A N 116
Power Management Techniques and Calculation
Relevant Devices
This application note applies to the following
C8051F000, C8051F001, C8051F002,
C8051F005, C8051F006, C8051F010,
C8051F011, C8051F012, C8051F012,
C8051F015, C8051F016, C8051F017,
C8051F018, and C8051F019.
This application note discusses power management
techniques and methods of calculating power in a
Silicon Labs C8051F00x and C8051F01x SoC.
Many applications will have strict power requirements, and there are several methods of lowering
the rate of power consumption without sacrificing
performance. Calculating the predicted power use
is important to characterize the system’s power
supply requirements.
Key Points
Reducing System Clock
In CMOS digital logic devices, power consumption
is directly proportional to system clock (SYSCLK)
power = CV 2 f
controlled by the designer. This section discusses
these parameters and how they affect power usage.
Supply voltage and system clock frequency
strongly affect power consumption.
Silicon Lab’s SoC’s feature power management
modes: IDLE and STOP.
Power use can be calculated as a function of
system clock frequency, supply voltage, and
enabled peripherals.
where: C is CMOS load capacitance, V is supply voltage, and f is SYSCLK frequency.
Equation 1. CMOS Power Equation
The system clock on the C8051Fxxx family of
devices can be derived from an internal oscillator
or an external source. External sources may be a
CMOS clock, RC circuit, capacitor, or crystal oscillator. For information on configuring oscillators,
see application note: “AN02 - Configuring the
Internal and External Oscillators.” The internal
oscillator can provide four SYSCLK frequencies:
2, 4, 8, and 16 MHz. Many different frequencies
can be achieved using the external oscillator.
To conserve power, a designer must decide what
the fastest needed SYSCLK frequency and
required accuracy is for a given application. A
design may require a constant SYSCLK frequency
during all device operations. In this case, the
designer will choose the lowest possible frequency
Power Saving Methods
required, and use the oscillator configuration that
CMOS digital logic device power consumption is consumes the least power. Typical applications
affected by supply voltage and system clock include serial communications, and periodic sam(SYSCLK) frequency. These parameters can be pling with an ADC that must be performed.
adjusted to realize power savings, and are readily
Rev. 1.1 12/03
Copyright © 2003 by Silicon Laboratories
Some operations may require high speed operation,
but only in short, intermittent intervals. This is
sometimes referred to as “burst” operation. In the
C8051Fxxx, the SYSCLK frequency can be
changed at anytime. Thus, the device can operate at
low frequency until a condition occurs that requires
high frequency operation.
C8051F0xx devices have a flag that is set when the
external clock signal is valid (XTLVLD bit in the
OSCXCN register) to indicate the oscillator is running and stable. This flag is polled before switching
to the external oscillator. Note that other operations
can continue using the internal oscillator during the
crystal start-up time.
Two examples of alternating between SYSCLK
sources are (1) an internal oscillator/external crystal configuration, and (2) an external crystal/RC
oscillator configuration. If the device is used for
occasional high speed data conversion, and a realtime clock is used for time-stamping the data, a
combination internal oscillator and external crystal
would be ideal. During sampling operations, the
high speed internal oscillator would be used. When
sampling is complete, the device could then use an
external 32 kHz crystal to maintain the real-time
clock. Once high speed operations are required
again, the device switches to the internal oscillator
as necessary (see Figure 1 below). An example of
this procedure is illustrated in application note
“AN008 - Implementing a Real-Time Clock”.
Some applications require intermittent high speed
and accuracy (e.g., ADC sampling and data processing), but have lower frequency and accuracy
requirements at other times (e.g., waiting for sampling interval), a combination of an external oscillator and RC circuit can be useful. In this case, the
external RC oscillator is used to derive the lower
frequency SYSCLK source, and the crystal is used
for high frequency operations. The RC circuit
requires a connection to VDD (voltage source) to
operate. Because this connection could load the
crystal oscillator circuit while the crystal is in operation, we connect the RC circuit to a general purpose port pin (see Figure 2 below). When the RC
circuit is in use, the port pin connection is driven
high (to VDD) by selecting its output mode to
“push-pull” and writing a ‘1’ to the port latch.
