Powercast Releases Battery-less, Wireless-powered Sensor System for Building and Industrial Automation

April 20th, 2011

Powercast has released a battery-less, wirelessly-powered sensor system for building and industrial automation - the Lifetime Power® Wireless Sensor System.  The sensor units can be powered at a range of 60-80 feet (18-24 m) from Powercast’s 3W, 915MHz transmitter (TX91501).  The initial sensor unit is for temperature and humidity and is to be followed by other types such as CO2, light, and motion.

Wireless Sensor Node

Powercast Lifetime Power® Wireless Sensor System

The access point (WSG-101 BAS gateway) supports up to 100 sensors and 800 sensor points for large-scale and high-density deployment of sensors.  The sensors are battery-free and operate when sufficient charge is stored to take sensor readings and send a data packet.  Wireless communication from the sensor nodes to the access point is 2.4GHz using industry-standard 802.15.4 radios.  The BAS gateway supports several physical interfaces and a range of BAS protocols to interface with nearly every major type of wired BAS network, including BACnet, Modbus, Metasys N2, and LonWorks.

The system was developed based on the same core technology as the Powercast P2110 Powerharvester receiver and the P2110-EVAL-01 Energy Harvesting Development Kit, both of which are available for other sensor OEMs to embed Powercast’s technology into their own products.

Product PagePress ReleaseProduct Presentation (PDF)

Powercast wireless power charges keyboards, mice, and game controllers

March 30th, 2011

The video below demonstrates how Powercast’s wireless power technology charges multiple devices simultaneously, and in this case a wireless keyboard, a wireless mouse, and a wireless game controller.  The amount of power being delivered to these devices is in the low mW range.

Some applications can be powered directly from the transmitter, but for most consumer electronic devices trickle-charging a battery will be more appropriate.

For more wireless power videos visit Powercast’s channel on YouTube.

ECN: Energy Harvesting Suits Remote Low Power Devices

February 28th, 2011

innovative_energy

John Titus at ECN has recently published an article titled “Energy Harvesting Suits Remote Low Power Devices“, which includes updates on energy harvesting technology from multiple companies including CYMBET, Humdinger, Microstrain, Mide, and Powercast.

Grabbing “free” energy involves more engineering than buying an off-the-shelf transducer.  Contrary to what you might think, the awareness of “green power” didn’t spawn the drive to harvest energy. Low-power electronic fabrication technologies did the trick. They cut the power needs of small monitoring devices to the point where energy harvesting has started to make engineering and economic sense.

Read more…

Design News Reviews Powercast P2110-EVAL-01 RF Energy Harvesting Development Kit

January 27th, 2011

design-news

As announced back in October 2010, Powercast released a development kit to showcase using RF energy for remotely powering battery-free wireless sensors. Jon Titus of Design News was gracious enough to review the kit and gave Powercast ratings of 5 out of 5 in all four areas of the review: Ease of Set-up, Quality and Clarity of Documentation, Overall Experience, and Meets Expectations.

The article is titled “Kit Harvests RF Energy” and we appreciate the subtitle “Engineers who must implement low-power devices that cannot run on local power need this kit from Powercast Corp.”

p2110-eval-01

The components in the kit enable wireless and battery-free operation of the sensor nodes at a distance of 40-45 feet (13-15 meters). Each sensor board can measure temperature, humidity, light, and an external sensor. This can be used for a number of applications including building automation, energy management and industrial monitoring. Power is provided by Powercast’s new 3W transmitter (TX91501-3W-ID), which also sends factory-set data. The P2110 Powerharvester receiver converts the RF energy from the receiving antenna and stores it into a capacitor, which is then boosted to operate the wireless sensor board. The Microchip XLP 16-bit Development Board with the 802.15.4 radio is the access point.

Product Link | Press Release

Powercast P2110 Harvests Ambient RF Energy from iPhone for Battery-Free Wireless Sensors

January 6th, 2011

In an earlier post we demonstrated an iPhone powering LEDs in close proximity using Powercast’s RF energy harvesting technology.

The video below demonstrates the use of a standard iPhone in 2G mode to generate RF energy that is used to power a battery-free wireless sensor node. The sensor node is part of Powercast’s Lifetime Power (TM) Energy Harvesting Development Kit for Wireless Senors (P2110-EVAL-01), the receiving board is based on the P2110 Powerharvester Receiver, and the antenna was slightly modified from it’s original tuning for 915MHz.

The wireless sensor node was designed by Powercast and Microchip for ultra-low power operation.  At a distance of 2 feet from the iPhone packets are transmitted from node every every 1-2 seconds.  As this video shows, mobile phones can be a practical, portable source of wireless power for a wide range of applications.

