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Low-Power Development Tools Come with Supercapacitor-Charged Demo Board

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Today’s highly integrated, high-performance and low-power processors demand accompanying tools that can enable configuration of the underlying silicon components to meet specialized application demands including low power consumption. Silicon Labs offers a diverse portfolio of Precision32 MCUs based on the ARM Cortex-M3 processor. This portfolio is supported by a set of development tools that enable designers to optimize their designs for the lowest power consumption without compromising performance. 

The company’s complimentary Eclipse-based IDE and AppBuilder software for Precision32 MCUs includes tools that enable developers to estimate power consumption and receive configuration guidance to minimize system power. The Power Estimator tool gives developers a top-level graphical view of how a Precision32 MCU uses power in active and sleep mode. The tool enables developers to adjust power usage at the onset of a project even without having development hardware. Power Estimator automatically updates the system design with configuration changes, allowing developers to optimize each mode for the lowest power. A companion tool, Power Tips, provides software configuration guidance that helps developers minimize current consumption. Power Tips automatically appears within AppBuilder when the cursor hovers over a configurable setting. This simple ability to see power optimization tips while configuring the MCU saves considerable development time.

In addition to the tools, Silicon Labs supplies a Low-Power SiM3L1xx development board: Roughly the same size as an ID badge, this compact development board showcases the power efficiency of SiM3L1xx MCUs. The board contains an ultra-low-power SiM3L1xx MCU, segmented LCD, supercapacitor, LED and photodiode sensor, debug interface and USB port. The board can display information continuously on the LCD for up to three days after a quick 90-second charge of the supercapacitor through a USB cable. Using the USB connector and debug interface, developers can connect the board to a PC and use the Precision32 IDE for software development. The board offers a “demo mode” that shows typical power consumption for various MCU operating modes on the segmented LCD. Developers can also download an iPhone app that lets them enter text such as names and phone numbers and then send the information to the board using specialized image patterns on the iPhone’s LCD that are received by the board’s photodiode sensor.

Silicon Labs, Austin, TX. (512) 416-8500. [www.silabs.com