Solar harvester reduces solution size by 50% for wearables

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Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. has claimed the smallest solar harvesting solution for space-constrained wearables and internet of things (IoT) applications. The MAX20361 single-/multi-cell solar harvester with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) aims to increase the runtime in these devices by providing a supplemental power source.

(Image: Maxim Integrated) Click for larger image.

A big challenge for battery-operated devices, particularly space-constrained applications like wearables, is that they often have longer battery life requirements, but they can’t fit bigger batteries. This is where energy-harvesting solutions, like solar charging, are being used as an auxiliary power source for these rechargeable batteries.

The solar harvester reduces solution size by at least half and increases harvested energy with up to five percent better boost efficiency, compared to the closest competitor, according to Maxim. The adaptive MPPT approach along with the Maxim’s unique integrated harvesting gauge for real-time indications of efficiency also can improve the overall system level efficiency even further, added the company.

Maxim MAX20361 solar harvester

Maxim Integrated’s MAX20361 solar harvester simplified block diagram (Image: Maxim Integrated)

“This device offers exciting possibilities for a new supplemental power source to continually charge the battery of a device,” said Frank Dowling, director of the Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated, in a statement. “For example, if you can harvest just 30 mW of solar power per day on a 300 mAHr battery system which typically runs for three weeks, you can as a result extend that runtime by over 50 percent.”

The MAX20361 is available at Maxim Integrated’s website for $2.64 (1000-up, FOB USA). It also is available from authorized distributors. An evaluation kit, the MAX20361EVKIT#, is available for $57.

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