News Column

Patent Issued for Method and System for Monitoring Module Power Status in a Communication Device

August 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Chase, Bryan (Sunnyvale, CA), filed on June 12, 2007, was published online on August 5, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8799683 is Broadcom Corporation (Irvine, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Power usage is an important factor in wireless communications, especially for mobile communication devices that have a very limited battery capacity. With on-going development of wireless technology, there is a constant effort to reduce power consumption on these mobile communication devices such as wireless handsets. Reduction of power consumption in a wireless handset may necessitate reduction in the real estate of the silicon on a chip. In addition, power consumption within the chip may need to be analyzed so that more optimal use of the power resources within a wireless handset is accomplished.

"A conventional method of analyzing power consumption within a chip is by utilizing liquid crystals. In this regard, a chip may be decapped by removing the plastic cover from its top and depositing liquid crystals on the surface of the decapped chip. The chip may then be powered-up and configured to operate in a certain operating mode. Certain modules within the chip may utilize excessive power due to, for example, being turned on for a prolonged period of time. Due to the continuous or increased power consumption in such module, the liquid crystal just above the module may begin to boil and form bubbles. The boiling of the liquid crystal above the module may lead to discoloration and the appearance of 'spots' over the module with excessive power consumption. In this way, the specific module with excessive power consumption may be identified under a microscope and proper adjustments may be performed on the module and/or the chip. If, on the other hand, there are no modules within the chip that are characterized with excessive power consumption, the liquid crystal hardens uniformly without any 'spots' or discolorations.

"While this conventional method may be effective in analyzing power consumption within a chip, it is very impractical and time-consuming since the chip has to be separated from the handset, placed on a special board, decapped, covered with liquid crystal, powered-up and then analyzed under a microscope. Furthermore, it is very difficult to effectively perform such operations while the device is in operation. Additionally, issues with power consumption manifest themselves during operation.

"Further limitations and disadvantages of conventional and traditional approaches will become apparent to one of skill in the art, through comparison of such systems with some aspects of the present invention as set forth in the remainder of the present application with reference to the drawings."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Certain aspects of the invention may be found in a method and system for monitoring operating status of a device. Aspects of the method may include receiving within a chip, a signal indicative of a power status of an on-chip device. An output signal indicative of the power status may be generated from within the chip, while the chip is operating. The generated output signal may be communicated outside the chip via a serial bus, a plurality of pin connections on the chip, and/or a general purpose input/output connection. The generated output signal may be multiplexed on at least one pin on the chip and it may comprise a clock signal and/or a data signal. The data signal may comprise sequential power status information for a plurality of on-chip devices.

"Another aspect of the method may include, after acquiring a first signal indicative of the power status of the on-chip device, a second signal indicative of the power status of the on-chip device may also be acquired. A difference may be determined between the first signal and the second signal and the determined difference may be reported if it is non-zero. The second signal indicative of the power status of the on-chip device may also be reported, if the determined difference is non-zero.

"The system for monitoring operating status of a device may comprise at least one resistor that generates within a chip a signal indicative of a power status of an on-chip device, where the resistor may be coupled to a power rail within the chip. A power analyzer may receive within the chip the signal indicative of the power status. The power analyzer may generate from within the chip, an output signal indicative of the power status while the chip is operating. A serial interface may communicate the signal indicative of the power status to the power analyzer. The power analyzer may communicate the generated output signal outside the chip via a serial bus, a plurality of pin connections on said chip, and/or via a general purpose input/output connection.

"The power analyzer may multiplex the generated output signal on at least one pin on the chip. The generated output signal may comprise a clock signal and/or a data signal. The data signal may comprise sequential power status information for a plurality of on-chip devices. After the power analyzer acquires a first signal indicative of the power status of the on-chip device, the power analyzer may acquire a second signal indicative of the power status of the on-chip device. The power analyzer may determine a difference between the first signal and the second signal and it may report the determined difference if the determined difference is non-zero. The power analyzer may also report the second signal indicative of the power status of the on-chip device if the determined difference is non-zero.

"These and other advantages, aspects and novel features of the present invention, as well as details of an illustrated embodiment thereof, will be more fully understood from the following description and drawings."

For additional information on this patent, see: Chase, Bryan. Method and System for Monitoring Module Power Status in a Communication Device. U.S. Patent Number 8799683, filed June 12, 2007, and published online on August 5, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8799683.PN.&OS=PN/8799683RS=PN/8799683

Keywords for this news article include: Broadcom Corporation.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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