My name is Mike Lease. I am the founder of CMicrotek, LLC, a company developing a new generation of instruments for ultra-low current measurements and power consumption measurements over time. I kept running into the same issues trying to take low-current measurements and guestimating power consumption and battery life. It’s hard to believe with all the advances in electronics in recent years but we’re still measuring current the same way it was done over 100 years ago when the oscilloscope was invented. The CMicrotek µPower Analyzer™ and  µCurrent Probe™ will bring a 21st century approach to current measurements. Click here to go to the CMicrotek home page.

I’ve been involved with hardware and firmware development for over 30 years, including over 10 years on battery and low-power products. I decided to start this blog to share what I’ve learned about low power design. Much of what you find on low power design on the Internet covers the same basic concepts. This is good information for newcomers to low power design but there is so much more an engineer needs to know to be a good low power designer. Unfortunately, most engineers learn these things through correcting their own mistakes and the painful process of eliminating every last unnecessary milliamp or microamp in their designs.

Early in my career, high performance was the main feature of the products I developed. It is rather counter-intuitive but many firmware techniques for high performance are also well suited for low power since minimizing the time required for a specific task also reduces the amount of power used to perform that task. I designed my first battery powered product in 1995, it was essentially a laptop computer embedded in a telephony test instrument. At that time there was very little published information on low power design so I learned a lot the hard way. Low power usage has been an important aspect of most of my design work for the past decade plus. In some cases the primary motivation was to minimize the heat generated within sealed embedded control systems with no airflow, for another the motivation was to reduce the size (and cost) for the solar panel and lead-acid battery to power an industrial control system. Most recently, the focus has been on maximizing battery life on two projects, one a wireless sensor for a sports medicine application and the other a remote monitoring system where replacing batteries for one unit could literally cost upwards of ten thousand dollars. During each of these projects I learned something new about low-power design. Much of my learnings over the years will be presented here.

Checkout the Low Power Design blog group on LinkedIn.

I can be reached via email at blog@cmicrotek.com.

Leave a Reply