I was visiting Embedded World this week and in regards to microcontrollers the trend towards 32bit continues. When it comes to marketing presence at a trade show, obviously less than 32bit where not “it” this year. Not only chip manufacturers, but also most of the development tools primarily focused on 32bit solutions. And the next impression one gets walking the aisles: ARM processors are the first choice in this arena, with a focus on the Cortex-M generation. At this year’s Embedded World, no other microcontroller architecture had a marketing presence anywhere near that of ARM. Read more…
Embedded Systems Blog
Whenever a new microcontroller generation comes out, developers and engineers look out for evaluation boards. In order to be able to test the microcontroller, it needs to be mounted on a PCB that has the required glue logic, power circuitry and connectors. For generations, these test boards were mostly “bare-naked” – without housing and only featuring components needed to test the microcontroller in certain types of applications. Over the last years more “attractive” variations of such boards have come to market, for example some looking like a custom USB stick.
Last year, Raisonance released products following a slightly different concept they named Primers, and the Primer2 won an EETimes product of the year 2009 award. These boards feature a complete housing, making them more attractive for various prototype developments. Through staging several design contests, many applications have been implemented and are now shared on the product’s web page. Applications include an alcohol meter, a CAN monitor, a GPS displaying OpenStreetMap data, various games and many more. Read more…
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.