Constant voltage PMICs target energy harvesting

Constant voltage PMICs target energy harvesting

New Products |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

The release of a further three new PMICs by e-peas provides product developers with even greater scope to implement energy harvesting systems. The innovative engineering breakthroughs of these new devices include constant input voltage regulation, making them uniquely optimized for intermittent and pulsed power inputs, complementary to the existing AEM family.

The AEM00330 is a full power management chip, whereas the AEM00300 being a storage element charger. Both of them are self-configurable, with the ability to automatically switch between buck, buck-boost and boost operation. This enables faster adjustments with different source, storage and load arrangements (step-up, step-down, and so on), while maximising energy transfer capabilities of these devices.

The PMICs have been designed to respond instantly to the power input once a pre-defined threshold has been exceeded – leading to quick and effective energy extraction. The operating input voltage range goes from 140 mV to 4.5 V, so power levels of 3 µW to 570 mW can be managed. Another key feature is their ability to swap from powering the load or the storage element, giving greater flexibility in applications where there should be initial focus on one or the other. Among the potential uses for these devices are door access systems, smart switches for smart home or smart building, point-of-sales (PoS) units and smart running shoes.

The AEM00940 is a boost solution designed for supporting high efficiency energy transfer from sources having a lower voltage than the storage element. It has an LDO-based output rather than a DC/DC-based one. The selectable operating input voltage spans from 50 mV to 4.5 V.

As well as pulsed and intermittent sources these three PMICs are highly suited to use with sources that require a long time to reach their open-circuit.

All three of these new e-peas devices have complete storage element versatility, allowing them to be applied to energy harvesting implementations with single and dual cell super-capacitors, Li-Ion, LiFePO4, Li-Po, NiCd, thin film batteries and solid-state batteries. Each of them has selectable and adjustable storage element protection mechanisms, covering over-charge and over-discharge.

“Not all energy harvesting can rely on longer lasting outputs. There are many cases where only a short burst will be available,” e-peas’ CMO Christian Ferrier states; “By developing solutions that can quickly react to such sources, we are bringing something truly unique to the market. Our new constant voltage PMICs can capture energy whenever it is present, addressing the needs of home and building automation, and many new use cases”

The AEM00330 is supplied in a 40-pin QFN package format with 5- x 5-mm dimensions. The AEM00300 comes in a 4- x 4-mm 28-pin QFN package, while the AEM00940 has a 5- x 5-mm QFN28 package. They can each be adapted to meet customers’ specific packaging needs and are also available in a bare die format for high volume orders (as for the overall e-peas product family). Dedicated evaluation kits (EVKs) for each of the new PMICs will be available soon, enabling engineers to test the rich configuration sets.

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