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Leading Edge Current Measurements for Tommorow's Products
Leading Edge Current Measurements for Tommorow's Products


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Accurate low-current measurements with a scope
Most engineers consider the oscilloscope their first tool of choice for hardware development work. Yet very few engineers ever consider how accurate their scope is. Most of the major oscilloscope manufacturers place great importance on the timing aspects of their products. Multi-gigahertz sample rates are fairly common today in mid-range digital scopes today yet most of those scopes only have 8-bit A/D converters. While timing accuracy is often spec’d in double-digit ppm, voltage measurement error on the same scope can be as much as the signal level you need to measure using a scope’s lowest volts/division setting.
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Leakage current & current leaks - part 2

Virtually all semiconductor devices have some amount of leakage current. It is interesting to note as operating voltages and device power consumption keep dropping, leakage current is becoming a larger percentage of a device’s power consumption. In most cases there isn’t much you can do about leakage currents other than be aware of them and account for them in your power analysis. In some cases there may be a significant difference in leakage current levels from manufacturer to manufacturer for devices that perform the same function so it pays to take the time to include leakage current comparison in your component selection. For a CMOS device that isn’t actively being clocked, leakage current can make up a significant part of its power consumption that may be called out as “standby current” or “quiescent state current” in the datasheet.
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Blog post - Leakage current & current "leaks" - part 1

Accounting for all of the obvious points of power consumption and their current levels for active and sleep states can be a difficult task. In every design there are also points of power consumption that are often overlooked. Every type of semiconductor device has some amount of “leakage current” that may or may not be called out in its datasheet.  Leakage current can make up the majority of the deep-sleep current draw for a modern micro when it shuts off power to most of its internal circuits. There may also be aspects of your design that can “leak” microamps to milliamps of current that you don’t take into account.
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Download our free PDF ebook, "Low Power Design". It includes tips and techniques for low power hardware and firmware design. Most of what you find about low power design on the Internet today is hardware related and mostly the same things repeated over and over. More often than not, the micro selection and firmware will play a bigger role in meeting your power consumption goals than the hardware design.

Download "Low Power Design" ebook and read our whitepapers on low current measurement at

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We are expanding the µCurrent Probe family with µCP120. The µCP120 offers a higher current than the µCP100 (5nA to 100mA). With a current range of 50nA to 800mA the µCP120 is ideal for use on most devices using Bluetooth, ZigBee, WiFi or any other low power wireless radio.

Check out the µCP120 press release at
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