8-Bit Microcontrollers for Extreme Low Power

This is a somewhat useful paper on low power techniques for microcontrollers. The paper starts off very basic explaining power consumption and a few basic ways to reduce it, like looking at leakage current or playing with the clocks or oscillator. The second part of the paper goes into explaining some of the low power features of the Atmel AVR PicoPower microcontrollers. These microcontrollers are said to consume 100nA in power-down mode, 650nA in power-save mode with a real time counter, and 340µA in active mode. I like some of the techniques that Atmel applied to reduce power consumption, for example disabling brown-out detection circuitry during sleep mode or having a special register that can completely power down peripherals. While I believe that there are more efficient microcontrollers out there, these 8-bit devices might still be the optimal choice for your design, and even if they are not the paper is still worth reading.

Innovative Techniques for Low Power Consumption with 8-Bit Microcontrollers

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