Do you know what are the battery-powered energy-saving designs?

What is a battery-powered energy-saving design? Do you know? When I don’t change the battery or charge, I often feel that I am constantly restoring various personal Electronic devices that are exhausted to a fully functional state. Although I always pay attention to the power status from time to time, it is not uncommon for wearable fitness devices or Bluetooth headsets to shut down during exercise, not to mention that it is common for smartphones to shut down due to exhaustion at the worst moments.

What is a battery-powered energy-saving design? Do you know? When I don’t change the battery or charge, I often feel that I am constantly restoring various personal electronic devices that are exhausted to a fully functional state. Although I always pay attention to the power status from time to time, it is not uncommon for wearable fitness devices or Bluetooth headsets to shut down during exercise, not to mention that it is common for smartphones to shut down due to exhaustion at the worst moments.

Do you know what are the battery-powered energy-saving designs?

Just a few personal electronic devices are overwhelming. It is conceivable that Internet of Things (IoT) applications with thousands of battery-powered devices are likely to be overwhelmed and crashed just because of battery maintenance.

For those large-scale IoT networks and personal devices, the demand for real-time data from “always-on” sensors has caused the impact of power problems to continue to magnify. Fortunately, as silicon chip manufacturers continue to improve the energy efficiency of microcontrollers and share some of the processing load on the main processor, this bleak situation of insufficient power supply for electronic devices has improved.

Advanced technology improves classic power management

According to the traditional method, system power management based on microcontrollers mainly focuses on the duty cycle of the main processor, because the main processor usually bears most of the power consumption of small embedded systems. Therefore, designers are generally required to minimize the power-on time when the processor consumes the most power, and instead design a power-constrained system to keep the processor in an energy-saving sleep mode as much as possible. For applications that need to collect data from sensors on a regular basis, developers put the processor to sleep and use peripheral interrupts to wake up the processor to collect and process data, and then immediately resume sleep.

The emergence of complex on-chip peripherals allows developers to extend the processor’s sleep time. Usually, microcontrollers integrate analog-to-digital converters]Maxim Integrated’s Darwin microcontrollers and other advanced processor series take this approach to a higher level, specifically using a series of mechanisms to reduce power consumption without affecting application functions and performance Requirements (see “Building More Effective Smart Devices: Part 1C Low-Power Design Using MCU and PMIC”). Therefore, developers can more accurately balance power and performance to meet tight power budgets.

Peripherals have independent processors

When separating peripheral functions and core processing, more advanced microcontrollers improve these peripheral subsystems through dedicated processors. For example, the Darwin series of Maxim Integrated, like many of these devices, includes the Peripheral Management Unit (PMU), which not only supports direct memory access (DMA) operations, but also includes polling scheduling and other more advanced functions.

This method of extending processing power beyond the processor core has become one of the most effective methods for reducing power consumption and improving performance. Hardware cryptographic accelerators are a typical example of this trend. These accelerators are built into most advanced microcontrollers designed for IoT devices or other connected applications. By accelerating algorithm execution, a dedicated accelerator can quickly restore the device to a low-power state.

Another more interesting example of this trend is wireless microcontrollers such as Texas Instruments’ SimpleLink series. For example, Texas Instruments’ CC2640R2F Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless microcontroller, which combines the Arm® Cortex®-M3 main processor and BLE dedicated subsystem, the system includes Arm Cortex-M0 dedicated processor and radio frequency (RF) transceiver.

Texas Instruments’ CC2640R2F BLE device and other advanced wireless microcontrollers use the Arm Cortex-M0 energy-saving processor core to maintain wireless connections while keeping the Arm Cortex-M3 main processor in a sleep state to achieve optimal power consumption . (Image source: Texas Instruments)

When the main processor is running the application, the developer cannot use it]The need for normally-on functions is of course not only for connectivity. In more and more detection applications, users expect devices to respond instantly to changes in temperature, movement, air quality, and other characteristics. If traditional methods are used, this normally-on function will force the microcontroller to run continuously, or almost continuously, in active mode, while collecting and checking data on important events.

Many advanced sensors allow developers to program the minimum and maximum thresholds to trigger interrupts, keeping the microcontroller in sleep mode until an event exceeding the threshold occurs. However, in some applications, the threshold function alone is not enough.

For example, a normally-on motion sensor may need to recognize that the measured acceleration or direction has a characteristic change or a specific pattern, which means that the device user is walking, running, climbing stairs, turning, or doing other activities. Even with advanced sensors with threshold functions, the host microcontroller needs to remain active to recognize these characteristic changes.

On the contrary, STMicroelectronics]For developers, functions such as autonomous peripheral operation, dedicated processing engines, and local sensor processing are just some of the ways to promote battery-powered designs toward energy-saving development.

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