The AEM10941 is an integrated energy management circuit that extracts DC power from up to 7-cell solar panels to simultaneously store energy in a rechargeable element and supply the system with two independent regulated voltages.
The AEM10941 allows to extend battery lifetime and ultimately eliminates the primary energy storage element in a large range of wireless applications, such as industrial monitoring, geolocation, home automation, e-health monitoring and wireless sensor nodes. The AEM10941 harvests the available input current up to 110 mA. It integrates an ultra-low power boost converter to charge a storage element, such as a Li-ion battery, a thin film battery, a supercapacitor or a conventional capacitor. The boost converter operates with input voltages in a range from 50 mV to 5 V.
With its unique cold-start circuit, it can start operating with empty storage elements at an input voltage as low as 380 mV and an input power of just 3 µW.
The low-voltage supply typically drives a microcontroller at 1.2 V or 1.8 V. The high-voltage supply typically drives a radio transceiver at a configurable voltage between 1.8 V and 4.1 V. Both are driven by highly-efficient LDO (Low DropOut) regulators for low noise and high stability.
Configuration pins determine various operating modes by setting predefined conditions for the energy storage element (overcharge or overdischarge voltages), and by selecting the voltage of the high-voltage supply and the low-voltage supply. Moreover, special modes can be obtained at the expense of a few configuration resistors. The chip integrates all the active elements for powering a typical wireless sensor.
Five capacitors and two inductors are required, available in the small 0402 and 0603 size, respectively. With only seven external components, integration is maximum, footprint and BOM are minimum, optimizing the timeto-market and the costs of WSN designs..