DFRobot's Indoor Ambient Energy Harvesting Kit Seeks to Skip the Battery for IoT Sensors and More

Designed for microwatt harvesting from various sources, DFRobot's latest module is now available on a quick-start evaluation board.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month ago β€’ Sustainability / HW101

Hobbyist and embedded electronics specialist DFRobot has launched a new kit aimed at those who want to experiment with powering circuits from harvested mechanical, thermal, solar, and radio-frequency (RF) energy: the DFM8001 Indoor Ambient Energy Harvesting Kit.

"Harnessing the abundant sources of energy in the natural environment, such as mechanical, thermal, solar, and radio frequency energy, can provide a continuous flow of power to devices," the company writes of its latest launch. "The DFM8001 Ambient Energy Harvesting Kit is a complete solution designed to streamline the construction of Indoor ambient energy power systems."

The kit, brought to our attention by CNX Software, takes the form of a central evaluation board with energy-harvesting module and two supercapacitor modules, one 0.22F, one 1.5F, which can be swapped out of a socket for experimentation purposes.

The board is designed to harvest small amounts of ambient energy, though the bundle itself concentrates on solar and indoor lighting with the inclusion of an amorphous photovoltaic panel β€” meaning that if you want to experiment with other sources, including mechanical, thermal, and radio-frequency energy harvesting, you'll need additional hardware.

You'll also need a load to drive, of course. The board features two outputs, one offering 1.8V to 4.1V at an 80mA peak and the other 1.2V to 1.8V at a 20mA peak. The controller itself include maximum power point tracking (MPPT), to boost the efficiency of harvesting microwatt-level energy, and is available as a surface-mount module for post-experimentation integration into other boards.

The DFM8001 Indoor Ambient Energy Harvesting Kit is now available on the DFRobot store, priced at $16.90 before volume discounts; the DFM8001 energy harvesting module can be purchased on its own at $4.90 per unit.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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