Alexis Alcott, Senior Product Marketing Manager, MCU16, Microchip Technology speaks with EFY on their latest product.
Q. How is the power consumption reduced on your new chip?
A. The power consumption for the PIC32MM has a low voltage sleep mode with current of 500 nA. In our existing PIC32MX family, the lowest power sleep mode is 40 uA. You can see this is a large improvement. We were able to achieve this by implementing new sleep modes that isolate current as well as through lower power manufacturing process.
Q.What kind of architecture upgrade or process node development has made this chip possible?
A. From an architecture standpoint, the PIC32MM uses the same MIPS microAptiv core as several of our other PIC32 families. However we are using this core in a very low power implementation, running at only 25MHz instead of 200MHz. This allows us to achieve many other improvements in low power. In addition, the PIC32MM uses Core Independent Peripherals which help offload the CPU, thus enabling lower system level power consumption. Also, we have used a low power manufacturing process to build the PIC32MM devices.
Q. What are the specific improvements by % numbers? (Sleep mode is 500nA, how much was it in the previous version?)
A. It depends on what you want to compare it to. If we compare PIC32MM to PIC32MX, in their lowest power sleep modes, this is the improvement:
|Regular Sleep Mode
(voltage regulator enabled)
|5 uA||40 uA|
|Low Voltage Sleep Mode
(with special voltage regulator)
|500 nA||Does not have this mode|
|Lowest power sleep mode||500 nA||40 uA|
The regular sleep mode was improved from 40uA to 5uA by nature of design techniques and process improvements. This is almost 10x improvement.
In addition, we created new sleep mode with a new low voltage regulator that allowed us to further reduce the currents from 5uA to 500nA on the PIC32MM. The previous PIC32MX family does not have that low voltage sleep mode option.
So, if you compare the lowest power sleep modes on both families the improvement goes from 40uA to 500nA! In general, the industry is looking for low power solutions that have a sleep mode < 1uA, so the PIC32MM family helps open the PIC32MM into the low power market space and applications that run from a battery.
Q. How do the core independent peripherals work?
A. Core Independent Peripherals are peripherals that once set-up can operate autonomously from the CPU. By having a peripheral that is “smart” and independent from the core, you can put the CPU to sleep more often and for longer. That saves a huge amount of current, hence extending the battery life in a portable application.