When the crystal oscillator is being used, the port
pin is placed in a ‘hi-Z’ condition by configuring
the output mode of the port to “open-drain” and
writing a ‘1’ to the port latch. Note the RC circuit
The crystal oscillator and internal oscillator may be
operated simultaneously and each selected as the
SYSCLK source in software as desired. To reduce
supply current, the crystal may also be shutdown
when using the internal oscillator. In this case,
when switching from the internal to external oscillator the designer must consider the start-up delay
when switching the SYSCLK source. The
Figure 1. Internal Oscillator and an External Crystal Source Configuration
Rev. 1.1
may take advantage of the existing capacitors used 3. Drive the voltage supply port pin high (to
for the crystal oscillator.
VDD) by putting the port pin in “push-pull”
mode and writing a ‘1’ to its port latch.
The start-up of the RC-circuit oscillator is nearly
instantaneous. However, there is a notable start-up 4. Switch back to the external oscillator.
time for the crystal. Therefore, switching from the
RC oscillator to the external crystal oscillator using Supply Voltage
the following procedure:
The amount of current used in CMOS logic is
directly proportional to the voltage of the power
1. Switch to the internal oscillator.
supply. The power consumed by CMOS logic is
2. Configure the port pin used for the RC circuit proportional the power supply voltage squared (See
voltage supply as open-drain and write a ‘1’ to Equation 1). Thus, power consumption may be
reduced by lowering the supply voltage to the
the port pin (Hi-Z condition).
device. The C8051Fxxx family of devices require a
supply voltage of 2.7-3.6 Volts. Thus, to save
3. Start the crystal (Set the XFCN bits).
power, it is recommended to use a 3.0 volt regulator instead of a 3.3 volt regulator for power sav4. Wait for 1 ms.
5. Poll for the External Crystal Valid Bit
(XTLVLD --> ‘1’).
6. Switch to the external oscillator.
Switch from the external crystal oscillator to the
the RC oscillator as follows:
1. Switch to the internal oscillator.
2. Shutdown the crystal (clear the XFCN bits).
CIP-51 Processor Power
Management Modes
The C8051 processor has two modes which can be
used for power management. These modes are
In IDLE Mode, the CPU and FLASH memory are
taken off-line. All peripherals external to the CPU
remain active, including the internal clocks. The
CPU exits IDLE Mode when an enabled interrupt
General Purpose
Port Pin
Figure 2. External RC and Crystal Oscillator Configuration
Rev. 1.1
AN11 6
or reset occurs. The CPU is placed in IDLE Mode Mode. Thus, the Missing Clock Detector should be
by setting the Idle Mode Select Bit (PCON.0) to disabled prior to entering STOP Mode if the CPU
is to be in STOP Mode longer than the Missing
Clock Detector time-out (100 µs).
When the IDLE Mode Select Bit is set to ‘1’, the
CPU enters IDLE Mode once the instruction that The C8051 processor is placed in STOP Mode by
sets the bit has executed. An asserted interrupt will setting the STOP Mode Select Bit (PCON.1) to ‘1’.
clear the IDLE Mode Select Bit and the CPU will Upon reset, the CPU performs the normal reset
vector to service the interrupt. After a return from sequence and begins executing code at 0x0000.
interrupt (RETI), the CPU will return to the next Any valid RESET source will exit STOP Mode.
instruction following the one that had set the IDLE Sources of reset to exit STOP Mode are External
Mode Select Bit. If a reset occurs while in IDLE Reset
Mode, the normal reset sequence will occur and the Comparator 0, and the External ADC Convert Start
CPU will begin executing code at memory location (/CNVSTR).
