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Ultra Low Power Microcontroller Backup Using the EnerChip™ CC

Introduction

Cymbet EnerChips are solid state rechargeable batteries having distinguishing characteristics compared to conventional rechargeable batteries. EnerChips have a high charge/discharge cycle life; low self-discharge; simple voltage controlled charging; flat discharge voltage profile; have no flammable solvents to leak or catch fire; are solder reflow tolerant; and are offered in low profile surface mount packages.

The EnerChip CC is a surface mount package containing a rechargeable solid state battery - the EnerChip - with integrated battery management that includes charge control, discharge cutoff circuitry, and a battery switchover (i.e., supply supervisory) function. EnerChips are used in applications requiring backup, bridging, or transition power to maintain real-time clock operation or SRAM data retention in the event of main power interruption; wireless sensing as the main power source when energy can be harvested from the ambient power and used to constantly trickle charge the EnerChip; and as a power source to perform housekeeping for microcontrollers (MCUs) and peripherals when main power is interrupted, to ensure an orderly shutdown or transition to low power modes.

In applications demanding ultra low power consumption, where the system uses a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller, it is essential to reduce or eliminate the power drawn by components peripheral to the MSP430. This Application Note describes a method to completely eliminate the power drawn by the EnerChip CC integrated battery management circuitry when the system is in the normal operating mode. This approach enables a backup battery solution that does not draw power when in normal run mode, thus maximizing the main battery life in battery powered systems.

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