provided by the utility company at up to 40% less cost.
Innovations in Battery Life
The lithium-ion batteries traditionally used in laptop computers operate for a limited time before requiring recharging, and with each subsequent recharge the operational time is reduced. Depending on the amount of use, these laptop batteries can require replacement as early as six months after first use and can strain the budget requirements of any user—particularly school districts where extensive numbers of laptops may be deployed.
Reliance on AC adapters is also costly, hazardous and energy-inefficient.
Drawing on the latest advancements in battery technology, some of which are used in the hybrid automotive industry, EarthWalk developed its SideKick Battery Pack—a universal battery solution designed to provide all-day operational power to a large group of laptop computer users. When this battery solution is charged through the exclusive power management system of EarthWalk’s computer labs, students and teachers are able to continuously use their laptops throughout each day, without interruption.
SideKick batteries are designed to power a laptop without the use of electricity for a full school day, charging at night when less power is being consumed by a school or community. In developing this battery solution, EarthWalk incorporated the same eco-friendly, energy-efficient technology that is a trademark of its mobile labs. SideKick’s advanced battery chemistry utilizes nickel-metal-hydride, providing longer laptop operational time and longer battery life span. This 120-watt external power source can drive most any brand of laptop for up to 3 to 4 times longer than its original battery.
The SideKick’s usable life span is also more than twice that of the traditional lithium-ion batteries used in laptops. A lithium-ion battery has an initial power use of three hours before needing to be recharged (approximately 300-400 charge cycles in typical school-day use). With each recharging cycle, the power output is reduced to a point where the lithium-ion battery requires replacement within approximately six months.
EarthWalk’s SideKick Battery Pack provides a significantly longer power usage, and maintains up to 80% of its power through 1,000 charge cycles—making it more reliable and cost-effective for up to five years of use.
The features of the SideKick battery pack ensure that voltage and heat generated by the battery remain controlled. Each SideKick battery pack includes an input switch, switching power supply and LED control circuit, and a charging termination circuit. As a result, the eco-friendly design of the battery pack eliminates the risk of overheating and the potential for fire.
EarthWalk technology results in greater value, safety, and efficiency in the classroom.