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Boost charger targets wireless sensor networks

Posted: 09 Nov 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:boost charger  nano  super capacitors 

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) introduces bq25504, the highly efficient boost charger for nano (ultra low) power energy harvesting that manages the µW to mW of power generated from a number of sources, such as solar, thermoelectric, electromagnetic and vibration, and stores the extracted energy in various storage elements, including Li-ion batteries and super capacitors.

The bq25504 also includes circuitry to protect the energy storage element from over voltage and under voltage conditions and to kick-start the system when the battery is deeply discharged.

boost charger

Highly efficient boost charger for nano power energy harvesting.

In a solar panel powering a handheld device that is operating in indoor light conditions, for example, the boost charger increases the usable harvested energy by 30 to 70 per cent compared to a linear regulator. This efficiency claims to allow designers to reduce the size and the number of solar panels in their designs, thus reducing overall solution cost. The device can benefit wireless sensor networks (WSN) for area, industrial, water/waste and structural monitoring, along with consumer, high reliability and medical applications.

"Wireless sensor networks have been limited in their penetration due to the cost associated with maintaining and replacing the batteries within sensor nodes," said Sami Kiriaki, senior vice president over TI's Power Management business. "With the bq25504 boost charger, the nodes can power autonomously, which can reduce the operating cost and thereby make ultra low-power wireless sensor networks cost-effective in more applications, such as industrial monitoring of hazardous or restricted areas."

The bq25504 boost charger enables low quiescent current, typically 330nA, and high conversion efficiency of greater than 80 per cent to maximise the energy extracted from the energy harvester. It also features Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) that optimises energy extracted from DC harvesters, such as solar panels under varying light conditions and thermoelectric generators (TEG) under varying thermal conditions.

User-programmable settings allow the boost charger IC to be used with a variety of energy sources and energy storage elements, such as different battery chemistries or super capacitors. The bq25504 boost charger features low cold start voltage, typically 330mV that allows the bq25504 to start up from single-cell solar panels under low light, as well as TEGs with low temperature differences and other low-voltage sources. Battery OK indicator allows conditional enabling of external loads and protects the storage element.

TI offers tools and support to speed the implementation of ultra low-power energy harvesting that include

bq25504 Evaluation Module: and bq25504 EVM User's Guide:

The bq25504 boost converter is available now in a 3x3mm VQFN package, priced at Rs.94.17 ($2.10) in quantities of 1,000.

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