RTC Group, Inc.

RF Energy Harvesting Kit for Wireless Battery Charging

An RF energy harvesting kit from Powercast makes it easy to prototype and develop rechargeable battery-based micro-power systems such as wireless sensor networks that are reliably and perpetually powered by radio waves—eliminating the expense and hassle of traditional battery replacement. The Texas Instruments eZ430-RF2500 wireless development tool is also included as a demonstration application.

In the kit, Powercast’s 915 MHz RF transmitter and receiver energy-harvesting system broadcasts and then converts RF energy and stores it in a capacitor, which then provides a pulsed regulated voltage output to wirelessly trickle charge energy storage devices. Such devices include the paper-thin and long-life Thinergy MEC as well as other thin-film batteries, and traditional rechargeable batteries such as Alkaline, Lithium Ion, or Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH). When embedded into micro-power devices, such as wireless sensors, instrumentation and controls, the included receiver can charge batteries from more than 40 feet away from the included transmitter. Designers could also use other 850-950 MHz RF transmitters as a source of energy for battery charging.

Broadcasted RF energy creates a perpetual power source, unlike potentially unreliable solar, heat or vibration energy sources, to provide power-over-distance, one-to-many charging, and controllable wireless power (continuous, scheduled or on-demand). A wireless power source enables zero-maintenance devices that deploy to inaccessible locations, and embeds within sealed devices for use in wet or harsh environments. Single unit price is $900.

Powercast, Pittsburgh, PA. (724) 238-3700. [www.powercastco.com].

© 2009 RTC Group, Inc., 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673