Easily create wireless solar-powered sensor beacons

Posted By : Nat Bowers
Easily create wireless solar-powered sensor beacons

Cypress Semiconductor has introduced a new kit with a complete reference design for a tiny, battery-free sensor beacon for a broad range of fast-growing IoT applications. The CYALKIT-E02 Solar-Powered BLE Sensor Beacon Reference Design Kit provides an easy-to-use platform for the development of a solar-powered Wireless Sensor Node (WSN) that can sense the temperature and humidity around its location and transmit the data via BLE.

The reference sensor beacon, which is 25mm in diameter - the size of a U.S. quarter - can be placed and left to operate without maintenance for battery changes, making it suited to monitor environmental conditions in smart home, commercial building, factory and agriculture settings. The kit is available now for pre-order for $49.

The WSN IoT device market is expected to grow to more than 5bn units by 2020, putting a premium on battery-free implementations to reduce cost and maintenance problems. The placement of a WSN may limit its size and the amount of light available, thereby limiting the size and power output of the solar module and the startup power available. The tiny reference design integrates Cypress’s Energy Harvesting PMICs, EZ-BLE PRoC BLE module and a 15x15mm solar cell that enable operation using as little as 100lx of ambient light - less light than a typical warehouse aisle receives. The kit contains the solar-powered BLE sensor beacon, a BLE-USB Bridge and Debug Board that can be connected to a host PC via a USB interface to receive sensor data and for on-chip debugging of the sensor beacon. Cypress also offers the CYALKIT-E03 expansion pack, which includes five solar-powered BLE sensor beacons, for $99.

Kiyoe Nagaya, Vice President, Analog Business Unit, Cypress, commented: “Our solar-powered BLE sensor beacon reference design kit features robust, low-power sensing and wireless connectivity in a small form factor that can be easily deployed for more than a decade with no maintenance costs, addressing the most significant design challenges facing the expected rapid growth of industrial IoT devices. End customers can get to market quickly using the reference design as a mass production model that can be easily programmed and optimised for a diverse range of innovative applications.”

The CYALKIT-E02/CYALKIT-E03 kit comes with the Cypress BLE-Beacon app for iOS, Android and PCs, enabling users to receive and visualise sensor data transmitted by the sensor beacon as a 2D/3D graph visualisation or to export the data. Cypress is demonstrating the beacon reference design, along with its PSoC, FM Flexible MCU and BLE solutions at Sensors Expo from 22nd to 23rd June in booth 416 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

The Cypress S6AE103A Energy Harvesting PMIC device operate with startup power of 1.2µW (claimed to be four times lower than the nearest competitor) and consumption current as low as 280nA, maximising the power available for the sensing, processing and communications functions of a target application. The fully-certified, small-form-factor CYBLE-022001-00 EZ-BLE PRoC module, which is based on Cypress’s PRoC BLE Programmable Radio-on-Chip solution, works with the PMIC devices to contribute to the low power and ease-of-use of an energy harvesting system solution.

The Cypress CYALKIT-E02 Solar-Powered BLE Sensor Beacon Reference Design Kit can be pre-ordered for $49 and the CYALKIT-E03 Sensor Beacon Expansion Pack can be pre-ordered for $99. Both kits will be available in July 2016. Cypress PMICs are supported by the free, comprehensive Easy DesignSim Web-based simulation tool used to validate Energy Harvesting System designs, including the BOM, schematic and the power consumed (µW) by the sensing, processing and communications functions of a target application.

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