MicroPower step-up low-voltage booster module enables practical energy capture from low-power generators

4th January 2012
Posted By : ES Admin
Advanced Linear Devices Inc., announces the release of a new family of MicroPower Step-up Low-Voltage Booster Modules. Designated the ALD EH4200 Series, these printed circuit board modules are designed to step-up or boost the output voltage of certain popular energy generators, which by themselves are unable to initiate the electronic capture process for efficiently harvesting ambient or waste energy.
Typical energy generators for example are thermoelectric generators, electro-magnetic coils, single photovoltaic cells, and infrared emitters whose output voltages are generally in the tens of milli-volt range and power outputs that range from micro-watts to milli-watts. Utilizing ALD’s micropower MOSFET semiconductor devices and a unique self-starting transformer-oscillator stage, the ALD EH4200 Series Booster Modules derive their operating power directly from one of the aforementioned energy generators and effectively create a voltage gain ranging from 75-150 times.

Two micropower step-up booster models ALD EH4205/4295, each with different source input impedance matching characteristics are currently available. The ALD EH4205 features a nominal input impedance of 50 ohms while the ALD EH4295 features an input impedance of 950 ohms. Other future models will be added to the family of modules with optional source input impedances designed to pair-up with other energy generators that may not be optimized with the current offerings.

ALD MicroPower Step-up Low-Voltage Booster Modules are compatible and best suited for driving loads such as the ALD EH300/EH301/EH300A/EH301A Energy Harvesting Modules. The EH4205/4295 output can be directly connected to the input terminals of the Energy Harvesting Module using a standard two-wire cable. ALD booster modules can also be used, independently for trickle-charging batteries or super-caps, including situations where the energy generating input source is intermittent and not well controlled or regulated.

“Advanced Linear Devices (ALD) has developed an intriguing solution that sidesteps many of the energy harvesting issues. Their solutions allow the collection of very small amounts of energy from a diverse number of sources: Mechanical, Thermal, Light, Electro-Magnetic along with Chemical and Biologic sources,” says Rich Wawrzyniak, Sr. Market Analyst, Semico Research Corp. “The lower threshold for the ALD solution extends all the way down to <0.1V and 100uA and can capture energy in useful amounts that would otherwise be wasted. The very interesting aspect of their technology is that when there is no energy present to be harvested, the ALD circuitry does not consume any power and does not need a wake up time. As soon as power is available to be harvested, it can be captured and transformed into electrical energy useful to the application it resides in.”

Both EH4205 and EH4295 are available for immediate delivery and can be ordered from DigiKey or Mouser Electronics. Small quantities are priced from $41.00 each. Evaluation kits and cable assemblies are also available to simplify bread boarding and test.

“The introduction of these low-voltage booster modules will allow for the harvesting of energy from sources that were previously unobtainable,” states Bob Chao, CEO of Advanced Linear Devices (ALD). “This technology has the potential to transform the energy harvesting industry.”

The availability of these modules bridges the gap in current energy harvesting technologies, allowing the end user to integrate a single module into a variety of applications, saving design costs, recapturing wasted energy and reducing time and cost to market. This allows the system designer to develop more efficient, smaller and less expensive portable electronics – a win-win for the consumer and the supplier.

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