FOSDEM-85 as thermometer with no external components


Stefan Goetze submitted today cool project with FOSDEM-85 in our Project section.

He is using the ATTiny85 internal chip sensor to measure the temperature, which he displays with LED blinks on Pinguino eyes. For this purpose he re-connected the Power LED to another port.

The document where he explains how he build it together with all source codes is here

Now FOSDEM-85 can be used as thermometer on your desk 🙂

Experimenting with low power modes and Arduino


Tero Koskinen recently did interesting experiments exploring how low power he can go with Arduino.

He made setup with 5 boards to test:

  • original Arduino Duemilanove
  • original Arduino UNO
  • Olimexino-328 clone
  • Arduino DIY PTH kit from Sparkfun
  • Diavolino from Evil Mad Scientist

He correctly shut down all not used peripherials, Brown-Out-Detection, slowed down the CPU speed and used Power Saving modes.

the results were:

Device Current
Duemilanove 7.50mA
UNOr3 18.10mA
Olimexino-328 4.00mA
Sparkfun PTH Kit 7.60mA
Diavolino 0.50mA


Diavolino have nothing but the AVR so obviously is winner with this setup with only 0.5mA consumption.

Wait if there is no power regulator where these 0.5mA go when AVR is put in low power mode?

Looking at the schematic  you can see R1 RESET pullup 10K resistor which is connected to 5V -> 5V/10K = 0.5mA the whole consumption is taken by R1!!!


Then let’s see OLIMEXINO-328 the second place with 4mA (outch!) this board is promoted by OLIMEX as SUPER DUPER LOW POWER BOARD then why these bad results? Where these  4mA go?

The answer is obvious: Tero is powering OLIMEXINO-328 by the POWER JACK.

In our design we assume if the power come from the power jack it’s unlimited and we can waste it as much as we need – charging Lipo (if attached) etc.

So these 4mA are taken from the DCDC in the input.

If Tero wanted to see how OLIMEXINO-328 shines in low power he should have powered the board by the battery connector. When the power is applied to battery OLIMEXINO-328 is very humble and will need less 20 micro ampers 0.02 mA to operate!

How this is done? If we look at the schematic we will see that there is no RESET pull-up, but the RESET is done by tricky circuit with R12/R13/SD5/C7/C8 this schematic have zero consumption but still perform RESET functionality.

Also unltra-low-power LDO which needs just 3 micro amps to operate MCP1700T-3302E/MB is used for power regulator.

This makes possible complete Arduino to may keep working while consuming less 20 micro amps.

What 20 micro amps consumption means? If you use our standard LiPo 1400 mAh battery your board can work 70 000 hours or 3 years!

The other boards: Sparkfun kit 7.6 mA, Duemilanove 7.5mA and UNO 18.1 mA just use cheap voltage regulators which take this current, but it’s OK they have not been designed to be low power.

What is the conclusion: with right setup (powering from battery) OLIMEXINO-328 is the lowest power Arduino solution on the market! When we add to the low power the industrial temperature operation range -25+85C and the possibility to work with any input voltages from 9 to 30VDC, OLIMEXINO-328 is the most sophisticated board with many features while keeping the price reasonable.

New Cheaper Power supply adapters 5V and 12V in stock


We offer two power supply adapters for OLinuXino: SY0612E 12V 0.5A and SY0605E 5V 1A both are produced in Romania by Sunny Computer Technology Europe SRO, which is factory established by Sunny Computer Technology China.

These adapter are with good quality, come with all certificates and meet all safety standards, but they are bit expensive.

We found cheaper adapters manufactured in China which are at half price than these manufactured in EU.

Here we disassembly both to see the difference:

1. PCBs on both adapters are made by cheap FR2 material;


2. Electronic components, capacitors, transformers, semiconductors in both adapters are with good quality; We have been diassembling ultra cheap adapters which sells for $1 with free shipping on ebay and they are really bad quality and will break after few plugs on the mains, there are no distance inside between high/low voltage parts and it’s quite dangerous to use such adapters at all, but this one is not such case. The Chinese adapter have even bigger air distance between the high and low voltage part than the EU made, but I think this comes from the fact that EU adapter have protective coating and is allowed to have narrow distance.

3. EU adapter uses wires with bigger diameter, Chinese is made with thinner cables which for sure will withstand the small currents which are used, but will fail sooner if somebody pull or twist the cable.


4. EU adapter PCB is with protective coating on the solder side (which make surface glossy) and which will protect the PCB when working in humidy enviroment, the Chinese adapter have no protective coating.


