ABOV’s aPower Tool for low-power product development
ABOV Semiconductor introduces ‘aPower Tool’, a low-power solution. The aPower Tool consists of aPowerGauge, a Window application software that measures and displays changes in power consumption of a low-power device in operation, and aPowerMeter, a module that measures current by connecting the target board.
You can use the aPower Tool to measure current changes in units of uA and mA in real time, and display them in graph. In addition, as a developer, you can check the dynamic current during product operation and use it for operation verification and power optimization.
The aPowerMeter module can be used alone, and display the current consumption of the target board on the built-in OLED screen in real time.
The aPower Tool includes functions and features as listed below:
◼ Measurement capability through USB port interface of the aPowerMeter module
◼ Capability to measure current from a minimum of 12 uA to a maximum of 50mA
◼ Two measurement modes: Small current measurement mode for measuring current from 12 uA to 1 mA and large current measurement mode for measuring current from 500 uA to 50 mA
◼ Controllable internal or external power supply of 5 V and 3.3 V
◼ UART Console function: You can monitor and control the target board by connecting it through the UART port.
◼ Function to display the measured voltage and current in characters on the console
◼ Function to measure the target voltage and current in real time and display them in graph
◼ Support for Range settings and Auto-range function over the voltage/current graphs
[Figure 1] and [Figure 2] show the aPowerMeter, a current measurement module which is a power measurement tool for developing low-power devices, and the aPowerGauge, a current measurement program.
While measuring current on the target board, the aPowerGauge displays the measured voltage and current in real time as a graph at the bottom of the screen. You can set the display area arbitrarily, or it can be automatically set with Auto-range settings.
To measure current, connect the aPowerMeter current measurement module and your PC using the USB cable. Then, connect the aPowerMeter and the target board, supplying power to the target board through the terminal port of the aPowerMeter as shown in [Figure 3].
With this hardware connected, execute the aPowerGauge program on your PC and select the connection port (serial communication port) to enable operation.
For current measurement, select either 5 V power or 3.3 V power to supply power through the USB port. Additional external power can be supplied through the external power pin too.
The current measurement module has a built-in asynchronous communication port, which allows the output message from the UART port of the target board to be displayed on the console of the aPowerGauge program.
In addition to this UART Console function, the aPowerGauge has a function that displays voltage/ current information as a characters, following line feed of the message output.
As shown in [Figure 4], the output message displayed on the console window has “<voltage/ current>” values in the line feed area of the message. You can use this function to generate a log file of voltage/ current changes during operation.
Current measurement mode consists of “mA mode” that measures normal power and “uA mode” that measures low-power. You can select one from the two modes in “Current Mode” section.
If you change the current measurement mode from the “mA mode” to “uA mode”, a small current can be precisely measured and displayed as shown in [Figure 5].
When the MCU enters low-power mode, you can change the current measurement mode to “LowPower (uA)” in the Current Mode section to precisely measure the current consumption if it is difficult to measure the current in “Normal (mA)” mode.