PowerFilm’s BLE Reference Designs provide examples of ultra-low-power BLE solutions, energy harvesting PMICs, and how PV cells can be mounted to a PCB via conductive epoxy or FPC connectors.
Each of the three designs feature a complete energy harvesting power management solution and Nordic nRF52832 SoC. They are a perfect starting point and guide for developers looking to use PowerFilm’s flexible solar with Nordic BLE or other IoT products.
Visit the PowerFilm BLE Reference Design Github Page for detailed technical information, software, and hardware documentation.
Standard BLE Design
Features a compact PV module SMT mounted to the circuit board via conductive epoxy. This design can run with a battery, supercap, or bank of standard capacitors. The e-peas AEM10941 charges the storage element and manages the power delivered to the Nordic BLE device. A custom direct power output feature maximizes efficiency and storage when using capacitors.
Breakout pins provide access to the full feature set of the AEM PMIC which can be re-configured via solder bridge jumpers.
At 200 lux, this design supports the Nordic blinky, HRM, beacon, and OTA DFU example applications with power left over to implement additional functions.
Flexible BLE Design
This is a flexible version of the standard BLE design which takes full advantage of the thin/flexible nature of PowerFilm PV modules.
Implemented on a two layer flex PCB, there is only limited access to reconfigure the AEM PMIC.
Mini BLE Design
The mini BLE reference design features a smaller PV cell mounted with FPC connector tabs. The panel tabs insert on the top side, and the panel is folded around and mounted to the backside.
This design is battery-less and relies on a 500uF capacitor bank for storage. A simple comparator-based circuit charges the capacitors and manages power delivered to the Nordic BLE device.
At 200 lux, this design supports the Nordic blinky, HRM, and beacon example applications.
Standard, Flex, or Mini circuit board assemblies
LL200-3.6-75 or INQ3.6-24x44T Indoor Solar Panels (SMT mounted)
Instructions, HW/SW files, and product documentation
Use Cases - Power Source and Integration Guide for:
Wireless connectivity is now standard in modern electronics and the growing IoT and sensing industries. Many applications in this area, especially ultra-low power BLE, can run completely off of an indoor solar energy harvesting solution.
nRF52832 Nordic BLE Module
Fully functional BLE module configured for ultra-low-power operation. Connects to iOS and Android devices through Nordic’s example mobile applications.
• iOS and Android connectivity
• IO Break-out connectors for additional sensors or components
• Segger Embedded Studio project solution files
• Small footprint with compact meandering antenna design
• Built-in DC/DC converter to support a wide range of operating voltages (1.7-3.8V)
e-peas AEM10941 Energy Harvesting and Power Management IC
The AEM10941 IC uses ultra-low-power boost converter technology to efficiently extract energy from the indoor solar, while the integrated power management is configured to charge a connected storage element which is used to power the rest of the circuitry. Compatible storage elements technologies include Lithium rechargeables, thin-film, solid state, NiMH and (super)capacitors.
MPPT Input with low voltage boost converter with up to 95%
Regulated LDO power output between 1.2 and 3.3V (selectable/adjustable).
Control module for powering devices directly from the storage element.
Over/under voltage storage element protection.
High-efficiency cold start functionality.
Adjustable charge/protection voltage setpoints.
Primary battery backup.
Dual cell supercapacitor balancing circuit.
Small footprint with few external components required.