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Fundamentals of Low-Power Microcontroller Design

Posted on: Dec 14, 2011 | Duration: 50 min.
Course | 2667 views
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The concept of low-power microcontroller design is relevant to the vast majority of today's embedded designs. This is applicable to the team who designs and implements the microcontroller chip itself, and to also people who are actually going to use the microcontroller as part of a larger system. Of particular interest is the fact that today's state-of-the-art 32-bit microcontroller architectures - such as the ARM Cortex-M0 - address the vast majority of the 8 and 16-bit application space, offering higher performance, lower power consumption, greater ease of use, and significantly better code density than their more simplistic cousins. With regard to low-power, microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M0 offer a variety of operating modes, such as Active, Sleep, Deep Sleep, and Deep Power Down - the trick is being able to access these modes easily and efficiently from within the software application.
 
This course will be of interest to:
•         The system architects who have to make decisions like whether to use an 8-bit, 16-bit, or 32-bit microcontroller
•         The hardware design engineers who have to incorporate the selected microcontroller into the rest of the system
•         The software developers who have to create the programs that will run on the selected microcontroller
 

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mema Posted Dec 22, 2011

Hallo Max, Thanks for the course. Lots of useful information. My team and myself have been involved in low power for years. Especially powering microcontrollers and wireless systems on energy harvested from the surroundings, or working with small batteries. We are constantly challenged to run systems on as less energy as possible. Check our web site for some examples: http://www.ines.zhaw.ch/en/engineering/ines.html My comments regarding the course: Positive: It points out different energy contributors. Negative: It relies too much on 32-bit M0(I do not mind publicity for NXP, but I do mind if this affects some important arguments). The basic point of trying to compare 8-bit and 32-bit based on examples that 32 bitters do better is one sided. Why insist on 32-bit multiplications or other examples that are better fitted for such devices? There are lots of applications that do not require that much computing power, and need only simple IO operations. For those applications, an 8-bit device is good enough, and will require less energy. As you know, there a many such applications. What people should learn to do is to estimate the energy needs of the application and then choose the right processor. If you compare 32-bit and 8-bit from the same technology, you cannot escape the fact that you have more gates in one architecture that in the other. Taking the application into consideration is therefore an important step. Everything else being the same, applications suited for 8-bit are better off with 8-bit micros. Applications suited for 32-bit are better off with 32-bit micros. We have been working with 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit from various firms. This is what we have seen over the years. By the way, Agilent has a good tool for monitoring dynamic current. Marcel Meli

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SJLee Posted Oct 17, 2012

Could you let me know which model of Agilent do you use to monitor dynamic current? Steve

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melricknz Posted Jan 25, 2012

Great overview, thanks

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