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JCSE, vol. 6, no. 2, pp.79-88, June, 2012


A Dynamic Frequency Controlling Technique for Power Management in Existing Commercial Microcontrollers

Attakorn Lueangvilai, Christina Robertson, Christopher J. Martinez
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Haven, West Haven, CT, USA

Abstract: Power continues to be a driving force in central processing units (CPU) design. Most of the advanced breakthroughs in power have been in a realm that is applicable to workstation CPUs. Advanced power management systems will manage temperature, dynamic voltage scaling and dynamic frequency scaling in a CPU. The use of power management systems for microcontrollers and embedded CPUs has been modest, and mostly focuses on very large scale integration (VLSI) level optimizations compared to system level optimizations. In this paper, a dynamic frequency controlling (DFC) technique is introduced, to lay the foundation of a system level power management system for commercial microcontrollers. The DFC technique allows a commercial microcontroller to have minor modifications on both the hardware and software side, to allow the clock frequency to change to save power; results in this study show a 10% savings. By adding an additional layer of software abstraction at the interrupt level, the microcontroller can operate without having knowledge of the current clock frequency, and this can be accomplished without having to use an embedded operating system.

Keyword: Embedded systems; Microcontrollers; Dynamic frequency scaling; Low power

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