Power Leaks In Your Chip? Debug Them With TI’s New EnergyTrace++ Technology

funny-gifs-theres-a-leak-in-the-boat

Yes, a fitting scene from Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs:2. TI recently released the new EnergyTrace++ utility for developers, which provides an inside view of an MSP430 micro-controller’s power consumption and profile. This becomes a very handy tool as you try to effectively use whatever power you are rationed with.

energyTrace_MSP430_powerStates

EnergyTrace Power States

If you are familiar with ULP Advisor, it provides advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of your application based on comparing your code with a list of ULP rules at compile time. EnergyTrace technology is a tool that enables power and energy based program code analysis during a debug session. Pretty handy tools for power analysis during a development cycle. Note that there are different modes of EnergyTrace available – for MSP430 chips that natively support the trace function and for those that do not.

How Does It Work

EnergyTrace technology implements a new method for measuring power. In debuggers that support EnergyTrace technology, a software controlled DC-DC converter generates the target power supply (1.2 V-3.6 V). The time density of the DC-DC converter charge pulses equals the energy consumption of the target microcontroller. A built-in calibration circuit in the debug tool defines the energy equivalent for a single charge pulse. The width of each charge pulse remains constant. The debug tool counts every charge pulse and the sum of the charge pulses are used in combination with the time elapsed to calculate an average current.

EfficientVsInefficientPower_MSP430

Efficient.c Power (Blue) Referenced With Inefficient.c Power (yellow)

What Do You Need

The technology is included in Code Composer Studio version 6.0 and newer. It requires specialized debugger circuitry, which is supported with the second-generation on-board eZ-FET flash emulation tool and second-generation standalone MSP-FET JTAG emulator. If you have the recently released MSP-EXP430FR5969 Launchpad( Generation 2, code name Wolverine LP ), you should be set.

The EnergyTrace documentation is easy to follow if you wish to get started in power analysis. We’ll be doing a write-up in the future on basic usage. If you are interested, please sign up in the subscribe box below.

Would you use this tool for analyzing power in your projects? Will it get you ahead in lowering your power consumption? Let us know in the comments below or follow it here in the 43oh Forums.


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4 Comments

  1. Not bad. This will be useful to extend battery life. Does it profile functions too?

    Reply
  2. I work alot with low power health care products that need to wake up. The ULP is a great compile time advisor, but I feel the Energy Trace thing during debug will be much more helpful as it gives you a window into the actual working of the chip. Interested in seeing a few more articles on this.

    Reply
  3. Lol! love the “Leek” reference. Well written and concise.

    Reply

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