Understanding MCU sleep modes and energy savings

Whether they’re used in smart meters, wireless sensor nodes, or mobile health monitoring products, microcontrollers (MCUs) are at the heart of almost every real-time application that demands prompt, predictable response to real-world events. In many of these applications the MCU relies on sophisticated sleep mode techniques that suspend most or all of its operations to minimize energy consumption, allowing it …

Using hardware to save energy in MCU-based sensing applications

Low-power design is an exercise that demands a combination of software, hardware and application understanding to minimize the energy consumed by the embedded system. It is easy to waste energy by failing to balance the trade-offs of flexible software-based processing against more restricted but often more energy-efficient hardware. But subtle changes to hardware implementation can make large differences to overall …

Down & dirty with HW/SW co-design: Part 1 – Reviewing the fundamentals.

Embedded computing systems must meet tight cost, power consumption, and performance constraints. If one design requirement dominated, life would be much easier for embedded system designers-they could use fairly standard architectures with easy programming models. But because the three constraints must be met simultaneously, embedded system designers have to mold hardware and software architectures to fit the needs of …

Using drowsy cores to lower power in multicore SoCs

Multicore processing has enabled higher and higher levels of processing capability, but with a price: higher levels of power consumption. Cascading power management is a technique that steers tasks to a smaller number of cores during non-peak activity periods so that the idle cores can enter a minimal-power or “drowsy” state. When packet traffic increases again, the technique allows …

Managing power in embedded applications using dual operating systems

In this product how-to article, TI’s Loc Truong describes how to use inter-processor communication and state machine design to reduce the overall system power in a heterogeneous dual-core system based on the company’s OMAP-L138 C6-Integra DSP + ARM processor running its in-house dual DSP/BIOS RTOS. Energy consumption is becoming more of a concern as it is receiving an increasingly …