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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Reference Voltage Circuits in Microcontroller Systems", for Approval

February 19, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Menard, Patrice (Saint-Mars-Du-Desert, FR); Husson, Olivier (Nantes, FR); Dily, Mickael Le (Carquefou, FR); Gourbilleau, Thierry (Le Loroux-Bottereau, FR); Laurent, Marc (Nantes, FR); Schabel, Stefan (Syrgenstein, DE); Barzic, Ronan (Tiller, NO), filed on September 4, 2012, was made available online on February 6, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Atmel Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A reference voltage circuit is a circuit that produces a fixed voltage to a device. The fixed voltage is substantially constant despite variations in temperature. In systems on a chip, the current drawn by reference voltage circuit can become a significant contributor to the total power drawn by the chip in a power saving mode. Even though the core logic may not be operating in a power saving mode, the reference voltage circuit continues to draw current, and may be needed by certain components that continue operating in a power saving mode."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In some implementations, a microcontroller system includes a higher power reference voltage circuit and a lower power reference voltage circuit configured to draw less power than the higher power reference voltage circuit when enabled. The system includes a power state logic controller configured to enable the lower power reference voltage circuit to provide a first regulated voltage during a power saving mode, and, on exiting the power saving mode, enable the higher power reference voltage circuit to provide a second regulated voltage. In some implementations, a microcontroller system includes a main reference voltage circuit and a secondary reference voltage circuit having a faster startup time than the main reference voltage circuit. The system includes a power state logic controller configured to enable the main reference voltage circuit and the secondary reference voltage circuit on exiting a power saving mode, select the secondary reference voltage circuit while the main reference voltage circuit is starting up, and select the main reference voltage circuit when the main reference voltage circuit is ready.

"Particular implementations can provide one or more of the following advantages: 1) the system can use less power in power saving mode by switching to a lower power reference voltage circuit; 2) the system, by selecting between different reference voltage circuits, can select a reference voltage circuit that uses less power and has lower accuracy when higher accuracy components are not in use; 3) the system startup time on exiting a power saving mode can be reduced compared to some conventional systems; and 4) some modules can be ready to function sooner after exiting a power saving mode.

"The details of one or more disclosed implementations are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, aspects, and advantages will become apparent from the description, the drawings and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an example microcontroller system.

"FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of an example process performed by a microcontroller system for entering and exiting a power saving mode.

"FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an example microcontroller system.

"FIG. 4 is an example timing diagram illustrating the operation of the system of FIG. 3.

"FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of an example process performed by a microcontroller system for entering and exiting a power saving mode."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Menard, Patrice; Husson, Olivier; Dily, Mickael Le; Gourbilleau, Thierry; Laurent, Marc; Schabel, Stefan; Barzic, Ronan. Reference Voltage Circuits in Microcontroller Systems. Filed September 4, 2012 and posted February 6, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5004&p=101&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140130.PD.&OS=PD/20140130&RS=PD/20140130

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Microcontroller, Atmel Corporation.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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