As an example, the CPU may be placed in STOP
As an example, the CPU can be placed in IDLE Mode for a period to save power when no device
while waiting for a Timer 2 overflow to initiate a operation is required. When the device is needed,
sample/conversion in the ADC. Once the conver- Comparator 0 reset could be used to “wake up” the
sion and sample processing is complete, the ADC device.
end-of-conversion interrupt wakes the CPU from
IDLE Mode and processes the sample. After the Generally, a power conscious design will use the
sample processing is complete, the CPU is placed lowest voltage supply, lowest SYSCLK frequency,
back into IDLE Mode to save power while waiting and will use Power Management Modes when possible to maximize power savings. Most of these can
for the next interrupt.
be implemented or controlled in software.
As another example, the CPU may wait in IDLE
Mode to save power until an external interrupt signal is used to “wake up” the CPU as needed. Upon Calculating Power
receiving an external interrupt, the CPU will exit Consumption
IDLE Mode and vector to the corresponding interThere are two components of power consumption
rupt vector (e.g., /INT0 or /INT1).
in Silicon Lab’s C8051F00x and C8051F01x family of devices: analog and digital. The analog comSTOP Mode
ponent of power consumption is nearly constant for
The C8051 STOP Mode is used to shut down the all SYSCLK frequencies. The digital component of
CPU and oscillators. This will effectively shut power consumption changes considerably with
down all digital peripherals as well. All analog SYSCLK frequency. The digital and analog comperipherals must be shutdown by software prior to ponents are added to determine the total power
entering STOP Mode. The processor exits STOP consumption.
Mode only by an internal or external reset. Thus,
STOP Mode saves power by reducing the SYSCLK The current use calculations presented in this application note apply to the C8051F00x and
frequency to zero.
C8051F01x (‘F000, 01, 02, 03, 05, 06, 10, 11, 12,
Note that the Missing Clock Detector will cause an 15, and 16) family of Silicon Labs devices.
internal reset (if enabled) that will terminate STOP
Rev. 1.1
The data sheet section, “Global DC Electrical
Characteristics” contains various supply current
values for different device conditions. The current
values are separated into digital (at three example
frequencies) and analog components. The analog
numbers presented are values with all analog
peripherals active. Supply current values for each
analog peripheral can be found in the data sheet
section for the peripheral.
For convenience, the Global DC Electrical Characteristics for the C8051F00x and C8051F01x family
of devices are presented in the table below.
Table 1. C8051F0xx Global DC Electrical Characteristics
Analog Supply Voltage
Analog Supply Current
Internal REF, ADC, DAC, Comparators all active
Analog Supply Current
with Analog Subsystems
Internal REF, ADC, DAC, Comparators all inactive; oscillator
Analog-to-Digital supply
delta (|VDD - AV+|)
Digital Supply Voltage
Digital Supply Current
with CPU active
VDD=2.7V; CLK=20 MHz
VDD=2.7V; CLK=1 MHz
VDD=2.7V; CLK=32 kHz
Digital Supply Current
with CPU inactive (IDLE
VDD=2.7V; CLK=20 MHz
VDD=2.7V; CLK=1 MHz
VDD=2.7V; CLK=32 kHz
Digital Supply Current
(STOP Mode)
Oscillator not running
Digital Supply RAM
Data Retention Voltage
Specified Operating
Temp Range
Internal vs. External Oscillator
Besides using lower SYSCLK frequencies, the
designer can realize power savings by making
smart SYSCLK source choices. The internal oscillator will typically consume 200 µA of current supplied from the digital power supply. The current
used to drive an external oscillator can vary. The
drive current (supplied from the analog power supply) for an external source, such as a crystal, is set
in software by configuring the XFCN bits in the
External Oscillator Control Register (OSCXCN).
