The Power Profiler Kit II is a standalone unit, which can measure and optionally supply currents all the way from sub-uA and as high as 1A on all Nordic DKs, in addition to external hardware. As we’ve featured on EYE ON NPI, this power profiler is an excellent value – with capabilities that match tools 10x the price!
The PPK2 is powered via a standard 5V USB cable, which can supply up to 500mA of current. (In order to supply up to 1A of current, two USB cables are required.)
There’s two modes, one where the board that is being analyzed is powered via the PPK (source mode) and one where where it’s powered externally by, say, a battery (ampere mode).
For the ampere meter mode, an external power supply must source VCC levels between 0.8 and 5V to the device under test (DUT). For the source mode, the PPK2 itself supplies VCC levels between 0.8 and 5V (you can set the voltage using the connection software) and the onboard regulator supplies up to 1A of current to external applications. It is possible to measure low sleep currents, the higher active currents, as well as short current peaks whatever hardware you’re analyzing.
The PPK2 has an advanced analog measurement unit with a high dynamic measurement range. This allows accurate power consumption measurements for the entire range typically seen in low-power embedded applications, all the way from single μAs to 1A. The resolution varies between 100nA and 1mA depending on the measurement range and is high enough to detect small spikes as often seen in low power-optimized systems.
The PPK2 can also use digital inputs as a low-end logic analyzer, enabling code-synchronized measurements. This can be achieved by connecting the digital inputs to an I/O pin on the external device under test (DUT). In order to use this functionality, the DUT must be powered by a VCC voltage of 1.6-5.5V. The digital input can then show what code is executed in the DUT at different points in time.
10x quicker sampling (i.e. 100ksps) compared with the long-term window of the previous generation enables maximum continuous-resolution at all times. This enables a user to gather average acquisition data and zoom in for high-resolution data using the same window.
The PPK2 sends data to a computer for analysis – so you’ll need a PC that can run the separate Power Profiler app running in the nRF Connect for Desktop framework. Thankfully it runs on Mac, Windows or Linux. With the PPK2, the Power Profiler app can show both average acquisition times and high-resolution events in the same window. Measured data can be exported for post-processing.
Each order contains a PPK2 PCB with plastic enclosure, which connects to a computer via a micro USB cable (not included). Included jumper cables are required to power and power profile the DUT. An included 10-pin logic port cable is required for using the PPK2 digital inputs.