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I'd like to know if it is useful to power pcbs from solar cells and batteries for indoor installations. From a little research, many datasheets mention that the maximum output current is up to uA scale for indoor lighting. In this way I cannot supply many applications only from solar cells and a battery. Especially if the pcb design incorporates a wifi module, which need mA in order to start. So is it useful to supply a pcb with a wifi, a low energy consumption sensor and a low energy MCU with only a sollar cell and a rechargeable(from solar cells) battery?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Solar powered calculators work fine... \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Dec 1 '17 at 10:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ buy a solar powered garden light for a couple of dollars and test it out indoors \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Dec 1 '17 at 10:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Efficiency is not the issue here, the issue is if you can collect enough energy to do the function you want to perform. Efficiency is about the energy you waste, which is not used to perform the function you want but dissipated as heat (usually). Startup current is also not an issue if you store the energy for example in a rechargeable battery or a super capacitor. The battery or cap. then takes care of the short burst of current. You really should do more research on how similar devices work. Now you're just seeing problems where there aren't any and miss the real issues. \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Dec 1 '17 at 10:43
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What kind of "efficient" do you have in mind? Cost efficient? Efficient based on effort to get this done?

It is possible and certainly offers some benefits compared to other solutions (mainly you don't have to care about a battery replacement).

But it is a more costly solution. Specialized solar cells for indoor use and energy harvesting controllers are not the cheapest things out there - which you probably need if your system requires a more frequent upload of sensor data.

Depending on the requirements you might get away without a battery completely and replace it with a supercap, which will last longer and make your device run for many years.

Wifi as in Wireless LAN is probably a bit troublesome, which is why most commercially available systems use a low power wireless link (Bluetooth low energy and consorts) to a gateway which then provides LAN or wireless LAN powered from a wall outlet.

A lot of this really depends on your exact requirements. If it is an absolute requirement to use wireless LAN in the node and you need more then one or two updates a day, I'd probably look for a different solution.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes it is an abolute requirement to use WiFi, so I think that it cannot power supply the pcb \$\endgroup\$ – Ange Mechanic Dec 1 '17 at 14:28

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