Ultra-low current probes target energy harvesting applications
13 May 2015
CMicrotek is expanding their μCurrent ProbeTM line of ultra-low current probes, optimized for the low current levels of small energy harvesting power sources.
"Energy harvesting technology is enabling a world of new products that would otherwise be too expensive, too impractical or just impossible with traditional power sources. At the same time, this new technology is pushing the limits of traditional current measurement methods and equipment. This applies whether you are researching the basic technology, developing energy harvesting power sources or integrating one of these power sources into your product design." explains Mike Lease, President and founder of CMicrotek.
"Working with the sub-milliamp current levels produced by small energy harvesting power sources usually requires a precision multi-meter for static measurements or a high-resolution data acquisition system to capture dynamic waveforms. Our μCurrent Probes can provide measurement accuracy comparable to this type of high-end equipment that can easily cost several thousand dollars more. For researches and power source developers this can eliminate the bottleneck of multiple people needing access to a single piece of expensive equipment. For companies incorporating energy harvesting in their product, it means they can use the oscilloscopes and data acquisition systems they already have instead of buying or renting expensive equipment they have no other use for."
The newest member of the μCurrent Probe line is the μCP120TM, extending the current range of the μCP100 TM (5nA up to 100mA) for higher power applications. The μCP120 has a measurement range from 50nA up to 800mA. Both products provide:
A wide input voltage range from ground to 20VDC, making them usable with "low voltage" and most "high voltage"energy harvesting power sources.
Wide current ranges making them suitable for use with a small energy harvesting power source and wireless radio modules from Bluetooth, ANT+ or ZigBee (μCP100) to WiFi (μCP120).
High gain amplifier and zoom view options enable accurate measurements with low-end scopes and avoid use of a scope's lower volts per division settings, typically their least accurate measurement range.
Three measurement modes, precision and wide-range mode using internal sense resistors plus external sense resistor mode which allows the current range to be optimized for the application.
The μCP100 is available now, the μCP120 is scheduled to start shipping in June. The probes are priced at $595 including universal input power supply, BNC-to-BNC scope cable, target system cable and micro gripper clips. The full data sheet and a video demo are on the CMicrotek website at http://www.cmicrotek.com/uCP.htm.
CMicrotek is developing a family of instruments for ultra-low current and power measurements. The company's products are intended for use in developing battery and energy harvesting powered products as well as line-powered products where energy efficiency is critical or subject to regulation.