New Energy Harvesting Tools and PV Cells for IoT Devices

Posted on 06/15/2021 at 10:33 by Samuel Jones

 

Post #113 New Energy Harvesting Tools & PV Cells for IoT Devices Blog Post Title Graphic

 

Our new line of PV cells and reference designs make implementing energy harvesting into your products easier.

 

New cells offer smaller form factors, ideal for the compact electronics used in most IoT applications. Exposed contacts and integrated FPC connector tabs make connecting or mounting to a PCB simple.

 

Reference designs provide examples of ultra-low-power BLE solutions, energy harvesting PMICs, and how PV cells can be mounted to a PCB via conductive epoxy or FPC connectors.

 

With these new products, PowerFilm has the tools and support you need at all stages of the development process, from prototype to product launch.

 

Take this blog post with you!

 

 

Indoor Panels

We are excited to add four new designs to our Indoor Light Series. Along with excellent indoor performance, these modules are sized to fit the needs of typical IoT devices in the space. These panels have exposed contacts and FPC connector tabs which make connecting easy.

 

INP1.2-12x34 Electronic Component Solar PanelINP1.2-12x34 Electronic Component Solar Panel Backside Contacts

INP1.2-12x34
  • 12 x 34 mm
  • 1000 Lux: 0.059mA @ 1.1V (0.065mW)
  • 200 Lux: 0.012mA @ 0.8V (0.010mW)
  • Exposed Backside Contacts
  • Ideal for BLE Beacons and ultra-low-power devices

 

INQ2.4-10x94T Electronic Component Solar Panel

INQ2.4-10x94T

  • 10 x 94 mm
  • 1000 Lux: 0.105mA @ 2.1V (0.219mW)
  • 200 Lux: 0.021mA @ 1.6V (0.033mW) 
  • FPC Connector Tabs
  • Ideal for ULP Displays and Wearables

 

INQ3.6-24x44T Electronic Component Solar Panel

INQ3.6-24x44T

  • 24 x 44 mm
  • 1000 Lux: 0.063mA @ 3.2V (0.204mW)
  • 200 Lux: 0.013mA @ 2.4V (0.031mW)
  • FPC Connector Tabs
  • Ideal for BLE Devices and Wireless Sensors 

 

INQ3.6-12x310 Electronic Component Solar Panel

INQ3.6-12x310 Electronic Component Solar Panel Backside Contacts

INQ3.6-12x310

  • 11.86 x 310.0 mm
  • 1000 Lux: 0.307mA @ 3.2V (0.982mW)
  • 200 Lux: 0.062mA @ 2.4V (0.150mW)
  • Exposed Backside Contacts
  • Ideal for Electronic Shelf Labels

 

Outdoor Panels

We recently added three smaller sizes to our Classic Application Series. These panels are an excellent fit for a wide variety of outdoor sensor or tracking applications. Exposed backside contacts make these panels easy to connect to or mount to a PCB. With an output voltage under 5V, these panels are compatible with our development kits or most off-the-shelf energy harvesting PMICs.  

 

ONP1.2-12x24 Electronic Component Solar PanelONP1.2-12x24 Electronic Component Solar Panel Backside Contacts

ONP1.2-12x24

  • 12 x 24 mm
  • 100% Sun: 3.3mA @ 1.2V (4mW) 
  • 25% Sun: 0.7mA @ 1.2V (0.9mW)

 

ONP1.2-37x54 Electronic Component Solar PanelONP1.2-37x54 Electronic Component Solar Panel Backside Contacts

ONP1.2-37x54

  • 36.5 x 54.0mm
  • 100% Sun: 50.8mA @ 1.2V (70mW) 
  • 25% Sun: 11.4mA @ 1.2V (13.7mW)

 

ONP2.4-15x94 Electronic Component Solar PanelONP2.4-15x94 Electronic Component Solar Panel Backside Contacts

ONP2.4-15x94

  • 14.6 x 94.0mm
  • 100% Sun: 18.6mA @ 2.4V (45mW) 
  • 25% Sun: 4.2mA @ 2.4V (10.1mW)

 

Reference Designs

 

BLE Reference Design

The BLE reference design features a compact PV module mounted to the circuit board via conductive epoxy. 

 

This design can run with a battery, supercap, or bank of standard capacitors. The e-peas AEM10941 charges the storage element and manages the power delivered to the Nordic BLE device. A custom direct power output feature maximizes efficiency and storage when using capacitors. 

 

A Flex PC version is available for applications that take full advantage of the thin/flexible nature of PowerFilm PV modules. 

 

At 200 lux, this design supports the Nordic blinky, HRM, beacon, and OTA DFU example applications with power left over to implement additional functions. 

 

Flexible Circuit Board

BLE Reference Design - Flexible Circuit BoardBLE Reference Design - Flexible Circuit Board Backside

 

Rigid Circuit Board

BLE Reference Design - Rigid Circuit BoardBLE Reference Design - Rigid Circuit Board Backside

 

BLE Reference Design - Mini

The mini BLE reference design features a smaller PV cell mounted with FPC connector tabs. The panel tabs insert on the top side, and the panel is folded around and mounted to the backside.

 

This design is battery-less and relies on a 500uF capacitor bank for storage. A simple comparator-based circuit charges the capacitors and manages power delivered to the Nordic BLE device.

 

At 200 lux, this design supports the Nordic blinky, HRM, and beacon example applications. 

 

BLE Reference Design - Mini Circuit BoardBLE Reference Design - Mini Circuit Board Backside

 

Development Kits

Our energy harvesting development kits are ideal for your first prototyping step. They are total power management solutions that can power external electronics directly. With screw connectors and re-configurable jumper pins, you can set up and run your device with these 

kits in under 5 minutes. 

 

AEM-PF-EVK Solar Development Kit with e-peas PMIC (DEV-EPEAS) and Solar Development Kit (DEV-BASIC)

AEM-PF-EVK Solar Development Kit with e-peas PMICSolar Development Kit

 

The AEM-PF-EVK Solar Development Kit with e-peas PMIC (DEV-EPEAS) and Solar Development Kit (DEV-BASIC) are total power management solutions that can power external electronics directly. With energy harvesting, battery charging, and output regulation, they bridge the gap between solar and electronics.

 

Solar Development Kit with Nordic BLE (DEV-BLE-NS)

Solar Development Kit with Nordic BLE

The Solar Development Kit with Nordic BLE (DEV-BLE-NS) is perfect for developers looking to design or add PowerFilm’s high-performance solar to BLE products. It includes an onboard energy harvester/power management IC, nRF52832 BLE circuitry, Solar Panels, and all required components to be plug and play. 

 

Solar Development Kit with TI BLE (DEV-BLE-TI)

Solar Development Kit with TI BLE

 

The Solar Development Kit with TI BLE (DEV-BLE-TI) is a solar-powered wireless sensing module featuring an onboard light meter, battery monitor, and an on-chip temperature sensor. Use this kit to jumpstart the development of solar-powered BLE devices that use TI’s CC2650 wireless MCU.

 

No matter what stage of the development process you are in, we have the products and tools to help you succeed. 

 

Our blog is an excellent resource if you are interested in learning more about energy harvesting or solar technology in general.

 

Our development kits are perfect if you are ready to start prototyping with PV energy harvesting. 

 

Our new reference designs and standard PV sizes make for a smooth transition from prototype to a successful product. 


If you have questions or an application you need help with, please contact us, and we will develop the best PV energy harvesting solution for you.

 

Take this blog post with you!

 

 

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