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Dev kit packs energy harvesting technology

Posted: 26 Jul 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:energy harvesting  development kit  solar 

Microchip Technology and Cymbet have teamed up to reveal the XLP 16-bit customisable energy harvesting development kit, which leverages Microchip�s eXtreme Low Power PIC microcontrollers with Cymbet�s solar energy harvesting technology.

The board is populated with the PIC24F16KA102 microcontroller, featuring eXtreme Low Power, as well as the capability to add PICtail daughter boards for the rapid evaluation of a wide variety of system functions, including ZigBee and proprietary wireless connectivity and SD memory cards.

Cymbet brings its EnerChip EH Eval-08 Energy Harvesting Board, which harvests indoor or outdoor light energy that is then stored in the EnerChip solid-state, thin-film rechargeable energy-storage devices. The EnerChips supply energy to the XLP development board when light is not available.

Microchip's own nanoWatt XLP PIC MCUs are ideal for these low power applications with sleep currents down to 20nA, active mode currents down to 50�A/MHz, code execution efficiency and multiple wake-up sources. Powered only by light, the XLP kit enables rapid prototyping of low power applications such as RF sensors, temperature/environmental sensors, utility meters, remote controls, and security sensors to name just a few. For software development and programming, the kit includes the PICkit 3 programmer/debugger for use with the Microchip's free MPLAB Integrated Development Environment.

The development board portion of the kit features the PIC24F16KA102 XLP MCU, on-board temperature sensors, data EEPROM, potentiometer, watch crystal, LEDs, and expansion connector for PICtail modules. Supported PICtails include: RF, SD/MMC Cards, Speech Playback, and more.

Power condition and capacity are monitored by the PIC24F using Energy Aware software algorithms developed by Microchip and Cymbet. The monitored information can be reported to the PC user interface via a USB connection. This allows for experimentation and balancing of energy collection vs. energy use, maximising the benefits of the harvested energy.

Pricing is set at Rs.9,106.14 ($195) each.

- Patrick Mannion
EE Times





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