Thus, at higher drive currents the user may save
degrees C
power by using the internal oscillator. However, at
the lowest XFCN setting the external oscillator will
use less than 1 µA which is less current than used
by the internal oscillator. Some typical measured
current values are listed below. These measurements may vary from device to device. This drive
level is kept as low as possible to minimize power
consumption, but must be high enough to start the
external oscillator. The following table lists the cur-
Rev. 1.1
AN11 6
rent vs. External Oscillator Frequency Control Bit
Table 2. Typical Current Use vs. External
Oscillator Frequency Control Bit Settings
Current (µA)
Analog Peripherals
The individual supply current values for each analog peripheral are posted in the data sheet section
for that component (typically near the end of the
section). It is recommended to disable all peripherals not in use to save power. For convenience, the
C8051F00x and C8051F10x analog peripherals
supply current values are listed below:
Table 4. C8051F0xx Analog Supply Current
Use by Component
Digital Peripherals
Analog Peripheral
Current (Typical) in
VDD monitor
(always enabled)
8 (VDD=2.7 V)
15 (VDD=3.6 V)
VREF (internal)
50 (bandgap ref. and driver)
Temp Sensor
1.5 (each)
For rough calculations, a good rule of thumb is to
110 (each)
assume a 1 mA/MHz of operating current (digital)
Internal Oscillator (uses
+ 1 mA if the analog components (ADC, comparadigital power supply)
tors, DAC, VREF, etc.) are enabled. This rule of
thumb assumes a 3.6 V supply voltage. A lower
supply voltage will reduce power consumption. At Note the analog power consumption is relatively
2.7 V, the rule of thumb is 0.5 mA/MHz (in NOR- independent of by SYSCLK frequency.
MAL mode). The rules of thumb for rough calculations are presented in the table below:
Calculating Total Current
When the required SYSCLK frequency, supply
voltage, and peripherals have been determined, the
total supply current can be estimated. To calculate
Power Mode VDD=2.7 V
VDD=3.6 V
the total supply current, the analog peripheral curNORMAL
0.5 mA/MHz
1.0 mA/MHz
rent use (found by adding the currents of each of
0.33 mA/
0.65 mA/MHz
the enabled analog peripherals) is added to the digMHz
ital current use (calculated for a given frequency,
power mode, and supply voltage). If all of the anaNote that digital supply current is independent of log peripherals are enabled, analog current use is
how many digital peripherals are in use. Supply about 1 mA.
current is proportional to SYSCLK frequency and
power supply voltage.
Example Calculations
Table 3. Digital Current Consumption (typical)
The following are examples of supply current calculations. Each application may use different
Rev. 1.1
power modes, SYSCLK frequencies, and peripherals at different times. Thus, power management
specifications may require several different supply
current calculations. The digital component and
analog components of current use are found separately, and then added together for the total.
In NORMAL Mode @ 16 MHz;
1 mA/MHz * 16 MHz = 16 mA
Example 1
Example 2
The C8051F000 device is being used in a system
with VDD=3.6 V. An ADC is sampling a parameter
and processing the sample for an output to one
DAC. Because of the sampling and processing
requirements of the application, SYSCLK frequency is 16 MHz using the internal oscillator.
Assume we are still estimating the supply current
in the same application in Example 1. If the sample
processing is a burst operation (i.e., intermittent
need for sampling and conversions), we may
choose to place the CIP-51 in IDLE Mode to allow
a Timer to wake-up the CIP-51 after a specified
interval. In this case, the average supply current
can be calculated in order to estimate power
requirements. The device will switch between
NORMAL Mode (for sampling and data conversion) and IDLE Mode (between sample processing
operations). The switch between IDLE and NORMAL Modes (and supply current values) will happen in a cycle with a period equal to the sampling
rate. (See Figure 3 below). This will allow us to
calculate average supply current, after we calculate
the supply current in IDLE Mode.
Table 5. Analog Components
Supply Current (µA)
VREF (internal)
Internal Osc.
one DAC
VDD monitor
Total Analog
Table 8. Total
Table 9.
825 µA (analog) + 16 mA (digital)= 16.8 mA
Table 10. Analog Component
Table 11.
Table 6. Digital Component
Table 7.
