Solar harvesting increases wearable runtime

Wearable devices are, by nature, space-constrained, but now the runtime of these devices can be “significantly” increased, says Maxim Integrated, using the  MAX20361 single-/multi-cell solar harvester with maximum power point tracking (MPPT).

It is claimed to be the industry’s smallest solar harvesting device and therefore particularly suitable for applications such as wearables and emerging IoT applications, where space is limited.

Designers have to balance size and runtime when designing these application, but by enabling solar charging, the MAX20361 can extend the runtime of those devices by providing a supplemental power source. The solar harvester reduces solution size by at least half compared to the closest competitor, says Maxim. In addition, the MAX20361 increases harvested energy with boost efficiency that is up to five per cent better than that of the closest competitor. Coupled with the adaptive MPPT approach, it can improve the overall system level efficiency even further, says Maxim.

The MAX20361 requires fewer and smaller external components and delivers additional harvesting gains via adaptive MPPT features coupled with the integrated harvesting gauge. This provides a real-time indication of efficiency to optimise performance

[The MAX20361] offers “exciting possibilities for a new supplemental power source to continually charge the battery of a device,” said Frank Dowling, director of the Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated. “For example, if you can harvest just 30mW of solar power per day on a 300mAh battery system which typically runs for three weeks, you can extend that runtime by over 50 per cent,” he explained.

The MAX20361 is available now from Maxim Integrated and from authorised distributors. The MAX20361EVKIT# evaluation kit is also available.

Maxim Integrated, says it is an engineer’s engineering company. It offers a portfolio of semiconductors, combined with tools and support, for analogue solutions including efficient power, precision measurement, reliable connectivity, robust protection and intelligent processing. Its customers operate in application areas such as automotive, communications, consumer, data centre, healthcare, industrial and the IoT.

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