Electronics requires minimal amounts of energy to work when compared to the consumption of a Heater or an Electric car.
Most electronics have a low voltage around or below 5V, such as for your smartphone. Every widely used Electronic devices can work with a pwer source providing 12 Volts or less, along with sufficient and appropriate current Intensity.
Thus, there are 3 fundamental notions regrding power sources that can be set into a simple formula:
Power = Voltage * Intensity
P = U * I
with world-wide shared units as: Power in Watt ( W ), Voltage in Volts ( V ) and in Ampère ( A )
Mostly used power sources in electronics are batteries, also known as voltaic piles or power cells:
These are mostly based on the production of small Voltage potentials ( from around 1 to 12V) through electrochemical reactions between two conductive metals in a specific environment.
Other types of chemical reactions are more and more used among which more sustainable solutions involving the use of hydrogen in the air may hopefully improve such technologies.
Many other scientific concepts have been explored and used to produce electrical energies, involving a wide variety of resources from oil and gaz to renewable combustibles, from rivers to oceans, from nuclear fission to Hydrogen fusion or else from wind forces to solar energies, among mostly known and funded developments.
The most interesting power sources to start with most electronic projects are rechargeable batteries such as AA or AAA batteries or button cells for small voltage below 3.3V.
These are of good use for buidling embedded electronics and augmented objects.
More powerful rechargeable batteries can also easily be found. Batteries can also be combined togehter, which will double their potential or their duration depending on the energy required for your project and the transducers you will use..
Last, when working with development boards and microcontrollers to build connected objects or environments, the standard voltage is around 5V and 3.3V when working with wireless embedded systems. 5v Electrical adapters or 4.5V usb ports are the most sustainable solutions for projects developments.
3.3V Lithium-based cells and addapted chargers are widely available in electronics stores. Batteries are intensively studied and improved and efficient low power batteriesshould soon be widely developped in the form of very thin and flexible sheets hopefully recyclable and recycled such as paper-based batteries developed at Pagora, INP-Grenoble for over a decade.
Check out these fondamental applications to understand the potential and the power of electronics using everyday objects and complimentary tools and resources from the EduKit project.
- Electronic Circuits Strategies: the basics.
- Electronic Circuits Strategies: reinvent the basics.
- The power of light.
Many other science and technologies exist for producing low power electricity and other energy sources. Check out the following topics to consider alternative possibilities
- Solar Energies
- Piezoelectric Materials
- Electromagnetic Forces
Electronics cannot exist without energy: despite it takes strong safety precautions and quite an experience to produce efficient DIY power sources, here are a few projects that are of interest for those who want to go further:
- Electronic Joule Thief: recycle empty batteries
- Electronic Circuits Strategies: reinvent the basics
- Solaar energies: multiple potentials