Typical Applications

Ambiq Micro’s timing and power management semiconductors provide valuable features for applications implemented in physically small spaces with long-term operation using battery power or energy harvesting.  Ambiq Micro integrates the features necessary to support these requirements in pin-compatible packages that optimize battery life and overall system power consumption. Our products, based on the SPOTTM platform, enable new applications for many different markets including powered smart cards, wireless sensors, battery operated consumer electronics, utility meters, security tokens and any application where product success or failure is measured in nanoamps.

Smart Cards

Cost Effective Smart Display Cards with a Much Longer Battery Life

Using the Ambiq Micro AM1805 Real Time Clock in Smart Display Card designs dramatically extends card life while at the same time cuts card cost.

  • The AM1805 plays two key roles in smart card operation 1) A highly accurate real-time clock for OTP transactions and 2) Acts as the overall card system power manager.
  • Card designers can take full advantage of the SPOT™-enabled AM1805 ultra-low power Autocalibration timing mode. At only 22nA for complete RTC operation, Autocalibration cuts total RTC power more than 7X compared to the closest industry competitor – while at the same time it provides a highly accurate clock signal for critical time-based card applications.
  • Cards using traditional RTC chips typically consume hundreds of nanoamps – even in sleep mode. This high power drain coupled with a limited card battery size typically limits the display card product life to three years or less. The AM1805, in addition to overall ultra-low power, has an intelligent 1Ω switch that can power gate the smart card’s battery hungry MCU and display. The AM1805 can completely power down the MCU and Display so that they are only consuming leakage current.
  • While the MCU and display are powered off, the AM1805 plays a dual role of keeping accurate time and monitoring the system for a power-up condition – all while consuming only 22nA. A card button push instructs the AM1805 to power up the MCU and display, load system parameters from its 256b of RAM and turn over control to the MCU.
  • AM1805-based smart display cards can now last more than five years while running on a less expensive, smaller battery.

White Goods

Almost Two Hours Of RTC Operation Powered by a Few Cent Ceramic Capacitor

The backup power source in a traditional RTC architecture is typically a coin cell battery or a supercapcitor. Unlike traditional real-time clocks, the SPOT™-enabled members of the Ambiq Micro AM0800 and AM1800 families with the VBAT feature can be powered for long periods of time using a simple, very low cost ceramic capacitor. This unique feature is perfect for cost sensitive and space limited applications.

  • The ultra-low power AM0800 and AM1800 Real-Time Clocks require only 22nA of power for complete operation in the highly accurate Autocalibration timing mode.
  • All members of the Ambiq Micro RTC family are equipped with the VBAT feature — able to automatically switch over to a backup power source on a Vcc power loss.
  • Power backup requires a minimal number of components – 1) a VBAT enabled Ambiq Micro RTC, 2) a 32.768Hz tuning fork crystal (no load caps required) and 3) an inexpensive ceramic capacitor.
  • The ceramic capacitor replaces an expensive supercapacitor at just a fraction of the cost. A simple 100μF ceramic capacitor will power an Ambiq Micro RTC with 256b of RAM for up to 1.7 hours in Autocalibration mode (22nA) and almost a full hour in XT mode (55nA).
  • There is sufficient backup time for multiple applications including:
    • Getting through a power grid outage or disturbance
    • Portable device battery replacement without losing time (and for storing system parameters and other application critical data on selected Ambiq Micro RTC family members equipped with up to 256b of RAM
    • Changing the wall outlet for appliances – coffee maker, rice cooker, microwave oven… without losing time-of-day or device settings
  • Multiple capacitors can be used in parallel for even longer backup times and to optimize backup power source cost.

Wireless Sensors & Tags

Reduce Wireless Sensor Operating Power By Using an Ambiq Micro RTC + Power Management in Place of an MCU’s Internal RTC

Using an inexpensive Ambiq Micro 1800 RTC in place of the internal clock inside a typical embedded MCU can dramatically lower the power required for wireless sensor operation.

  • The clock in a wireless sensor needs to run at all times in order to maintain network synchronization. When system designers rely on the internal MCU clock for system timing, this approach can consume 500nA or more – even when the MCU is in its deep sleep mode.
  • The addition of an Ambiq Micro RTC with integrated power management capabilities to replace the use of the internal MCU solves two key issues – 1) It reduces the power required for timing functions from a typical 500nA down to a minimal 22nA (Autocalibration mode) and 2) The AM1800 uses its intelligent 1Ω switch to power gate the MCU when the application is inactive – turning off the power to the MCU and radio.
  • Wireless sensor applications typically have long periods of sleep with short bursts of activity. This is a perfect scenario for the Ambiq Micro RTC with power management. For example, in a building energy management application the temperature sensors are active for 100ms every 5 minutes. The MCU CPU is active less than 0.03% of the time.
  • The Ambiq Micro RTC power management feature turns off the sensor’s MCU when it is inactive reducing power usage by 60X relative to using the clock in the MCU (assumes a 500nA MCU sleep mode).

Internet of Things

SPOTTM Technology powering IoT Devices

Over the coming months and years, Ambiq Micro’s highly advanced SPOT™ platform technology will change the way energy critical applications are designed. Imagine wearable health and fitness devices that can go months and months between recharging the batteries. Ambiq Micro products built on the SPOT ™ platform will give system developers a greatly expanded power budget enabling them to add significant new product functionality while still preserving long, long battery life. Adding months to the battery life will enable the market for this next generation of connected “Internet of Things” devices. The Ambiq Micro RTC family is available in volume quantities today. New Ambiq Micro ultra-low power products are just over the horizon. This is just the beginning…