System Board 6830

MAXREFDES1215: Supercapacitor-based Energy Harvester Using the MAX17220

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Input Type VIN (MIN)
Isolated/Non-Isolated Topology
DC 2.3 2.7 50m Single 3.3 0.165 Non-Isolated Boost

Supercapacitors are increasingly being used in a number of applications in electric vehicles, transportation equipment, industrial machinery and utility grids. In the MAXREFDES1215, a supercapacitor-based energy harvester is demonstrated using the MAX17220. The circuit uses a supercapacitor to provide backup energy. The first stage of the circuit charges a supercapacitor, and the second stage of the circuit regulates the voltage from the supercapacitor to supply various sensors with a steady output voltage. In this system, the MAX17220 is used for regulating the output voltage from the supercapacitor.

The MAX17220 is an ultra-low quiescent current boost (step-up) DC-DC converter with a 225mA peak inductor current limit and True Shutdown. True Shutdown disconnects the output from the input with no forward or reverse current. The output voltage is selectable using a single standard 1% resistor. MAX17220 has post-startup enable transient protection (ETP), allowing the output to remain regulated for input voltages down to 400mV, depending on load current. The MAX17220 offers ultra-low quiescent current, small total solution size, and high efficiency throughout the entire load range. These features make this product especially suitable for use in battery-powered medical equipment, low-power wireless communication products, primary-cell and secondary-cell portable systems, and tiny, low-power IoT sensors.

MAXREFDES1215 Board Enlarge+

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Designed, Built, Tested

This document describes the hardware shown above and provides a detailed systematic technical guide to designing a supercapacitor-based energy harvester using the MAX17220 nanoPower IC. The reference design has been built and tested, details of which follow later in this document.

Design Resources


400mV to 5.5V Input, nanoPower Synchronous Boost Converter with True Shutdown

  • 300nA Quiescent Supply Current Into OUT
  • True Shutdown Mode
  • 95% Peak Efficiency