Nordic Semiconductor today announces the introduction of an enhanced Power Profiler Kit (PPK). The ‘Power Profiler Kit II’ (PPK2) enables easy and affordable power measurement during wireless product development with nRF51, nRF52, and nRF53 Series multiprotocol short-range wireless Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) and the nRF91 Series low power cellular IoT System-in-Package (SiP). The cost efficient PPK2 development tool provides a simple method for hardware and software engineers to measure average and dynamic power consumption in embedded solutions.
The PPK2 supports power profiling of systems up to 1A at a resolution that typically varies between 100nA and 1mA depending on the measurement range. 1A support provides sufficient margin for extra circuit draw, for example when connecting an nRF9160 Development Kit (DK) with sensors. Supported systems include Nordic Semiconductor’s LTE-M, NB-IoT, Bluetooth® Low energy (LE), Bluetooth mesh, IEEE802.15.4, Thread, Zigbee, and 2.4 GHz proprietary products.
The PPK2 is powered from a standard 5V USB port. The external device under test (DUT) can either be powered from an external source or optionally from the 1A capable power supply built into the PPK2. The voltage range for both options is 0.8 to 5V. This allows the PPK2 to measure and optionally supply current for developers’ custom designs without requiring an external power source.
The PPK2 features an ampere meter mode to measure current on the external DUT and features 10x faster sampling compared with the previous PPK, extending bandwidth and enabling a high resolution continuous real time measurement window. The PPK2 includes an advanced auto-ranging analog measurement circuit to support high-speed current measurements across a large dynamic input range. The kit supports an input range from sub-µA to 1A with a resolution of just 100nA for the lowest range.
The PPK2 can also use up to eight digital inputs to operate as a low-end logic analyzer. This enables code-synchronized measurements by connecting I/O pin(s) on the DUT to one or more digital inputs on the PPK2 to observe what code is executed by the DUT at different times during testing.
The associated PC software is bundled as a separate app inside Nordic’s cross-platform development software, ‘nRF Connect for Desktop’. The app provides a unified GUI for both the PPK and the PPK2, and provides several ways of assessing the power consumption, both instantaneous and averaged over a set time period. The user can set up the PPK2 to take readings over an extended duration, while simultaneously zooming in on a millisecond interval of interest. Over both these time periods the user can select points for instantaneous measurement as well as areas over which to average current consumption. Measured data can also be exported for post processing.
“Continuous power consumption measurement at all stages of software development ensures power problems are identified early in the engineering cycle making it easier to avoid time-consuming revisions of code at a later stage,” says Pål Kastnes, Technical Marketing Manager with Nordic. “However, a simple ampere meter is insufficient for obtaining a comprehensive overview of the power consumption of embedded devices when such devices continuously change between low power- and active-modes. In addition, precise power consumption measurement becomes even more difficult at the low duty-cycles common to low-power short range wireless.
“The PPK2 overcomes these challenges and is designed to be used for the entire wireless product development cycle. The product makes it easy to detect flawed or non-optimized software because it clearly indicates unusually high power consumption from, for example, active modules that the software should have disabled.”
The Power Profiler Kit II, priced at $89, can be purchased via Nordic’s distributor network (https://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/Buy-Online) using the order code nRF-PPK2.