Power to roam
Battery applications are commonplace and demands for longer battery life are high on the list of priorities for many engineers. This is particularly important in the case of battery powered medical products. Products such as medical infusion pumps are carried by the user and the pump gradually administers a drug into the body. Most commonly used for providing insulin to diabetes patients, it is essential to keep an accurate record of the amount of drug already administered.
This record must be non-volatile (cannot be destroyed by battery failure) and using a low power non-volatile memory will extend battery life.
To erase and write 64kbits of data to FRAM consumes 1/60th of the energy compared to a low-power EEPROM and 1/400th of the energy of a serial flash memory. This impressive power saving of FRAM comes from two sources: FRAM uses less power to perform the write operation in significantly less time, thereby consuming less energy.
Engineers will quickly understand how easy it is to use FRAM. Engineers designing with serial EEPROM will find using serial FRAM to be easier by eliminating the need for wear levelling algorithms and capacitors. Parallel FRAM is a simple replacement of SRAM, needing no hardware modifications. Engineering managers will see that the fast write speed of FRAM removes the scheduling task from software allowing code to be developed more quickly, a step in the direction of improving time-to-market.
Designers of power management circuits will see that FRAM consumes less power (extending battery life) and can remove the need to save data on power fail completely, another step on the time-to-market road. Put simply, FRAM non-volatile memory makes the lives of design engineers a lot easier.
Duncan Bennett is FAE manager Europe at Ramtron.
Related links and articles:
Designing Drop-in Pseudo-Static Memories
This story appeared in the June 2009 print edition of EE Times EuropeEuropean residents who wish to receive regular copies of EE Times Europe, subscribe here.
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