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naperlou
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Versatile
naperlou   9/16/2013 9:10:57 AM
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Elizabeth, this is a great device.  While the price is not high, based on the functionality, I was recently working with a microcontroller with programmable logic that was only $1 in quantity.  Isn't it amazing to think that the brains would cost less than the brawn?

ttemple
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Re: Versatile
ttemple   9/16/2013 12:22:21 PM
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It looks like this chip just selects a source and does the switching between 2 outside sources and a battery.  (The chip itself does not harvest energy, it just switches it in when it is there.)

So, it isn't really the brawn, it is just a low loss switch.

Charles Murray
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Re: Versatile
Charles Murray   9/16/2013 8:19:12 PM
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I agree, naperlou. It's a great device. I'm a little surpised by the numbers, though. Fifty mA continuous current is a lot for an energy harvesting application, isn't it? Do any energy harvesting applications really see that much current? 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Versatile
Elizabeth M   9/17/2013 4:57:29 AM
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I could be wrong, Chuck, but I think the trick to this device is what ttemple points out--the switching from energy source to energy source depending on availability. This could explain the high current capability.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Versatile
Ann R. Thryft   10/16/2013 7:59:00 PM
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Thanks for another great energy-harvesting story, Elizabeth. And at the chip level--cool!



Elizabeth M
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Re: Versatile
Elizabeth M   9/17/2013 4:54:52 AM
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I think cost naturally comes down a bit, Lou, as these technologies become a bit more ubiquitous and easier to design. I think this is a fairly simple device that just happens to solve a bigger problem quite efficiently. But it is always amazing to me to see some of the ingenuity of engineers, not being one myself!

AnandY
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Gold
RE: Versatile
AnandY   9/19/2013 2:04:20 AM
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Listening to the list of options that the chip is able to harvest the energy from it is no secret that it very versatile. Having options such as solar, piezoelectric and magnetic sources among many others makes it very efficient in its operations. One thing that I do not get is that does it only play the role of having to select a single source then just goes ahead to switch between two other outside sources. Is this the same as harvesting energy or does it just do the switching? The fact that it is affordable also makes it a great option for most people since they will not have to dig so deep into their pockets.

Elizabeth M
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RE: Versatile
Elizabeth M   9/19/2013 5:34:08 AM
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Hi, AandY, it's my understanding that the chip also does harvesting, but I can check on that and get back to you.

Elizabeth M
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RE: Versatile
Elizabeth M   9/19/2013 5:49:11 AM
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Hi again, AandY, I went back over my notes and it's my understanding that the chip also harvests energy.


From Tony Armstrong, who is quoted in the story:

The device is a complete energy harvester capable of managing both solar and Piezo inputs, as well as allowing for a battery back-up to be easily switched in if the ambient energy sources go away. This is enabled due to its integrated power path control which automatically prioritizes which source should be used as the primary source based upon what it available from the inputs.



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