Version 10

    Energy Harvesting

    Enter Your Project for a chance to win an Energy Harvesting Grand Prize for Inspiring the World to Reuse Wasted Energy!

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    Congratulations to luislabmo for Solar powered IoT device with Cayenne.  You are the winner of the Grand Prize of an Energy Harvesting Kit and a $200 Shopping Cart!


    Congratulations to 14rhb  for The Trickle Charger, koudelad for Measuring nanoamps , and pratyush_cetb for Soil Battery for Forest Fire Detection System!  You are the First Place winners of the $100 Shopping Cart!


    Energy Harvesting , sometimes called energy scavenging, involves capturing small amounts of energy that would otherwise be lost. The idea is to build projects that involve capturing energy from ambient sources (such solar, wind, vibration, heat, motion, sound) and storing it in an associated storage such as rechargeable batteries, super capacitors, ceramic capacitors, and polymer capacitors. Because this is a very promising eco-friendly technology, that is yet to meet its potential, we've added an Energy Development Platform Kit as the Grand Prize for the project that inspires the world (the most) to reuse wasted energy!  The kit includes four linear voltage converters that are optimized for different energy sources such as solar, electromagnetic, piezo electric, or thermal energy converters. There's also the usual $100 shopping cart for the 3 first winners.  Energy harvesting can be used as an alternative or a supplement to batteries for low-power, lower voltage applications such as a wireless sensor node, where it may be used as a secondary energy source to recharge a battery. It is well suited for applications that require back-up battery, especially in remote or locations that are difficult to reach.  The energy that is typically captured is small so its ideal for any low voltage, low-power project such as a wearable or portable device. The goal of energy harvesting developers is to create self-sustaining and/or improve the efficiency of non-sustainable systems.


    This topic has received a lot of interest from design engineers looking for alternative power sources such as in remote areas, underwater, and other hard to reach places where conventional batteries are not suitable. Although the power that is usually harvested in small amounts, it is adequate for various low-power applications.



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    The Winners

    The Grand Prize


    Solar powered IoT device with Cayenne by luislabmo:


    In most cases, IoT sensors will outlast the life of a battery, leaving the designers with mostly 3 factors to consider:

    • Reducing the amount of data that will be gathered by the sensor
    • Finding a strategy to replace batteries
    • Introducing an alternate source of power to increase the amount of time the sensor spends collecting/transmitting data


    One technology that can help counter the issues above is Energy Harvesting, which is the process of capturing/scavenge energy from external sources (e.g., solar power, wind, vibration, thermal, kinetic) to later power small devices like wearables and wireless sensors.


    With the help of Internet of Things (IoT) and energy harvesting devices, wireless communications can represent the ideal communication scenario to easily and reliably connect devices in a system by bringing network capability, data collection, and management with little human intervention.



    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize:  10 points, First Place:  3 points, Total Points: 13 Points


    Solar powered IoT device with Cayenne

    "An excellent  solar based, IoT sensor project.  Great energy harvester development, forming a very usable IoT sensor platform.  Great work!" - Community Member Judge

    "A well detailed blog and demonstration of powering a small device with the combination of solar power and super capacitors. The build was superb quality with professional results." - Community Member Judge



    "A useful and detailed project. It should be useful for those who want to learn/ start with 'Energy harvesting'." - Community Member Judge

    "Solar Powered IoT with Cayenne, luislabmo.  This one did stand out to me.  The parts and steps were explained the best.  The video clearly showed his results. Source code and schematics were included. He harvested energy and used it to do something useful (soil moisture).  He made his own circuit board, with several options for using with different projects.  It was all very impressive.  For my own use in the future, I wrote down the part numbers, the use of supercaps really interested me." - Community Member Judge

    "The project was well planned and executed with a customised board using SMT. The many phases was completed in a small time frame and video was complete." - Community Member Judge