Powercast Selected for EDN Hot 100 Products of 2010

December 21st, 2010

EDN Hot 100 Products 2010

Powercast’s TX91501 Powercaster transmitter was selected by EDN for the Hot 100 Products of 2010. This transmitter sends both power and data for remote powering/charging in conjunction with Powercast’s P1110 or P2110 Powerharvester receivers.

Broadcasted RF energy creates a predictable, controllable power source to provide power-over-distance and one-to-many charging.  Unlike potentially unreliable or intermittent solar, heat or vibration micro-power energy sources, the TX91501 transmitter sends power to enable wireless devices to charge and operate completely untethered from the power source, and power can be sent on-demand, scheduled, or continuously.  End-devices can be inherently dormant, with zero-standby power, until power is sent to operate the device, or batteries can be trickle-charged remotely.  The operating distance for wireless power transfer (wireless charging) from the TX91501 transmitter to a device with the P2110 Powerharvester Receiver is about 40 feet with a reasonable size receiving antenna.

EDN Hot 100 Products for 2010

Energy Harvesting Wireless Sensor Networks for Smart Structures

December 20th, 2010

The Economist recently released a special report on the benefits of using wireless sensors for monitoring of critical infrastructure - buildings, bridges, and tunnels.

Read the article here.

smart-structures

Powercast Debuts RF Energy Harvesting Kit for Wireless Battery Charging

November 21st, 2010

Powercast, with the support of Infinite Power Solutions, has released the Lifetime Power® Energy Harvesting Development Kit for Battery Charging. This kit provides long-range, wireless trickle charging of battery-based systems for low-power applications. The kit features the THINERGY® Micro-Energy Cell from Infinite Power Solutions (IPS), and also supports traditional rechargeable batteries including Lithium Ion, Alkaline, and Ni-MH, as well as other solid-state/thin-film batteries.
p2110-eval-02

Components of the kit include:

  • 915MHz, 3 watt Power+Data Transmitter (TX91501-3W-ID)
  • P2110 Evaluation Boards (P2110-EVB)
  • 6dBi directional antenna
  • 1dBi omni-directional antenna
  • Battery charging board (BAT-EVAL-01)
  • THINERGY® Micro-Energy Cell Evaluation Card
  • Cable for connecting to THINERGY® ADP
  • TI eZ430-RF2500 wireless development tool

The components in the kit enable wireless battery charging at a distance of 40-45 feet (13-15 meters). The charging board can directly charge a THINERGY Micro-Energy Cell or connect to the THINERGY ADP. This can be used for a number of applications including building automation, energy management and industrial monitoring. Power is provided by Powercast’s new 3W transmitter (TX91501-3W-ID), which also sends factory-set data. The P2110 Powerharvester receiver converts the RF energy from the receiving antenna and stores it into a capacitor, which is then boosted as a regulated output to pulse-charge a battery.

Product Listing | User’s Manual | Press Release

Microchip and Powercast Release RF Energy Harvesting Kit for Battery-Free Wireless Sensors

November 4th, 2010

Powercast, with the development support of Microchip, has released the Lifetime Power® Energy Harvesting Development Kit for Wireless Sensors.  This kit provides wireless power for remote, battery-free wireless sensor networks (WSN).

p2110-eval-01The kit (part number P2110-EVAL-01)  includes the following items:
1 - 3W Powercaster Transmitter - 915MHz (TX91501-3W-ID)
2 - P2110 Evaluation Board (P2110-EVB)
2 - Directional, patch antennas - 915MHz
2 - Omni-directional dipole antennas - 915MHz
2 - Wireless Sensor Boards (WSN-EVAL-01)
1 - Microchip XLP 16-bit Development Board
1 - Microchip 802.15.4, 2.4GHz radio
1 - PICkit programmer/debugger

The components in the kit enable wireless and battery-free operation of the sensor nodes at a distance of 40-45 feet (13-15 meters).  Each sensor board can measure temperature, humidity, light, and an external sensor. This can be used for a number of applications including building automation, energy management and industrial monitoring.  Power is provided by Powercast’s new 3W transmitter (TX91501-3W-ID), which also sends factory-set data.  The P2110 Powerharvester receiver converts the RF energy from the receiving antenna and stores it into a capacitor, which is then boosted to operate the wireless sensor board.  The Microchip XLP 16-bit Development Board with the 802.15.4 radio is the access point.

Product Link | Press Release

Shipping and Airline Hazards of Lithium Batteries

October 27th, 2010

USA Today and MSNBC.com have run articles recently on the potential hazards of Lithium batteries.

USA Today (August 16, 2010)
Are lithium-ion batteries the next threat to airline safety?

MSNBC.com (October 26, 2010
Hazard of lithium batteries on planes sparks debate

Eliminating batteries, or using smaller rechargeable batteries, through micro-power energy harvesting would help to reduce the number of batteries shipped or the lithium content.