Written by Chris Gammell, Developer Relations Lead at Golioth
This article originally ran on the Golioth website. For more content like this, click here.
How do you ensure you achieve the lowest possible power with your Cellular IoT Devices? We held a webinar on January 18th, 2023 where we tackled this question, alongside our friend Jared Wolff of CircuitDojo. In this video, we review how to measure and optimize your hardware, firmware, and software. The main focus of this video is the nRF9160 from Nordic Semiconductor, which runs NCS / Zephyr. Jared shared many of the tips and tricks he has learned while building the CircuitDojo Feather nRF9160.
A three pronged approach
There are three key areas to focus on when trying to optimize your design for low power.
- Hardware – Jared talked about the importance of part choice, especially on the switching regulator. The nRF9160 has a low quiescient current if everything is configured properly.
- Firmware – In order to take advantage of the low current draw of the part in question, we need to understand and enable features within the nRF9160. This would be true of any part we chose to use, the configuration is crucial. Understanding how the cellular modem is communicating with the tower is another important step, since each time you ping the tower it takes energy to check in.
- Software – In this case, we mean Cloud software, such as the capabilities that Golioth provides to its users. The Golioth platform enables efficiencies like CoAP communication and CBOR encoding, lowering the size (and power draw) of each packet you decide to send to the Cloud. Things like the Golioth Setting service allows you to enable and disable different modes on your device to achieve fine-grained control of devices in your fleet.
Take your design (and battery life) further
Golioth is focused on building better cellular IoT deployments. We enable engineers to build customizable and reliable device fleets that monitor and impact the world around them. If you need any help optimizing your fleet, let us know on our forum or drop us a note.