5. EU adapter the power connector is with springs inside which always guarantee good contact with the power jack on the board, Chinese connector is simple with no springs inside.


6. EU adapter have all certificates and safety standards tests, Chinese adapter may pass these, but they didn’t bother to spend money on certification and didn’t mark the adapters (actually they would mark them if we asked 🙂 but this is not the point, you can’t be sure if there is certification on goods you buy from China as they will mark it with anything you want.

Generally in our opinion both adapters will work well, the EU adapter of course is with better quality but at double price. If you want to use the adapter just in your lab or at home and you are at low budged the Chinese adapter will do the same job for you.

If you want use the adapter in project where you want more reliability or the device will be subject to high/low temperatures and humidity you should choose the EU adapter.

MSPDEBUG – Power profiling with the MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2


MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2 has power profiling functionality which can be used from MSPDebug. When a chip is running, the debugger continuously captures current consumption and MAB (program counter) samples, which can be read and analysed.

As of 4 Oct 2012, MSPDebug contains support for the following power profiling functionality:

  • Basic statistics (average current, run time, charge consumption).
  • Time-domain analysis, including exporting of raw samples to CSV format.
  • Disassembly annotations, which show power consumption on a per-instruction basis.
  • Hotspot/profile analysis to discover which functions are consuming the most power.

The driver for this device supports both raw USB and tty access, and can be used to perform firmware updates.

MSPDEBUG is open source tool, for debugging MSP430 microcontrollers. The project is hosted on Sourceforge 

The next logical step is to create IDE with MSPGCC+Eclipse+MSPDEBUG plugin for one completely free development environment for MSP430 supporting all MSP430 devices and JTAGs on the market +  Power Profiling feature if you use MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2. The IDE will support Linux and Windows and we hope to be able to demonstrate it at Electronica 2012 in November.

New Board: MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2 – MSP430 JTAG with ISOLATION and power profiling


Our popular MSP430-JTAG-ISO have been redesigned and now is much better: It’s FASTER, it have now 2GB of Flash and allow many firmwares to be stored inside for stand alone infield work, it have 1000VDC isolation so protect you and your PC from dangerous high voltages.

The new feature we included is the possibility to measure the target consumption in range 10 uA to 300 000 uA, MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2 firmware allow it to scan target voltage 40 000 times per second and log together with PC then send to the host PC where the power profiling to be visualized so you can see which part of your code what consumption have. We work on Eclipse plugin for this power profiling and soon complete IDE with MSP-GCC and Eclipse with power visualization profiling will be released free of charge as open source project. MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2 is the first debugger in the world with power profiling feature for MSP430.

MSP430-JTAG-ISO-MK2 cost EUR 149.95 and is already in stock by Mouser.

iMX233 battery power supply tests


Once we solved all battery power supply issues on iMX233-OLinuXino-Maxi today we tested how it works with our Li-Po battery

We got very interesting results!

The LAN9512 USB hub + Ethernet takes about 250mA when used, total consumption is around 320 mA when all peripherials are used and Ethernet is working with the 1400mA battery this means around 4 hours of continuous operation on backup battery for iMX233-OLinuXino-Maxi.

Then we disconnected the LAN9512 to see how power hungry will be iMX233-OLinuXino-Mini and whoa during the boot the consumption is around 120mA, then at linux console working with the board the power consumption drop to 75mA! this means about 18 hours work on battery! Then we put the board in suspend mode with the PWR/REC button in this mode the processor is IDLE and just the RAM is refreshing, and the power went down to 30mA.

Now I’m really puzzled does 454Mhz ARM926J processor consumes only 45mA when run at full speed?

On Linux console running “top” show CPU use 3% when you do simple shell commands. So let’s make the CPU a bit busy with:

$ cat /dev/urandom > /dev/null &

$ top

Now we see CPU is used at 100% and the power consumption rise from 75 to 120mA! Ahaaa so Linux kernel does some kind of flexible power management depend on the CPU load, so the power consumption vary. Anyway if we assume the DDR still takes about 30mA the power consumtion of just 45-90mA of 454Mhz ARM9 processor is remarkable (well let’s not forget that iMX233 was designed with portable media player in mind so working on battery was design goal for the engineers who created it, well done!).


1. on battery with USB hubs ON, Ethernet ON etc. the total power consumption is about 1.35W (4.2V x 0.32A)

2. without LAN9512 USB hubs and Ethernet the total power vary from 0.3W to 0.5W depend on CPU load

3. In suspend mode OLinuXino needs just 0.1W

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