A highly efficient solar powered supercapacitor charger with two regulated outputsDesigned by Jasper Sikken in Netherlands
The AEMSUCA is a 15x20mm board for the AEM10941 Solar Harvesting IC from E-peas. It efficiently converts solar panel energy into SUperCApacitor charge, it even works with indoor light. It features tw…Read More…
The AEMSUCA is a 15x20mm board for the AEM10941 Solar Harvesting IC from E-peas. It efficiently converts solar panel energy into SUperCApacitor charge, it even works with indoor light. It features two regulated outputs that are enabled when the supercapacitor has sufficient charge, and a low voltage warning that informs the user of impending shutdown when the supercapacitors run low. It easily integrates in other projects because of the castellated via's, and when soldered onto 0.1' pitch header it fits in a bread board.
This board is special because it integrates maximum power tracking, supercapacitor charging and two regulates outputs in a tiny and easy to integrate board. There's is no other board with so little passive components.
Ideal for indoor applications
The AEM10941 harvesting IC is very suitable for indoor applications because it has an ultra low power startup. The boost converter starts at a very low 380 mV input voltage and 3 uW input power. The IC gets most power out of the solar cells by doing MPPT maximum power point tracking every 5 seconds.
What you get
What is the expected supercapacitor charge current?
I have measured charge current using three different solar panels in indoor light (500 lux), outdoors in the shadow, and in full sun (~500W/m^2 which is not very powerful for full sunlight).
|Solar panel||indoor 500 lux||outdoor shadow||outdoor full sun 500W/m^2|
Indoors (~500 lux) and with the smallest solar cell the storage element is charged at 50uA for 10 hours. Then the application must have an average current of (50uA*10hrs/24hrs) 20uA or less. That's enough for a simple Bluetooth Low Energy beacon or a very simple LoRa application. If that is not enough you need to select a larger solar panel.
Outdoors, in shadow current is 10-20 times larger. And in sun 100 times larger.
As you can see the AEM10941 can charge a supercapacitors from indoor light but it is suitable ONLY for very low power applications.
Compatible solar panels
The chip max input voltage is 5V. Please be aware that a 5V nominal solar panel can be 6.5V when unloaded. Alway check the solar panel open circuit voltage, or Voc.
Super-capacitors I have used
How long can an application run supercapacitors?
Rule of thumb: When a 1F supercapacitor is loaded with 1A the voltage will drop 1V in 1second. The AEMSUCA is designed for two supercapacitors in series. It charges the supercapacitors up to 4.5V and the outputs are enabled down to 3.6V. If you have 10F supercapacitors in series then the total capacitance is 1/C = (1/C1 + 1/C2)then you get 5F in total. If your application draws 80mA from the 3.3V output, then it will run for: 5F*(4.5V-3.6V)/0.08A= 56.25s.
How to solder the pin headers?
Use an old bread board, stick the pin headers in and place the PCB on top, then start soldering.
Q&A about supercapacitors
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Please choose wisely between envelope and package. The PCB can be shipped in a bubbles envelope but non-flat items like a capacitor will be crushed in the mail and should be shipped in a package.
Malcolm | Nov. 12, 2021
Joseph | June 8, 2021
Taeho | Feb. 14, 2021
P | Dec. 30, 2020
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Rajeev | July 10, 2020
Anthony | June 23, 2020
Walter | April 9, 2020
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