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Sunday
Sep042011

Energy Scavenging WSN

Putting together all the pieces now. Here is a complete Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Wireless Sensor Node (WSN) that energy scavenges. Have a Peltier thermo-electric generator resting on top of a 20W wirewound resistor and scavenging the energy from the waste heat of that resistor.  The Peltier device then powers a Linear Technology LTC3108 chip (described here) which powers a wireless sensor node (WSN) that is built from a NXP LPC1114 MCU and a Atmel AT86RF212 800 MHz radio (described here).  The wireless stack is the Chibi stack (described here).  The WSN transmits data every 2 minutes, which gives the storage capacitor in the energy scavenger plenty of time to recover.  The sleep state of the WSN draws about 25 micro-amps and the wake state when polling the sensors and the radio on draws about 11 ma.  The radio is on for about a second every 2 minutes. 


Click on image to enlarge


IMG_20110904_114255.2


 The peltier device generates electrical power proportionate to the heat flow through the device.  The power output can be increased then by blowing gently across the top surface of the peltier device which increases the convective heat loss on the top surface and increases the flow of heat through the device from the hot side where the resistor is generating heat to the top cool side where heat is lost convectively.


IMG_20110904_114334

Reader Comments (3)

Hey Bob, this is an exciting project. I'm very interested in wireless sensors powered by their environment. Do you plan to commercialise your board - i.e. can I buy one? Please keep up the interesting work.
September 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob Dobson
Hi Rob,

I certainly plan to make the board available via OSHW. In fact I've posted the design files on GIT. I need to spend some time fixing up the blog so it's easier to navigate around and find things like the git hub location of the files. I may sell some boards too at some point. Right now, because they're built by hand by me, they're about $50 in small quantities.

Thanks!

Bob
September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Hi Bob,
This seems interesting. Have you continued with this project? Would love to get my hands on one of your boards.
Since this relies on heat flow (I am assuming a thermal gradient), how would this scavenge heat solely from the environment?
For the sake of argument let me place the board in a gas chamber maintained at 50C. Would it be able to generate power or does it
need a thermal gradient in order to do so?
Thanks,
Sam

June 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersamrat saha

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