Maxim's New Wearable, IoT-Focused MAX20361 Solar Harvester Is Half the Size, More Efficient

$57 evaluation kit lets users try out the solar power harvesting capabilities of the new, ultra-compact part.

Maxim Integrated has unveiled a new solar harvesting system, the MAX20361, which it claims is the smallest around — and as such ideal for wearable devices and "emerging Internet of Things applications."

"This device offers exciting possibilities for a new supplemental power source to continually charge the battery of a device," says Frank Dowling, director of the Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated, of the solar harvester. "For example, if you can harvest just 30mW of solar power per day on a 300mAHr battery system which typically runs for three weeks, you can as a result extend that runtime by over 50 percent."

Maxim claims its MAX20361, which supports single or multi-cell configurations, is half the size of its competitors while offering improved boost efficiency by around five percent — a feat it achieved using adaptive maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and an integrated harvesting gauge which offers real-time efficiency readings to optimize performance.

The company has launched the MAX20361 at $2.64 based on 1,000-unit tray quantities, and for those just looking to experiment offers an evaluation kit with monocrystalline solar cell, supercapacitor, and resistor load, as well as load-current monitoring circuitry, for $57.

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