Battery-free leak detection unit harvests energy from water to send alerts using Nordic-enabled Bluetooth LE

Oslo, Norway

AquaSensing’s Leak Sensor 1.0 employs Nordic nRF52832 SoC for wirelessly sending leak alerts to smartphone app

A battery-free, self-powered leak detection device has been released by Canadian technology company, AquaSensing. ‘Leak Sensor 1.0’ uses a proprietary sensor that acts as both power source and sensor for detecting water leaks, as well as Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® 5.2/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC). 

Leak Sensor 1.0 harvests energy from any fluid ingress to power the nRF52832 SoC-based Bluetooth LE radio that then wirelessly connects to the user’s Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone. From there the user can receive alerts of active leaks via an accompanying app, or alternatively via a text/email notification. Through the companion app users can also control and configure the Leak Sensor 1.0 device, pause notifications or mark them as resolved, and share the leak details with third parties to act upon the alert. 

The key hardware feature of Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC for Leak Sensor 1.0 is the power optimization, while other technical specifications of the SoC are also industry leading
Nathan Johnston, AquaSensing

Bluetooth 5 support

The nRF52832 SoC provides Bluetooth 5 support including 2x on-air raw data bandwidth (2Mbps); 8x broadcasting ability with advertising extensions that increase the advertising packet payload size to 251 bytes, and an improved channel coexistence algorithm. 

Leak Sensor 1.0’s small form factor make it easy to install in any remote location. The inert materials used allow Leak Sensor 1.0 to remain operational for 20+ years, meaning the device can be safely hidden behind walls and in areas that are difficult to access during construction and manufacturing. The solution is scalable to cover large areas of complex buildings. 

Nordic’s nRF52832 multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth mesh, ANT™, NFC, and 2.4GHz proprietary RF protocol software) featuring 4dBm output power -96dBm RX sensitivity for a link budget of 100 dBm, with 256/512kB Flash memory and 32/64kB RAM. 

Power optimization

“The key hardware feature of Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC for Leak Sensor 1.0 is the power optimization, while other technical specifications of the SoC are also industry leading,” says Nathan Johnston, Co-founder and Head of Technology at AquaSensing. 

“Throughout development we made use of Nordic’s technical documentation, support from Nordic personnel, the Nordic DevZone community, development kits, reference design files, and Online Power Profiler tool, while Nordic’s SDK [Software Development Kit] provided a great starting point for application development and served as a base for our own application code.”


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