    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    DC-DC Switching Regulator Buck-Boost, AdjustableLinear Technology | Integrated Circuits 1Buy NowBuy Now
    Supercapacitor, EDLC, 1 F, 5.5 V, Radial Leaded, SG Series, +80%, -20%, 5 mmPanasonic Industry 1Buy NowBuy Now
    MOSFET Transistor, N Channel, 560 mA, 30 V, 1.5 ohm, 4 V, 800 mVON Semiconductor 1Buy NowBuy Now
    Small Signal Schottky Diode, Single, 40 V, 520 mA, 610 mV, 12 A, 150 °CDiodes Inc1Buy NowBuy Now


    Product Name
    5V, 2.5W Solar panel
    SparkFun ESP8266 Thing - Dev Board
    Vegetronix VH400 Soil moisture Sensor
    Cayenne Software
    (4) 330μF, 6.3V radial electrolytic capacitor (6.3mm diameter, through-hole)
    2.2µF, 10V ceramic Capacitor, 0603[1608]
    0.1μF, 6.3V ceramic capacitor 0603[1608]
    (2) 1μF, 16V ceramic capacitor 0603[1608]
    100μF, 10V radial electrolytic capacitor (6.3mm diameter, through-hole)
    1Mohm, 1/10W, 1% resistor 0603[1608]
    820kohm resistor 0603[1608]
    33ohm resistor 0603[1608]
    2Mohm trimmer potentiometer, through-hole
    Zener Diode 5.1V SOD-323
    (2) 2x3 through-hole header (2.54mm pitch)
    (4) 1x3 through-hole header (2.54mm pitch)
    (3) 1x2 through-hole header (2.54mm pitch)
    10µH, minimum saturation current 750mA
    2.54mm pitch, 2 position jumperstic.


    First Place Prizes


    The Trickle Charger by 14rhb:


    In reality there are much better sources of wasted energy to get tapped into rather than the infrequent rainwater flow in a downpipe - light wind/breezes and solar will likely generate more energy over a longer period.


    But for extra fun....then 14rhb  hopes you enjoy reading about the Trickle Charger. Such a turbine could be used where there is a fall in height of a stream but much simpler mechanisms like a water wheel would likely be a better choice...


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize:  2 points, First Place:  4 points, Total Points: 6 Points


    The Trickle Charger

    "This was a novel and interesting approach to energy harvesting.  Plenty of good examples of math, mechanics  and engineering were demonstrated throughout this project." - Community Member Judge

    "14rhb  was the only one who attempted to harvest mechanical energy.  It was not an easy task, but he overcame most of the difficulties. Big points for the clever name, Trickle Charger.  He hand built a diode voltage multiplier, used a supercapacitor.  Most of all his background explanation was very informative, I liked that he quantified how much energy it takes for a "cuppa" tea.  We're used to milliamps and microamps for modern electronics on element14, you can't boil water with that." - Community Member Judge

    "A 3D printed turbine! This is a super cool DIY project." - Community Member Judge

    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    1.5F, 5.5v SupercapacitorKEMET Electronics 1Buy NowBuy Now


    Product Name
    3V DC Motor
    1.5-4.5v DC Motor
    Tektronix DMM TX3 Handheld Multimeter



    Measuring nanoamps  by koudelad :


    If you want to do energy harvesting, you also want the powered device consume as little power as possible.  This koudelad ’s first bigger electronics project was "No lies" IR Thermometer - part I. He had previously written a few blog posts about it’s goal and evolution. It is also his first battery powered micro-controller design and he still has much to learn how to improve this device. One thing he didn’t have time to optimize is battery life. The thermometer is used twice a week on average, to check body temperature etc. The rest the time it will be in low power mode, ready to be used.


