Demo platform test drives energy-harvesting PMIC

Trameto, a manufacturer of energy harvesting (EH) power management ICs (PMICs), has introduced a demonstration platform based ON the company’s OptiJoule power management technology, using an engineering sample of its TM2040 four-input EH PMIC.

The demo platform is designed to evaluate how micro-energy harvesting can reduce or eliminate the use of batteries in IoT device applications by using the OptiJoule “smart” EH PMICs. These devices can manage the energy captured by solar cells from ambient light, piezoelectric materials that harvest energy from vibrations, and thermoelectric generators. Target applications include edge IoT, machine condition monitoring, asset tracking, smart buildings, and home automation.

Demo platform test drives energy-harvesting PMIC

TM2040 (preliminary) simplified pinout and system diagram. Click for a larger image.(Source: Trameto)

The OptiJoule PMICs can work with harvesters that produce microwatts to milliwatts of power. A preliminary datasheet indicates that the TM20xx PMIC family for use in autonomous micro-energy harvesting systems (AMES) supports an operating power range from 1 µW to >10 mW. Inputs are AC or DC ±20 mV to ±20 V for any harvester. Energy storage options include a Capacitor, super-capacitor, and Voltage-controlled batteries (i.e., solid state).

The multi-source-harvesting TM2040 supports up to four harvesters (the same or mixed types) in any combination without additional interface components, which delivers a simpler design as well as lower cost. This means the PMICs can provide simultaneous energy harvesting from any combination of inputs (harvesters). The TM20xx can ‘cold-start’ from 20 mV once connected to the harvester. “Being able to self-start from the available ambient energy, the TM20xx offers continuous ‘fit-and-forget’ operation and zero maintenance overhead,” said the company.

The demonstration platform includes two photovoltaic harvesters, a piezoelectric harvester with a DC motor to generate vibration, two thermoelectric generators, and a heater and heat sinks to provide a stimulus for the thermoelectric generators. Each harvester produces microjoules to millijoules of energy and connects to the main platform using plugin daughterboards.

Demo platform test drives energy-harvesting PMIC

The TM2040 Demonstration Platform includes several energy harvesters and sources of ambient energy. Click for a larger image. (Source: Trameto)

A key feature of the TM2040, housed in a 48-pin QFN package, is that the inputs will adapt autonomously to the type of harvester connected to it. The chip optimizes each harvester’s output using proprietary circuits that also dynamically combine the maximum available energy from all the connected harvesters, said the company. “The optimized output delivers a controlled charge to an energy-storage component which is automatically switched via the EH PMIC to power an IoT device with a 1.8-V DC, regulated supply at up to 15 mA.”

The demonstration platform also provides a Windows application to display harvested power and TM2040 status information via a simple graphical user interface. The demo platform is available now and the user guide can be downloaded here.