GLEANERGY: Energy Harvesting Wireless Sensor Node Development Platform

As sensor nodes become ever-present, the need to power wireless sensor nodes from ambient energy sources will be a necessity. Possible ambient energy sources include light, heat, vibration, stress/strain, high intensity AC magnetic fields and micro-sized rotational or oscillatory electromagnetic generators. In many instances, a battery will be required to “ride-through” the periods of time when the ambient energy source is either not present or insufficient to power the sensor.

Würth Elektronik’s and Linear Technology’s “Gleanergy” development platform demonstrates the ability to utilize one, or multiple, ambient energy sources to power a wireless sensor node and extend the life of a primary or secondary battery. This development platform is composed of the following sub-systems.

DC2344A - Multi-source energy harvester demo board with battery chargers and life extenders

DC2344A is an energy harvesting demonstration board equipped with on-board solar cells, a thermoelectric generator, two types of batteries, and two types of energy storage for out-of-the-box energy harvesting IC evaluation. When harvested energy is available, the ICs will extend the life of the primary battery and have the capability to charge the secondary battery. The board converts any transducer’s output waveforms into a usable regulated supply in order to power DC2321A, or any wireless sensor node or low-power microcontroller. Because the user has access to every IC function and routing decision on the board, DC2344A is completely configurable to fit any energy harvesting application.

DC2321A - Dust application demo board with E-Ink display

DC2321A is a low-power, wireless sensor node for use with other Dust Networks motes and managers, or as a standalone demonstration circuit. The board demonstrates data acquisition using the LTP5901: a portable WSN assembly built off of an ARM Cortex-M3 microprocessor. Pre-configured with sensors and programming/debugging headers, DC2321A is a great learning tool for programmers who want to become familiar with Dust Networks products. When connected to DC2344A, the board is able to interpret and display the status of the energy harvesting ICs and their batteries, demonstrating a complete solution to long-term, energy-efficient, data acquisition.

DC2510A - Shield board for use with DC2321A

DC2510A can be installed onto the headers of DC2321A to provide access to every pin on the mote. Through the headers, 4 ADCs, and up to 18 GPIOs, are accessible, which allows sensor monitoring, as well as program control. Several arrays of pads with holes allow users to make connections to surface mount or through-hole components. This board allows users to create custom wireless sensor node applications out-of-the-box by connecting their own sensors to the inputs of the Dust mote on DC2321A. Using the DC2321A GUI, sensor output can be monitored as soon as sensors are attached to the board. In addition, the shield boards are stackable, allowing customers to use as many boards as needed to fit additional components.

As a whole, Gleanergy is a convenient system, provided to enable users to customize the development platform for their specific use case and to make a complete working prototype.

At this year’s APEC conference, in Long Beach, CA, visitors can experience a deeper understanding of Gleanergy. Visit Booth #1933 to hear the technical presentation, at no cost. Brian Shaffer, Applications Manager from Linear Technology, will present twice on Tuesday, March 22 at 1:00pm and 4:00pm.

Want to learn more about APEC? Read our "5 Things You Should Know for APEC 2016," and check out these "Hidden Gems at APEC 2016."

Learn more about Wireless Sensor Node Development Platform Featuring Energy Harvesting Battery Life Extender Products.

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