Data Sample and Conversion
Sample Period
Figure 3. Supply Current Modulation to Lower Average Power
Rev. 1.1
AN11 6
Analog peripherals are disabled during the IDLE is 100 µs - 9.8 µs (time in NORMAL Mode) =
Mode period between sample processing and out- 90.2 µs. By integrating the area under the curve in
put. Thus, analog current consumption is just:
Figure 3 for one period (100 µs), and dividing that
number by the period, the average supply current is
VDD monitor = 15 µA.
11 mA.
Example 3
Table 12. Digital Component
Table 13.
In IDLE Mode @ 16 MHz;
0.65 mA/MHz * 16 MHz = 10.4 mA
If the oscillator frequency were lowered while in
IDLE Mode (in Example 2) to 32 kHz using an
external crystal for additional power savings, the
current use would be:
Table 14. Total
Table 15.
The analog component would be considered negligible in most applications, thus, the total is just the The external oscillator control bits will be set to
XFCN = 000. This uses 0.6 µA of analog current.
digital component:
50 µA (analog) + 10.4 mA (digital) = 10.4 mA
(0.65 mA *.032 MHz) + 0.6 µA = 21 µA
Now that we have calculated IDLE Mode supply
current and NORMAL Mode supply current (in
Example 1), we must calculate the time we spend
in each mode to find the average current the device
will use.
This is a dramatic difference from Example 2’s
IDLE Mode at 16 MHz, by simply reducing oscillator frequency.
Continuing with the average supply current calculation in Example 2 (with 6 extra SYSCLK cycles
Assuming the ADC is in low-power tracking mode in NORMAL Mode to lower the frequency), the
and at the maximum SAR conversion clock of average supply current would be 1.7 mA!
2 MHz (ADC set for SAR clock = SYSCLK/8),
and we desire a 10 kHz sampling rate. The period Example 4
of the power cycle in Figure 3 is 1/10,000 (sample
rate) = 100 µs.
In this application, the C8051F000 is being used to
sample a parameter using the ADC and store samThe time in NORMAL Mode will be the ADC ples in memory, with high accuracy timing of samtracking/conversion time, and the time to store the ples required. For more accurate timing, the
value in memory. In low-power tracking mode, it SYSCLK is derived from an external 18.432 MHz
will take 3 SAR clocks for tracking, and 16 SAR crystal oscillator. To save power, the designer has
clocks for conversion. 19 SAR clocks at 2 MHz decided to use a supply voltage of 3.0 V. Timer 2 is
will take 9.5 µs. To store the number will take to used to time the ADC sampling intervals.
system clock cycles, or 0.125 µs. To enter NORMAL Mode, a mov instruction is executed, taking 3 Table 16. Analog Components
SYSCLK cycles which takes 0.188 µs. Thus, the
Current (µA)
9.5 µs+0.125 µs+0.188 µs = 9.8 µs.
Because the ADC sample period is 100 µs, the time
we may be in IDLE Mode during the power cycle
External Osc Driver
Rev. 1.1
Table 16. Analog Components
Current (µA)
VDD Monitor
Total Analog
Table 17. Digital Component
Table 18.
In NORMAL Mode @ 18.432 MHz;
0.8 mA/MHz * 18.432 MHz = 14.7 mA
Table 19. Total Current Use
Table 20.
3.4 mA (analog)+14.7 mA (digital)= 18.1 mA
Example 4 in IDLE Mode
Placing the application in IDLE Mode with the
ADC disabled during intervals that sampling is not
required (no CIP-51 operations are needed; digital
peripherals continue to operate) will save power if
the sampling operation is a burst operation. In
IDLE Mode, the digital current consumption is
only 0.6 mA/MHz, with no ADC, thus the current
consumption at 18.432 MHz =11.1 mA.
Calculating the average supply current for one
sample period (similarly to Example 2, assuming a
10 kHz sampling rate and low-power tracking
mode), the average current is estimated to be
11.9 mA.
Rev. 1.1
AN11 6
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Rev. 1.1