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How to Design a Solar-Powered Computing Device

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How to Design a Solar-Powered Computing Device

How to Design a Solar-Powered Computing Device
Improved technology and lower solar panel costs will spark an explosion of embedded solar-powered products

Going beyond useful gadgets powered by the sun, solar-powered computing devices are just over the horizon. Imagine network routers and surveillance devices soaking up the sun and running networking, video and security software. Free of power and Ethernet cables, these embedded systems can be deployed in the field quickly and cheaply.

These opportunities are upon us because the economics and technologies surrounding solar are making great strides. The cost of solar panels is coming down rapidly as production grows, and the power consumption of new processors is decreasing as technology advances. Clearly not just any CPU can be used in a solar application, but some of the latest power-optimized processors are up to the task. This is the case with the Intel® Atom™ processor, which consumes 2.0 watts active and as little as 0.1 watts in a Deep Sleep state.

This white paper describes different types of embedded solar-powered computing devices and provides design suggestions for Intel Atom processor-based platforms. It covers hardware and software practices for developing ultra-low power devices, as well as open source software available to designers.

Read the full How to Design a Solar-Powered Computing Device White Paper.