Power debugging

What is it?

Power debugging is a methodology that provides software developers with information about how the software implementation in an embedded system affects system level power consumption. Because software controls the hardware including peripheral units, it also controls power consumption. By coupling source code to power consumption, testing and tuning for power optimization is enabled. This new dimension of software debugging is innovated by IAR Systems.  

IAR Systems' power debugging technology samples the momentary current drawn by the system and feeds it to a power debug API where it is synchronized with time stamped debug information.  This connects power consumption directly to the source code.

Read more about Power debugging in IAR Embedded Workbench

Why do you need it?

For battery operated embedded systems, low power consumption is a primary design objective. Power debugging has the capability to help developers extend battery life time in such systems by optimizing the software. Typically, the processor itself uses only a fraction of the available power resources whereas most is used by peripherals. Ensuring efficient use of peripherals is then a key to extending battery life time.

Implementing tools for power debugging in the development environment enables detection of design flaws causing unnecessary power consumption and unveils optimization opportunities for extending battery lifetime.


"The optimization of power consumption is an issue that concerns all types of systems, not just battery operated ones. In low-power operation modes where the processor is stopped, the consumption is directly linked to the hardware implementation. In active mode the power consumption efficiency is dependent on both hardware and software. IAR Systems' power debugger is a valuable tool that enables the customer to achieve aggressive power targets," comments Jacko Wilbrink, ARM Product Marketing Director at Atmel.

"The launch of power debugging matches perfectly the introduction of the STM32 Ultra Low Power family, STM32L. With such a powerful tool, designers will easily fine tune their code to optimize performance, functionality and battery life of their applications in markets such as consumer, industrial, medical or metering", said Dominique Jugnon, STMicroelectronics Development Tools Manager.

"We have seen tremendous interest for our power debugging technology" said Stefan Skarin, CEO IAR Systems. "It shows that we are breaking new ground for designing low-power applications. We intend to keep innovating power debugging to provide developers with the best tools to develop low-power software for embedded systems."