Help, I'm a bit clueless

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by gtandrews, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. gtandrews

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Hello,

    I am very new to the world of microcontrollers. I have come to this forum to search out a little help from the community. Please allow me to explain my issues and questions. Firstly, I am on a team designing a nuclear battery, which will produce a small amount of usable energy. We want to apply the battery to preform some kind of task, therefore prompting the use of low-power micro controllers such as the TI MSP430. However, I am wondering how microcontrollers fit into the overall circuitry of any given device (simple device such as a temperature monitor). Due to the nature of the project, I am not yet sure of the exact output, but we have done some preliminary calculations and have found that we will likely be able to produce at least .45mW. Does anyone believe that a low-power microcontroller will prove to be a good start to a simple application device? Any help on the matter is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
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    Draw a block diagram of the system.
     
  3. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    Yes, it's feasible. My favorite processor, the PIC16F690, is specified to run at 200uA current draw on a 2V supply (thus a total of 400uW) at up to 2MHz clock rate, or just 40uW at the lowest clock rate, which is 31KHz. But you'd have to generate the power at that voltage level--any less and it won't run, any more and you're using more power for the same amount of computing. And what is this processor expected to do? Any peripherals you attach are likely to want power, and you haven't got much left over.

    One thing you might do is charge up a capacitor and then use the stored power to blink an LED. That would be if something, anything, that shows signs of life, is acceptable.
     
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  4. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    Two things I never wanted to hear together: I'm designing a nuclear battery and I'm clueless.
     
    #12, Sparky49, absf and 2 others like this.
  5. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    :D:D:D

    My thoughts were that anyone cabable of designing a nuclear battery certainly should be capable of doing a parametric search and understanding the datasheet. Regardless if MCUs are one's area of expertise or not.
     
  6. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Flash a LED.
     
  7. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    ... at a rate or pattern that indicates the temperature of the nuclear battery. ;)

    Fast flashing is allowed when it is signalling "meltdown!".
     
  8. gtandrews

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 26, 2014
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    Thanks for the replies (the helpful ones)!
     
  9. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Guess what? They ALL were helpful. ;-)
     
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