Workshop Energy Harvesting

eh1 eh4

The class …
doing experiments with materials, getting to know voltage or current,

Barbro creating a textile peltier element with constantin-copper connections in series, it provided around 30mV on a container with ice and your hand at the other side.

eh3 eh2

Maurin found a way to harvest energy with balloons. He made an LED flash with his contraption.

We started discussing energy harvesting using this page:

Energy Harvesting Circuits in one page

We did experiments with several materials, plastic, constantin-copper, and the underwear material.
Then we looked at the properties of a coil, to explain the “boost” of a boost circuit.


The first experiment was with a coil and a push button, where you get a flash when you let the push button go. This was improved with a ladder of aluminium strips replacing the pushing.

Experimental circuits

e10 Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 11.12.12 476w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

Then you let a transistor do the switching in the “Joule Thief”.

e4    e5
Some of the intermediate boost chips were presented: MCP1640 and NCP1400



both NCP1400 and MCP1640 on one 1.5V battery, driving a LED and an Arduino Pro, with a liquid LCD giving the voltage before and after using the analog PIN’s)

We touched briefly the concept of MPPT: (getting the max of power = V*I, within the max V and the max I range )


We also looked at “real” energy harvesting chips:

LTC3109, for a peltier element – we showed it working on a block of ice, boost, low voltage to 3-5Ve11 LTC3588, for a piezo element or a bigger solar panel (buck circuit, higher voltage to 3-5V)e12


LTC3105, for solar panelse15





Leave a Reply