As wireless network systems designers look to alternative energy sources, Texas Instruments has announced a solar energy harvesting (SEH) development kit that converts ambient light into power for industrial, transportation, agricultural and commercial applications. The credit card-sized eZ430-RF2500-SEH kit combines Cymbet Corporation’s EnerChip thin-film battery technology with TI’s MSP430 microcontrollers (MCU), CC2500 radio frequency (RF) transceivers and the eZ430-RF2500 development tool. Developers can now build self powered solar-based wireless sensor networks, eliminating system batteries, which cost time and money to periodically replace, especially in remote locations.
In remote or hard-to access environments, wireless sensors are becoming increasingly integrated and miniaturized. Until now, designers typically power wireless devices via storage components such as coin cell or AA batteries. However, these storage technologies do not supply the right mix of charging, storage, discharge and physical size characteristics to provide permanent power for wireless devices. Now, the combination of Cymbet’s EnerChip batteries with TI’s MSP430 MCU and CC2500 RF technology allows energy harvesters to achieve more efficient storage, processing and transmission in both bright and low light environments.