#### Eight

##### Member level 2

Can someone please explain to me what is the logic behind all these energy harvesting IC's on the market (i.e. ADP5091 or BQ25570) that supposedly come with "MPPT" (maximum power point tracking) built into them, but it aren't actually true MPPT's because they have no current sense?

Let me explain. The MPPT is normally used to track and extract the maximum power from a power source like a solar/PV module. The basic implementation is so that a controller monitors the

**voltage**on the PV module and there is also an input

**current**sensor (i.e. a current sense resistor). Then by multiplying the current and the voltage you get the

**power**that the PV module is operating at. The next step is to slightly modify the switching duty cycle of the regulator and do the measurements again. If the calculated power is now greater than previously then continue modifying the duty cycle in this direction. If the new power is less then reverse the direction and continue backwards. Eventually this process will reach a point where the maximum power is being extracted from the PV module and will latch there. The algorithm is called "

**Perturb & Observe**".

Now while looking for an energy harvesting IC I noticed that a lot of them that are advertised as MPPT aren't actually true MPPT's in a sense described above. They have no current sensor. Instead they assume that the maximum power point voltage of the PV module is simply some

__percentage__(i.e. 80%) of the

__open circuit voltage__. This percentage is normally configured by a resistor divider network and it is fixed. The IC will periodically stop switching to sample the Voc of the solar panel and then adjust the duty cycle accordingly. In a sense it is not a true MPPT because it cannot know the real power without knowing the current. Also, the resistors have to be properly selected according to the PV panel used. If the panel is changed then the resistors must also be changed and adjusted accordingly. The IC cannot by itself determine the true maximum power point like the P&O can.

So, the question here is: What's the deal with this type of "mppt" being so prevailant on the energy harvesting IC market? I've seen a dozen of chips use this approach, but only a few use the true P&O method (i.e. SPV1040). So why is this type of "mppt" without current sense so common? Are they afraid that the Rsense will dissipate so much power? Is this the new meta? What's the deal here?

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