Perpetuum and Texas Instruments Enable Sensor System Manufacturers to Transmit High Data Loads Entirely Powered by Vibration Energy-Harvesting


Perpetuum, the world leader in vibration energy-harvesting, announces its PMG17 vibration energy-harvesting microgenerator can readily be used to power the Texas Instruments CC2420 single chip RF transceiver and MSP430 16 bit ultra-low-power microcontroller. As a result, sensor node manufacturers can now design battery-free sensor systems using the IEEE 802.15.4 standard even for the most data intensive applications such as condition monitoring. This opens up many new opportunities for proprietary protocols.

Texas Instruments' CC2420 transceiver is designed for low-power, low-voltage RF applications using the 802.15.4 protocol. A vibration energy-harvesting sensor node designed around the CC2420 by Perpetuum engineers is capable of sampling 2kbyte of vibration data and transmitting it over 100m (line-of-sight) every 60 seconds when only 0.025g of vibration is present. At this incredibly low level of vibration the PMG17 energy harvester produces up to 1mW, while at 1g the output is around 50mW, enabling the node to measure and transmit continuously. The node can be configured to measure and transmit much smaller data sets, such as temperature, more frequently or larger data sets less frequently, depending on the application.

"We are delighted Perpetuum has designed a practical alternative to batteries that can be used to power our transmitters," says Frank Forster, Business Development Manager, Catalog DSP, MCU & Low-Power Wireless Europe at Texas Instruments. "With an increasing industry demand for wireless sensor systems, battery-free systems are now a reality. They offer a reliable source of power and there are no disposal and maintenance issues."

"Our microgenerators and the Texas Instruments CC2420 enable wireless sensing nodes to monitor plant, process and machinery, remotely, wirelessly and without any batteries," says John Parker, Senior Engineer, Perpetuum. "Operators can use the data about the condition of plant equipment for improved asset management, and for preventative maintenance, allowing them to significantly reduce down-time and save thousands of pounds."

An application note to aid engineers designing self-powered wireless condition monitoring systems is available for download from the Perpetuum website, www.perpetuum.com.

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