Power Profiler Kit II from Nordic Semiconductor

If you are have ever worked on a low-power embedded design, you must already be aware of how critical it is to have a tool to analyze the power consumption of the device in various states and do proper profiling in order to optimize the power consumption.

There are only a handful of tools available in the market which can help you easily analyze the current/power consumption of your device. I have listed two professional tools (costs around 700-800$) here.

Also, I have written a detailed article on how to reduce the power consumption of your embedded device.

Power Profiler Kit II from Nordic Semiconductor 1
POWER PROFILER KIT II

Overview

The Power Profiler Kit II (PPK2) is a low-cost development tool, which can measure and can also supply power (0.8V to 5V DC) all the way from sub-uA and as high as 1A on all Nordic DKs, in addition to external hardware.

The PPK2 is powered by a standard 5V USB cable, which can supply up to 500mA of current. You need to connect two USB cabled if 1A of current is required by your device under test.

Key Features

  • 200nA to 1A measurement range
  • Resolution varies between 100nA and 1mA depending on the measurement range
  • Works with all Nordic DKs, in addition to your own custom HW
  • Ampere meter and source modes
  • 10x quicker sampling (100ksps) vs the previous generation
  • Standalone unit, USB interface
  • 0.8 – 5V VCC levels (Max 1A.)
  • 8 digital inputs enable low-end logic analyzer support

nRF Connect for Desktop PC software is all you need along with PPK2 to profile your device’s power consumption.

There are two modes, an ampere meter only mode, as well as a source mode (shown as AMP and source measure unit (SMU) respectively on the PCB), are supported.

Source Mode Spec

For the ampere meter mode, an external power supply must source VCC levels between 0.8 and 5V to the device under test (DUT).

For the source mode, the PPK2 supplies VCC levels between 0.8 and 5V and the onboard regulator supplies up to 1A of current to external applications. It is possible to measure low sleep currents, the higher active currents, as well as short current peaks on any connected hardware.

Power Profiler Kit II from Nordic Semiconductor 2

Measurement Resolution

The resolution varies between 100nA and 1mA depending on the measurement range and samples at 100K samples per second, high enough to detect small spikes as often seen in low-power optimized systems. This sampling rate is 10 times faster than the previous generation profiler kit.

Logic Analyzer Mode

The PPK2 can also use digital inputs as a low-end logic analyzer, enabling code-synchronized measurements. This can be achieved by connecting the digital inputs to an I/O pin on the external device under test (DUT).

In order to use this functionality, the DUT must be powered by a VCC voltage of 1.6-5.5V. The digital input can then show what code is executed in the DUT at different points in time.

Explainer Video

What is in the Box and Cost?

The box contains a PPK2 PCB, which connects to a computer via a micro USB cable (not included).

Jumper cables are included which are required to power and power profile the DUT. and A 10-pin logic port cable is also included which is required if you want to connect IOs from your device under test.

Although, its official cost is 89$ but you need to pay 92$ on Digikey/Mouser.

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