Nordic Semiconductor, well-known for its excellent Bluetooth LE and cellular IoT systems-on-chip (SoCs), has just introduced a second-generation tool for profiling power consumption in embedded systems with support for their nRF51, nRF52, and nRF53 Series SoCs and the nRF91 Series SiP. The Power Profiler Kit II (PPK2) is a cost-effective development tool that provides a hardware or software engineer a simple method to measure average and dynamic power consumption in embedded solutions.
Measuring the power consumption of an embedded system is an increasingly difficult task. A simple DMM measurement is insufficient to capture dynamic changing currents from a microcontroller or radio changing power states. Additionally, many embedded designers need to profile the power consumption of different sections of code. This profiling step is critical to creating code that optimizes battery life.
The PPK2 attaches to either a Nordic development kit or custom hardware. Using its built-in current meter, it samples 100,000 times per second. The continuous real-time measurement has current resolutions from 100 nanoamps up to 1 milliamp, depending on the input range.
Power for the PPK2 comes from a standard 5 volt USB port. The device under test (DUT) can either be powered by an external source or from the PPK2's source. The PPK2 eliminates the need for a bench power supply since it can provide an output adjustable voltage from 0.8 to 5 volts and a dynamic output current from 1 microamp to 1 amp.
The PPK2 also offers engineers eight digital inputs. These inputs are a low-end logic analyzer that can assist with profiling current consumption by code.
Nordic bundled PPK2's measurement software inside its cross-platform development tool, RF Connect for Desktop. The application features tools for averaging sections of current, viewing peak draw, and observing long-term averages.
The Power Profiler Kit II is available for $89. For more information, visit the PPK2 product page.