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From Embedded World: “Debugging” Power Consumption

March 5th, 2010 Comments off

A few years back, Al Gore was speaking at the Embedded Systems Conference. His key note also included the call upon us engineers to do more to ensure that embedded systems use less power. With the billions of microcontrollers out there, all the milliwatts that we can potentially save in each one do add-up. Although many microcontroller manufacturers already offer multiple power saving options on their devices, it is not always easy to get exact values. Any change in clock rate, also on any of the peripherals, immediately has an affect on the overall power consumption. But how much do we really save by reducing the clock to a communication peripheral?

This year, one of the Embedded Awards given out every year at the Embedded World is for a product that helps engineers with measuring the power consumption of their system dynamically. The PowerScale by Hitex not only allows measuring a system’s current power consumption – it makes that information available via an API so that debuggers can include the information into the trace recording or other displays.

This allows engineers to easily determine which code areas have an impact on the overall power consumption. The power-saving effect of reducing clock rates or disabling unused peripherals becomes immediately visibile.

Various adapter probes including a USB and Power-over-Ethernet Probe are available to allow for an easy connection of the up to four channels to the target hardware.

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