PMIC eliminates battery replacement in IoT sensor board

PMIC eliminates battery replacement in IoT sensor board

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Nowi Energy in Delft has combined its power management PMIC chip with a wireless modem from HiSilcon to create a second generation sensor board for the Internet of Things that does not need the battery replaced.

The 5.5cm by 3.5cm PCB carries Nowi’s NH2 PMIC for energy harvesting and HiSilicon’s Hi2115 NB-IoT cellular modem and acts as a sensor hub. Although the Hi2115 is extremely low power and can in battery-backed operations can produce lifetimes of many years, the Nowi-HiSilicon board adds a solar cell to remove the need for changing the batteries. With a photovoltaic energy source the board can typically be set up for about three data transmissions per day in artificial or low light conditions or 6 to 9 transmissions per day in outdoor lighting conditions, creating a zero maintenance node.

The Hi2115 chip is part of the legacy gained by HiSilicon when Huawei acquired Neul Ltd. (Cambridge, England) in 2014. HiSilicon is the chipmaking subsidiary of Huawei.

The HiSilicon chip is the second generation of the Boudica family of chips; supports Release-14 NB-IoT with integrated baseband, transceiver, power management unit, application processor, application peripherals and memory. Supports 3GPP modes of operation DRX/eDRX/PSM and operates in bands from 450MHz to 2180MHz.

The development builds on the success of the 2019 collaboration. After initial protype deployments HiSilicon and Nowi have optimised the design to add an open slot on which various sensors can be placed depending on the application. These applications could include almost any low data, long range requirements including but not limited to:  smart grid, traffic monitoring and management, security and asset tracking, white goods and automotive servicing data and diagnostics, patient monitoring and tele-health, smart city applications such as waste management, pest control, environmental monitoring, building climate control.

Next: Energy harvesting PMIC 

“Many IoT applications require super long deployment lifecycles and direct power connectivity is often not possible,” said Charles Sturman, senior director of product marketing at HiSilicon, in a statement. “Our collaboration with Nowi addresses these demands as their next generation NH2 device reaches efficiency and size targets which are changing the rule-book on energy harvesting.”

Simon van der Jagt, CEO of Nowi, said: “From industrial IoT to smart home applications we see a strong need for ease-of-use, reduction in device maintenance and small form factor solutions. As such, integrated energy harvesting solutions are playing a key role in the future of connectivity.”

Nowi’s NH2 PMIC is due to be available in 4Q20 for high volume customers. HiSilicon and Nowi are offering the reference design and the corresponding schematics for others to build their solutions upon. – English version. – Chinese version.

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