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Microcontrollers deliver ‘world’s lowest’ sleep power

Microchip has launched what it describes as the 'world's lowest sleep current' for microcontrollers.

As the latest addition to Microchip's nanoWatt XLP range, the microcontrollers can attain sleep currents as low as 20nA. A total of 16 microcontrollers form part of three ranges, including the 16bit PIC24F16KA family and the 8bit PIC18F46J11 and PIC18F46J50. The low sleep currents have been designed for battery operated devices that spend most of their time asleep.
According to Microchip, the 16bit PIC24F16KA range, features typical sleep currents of 20nA, while the 8bit PIC18F46J11 and PIC18F46J50 families, feature typical sleep currents of less than 20nA.
Jason Tollefson, Microchip's product marketing manager, explained: "The technology gives designers the flexibility to customise their applications for the lowest power consumption through multiple internal wake up sources such as real time clock / calendar alarm, brown our resets, interrupts and watchdog timers – all while maintaining the I/O states"
Tollefson explained that interest in the market for such lower power processors was on the rise, particularly in consumer and industrial markets. He noted: "The 16 new nanoWatt XLP microcontrollers were designed with battery powered or power constrained applications in mind. By adding more complex features, we can offer higher integration coupled with lower power."
One such feature is Microchip's Deep Sleep mode which, according to Tollefson, goes 'beyond the traditional sleep mode' and reduces the power consumption to a 'new low for sleep currents.' The Deep Sleep mode removes power leakage through powerline switches, reducing the energy needed to power components.
"This also required additional Wake Up sources," added Tollefson, "Because the only resources available during Deep Sleep are the interrupt, power-on reset and reset pin wake sources, sleep power is brought down to just 20nA."
The PIC24F16KA family of 16bit micros has high C-code efficiency and 16MIPS of computational horsepower, suitable for applications using advanced algorithms. The 8bit PIC18F46J11 range features a +/- 1% internal oscillator allowing users to perform UR communications without an internal crystal. The PIC18F46j50 8bit mcus have an integrated USB for medical applications.
Tollefson concluded: "With many security systems going wireless, batteries are replacing products that were traditionally line powered. The range also addresses the lower power standby initiatives being implemented and will help companies comply with the tighter regulations."
Microchip has launched a dedicated website containing information, tools and collateral related to PIC mcus featuring nanoWatt XLP technology.

Chris Shaw

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