Low-voltage booster modules suit energy harvesting applications

Low-voltage booster modules suit energy harvesting applications

The EH4205 is a new addition to the next series of Advanced Linear Devices' (ALD) low-voltage booster modules. This self-powered, self-starting module converts very low power or voltage to higher dc or ac voltage. The module requires no external power source or battery to operate due to a design parameter that allows it to hibernate, in a zero-power state, until the input of the connected energy source becomes active. At that time, the product starts up, accumulates energy, and functions as long as the source is active. The result is an always on, always ready, always charged energy source.

This extremely low-level captured energy is manipulated within the booster module and outputted as higher dc or ac voltages capable of powering today’s energy harvesting (EH) modules. The EH4205 is optimally matched to power ALD’s 300 series EH modules, but can power any EH module. The module is unique in its ability to harness ultra-low energy sources that were formerly too low to capture, typically 75 mV.

ALD’s existing portfolio of low-voltage booster modules already have extremely low energy capture thresholds. The new series, beginning with the EH4205 ultra-low voltage booster module, has an even lower minimum startup than the earlier module with an input voltage of 75 mV versus 120 mV.

The minimum operating input power has also been lowered to 230 uW from 250 uW. This seemingly small change in milliwatts brings some formerly elusive energy sources, such as electromagnetic coils and thermoelectric energy generators, into the viable energy harvesting source category. According to company officials, this makes the EH4205 the only device on the market that can harvest energy from sources beyond the typical competitive landscape by almost 400%.

The availability of these improved modules expands the horizon for current energy harvesting technologies. The end user can now consider a much wider application base than ever before with a single module, saving design costs, recapturing wasted energy, and reducing time and costs. This allows system designers to develop more efficient, smaller, and less expensive portable electronics.

For more information, contact Advanced Linear Devices Inc., 415 Tasman Dr., Sunnyvale, CA 94089. Phone: (408) 747-1155.

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