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Ensuring Optimized Power Consumption with the ATMEGA1284P-AU Microcontroller

ATMEGA1284P-AU uses an AVR-enhanced RISC architecture combined with the 1 Million Instructions Per Second (MIPS) per Megahertz (MHz) to balance the power consumption with the processing speed.

We have made this blog post to help you understand how the ATMEGA1284P-AU Microcontroller (MCU) works.

The MIPS Architecture

MIPS stands for Million Instructions Per Second (MIPS). Essentially, it refers to the number or volume of instructions that can be processed with the ATMEGA1284P-AU Microcontroller. Like every other Microcontroller, ATMEGA1284P-AU works by storing data inside the circuit board.

By processing up to 1 million instructions per Megahertz (MHz), it sure is the go-to MCU for faster transactions.

Interestingly, not all Microcontrollers (MCUs) balance the performance with the processing speed. That is one feature that sets ATMEGA1284P-AU apart from the others – it balances processing speed with power consumption, through the MIPS.

Cross-Section of Peripherals

ATMEGA1284P-AU Microcontroller

ATMEGA1284P-AU uses some of the best peripherals you can find out there. From the PWM to the Brown-out Detector, it uses most of these peripherals to deliver the best performances.

Below is a breakdown of how each of the peripheral works:

PWM Channels

PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation. According to Wikipedia, it is a “method of reducing the average power delivered by an electrical signal.” The average power reduction is facilitated by the bit-by-bit segmentation of the signals, typically into discreet parts.

Pulse Width Modulation performs many functions, ranging from voltage regulation, and controlling the amount of power delivered to a load. In this regard, the power delivery is done in a way that it doesn’t trigger voltage issues resulting from the delivery of linear power through resistive means/channels.

ATMEGA1284P-AU comprises 6 PWM Channels.

Non-Volatile Memory Segments with High Endurance

ATMEGA1284P-AU’s memory segments are not only non-volatile, but also have one of the highest levels of endurances.

The following are some of the attributes in that regard:

Programming Lock

ATMEGA1284P-AU protects the software through the Programming Lock feature.

Boot Code Selection

ATMEGA1284P-AU allows for an optional selection of the boot code, especially if independent lock bits are to be used.

The attributes in this regard include a True Read-While-Write Operation and an In-System Programming via the On-Chip Boot Program.

Data Retention Capabilities

The internal data storage function of a Microcontroller (MCU) helps to protect the circuit board against losing most of the configurations.

For that purpose, digital circuit designers look for the MCU with the best-possible data retention capabilities.

ATMEGA1284P-AU’s data retention capability is enabled through the high endurance, non-volatile memory segments. It can retain data for 20 years at 85˚C or for 100 years at 25˚C.

QTouch Library Support

Digital circuit designers looking to use the ATMEGA1284P-AU Microcontroller (MCU) are further empowered by the QTouch Library.

It is a dedicated platform for getting royalty-free software needed for configuring the ATMEGA1284P-AU MCU. The library comprises both the IAR and GCC; both used for developing the “touch applications” based on the Microchip AVR Microcontrollers (MCUs) and the AT91SAM standard.

The supported QTouch Library also includes support for up to 64 sense channels and the combination of capacitive touch buttons, wheels and sliders.

Special Features

Besides the data retention, lowered power consumption and the support for the QTouch Library; ATMEGA1284P-AU also offers some other attributes.

Called the special microcontroller features, they are dedicated attributes offered for special purposes or functions.

The following are some of the special features:

1. Programmable Brown-Out Detection

Also called the BOD, the Brown-Out Detection is a dedicated facility inside a Microcontroller (MCU), serving the purpose of monitoring the dip or a drop in the MCU’s voltage supply.

Super User noted that a voltage is considered to be in an undervoltage condition, when the Alternating Current (AC) drops below the nominal or predefined below. In most case, the drop is highlighted when there is a 10% drop below the predefined value.

So, what the Brown-Out Detection (BOD) does in the ATMEGA1284P-AU MCU is to find out when this nominal value drops. It is also programmable, meaning that it can be configured to meet different applications’ requirements.

2. Internal Calibrated RC Oscillator

Oscillators are popularly used in Microcontrollers (MCUs), but that of ATMEGA1284P-AU is based on the Internal Calibrated RC design. According to the manufacturer, Microchip Technology, this type of oscillator is delegated when the internal RC oscillator is to be used as the CPU clock source.

3. Support for Several Sleep Modes

The ATMEGA1284P-AU is “put to sleep” when not in use. However, putting it to sleep might cause most of the components to stop working for the time being. This can, however, be tackled with the multiple sleep modes it provides.

Choices can be made from any of the following:

  • Extended standby mode
  • Idle sleep mode
  • Standby mode
  • ADC noise reduction mode
  • Power-down mode
  • Power-save mode

Each of those modes can be further programmed to adapt to the target applications’ power-saving requirements.

Programmable Watchdog Timer

ATMEGA1284P-AU uses a programmable watchdog timer. A watchdog timer is the dedicated timer monitoring the operations of a Microcontroller (MCU), just to find out if the MCU is operating normally or not.

Therefore, it is to be regarded as the “watcher” that “keeps an eye on” the Microcontroller (MCU)’s operations.

ATMEGA1284P-AU’s watchdog timer is not just programmable, but also comes with the separated on-chip oscillator.

Here are some of the attributes making up ATMEGA1284P-AU’s programmable watchdog timer:

Selectable Time-Out

Due to the configuration for fault or abnormal operation detection, the watchdog timer might be unable to give the Microcontroller (MCU) the space to function beyond a lapse.

That informs the reason behind the integration of a programmable feature called the selectable time-out function on ATMEGA1284P-AU’s watchdog timer. It offers up to 16ms to 8s of timeout; giving the MCU some time to recover after a lapse.

Hardware Fusion

ATMEGA1284P-AU’s watchdog time also has a possible hardware fuse Watchdog Always on (WDTON) function. It works best for the fail-safe mode.

The other attributes of the watchdog timer are:

  • Interrupt and system reset
  • Interrupt mode
  • System reset mode

Final Words

ATMEGA1284P-AU regulates power consumption to the barest minimum, keeps the MCU active through the programmable watchdog timer and regulates electrical signal transmission via the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) function.

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