EnOcean adds 2.4GHz BLE energy harvesting modules under Dolphin brand

2 mins read

Developer of energy-harvesting wireless technology, EnOcean, has announced its first modules for 2.4GHz Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) systems. EnOcean will also now offer its energy harvesting wireless modules and white label products under the brand name ‘Dolphin’.

The first product in the EnOcean 2.4GHz BLE portfolio is the battery less PTM 215B switch module, which now comes with NFC functionality, which is said to make it easier to train and configure the switch. The PTM 215B is based on the established form factor of the PTM 21x module and can be integrated into a large number of existing switch designs. The switch is also available as a ‘white label’ end product. Applications include smart homes and modern light control.

“We’ve launched a Bluetooth switch and changed the name of EnOcean so you have Dolphin as a registered name for our harvesting products,” said UK director John Corbett. “In order to differentiate ourselves from the EnOcean sub1G, we’re now saying we’re device agnostic and have renamed the company with a brand name that covers all the radios: ZigBee, our EnOcean sub1G wireless technology and now Bluetooth Low Energy.”

EnOcean, originally a spin out of Siemens, developed a radio and radio protocol for its low power wireless kinetic harvesting switch because it was difficult to power radios and embedded processors with the 100µC the harvester needed.

EnOcean products use the energy harvesting principle, in which energy is obtained from the surroundings via energy converters to supply self-powered wireless sensor networks.

Corbett explained: “There are three core methodologies we use for energy harvesting. When converting motion into electrical energy, the switch is like a transformer. You’re basically waggling an armature inside a coil and as you move it, it will generate power and you get a switch. So the kinetic harvester is an on/off device only. It only does something when you’re making it move, such as push a button.

“We employ a Peltier device that uses the Seebeck effect for thermoelectricity; as long as you have 3° of heat difference between the front and the back of the panel, you can generate power. We also use solar energy.

Solar and thermal energies both have charge storage as well. They’ll last from three to seven days, depending on how you’ve configured them.”

Together with an efficient energy management system, the energy harvesting technology facilitates communication between maintenance-free IoT devices based on a variety of wireless standards, such as EnOcean, ZigBee and BLE.

“We’ve partnered with a company called Gooee which specialises in Bluetooth lighting. That was the kick off for the switch we have,” commented Corbett. “All the switches are compatible with each other which allows people to choose the protocol they want to use – Bluetooth, ZigBee, EnOcean – but maintain the plastics; the look and feel of the type of products they make.”

Manufacturers of BLE-based systems for the 2.4GHz band can therefore incorporate the energy harvesting technology from EnOcean into their portfolios and develop battery less, room-based wireless controllers.