At times it also becomes necessary to remove certain popular features or at least replace them with good alternatives.
“As people tried to make devices cheaper and low-power especially on the consumer side, all that the traditional Adobe Flash provided was a heavier stack to implement in embedded processors. It runs about 2.5 million lines of code on the Flash player, and that does take quite a bit of computation power. This, along with the resulting impact on battery life, is also a concern. It was one of the main reasons for Adobe to discontinue support for Flash on the embedded side and support HTML 5 that is gaining a lot of acceptance today,” explains Mrinmoy Purkayastha, associate vice president-marketing, and Somenath Nag, director-business development and marketing, ALTEN Calsoft Labs.
Since the Internet of Things is already here, designers also need to consider the penalties of having an always-connected device.
Pratul Schroff, MD of eInfoChips, advises, “In these cases, one thing that is being done is to scale down the processing speed or the clock speed, so that they only need low power. Typically, the operating frequency in a modern mobile device is 1 GHz but we scale it down to 20 MHz at other instances where processing power is enough to handle the data but the power consumption remains controlled. Thus we run at 1/50th of its standard speed, and by doing so reap the benefits of lower power consumption.”
Often, the connected peripherals are also to blame for inadequate battery life. Milind Gandhe, associative vice president, semiconductor business line, explains how Sasken Communication Technologies ensures low power consumption in its designs: “Power consumption of the device is directly proportional to the leakage current. So we make sure that a lot of our designs are basically centered at minimising leakage current. A key challenge to reduce power consumption in these systems is to ensure that the power drawn by the peripherals is low.”
You can influence your system’s uptime
It’s time designers stopped pointing to battery technology as the reason for awfully low uptime on their devices. Like Stephen R. Covey once said, “Proactive people focus their efforts on their circle of influence.” Designing an efficient circuit is under your influence. So go make it count.
The author is a tech correspondent at EFY Bengaluru