IoT power calculator gives battery life predictions

May 10, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Electronic components distributor Premier Farnell has created an IoT Power Calculator that helps developers of IoT (Internet of Things) projects understand the expected battery life of their IoT devices, and allows them to experiment with different components and software algorithms to determine their impact on battery life.

Battery power is in increasing demand in IoT applications incorporating sensor systems that collect data and pass the information to the cloud. Unlike many larger connected systems, these relatively small devices often do not have access to mains power. This means that they must have a means of powering themselves, something that is achieved using either batteries or energy harvesting.

Although an increasing number of applications can now be developed at the ultra-low power levels required for energy harvesting, many more are not suitable for this approach, and in such cases batteries are needed to power the system. Unlike products that use energy harvesting, batteries will need changing at some point, and with the cost of replacing batteries often higher than the cost of the IoT device itself, calculating battery lifetime is critical.

Users enter basic parameters about their hardware – including different types of microcontroller and batteries – and their software (how frequently the software wakes, and how many cycles the data capture/processing and communications operations require) and the calculator uses these inputs to work out the power consumption.

The result is a fast and convenient way to quickly estimate battery life for an IoT application: something that was previously difficult and time consuming, involving either the creation of a spreadsheet or manual calculations of battery life.

The calculator is available from Premier Farnell’s “ Internet of Things Hub ”: a one-stop web portal which includes news, views, articles and tools relating to IoT applications, including an article explaining the calculator and factors that impact battery life in IoT applications.

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