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize:  2 points, First Place:  3 points, Total Points: 5 Points


    Measuring nanoamps


    "For showing the tools and methods of measuring energy consumption of a typical microprocessor, Very instructive of the problems facing in energy harvesting  projects." - Community Member Judge



    "'No lies' IR thermometer is a production-grade project and now Koudelad has optimized its energy consumption as well. Optimization means you have 'level up' - Community Member Judge


    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    CY8C4245AXI-483CY8C4245AXI-483 , PSoC with ARM Cortex-M0 coreCypress 1Buy NowBuy Now
    Keysight U1828A multi-meterKEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES 1Buy NowBuy Now
    N6705CN6705C -  Bench Power Supply, Programmable, 4 OutputKEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES 1Buy NowBuy Now
    N6781AN6781A -  Source Meter / UnitKEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES 1Buy NowBuy Now


    Product Name
    IR sensor: MLX90614
    LCD: RC0802A-GHW-ESV, 8x2 characters


    Soil Battery for Forest Fire Detection System by pratyush_cetb


    This proposed system recommends self sustained sensor nodes to be deployed in region of hot spots throughout the forest.


    Each node monitors and collects real-time data of temperature, humidity, air quality and sends it to a gateway that sends a message alert.


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize: 2 points, First Place:  3 points, Total Points:  5 Points


    Soil Battery for Forest Fire Detection System

    "A very interesting energy harvesting project using soil shows research and inventiveness." - Community Member Judge



    "The use of the soil battery for remote energy harvesting impressed me.  It's a great idea for any remote area.  The objective to detect the VOCs for forest fires is a good one.  The choice of electronics to do that were very sensible, another supercapacitor..  The steps required were explained well.  The video was long but didn't contribute much to the project." - Community Member Judge

    "This is an unusual power generation methodology, but most applicable to the forest fire sensors it was built to power. The concept of the design was interesting and had great merit." - Community Member Judge


    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    Analogue SwitchAnalog Devices 1Buy NowBuy Now
    SupercapacitorKEMET Electronics 1Buy NowBuy Now


    Product Name
    LTC3108 Boost Converter
    Microcontroller EV-COG-AD 3029LZ
    Zigbee Module
    Low Voltage Diode
    The Runners Up

    Runners Up:


    Eagle EYE - Solar Power Monitoring using Labview and ULP MAX32660 by mahmood.hassan:


    Solar power is the key source of green emission free energy. Every day, the sun gives us free of cost energy which is far more than we need to power everything on our earth. Solar power is widely used as a sole power source in off grid data gathering equipment or remote network nodes. So before and after the installation of such important equipment we always need to know how much power our solar panel is providing and also how much our DC-to-DC converters (pmic, bms, buck/boost charger) are losing and what is our load. It will not only enable us to detect any fault in our remote system but also enable us to calculate the next maintenance schedule. As this system is not part of actual equipment and will be added to monitor everything. Therefore we need ultra low power sensors and controllers to gathers this data.


    The sensors and micro-controller used in this project are chosen by keeping low power consumption in mind. The Maxim MAX32660 is one of lowest power consuming cortex M4F MCU. And Texas Instruments INA219 is also one of the lowest power consuming bidirectional high side current/voltage monitoring device.


    Community Member Scoring:


    First Place:  4 points, Total Points: 4 Points


    Eagle Eye - Solar Power Monitoring using Labview and ULP MAX32660


    " Simple but effective usage of resources with a nice interface view." - Community Member Judge


    "This is  a well written description, the decisions he made in putting together the system.  One demerit point, I don't think he powered anything useful with his solar power.  But I liked the detailed steps for the hardware, and the detailed steps for the software, Labview.  He included the source code listing along with attaching the files to help others make use of it." - Community Member Judge


    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    MAX32660 DARWIN MCU, Ultra-Low Power, Wearable, IoTMaxim 1Buy NowBuy Now
    SupercapacitorKEMET Electronics 1Buy NowBuy Now


