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Anagear's Low-Power Circuits Harvest & Save Energy

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tekochip
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Waking Up
tekochip   1/22/2013 9:58:22 AM
Very true, so many designs simply need to wake up every second or so to make a measurement and that clock circuitry usually takes a few microamps.  Microcontroller vendors have gotten better at providing a low current wake-up but aren't really there yet. 
 
ZiLOG has a pretty nice watchdog circuit in their Encore parts that can do it with less than a microamp.


Elizabeth M
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Re: Waking Up
Elizabeth M   1/22/2013 1:19:47 PM
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It definitely seems like Anagear is on to something here with its preservation of power it manages by taking power management out of the microcontroller. It seems a fairly simplistic idea and will be interesting to see if this takes off. I wonder if designers might balk at making this change to the time-worn design.

tekochip
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Re: Waking Up
tekochip   1/22/2013 1:46:02 PM
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Not if meets the right balance of cost and performance.  If it adds too much cost to the BOM then only the designs trying to squeeze every last nanowatt will want the part.  On the other hand, if they get the part under a dime in volume then I can use a cheaper, power guzzling micro and spend the dime on their part.  It's another performance/cost trade off.


Cabe Atwell
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Re: Waking Up
Cabe Atwell   1/23/2013 4:17:03 PM
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This reminds me of the solar powered calculators used in school. No one hails those as the alternative energy shining examples they were.

Something around 90% of all energy created is lose in various ways. Friction, heat, etc.. It is good companies are attempted to recover some of that. In the distant future, we will wish the past had.

C

tekochip
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Re: Waking Up
tekochip   1/23/2013 4:42:47 PM
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Great point Cabe, can you imagine if all those batteries were being tossed into landfills?

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Waking Up
Cabe Atwell   1/24/2013 4:41:28 PM
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Teko,

The distant future will feature mining landfills, I am sure of it. The precious lithium will get recovered at all costs. Not to mention all the metals recovered there too. A century of building these landfills have created mountains, as you can see in some cities. Inside it is a television from the 1950s, packed with all sorts of precious metals. It waits for someone to recover in the future.

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: Waking Up
Elizabeth M   1/28/2013 4:37:59 PM
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i remember those, Cabe...what a simple concept, and I wonder now why it took so long for solar power to catch on. I guess people are now starting to learn from the past but I agree, I think this type of harvesting could have been started years ago and been further along in its progression by now.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Waking Up
Cabe Atwell   1/29/2013 5:09:24 PM
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Common human behavior, do something wrong until it is too late. Take the Tasmanian Tiger, exterminated. American buffalo. Enron. The list goes on and on.

Luckily, the garbage will still be there. Time to start mining.

If I recall, there was a Japanese firm that developed a way to harvest the precious metals out of electrical waste... I will have to look into this.

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: Waking Up
Elizabeth M   1/30/2013 4:10:14 AM
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Harevesting, recycling, reusing...these are all the ways forward now before we use up everything we have and are FORCED to do it. I think my parents instilled in me value for things even though I don't care about having lots of them in general. I was always the type of person who would use something even if it was falling apart...until it absolutely broke. And even then I would try to fix it. The idea of use once and throwaway has become way too commonplace. Harvesting and recycling what we can to turn it into something else--whether it be metal, plastic or what have you--is the best thing we can do to promote a healthier planet. It also makes sense financially if you can get the numbers right.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Waking Up
Cabe Atwell   2/1/2013 4:49:13 PM
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The "Johnson family of California" recycles and preserves everything to a point where they throw away only a few handfuls of trash a year. They are not the only ones either. It can be done. But to be honest, their lifestyle is not that appealing.

I read this a feel pretty awful for all the garbage I tossed out recently.

C

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Waking Up
Elizabeth M   2/6/2013 6:20:08 AM
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Interesting story about the Johnsons, Cabe! I agree that the lifestyle isn't very appealing, even if it's admirable that some people can do it. Living here in Portugal and being a surfer, I have learned to reduce certain kinds of waste (single-use plastic, for example) because I see the effects first hand on the natural environment and the ocean. But to reduce waste to zero would be really hard and a full-time job. Good to try, though...and if companies can start reusing and recycling energy and then making this available to us through electronics and alternative electricity options (here in Portugal, a good bit of energy on the grid is from wind turbines), then it's a good place to start without being too painful for the end user.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Waking Up
Cabe Atwell   2/6/2013 3:51:58 PM
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Surfing in Portugal? Sounds wonderful. You live most people's vacations.

Most of the country's energy is from wind? That is cool too. How much energy, do you know?

 



Elizabeth M
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Re: Waking Up
Elizabeth M   2/7/2013 4:05:22 AM
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Ha, Cabe, yes, I do live most people's holidays, but it isn't all easy...as you can see, I do work a bit. :) But it is a lovely lifestyle and place.

So I exaggerated a bit about the amount of electricity coming from wind here ...but there is still a lot going on here. In this NYTimes article, it says the country is aiming for 60 percent of electricity to come from wind by 2020...and 31 percent of energy overall. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/science/earth/10portugal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

It's a small country but that still is pretty good! The wind turbines in that photo are just down the road from me. There is a fair amount of solar work being done as well. Not bad for a country that in many other ways is quite behind the times! (I have lived here for three years...believe me, I know!)

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Waking Up
Cabe Atwell   2/8/2013 4:08:35 PM
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Spain has boasted a 100% renewable energy sourcing, but at the detriment of their economy. It still needs subsidizing heavily to compete with the low cost of conventional sources. It's a tough world for energy production.

 

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: Waking Up
Elizabeth M   2/11/2013 3:12:02 AM
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I did not know that about Spain...but funny, I did pass a large solar array when I was driving from Spain last week back to Portugal with some friends...so I guess that makes sense! But yes, I suppose financing is tricky. Portugal's economy is in the gutter as well. There are opportunities here for many people, however, to be off grid with their own solar power and wind turbines, and I know a few people who manage it successfully. This takes the load off the larger electricity grid.

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