Condition monitoring devices in hydraulic systems that use batteries or require wired infrastructure have drawbacks that affect their installation, maintenance costs, and deployment flexibility. Energy harvesting technologies can serve as an alternative power supply for system loads, eliminating batteries and wiring requirements. Despite the interest in pressure fluctuation energy harvesters, few studies consider end-to-end implementations, especially for cases with low-amplitude pressure fluctuations. This generates a research gap regarding the practical amount of energy available to the load under these conditions, as well as interface circuit requirements and techniques for efficient energy conversion. In this paper, we present a self-powered sensor that integrates an energy harvester and a wireless sensing system. The energy harvester converts pressure fluctuations in hydraulic systems into electrical energy using an acoustic resonator, a piezoelectric stack, and an interface circuit. The prototype wireless sensor consists of an industrial pressure sensor and a low-power Bluetooth System-on-chip that samples and wirelessly transmits pressure data. We present a subsystem analysis and a full system implementation that considers hydraulic systems with pressure fluctuation amplitudes of less than 1 bar and frequencies of less than 300 Hz. The study examines the frequency response of the energy harvester, the performance of the interface circuit, and the advantages of using an active power improvement unit adapted for piezoelectric stacks. We show that the interface circuit used improves the performance of the energy harvester compared to previous similar studies, showing more power generation compared to the standard interface. Experimental measurements show that the self-powered sensor system can start up by harvesting energy from pressure fluctuations with amplitudes starting at 0.2 bar at 200 Hz. It can also sample and transmit sensor data at a rate of 100 Hz at 0.7 bar at 200 Hz. The system is implemented with off-the-shelf circuits.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited