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400-mA synchronous step-up DC/DC converter targets energy harvesting applications

October 18, 2010 // Paul Buckley

400-mA synchronous step-up DC/DC converter targets energy harvesting applications

A high performance, synchronous boost converter that incorporates maximum power point control (MPPC) and starts up with inputs as low as 250 mV has been unveiled by Linear Technology. The LTC3105 operates over a wide input range of 0.2 V to 5 V, making it ideal for harvesting energy from high impedance alternative power sources, including photovoltaic cells, thermoelectric generators (TEGs) and fuel cells.

The LTC3105’s internal 400 mA synchronous switches maximize efficiency while its Burst Mode operation offers quiescent current of only 22 uA, further optimizing converter efficiency over all operating conditions.  A user-programmable MPPC set point maximizes the energy that can be extracted from any power source without collapsing its internal voltage.

The LTC3105 is ideally suited to power wireless sensors and data acquisition applications. Surplus or ambient energy can be harvested and then used to generate system power in lieu of traditional wired or battery power, which may be expensive or impractical. Typically, these applications require very low average power, but require periodic pulses of higher load current. For example, the LTC3105 can be used in wireless sensor applications where the power load is extremely low when the sensor is in standby mode, interrupted by periodic high load bursts, when the circuitry is powered up to take measurements and transmit data.

The LTC3105 offers an auxiliary LDO that delivers up to 6 mA of output current to power external microcontrollers and sensors while the main output is charging. Once fully charged, the main output can deliver voltages as high as 5.25 V with up to 100 mA of output current. It can also regulate VOUT even when VIN is greater than or equal to VOUT, offering further design flexibility. In shutdown, the LTC3105 offers output disconnect, isolating VIN from VOUT, requiring only 4 uA of quiescent current. The combination of the LT3105’s 3 mm x 3 mm DFN package (or MSOP-12) and small external components offers a compact solution for energy harvesting applications.

Availability and Pricing

The LTC3105EDD is available in a 10-lead 3 mm x 3 mm DFN package and the LTC3105EMS is available in an MSOP-12 package. Prices start at 2.70 US Dollars each for 1,000-piece quantities. Both are available from stock.

More information about the LTC3105 synchronous boost converter at:

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