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Atmel MCUs to integrate power saving technology

Posted: 24 Mar 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ATmega169P  Atmel  AVR  microcontroller  MCU 

Atmel Corp. announced what it touts as the first two AVR microcontrollers (MCUs) to incorporate a power-saving technology that provides multi-year battery-life in lighting control, security, keyless entry, ZigBee and other applications that spend most of their time in sleep mode. The picoPower technology, said Atmel, reduces "power-save" power consumption to as little as 650nA, even with the 32kHz clock running and superior brown-out detection.

The two picoPower devices now available are the ATmega169P with a 4x25 segment LCD controller, and the ATmega165P general purpose MCU. Both MCUs have 16Kbytes of Flash memory, 512Bytes EEPROM and 1Kbytes SRAM. They feature a 10bit ADC, USART, SPI, Two-Wire-Interface and operate from 1.8V to 5.5V with up to 16MIPS throughput. 14 additional 8bit picoPower AVR MCUs will be added within the next 12 months. picoPower MCUs consume down to 340µA in active mode, 150µA in idle mode at 1MHz, 650nA in power-save mode and 100nA in power-down mode. They will be pin-, performance- and code-compatible with existing AVR MCUs.

"The systems for which we developed picoPower share one attribute; they spend most of their time doing nothing, but have features that draw unnecessary power even when they are in sleep mode. Although saving a few nanoAmps here and there may not seem like a big deal, in systems that spend the vast majority of their time inactive, incremental improvements in sleep mode power consumption can add years to the battery life of the end-product. Atmel has focused on eliminating or drastically reducing the power drain from oscillators, brown-out detectors, I/O pin leakage and the like to achieve the lowest power MCUs on the market," said Asmund Saetre, Atmel's AVR marketing manager.

Atmel's picoPower technology utilises a variety of techniques that eliminate unnecessary power consumption in power-down modes. These include a low power 32kHz crystal oscillator, automatic disabling and re-enabling of brown out detection circuitry during sleep modes, a power reduction register that completely powers down individual peripherals, and digital input disable registers that turn off the digital inputs to specific pins.

Both the ATmega165P and the ATmega169P MCUs are available in production quantities in 64-pin TQFP and 64-pin QFN packages. The ATmega165P is priced at Rs.95.14 ($2.15) and ATmega169P with LCD controller is priced at Rs.99.56 ($2.25) for 10,000 units.

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