When paired with wireless transmitters, the Thermobility solution can provide electric power for decades of maintenance-free operation, thus expanding the possibilities for new wireless sensor applications in industrial control, transportation, automotive and building management. The first in a series of wireless power generators, the Thermobility WPG-1 provides a constant voltage output of 3.3, 4.1 or 5.0 Vdc to electrical loads of 15kΩ or higher.
The WPG-1 is about the size of a golf ball and consists of a pin-fin heat sink, a custom circuit board, Nextreme’s eTEG HV56 thermoelectric power generator module and a metal attachment plate that is applied to the desired heat source. The device incorporates a Linear Technologies LTC3108 ultralow voltage step-up converter and power manager chip to provide up to 1mW of electrical power at temperature differentials as low as 15-20K relative to ambient. Larger temperature differences can generate significantly more power.
The WPG-1 is designed for ease of use with any flat-surface heat source. For simple bench-top testing, the WPG-1 can be placed directly on a laboratory grade hotplate with temperature control. For evaluation with other surfaces, the attachment plate can be mated with either thermal grease for normal horizontal application or double-stick thermal pad for vertical mounting.
The integrated circuit board includes DIP switches for setting the output voltage. Electrical connections can be made using the on-board 2-pin or 6-pin connectors. The 6-pin connector is a Texas Instruments proprietary connector that mates to the eZ430 wireless target board. In the future, Nextreme plans to extend the Thermobility platform with additional features, including integrated energy storage for applications with variable heat sources.
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