    Product Name

    Multiple Power Monitoring (INA219) Modules

    Solar Panel

    DC to DC Module for Solar Energy Harvesting

    ARM MDK or Eclipse Based IDE with Maxim MAX32660 SDK

    LAB View



    Meet Edward Solar Stone – it measures and transmits UV, Temperature & Humidity data using the Eddystone beacon messaging format  by BigG:


    Having revisited the Cypress Solar Powered IoT Device (SPID) kit in his earlier blog, BigG  decided to utilise it's energy harvesting PMIC capabilities and embark on this small project to measure and transmit, via BLE, temperature, relative humidity and UV index data using the Eddystone Beacon messaging format. For this project, he is using the on-board Si7020 sensor for temperature and humidity measurements and have added a Si1145 sensor to capture UV measurement in order to calculate the UV index. Both these sensors are I2C slave devices, allowing me to communicate with both these sensors via the I2C bus. The derived temperature, %RH and UV index values will be broadcast publicly via the CYBLE-022001 module using the Eddystone beacon messaging format.  The network topology will allow any user can read the Temperature, %RH and UV Index data anonymously. The data can also be collected and stored in the cloud using a BLE gateway and made available as an open data set.


    Community Member Scoring:


    First Place:  4 points, Total Points: 4 Points


    Meet Edward Solar Stone - it measures and transmits UV, Temperature & Humidity data using Eddystone beacon messaging format

    "An interesting and fun energy harvesting project. Nice details on working through a Psoc project." - Community Member Judge



    "This is a very detailed and useful project. I would be glad to see the completed project and its outcome." - Community Member Judge


    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    Cypress S6SAE101A00SA1002S6SAE101A00SA1002 Solar Powered IoT Device KitCypress 1Buy NowBuy Now


    Weather Station that lasts months! by vimarsh_:


    Energy Harvesting is one of the most important topic for sustainability. We have lot of connected devices > be it smart home devices, city monitoring devices, industry specific devices,etc. Almost all of them need a continuous source of power but for some of the major use cases of just monitoring the place and sending the data every 1 hour or 30 min the energy is wasted for the rest of the time. Solar Power is also one of the only "free" source of energy and its widespread adoption is happening. This member wanted to use solar panel with low frequency of sending data to never think of the weather station.


    For Ex: Even when we are not using our smartphones to browse the internet, the time when its just connected wastes power.


    So, he wanted to make a weather station for himself which he would never need to think about. With the current implementation he doesn't even need to look after the device. The goal was simple: Make a weather station that lasts long, really long....


    Community Member Scoring:


    First Place:  3 points, Total Points: 3 Points



    Weather Station that lasts months!

    "Another great little project harvesting power from natural resources so that it can carry on working delivering the information over extended periods of time." - Community Member Judge




    Recommended Product:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantity
    ESP8266Adafruit1Buy NowBuy Now


    Product Name
    BME280 - Temperature, Humidity, Air Pressure Sensor


    What's Happening Now


    There's always stuff going on in the community and the best ideas always come from you.  Suggest your idea in the Monthly Poll,  and vote on the themes you want to do projects on. Build projects that combine animation and electronics to create mechanized puppets. They can be pre-programmed or remotely controlled, using servos, controllers, linkages, and more in the Animatronics competition.  Or, your project can be either a vision based project involving anything that is related to Computer Vision and Machine Learning , Camera Vision and AI based projects, or Deep Learning. Or, it can be a graphics project involving something graphical such as graphics such adding a graphical display to a microcontroller, image processing on a microcontroller, image recognition interface a camera to a microcontroller,  or FPGA - camera interfacing/image in the Vision Thing competition. 


    AnimatronicsVision Thing
    Project14 | Animatronics: Animate Life with Automatons and Electronics! Project14 | Vision Thing: Build Things Using Graphics, AI, Computer Vision, & Beyond!

    Animatronics Vision Thing



    Thank you for continued support of Project14 !


    In the comments below:


    Be sure to Congratulate the Winners and Keep Being Awesome!