Powercast battery charging board
Powercast power transmitter
Powercast dev board
THINERGY Micro-Energy Cell
Powercast paired with Texas Instruments for Powercast's P2110-EVAL-02 battery charging kit. This is the second Powercast development kits I have looked at. The first used Microchip's PIC processor (see PIC Module Runs Off RF Power). This kit utilizes TI's MSP430 16-bit microcontroller that plugs into the BAT-EVAL-01 battery eval board (Fig. 1). The TI eZ430-R2500 wireless dev kit (see Low-Cost Kits Make Evaluation Faster) that is included has a USB progammer and a removable module with the MSP430 and wireless interface. This module plugs into the battery eval board for power.
It uses the same 915 MHz, 3W power transmitter box (Fig. 2). This transmitter can power any number of remote units. It has dual DC power inputs. Different antennas (Fig. 3) capture different amounts of power.
The battery eval board plugs into the P2110-EVB eval board. The board has a P2110 chip that can deliver up to 50ma of current sent to it by the transmitter. A boost converter delivers a constant voltage level up to 5.25V. The default output is 3.3V. This power is used to charge the battery that is in the form of a THINERGY Micro-Energy Cell Evaluation Card (Fig. 4). The card actually plugs into the battery board.
The MSP430 can run off battery power or RF power. The battery is charged if RF power is provided.
I have eZ430-R2500 wireless dev kit in the past. It comes with Code Composer Studio and the wireless protocol stack, SimpliciTI. I used the other TI kit I had on hand so there were two devices in the network.
The Powercast kit is essentially a no-brainer. Plug in the boards, set up the power transmitter and the MSP430 has power. The rest is programming the micro to use as little power as possible and then calculate whether the Powercast system can provide the necessary power for the application. That is not hard with a lightweight micro like the MSP430. The kit can be used with just about any other microcontroller since the power is coming from a header that is easy to wire up. Overall, the system provides a great way to evaluate Powercast's solution with the micro of your choice.