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EVAL-08 Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting Guide


The CBC-EVAL-08 is a demonstration kit combining a solar panel energy transducer with the EnerChip EH CBC5300 Energy Harvesting module that has two 50 μAh EnerChip Batteries. The EnerChips provide storage and starting power for the energy harvesting module. The purpose of this demonstration platform is to enable designers to quickly develop Energy Harvesting applications. A block diagram of the EVAL-08 is shown in Figure 1.

System Description

The photovoltaic cells convert ambient light energy into electrical energy. The output voltage of the photovoltaic cells is too low to charge the EnerChips and power the rest of the system directly, so a boost converter is used to boost the photovoltaic cell voltage to the voltage needed to charge the EnerChips.

The charge control block continuously monitors the output of the boost converter. If the output of the boost converter falls below the voltage needed to charge the EnerChips, the charge controller will disconnect the boost converter from the EnerChips. This prevents the EnerChips from back powering the boost converter in low ambient light conditions.

The power management block is used to protect the EnerChips from discharging too deeply in low ambient light conditions, or abnormally high current load conditions. The power management block also ensures that the load is powered up with a smooth power on transition. The power management block has a control line (CHARGE) for indication to the system controller that the energy harvester is charging the EnerChips. A control line input (BATOFF) is available for the controller to disconnect itself from the EnerChips when it is desired to conserve battery life for as long as possible in prolonged low ambient light conditions.

The EVAL-08 shown in Figure 2 with the EnerChip EH Module mounted on the Solar board with 100 μAh capacity.

There are two connectors on the EVAL-08 for connection to target devices to be powered. Either connector can be used for low power microcontroller based systems. In the case of a low-power wireless end device, the EVAL-08 has storage energy for up to 1000 transmissions - depending on protocol used - in no/low ambient light conditions.

Microcontroller systems that are powered by the EVAL-08 should contain firmware that is “Energy Harvesting Aware” and take advantage of the power management status and control signals in the CBC-EVAL-08.

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