Small solar harvesting solution increases runtime of IoT applications

13-01-2021 | Maxim | Power

Designers of space-constrained designs are now able to increase runtime significantly with the MAX20361 single-/multi-cell solar harvester with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) from Maxim Integrated Products. Claimed to be the industry’s smallest solar harvesting solution, the device is ideal for space-constrained applications, including wearables and emerging IoT applications.


Designers are often confronted with the tradeoff between small size and long runtime for wearable and IoT applications. By allowing solar charging in these highly space-constrained products, the solution can extend the runtime of those devices by giving a supplemental power source. This solar harvester diminishes solution size by at least half compared to the nearest competitor. Also, the device increases harvested energy with up to 5% better boost efficiency than the nearest competitor, linked with an adaptive MPPT approach which can increase the overall system-level efficiency even further.


“This device 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, as a result, extend that runtime by over 50%.”


“Innovation continues to drive adoption of consumer wearables with global revenue estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% in the next four years,” said James Hayward, principal analyst at IDTechEx Research. “For device manufacturers, longer battery life and smaller form factor remain key product features toward market differentiation and user satisfaction.”

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