Energy Micro

Energy Micro

Design Support

High-end, low-cost development kits and evaluation tools support energy Micro's EFM32 Gecko microcontrollers. All the major tool chains also support the energyAware software library. A community of third-party suppliers providing IDE/Compliers, development kits and real-time operating systems, supports EFM32 microcontrollers.

The development kit comprises a motherboard, a plug-in microcontroller card (available either with or without a 160-segment LCD), and a plug-in prototyping card for rapid application development. The AEM (Advanced Energy Monitoring) system, via an in-built LCD screen and preconfigured GUI, enables developers to accurately view a prototype application's current consumption data in real time, enabling early identification and removal of adverse energy drains.

The development kit features an on-board USB / J-Link emulator and standard 20-pin debug connector. The kit's GPIO interfaces include LEDs, DIP and pushbutton switches, a mini joystick, and potentiometer. Analog options comprise a light sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, and audio line-in / line-out, while communications ports provided are RS232 serial, I²C, and an IR transceiver.

The EFM32 Gecko Starter Kit is priced at $69. It features the EFM32G890F128 microcontroller, a 160 segment LCD display driven by the microcontroller's on-chip LCD controller, and a touch slider to demonstrate the microcontroller's capacitive sensor interface capability. Other I/O facilities include four LEDs, two push buttons, and a dedicated microcontroller reset button. All unused I/O is terminated at the board edge for users to access via a standard PCB header. An expansion port is also included for more complex application development.

The EnergyAware Profiler is a companion energy debugging tool that reads the kits' AEM system data. Interfacing via USB with both the EFM32 Gecko development kit and low cost starter kit, the energyAware Profiler complements the kits' on-board AEM LCD display capability and provides three simultaneous views; a graph of real-time application current consumption, an object code listing, and an energy profile of individual application functions. Clicking anywhere on the current graph takes the user to the associated object code, to reveal the function responsible for the related current consumption. During code execution all application functions are individually profiled and sorted by overall energy consumption. The developer can pause the real-time log at any time, scale and scroll-through the current graph, and export data for further analysis. The energyAware Profiler software is available as a free download.

The EnergyAware Designer is a free software tool designed to remove the traditionally time-consuming problem of debugging I/O pin conflicts. Supporting the complete EFM32 Gecko low power microcontroller family, energyAware Designer ensures correct pin configuration and automatically generates set-up code and documentation. On creating a new project, designers select a target microcontroller and are presented with a default device configuration. Clicking on a peripheral function enables it and highlights respective pins in green on an intuitive pin-out diagram. Pin-conflicts induced by selecting another peripheral, which by default is routed to the same pins, are highlighted in red. The developer resolves these by choosing an alternative peripheral location, automatically suggested by the software. Configuration of GPIO resources and clocks are handled in a similar way.

Once happy with the overall microcontroller configuration, designers can then use the energyAware Designer tool to generate the corresponding C-code file, which can then be cut-and-paste directly into the application code. At the same time, detailed PDF documentation can be exported that reports the final device pin-out map in diagrammatic and a choice of tabulated formats. The energyAware Designer software is available as a free download.