Self-Sustained Wi-Fi sensor: Jan & Martin's Project Pick of the Month for March 2016


Guest blog authored by TI Community Champions  and .





He has currently built several prototypes, and has tested and profiled a self-sustained solar powered wireless sensor node.

Shantam Raj (on Twitter here) doesn't shy away from systematic work. This isn't trial and error. And it's out in the open – you can follow the progress from idea to realization on his excellent Blog.

The project

The goal is to make a sensor kit that's living on its own, without external power source. It will have to survive – also at night– with the energy it manages to grab during the day. The kit monitors humidity, temperature, ambient light and atmospheric pressure. And it shares the measurements – all within its power budget, over WiFi.

It starts with an idea and an investigation. What is the lowest possible voltage to drive a SimpleLink™ Wi-Fi® CC3200 LaunchPad™? And how can a RedBearLab WiFi kit be adapted to work on that same low voltage?

That's his kickoff point. For the energy harvesting exercise, he uses a RedBear WiFi Micro Kit with the same SimpleLink™ Wi-Fi® CC3200 LaunchPad™. He designs his own energy management board that ekes out every drop of energy from a solar panel. The solutions he developed are based on a BQ25505 (long description warning: Ultra Low Power Harvester Power Management IC with Boost Charger, and Autonomous Power Multiplexor) and BQ25570 (almost as long description: Ultra Low Power Harvester Power Management IC with Boost Charger, and Nanopower Buck Converter).

The documentation on his Blog is very rich, and pcb design and firmware are published on hackster.io.

He has profiled many aspects of his design, both of the early test phases and the final sensor node. Go visit that blog now!


Online Resources

Hardware Used

 succeeded to pair a Hercules LaunchPad with an LMG5200 GaN power driver. The results are available in this double Power House Blog series that includes sample code:

On this recorded TI Community Day Webinar,  presents (from 02:19:12 to 02:51:31) Control a GaN power stage with a Hercules™ LaunchPad™ development kit.

 is currently working on his engineering thesis, and officially has no time for any social activities. Anyway, he did manage to escape and hangout with his ElectronAplica team and some MSP430 Boxing Robot Coffee Mugs honoring the previous July J&M Project Pick of the Month for 2015.

The TI Community Blog recently published an in-depth profile on  which can be read here.

Both  and  were awarded at the recent 2015 TI Community Award Ceremony as Top Helpers for 2015! As leaders and MVPs in the TI Community, it was an honor to recognize their tremendous achievements in 2015.

TI award-winning Community Champions Jan and Martin contribute monthly to the Jan & Martin Project Pick of the Month and can be last found hosting a TI Community Analog Webinar. Martin also hosted the Hola TI LaunchPad Webinar. They previously participated in Part 1 of the LaunchPad with sunglasses series and Part 1 of Show your crazy LaunchPad 'Stache. They also teamed up for the TI Community Blog post on Getting Started with Hercules LaunchPads in 5 steps.

Jan stays active online sharing his projects on Launch Your Designs (near 20+ projects and counting), helping on the Hercules™ Safety Microcontrollers Forumtweeting, posting videos on his YouTube channel and Blogging on Element14.

Martin stays active online sharing his projects on Launch Your Designs (30+ projects and counting), posting about his favorite LaunchPads, helping on the Hercules™ Safety Microcontrollers ForumFacebook Community page, tweeting, posting videos on his YouTube channel and Blogging on Element14.