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 features a complete energy harvesting power management solution and Nordic nRF52832 SoC. They are a perfect starting point and guide for developers using 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.
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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 complete 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 INP3.6-24x44T Indoor Solar Panels (SMT mounted)
Instructions, HW/SW files, and product documentation
Use Cases - Power Source and Integration Guide
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 entirely from 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. At the same time, the integrated power management is configured to charge a corresponding storage element 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% efficiency
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
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