LONDON – Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX17710, which it claims is the industry's first IC to integrate all of the power-management functions for ambient energy harvesting, as well as for charging and protecting micro-energy cells (MECs), a form of solid-state battery.
The MAX17710 accepts energy from a variety of poorly regulated energy harvesting sources with output levels ranging from 1 microwatt to 100-mW. Examples include light captured by photovoltaic cells, vibration captured by a piezoelectric element, heat captured by a thermoelectric generator, and RF obtained from near-field communications.
The MAX17710 integrates a programmable input boost regulator to charge a MEC with energy sources as low as 0.8-V.
The chip is packaged in a low-profile 0.5-mm TQFN. The IC will also be available in wafer form to enable even thinner form factors.
Maxim (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has worked with Infinite Power Solutions Inc. (Littleton, Colorado), the manufacturer of the Thinergy solid-state, rechargeable MEC battery products.
"When combined with ambient energy harvesting, MECs uniquely enable autonomous, perpetually powered solutions for decades of use," said David Squires, vice president of business development for Infinite Power Solutions, in a statement issued by Maxim.
Pricing for the MAX17710 starts at $4.11 in quantities of 2,500. An evaluation (EV) kit featuring the MAX17710 PMIC, Thinergy MEC101, and solar energy harvesting is also available.
Seiko already makes a watch called the Seiko Kinetic perpetual that uses a small dyno to charge the battery, Check out this video for some amazing facts about it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYMZANXDBbs. It's been out for a while, so I don't think it uses this IC particularly.
Combination of all different types of energy-harvesting sources in a single package is a great thing to have. I'm not sure if anyone else has a commercially available single package solution at this time. This could be called a fully loaded energy-harvesting chip, discussed long ago in an article "Energy-harvesting chips and the quest for everlasting life" posted by Erick O. Torres dated 06/30/2005 in the EEtimes website:
These specs are hard to bit and are needed for low power energy harvesting.
1nA Standby IQBATT
625nA Linear Charging
1µW Boost Charging
Lithium Cell Undervoltage Protection
Charger Overvoltage Shunt Protection
1.8V, 2.3V, or 3.3V LDO (150nA IQBATT)
Good move Maxim, you have a sight on a market that needs nurturing and have taken a step in the right direction. As a company (Maxim) we continue to see product that push the market versus taking a status quo position in power management or waiting for someone to make a move!
Hmmm... meeting those tight specifications may be challenging in an energy harvesting application. It may be premature to talk about using this technology for "autonomous, perpetually powered solutions for decades of use". I hope these don't prove to be like the early rechargeable batteries I used to buy: cost more than alkaline, discharged faster, lower voltage, and total life cycle cost was greater than what they replaced.
Tried for months to get real data from Thinergy on these batteries. Nothing provided. Seem you can't either overcharge or allow them to get discharged so if you leave them for any time without charging they will die. Maybe this Maxim part has a fix?
It may not last decades, but it is better than where we are today. Yes, those batteries don't last as long as they should, but it is still cheaper and better for the environment than using the not rechargables. We have to start somewhere.
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