Nanopower nPZero power-saving IC evaluation board

Nanopower nPZero Power-Saving IC

Nanopower’s nPZero is a specialised PMIC functioning as an ultra-low-power microcontroller for energy harvesting applications, with 75 nW power consumption. It can be combined with a wide range of peripherals (I2C, SPI, analogue) to create a full system, functioning as either a standalone device or as an ultra-low-power co-host, with a more powerful microcontroller, microprocessor, or wireless SoC functioning as the main control centre for your design.

The nPZero can also power-cycle all devices that it is connected to, ensuring that no device is consuming energy while not contributing to the task at hand. An internal clock ensures that all operations are done to the schedule you require without the need for external timing devices or checking with the host.

The principle of operation is simple: the nPZero monitors the system while the host device remains fully powered off. The peripherals, such as sensors and a power source, are managed by the nPZero, which features in-built memory and can be programmed to enable basic actions based on the incoming sensor data. This includes waking up the host device and handing over control for wireless transmission of data or additional computing power, for example.

The diagram below illustrates how the nPZero sits within an embedded system:

Nanopower nPZero example connections

By managing peripherals using an ultra-low-power control architecture like the nPZero, engineers can make significant savings to power consumption in their designs, since high-performance host devices can be powered off for the majority of the device’s lifetime.

This is essential in applications running on harvested energy, such as batteryless IoT devices. It also provides a key benefit to device maintenance workloads as batteries do not need to be changed for the duration of a device’s lifetime.

Nanopower has produced an evaluation ecosystem for engineers to test the nPZero device. The main board features Arduino-type headers for attachment of your choice of host device, and several PMOD connectors supporting up to two SPI and two I2C interfaces simultaneously. The board can be powered by your choice of coin battery, power connector, or the USB-C port, controllable via some mini-switches.

Nanopower also offers a host board built around an ST Microelectronics STM32L053C8U6 MCU, and two PMOD boards for temperature sensing and accelerometer data during testing.

If you have a commercial application and would like to learn more about Nanopower’s nPZero power-saving IC, fill out the form below, and ipXchange will get you connected for evaluation of this technology.

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