The ThingPulse ePulse Feather C6 RISC-V Development Board Promises an ~18µA Low-Power Sleep Mode

Designed for bursty battery-powered Internet of Things (IoT) projects, this low-power dev board can deliver a long runtime per charge.

Gareth Halfacree
4 months agoInternet of Things / HW101

Daniel Eichhorn and Marcel Stör's ThingPulse has announced a new Feather-format development board powered by a RISC-V ESP32-C6 module: the ePulse Feather C6.

"The ePulse Feather, a low-power ESP32 development board, is optimized for applications requiring low sleep current and LiPo battery support," Eichhorn and Stör write of their latest hardware design, brought to our attention by Linux Gizmos, "This exceptionally low sleep consumption makes it ideal for applications where the device remains dormant for extended periods, awakening only when necessary to perform a task. For example, a Wi-Fi remote control for home automation can remain in sleep mode until a user presses one of the buttons."

The ThingPulse ePulse Feather C6 offers a single RISC-V core in an ultra-low-power breadboard-friendly development board design. (📹: ThingPulse)

The board is, as the name implies, based on the earlier ePulse Feather breadboard-friendly development board design, but swaps out the Espressif ESP32-WROVER-E-N8R8 module for a newer ESP32-C6-MINI-1N4 module — featuring the ESP32-C6 system-on-chip, with a single 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller core running at up to 160MHz, 512kB of high-power and 16kB of low-power static RAM (SRAM), 320kB of on-chip flash memory and a further 4MB in-package.

As is usual for Espressif's parts, the module includes an integrated radio with support for single-band 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.3 Low Energy (BLE) with Bluetooth Mesh support. There's also an IEEE 802.15.4 mode offering support for Thread 1.3 and Zigbee 3.0 connectivity, all of which is routed through an on-board PCB antenna.

A major feature of the ePulse Feather C6 is its low-power chops: in deep-sleep mode the board is claimed to draw around 18µA when powered above 3.3V or 33µA under 3.3V. There are 17 usable general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, with another two shared with the on-board USB Type-C connector; a further GPIO pin is used for an Analog Devices MAX17048 fuel gauge, which ties into the built-in lithium-polymer battery charging circuit — and which can be disconnected via a solder bridge if an extra pin is more desirable.

The ePulse Feather C6 is now available from the ThingPulse store for $14.95; a 3D model of the board is also available, making it easier to design enclosures and integrate the board into other projects.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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