Solar harvesting to increase runtime of space-constrained wearable and IoT applications

Designers of space-constrained designs can now significantly increase runtime with the MAX20361 single-/multi-cell solar harvester with maximum power point tracking (MPPT) from Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.

The solar harvesting solution is ideal for space-constrained applications such as wearables and emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Designers are often challenged with the tradeoff between small size and long runtime for wearable and IoT applications. By enabling solar charging in these highly space-constrained products, the MAX20361 can extend the runtime of those devices by providing a supplemental power source.

This solar harvester reduces solution size by at least half compared to the closest competitor. In addition, the MAX20361 increases harvested energy with up to 5% better boost efficiency than the closest competitor, coupled with an adaptive MPPT approach which can improve the overall system level efficiency even further.

Key advantages

  • Small size: Small size solar harvesting solution due to reduced component size and smaller, fewer external components; at least 50% smaller solution size compared to the closest competitor
  • Higher Efficiency: Increased boost efficiency maximises harvested energy with up to 5% better boost efficiency than the closest competitor; additional harvesting gains can be achieved through adaptive MPPT features coupled with the unique integrated harvesting gauge for real-time indications of efficiency to optimise performance

“This device offers exciting possibilities for a new supplemental power source to continually charge the battery of a device,” says Frank Dowling, director of the Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated. “For example, if you can harvest just 30mW of solar power per day on a 300mAHr battery system which typically runs for three weeks, you can as a result extend that runtime by over 50%.”

“Innovation continues to drive adoption of consumer wearables with global revenue estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% in the next four years,” says James Hayward, principal analyst at IDTechEx Research. “For device manufacturers, longer battery life and smaller form factor remain key product features toward market differentiation and user satisfaction.”

Availability and pricing

  • The MAX20361 is available at Maxim Integrated’s website for $2.64 (€2.17) (1000-up, FOB USA); also available from authorised distributors
  • The MAX20361EVKIT#evaluation kit is available for $57 (€46.89)

To order MAX20361 or learn more, Click here.

For a hi-res image, Click here.

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