Solar-Powered Bluetooth® Low Energy Multi-Sensor IoT Dev Platform

ON Semiconductor continues to offer solutions for battery-less and maintenance-free IoT with the introduction of its solar-cell-powered RSL10 Multi-Sensor Platform. The sensor platform combines ultra-low-power wireless communications, small form-factor solar cells, and low duty cycle sensing applications.

Applications for the platform are expected to include smart home and building automation including HVAC control, air quality monitoring, and window/door sensors. Other possible applications include asset tracking such as package open/close detection, shock monitoring, as well as temperature and humidity data logging. A broad range of other IoT applications are also possible with the RSL10 Multi-Sensor Platform such as intruder detection, industry 4.0/ smart cities, worker safety and fall detection, air quality monitoring, smoke detection, mobile personal care, and smart safety helmets (bicycle, motorcycle).

This complete IoT sensor solution supports the development of IoT sensors powered by continuous solar energy harvesting. These IoT sensors gather and communicate data through Bluetooth® Low Energy without the need for batteries or other forms of non-renewable energy. Together, this combination makes it possible to develop and deploy totally maintenance-free IoT sensor nodes, according to ON Semiconductor.

The RSL10 Solar Cell Multi-Sensor Platform uses the company’s RSL10 SIP, a System-in-Package (SiP) solution featuring the RSL10 radio, an integrated antenna, and all passive components. The platform joins the RSL10 SIP with a solar cell and multiple low power sensors from Bosch Sensortec, including the BME280 all-in-one environmental sensor (temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity) and the BMA400 ultra-low-power 3-axis accelerometer. Together the sensors allow the creation of complete IoT nodes that are entirely powered through renewable energy or energy harvested from the surroundings.

The platform supports continuous Bluetooth Low Energy transmission of sensor information without needing any batteries. Along with multiple smart sensors, the fully-integrated platform features an ultra-low quiescent current LDO regulator (NCP170) and a 2-port connector for the provided solar cell (FlexRB-25-7030 from Ribes Tech). Also included is a low-profile 47μF storage capacitor and a programming and debug interface.

“After the success of the RSL10 Sensor Development Kit, we are thrilled to work with ON Semiconductor on a new cutting-edge sensor development platform that is entirely solar powered,” said Dr. Peter Weigand, Vice President of Marketing, Bosch Sensortec. “The BMA400 is the first real ultra-low-power accelerometer that doesn’t compromise on performance. Combined with the BME280 integrated environmental sensor, this provides a comprehensive sensing solution for IoT applications such as climate control, intrusion detection and asset tracking.”

“To support the growth of IoT, manufacturers are actively investigating alternative sources of energy to power their designs, helping to reduce environmental impact and lower manufacturing and maintenance costs. With this solution, established on the RSL10 Bluetooth Low Energy radio, we are proving that a battery-free and maintenance-free approach to smart sensor development is not only possible but can help manufacturers improve their designs,” Wiren Perera, who heads IoT at ON Semiconductor, said.

A growing number of IoT sensor applications have a duty cycle that is low enough to support intermittent communications. This low duty cycle allows the use of renewable sources to harvest the energy needed for operation. A highly efficient power management system and the platform’s implemented ultra-low-power sensors augment the RSL10’s energy efficiency.

To simplify development, the platform offers all design files (Gerber, schematic and BoM) as well as customizable source code as part of a CMSIS software package.

  • Provides continuous sensor technology with no battery required
  • Provides industry’s lowest power Bluetooth® Low Energy technology enabled by the RSL10 SIP
  • 55nw in Standby Mode, 10mW in Rx, and Tx at 0dbm
  • Supports Beacon and telemetry transmission
  • Fully re-programmable with SEGGER J-Link with Arm® Cortex® Debug connector (10-pin) adapter.
  • Ultra-low leakage
  • Adaptive duty cycle (self-detection of energy available for transmission)
  • Dual solar cell interface (Through-holes wire soldering or ZIF interface )
  • Ultra-low-power smart sensors
  • Low voltage, high accuracy temperature sensor with a wide temperature range (-40°C to 125°C ) (NCT203)
  • Combined digital humidity, pressure and temperature sensor (BME280)
  • Smart 3-axes ultra-low power accelerometer (BMA400) with integrated wake up and sleep function
  • Pre-flashed with interweaving Beacon firmware:
  • Eddystone TLM Beacon
    • Broadcasts storage capacitor voltage level, temperature, time since power-up and advertisement packets since power-up
    • Compatible with BLE Scanner applications (iOS® or Android™).
  • Custom Environmental Service Beacon
    • Broadcasts temperature, humidity, and pressure
  • Software libraries and examples are available in the B-IDK CMSIS-Pack
  • Supports a wide range of lighting conditions (Artificial or solar light, as low as 180lux)

The RSL10 Solar Cell Multi-Sensor Platform is now available from ON Semiconductor alongside the company’s other energy-efficient rapid prototyping platforms for IoT such as the Energy Harvesting Bluetooth Low Energy Switch.

ON Semiconductor
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