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Embedded Design Blog
Reduce power consumption while maintaining performance!
Atmel® has been focusing on low power consumption for more than ten years across its portfolio of AVR® and Atmel® ǀ SMART ARM®-based microcontrollers and embedded microprocessors. Many integrated peripherals and design techniques are used to minimize power consumption in real-world applications, including:
- Integrated hardware DMA and event system to offload the CPU in active and standby modes
- Switching off or reducing clock or supply on device portions not in use
- Intelligent SleepWalking™ peripherals enabling CPU to remain in deep sleep longer
- Fast wake up from low power modes
- Low voltage operation with full functionality
- Careful balancing of high performance and low leakage transistors in the MCU design
With the Atmel picoPower® technology found in our Atmel AVR and Atmel® ǀ SMART microcontrollers, we've even gone one step further. Below you can read more about picoPower technology, and learn how to use it through high-level design examples and in-depth application notes with code examples. You can also download recorded webinars or sign up for a hands-on picoPower seminar. Go ahead - dive in.
All picoPower devices are designed from the ground up for lowest possible power consumption from transistor design and process geometry, sleep modes, flexible clocking options, to intelligent peripherals. Atmel picoPower devices can operate down to 1.62V while still maintaining all functionality, including analog functions. They have short wake-up time, with multiple wake-up sources from even the deepest sleep modes.
Some elements of picoPower technology cannot be directly manipulated by the user, but they form a solid base that enables ultra-low-power application development without compromising functionality. On the user level, flexible and powerful features and peripherals allow you to apply a wide range of techniques to reduce your system's total power consumption even further. Read more
picoPower technology is easy to use. On the user level there are both basic and advanced techniques that will reduce the power consumption of your application even further. Through high-level design example videos, and in-depth application notes with code examples, we will show you how to do it. Read more
Atmel® ǀ SMART SAM L21
The Atmel® ǀ SMART SAM L21 not only boasts the performance of an ARM® Cortex®-M0+ core, it also consumes just one-third the power of comparable products in the market today. This MCU delivers ultra-low power running down to 35µA/MHz in active mode, consuming less than 900nA with full 32kB RAM retention. With rapid wake-up times, Event System, Sleepwalking and the innovative picoPower peripherals, the SAM L21 is ideal for handheld and battery-operated devices for a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
A typical microcontroller requires at least 1.8V to operate, while the voltage of a single battery-cell typically ranges from 1.2V to 1.5V when fully charged, and then drops gradually below 1V during use, still holding a reasonable amount of charge. This means a regular microcontroller needs at least two battery cells.
Atmel has solved this problem by integrating a boost converter inside the ATtiny43U, converting a DC voltage to a higher level, and bridging the gap between minimum supply voltage of the microcontroller and the typical output voltages of a standard single cell battery. The boost converter provides the microcontroller with a fixed supply voltage of 3.0V from a single battery cell even when the battery voltage drops down to 0.7V.
This allows non-rechargeable batteries to be drained to the minimum, thus extending the battery life. Programmable shut-off levels above the critical minimum voltage level avoid damaging the battery cell of rechargeable batteries.
For more information on how to use our 0.7V tinyAVR®, please consult the following application notes: