Power Monitor

The Power Monitor for the MPLAB® REAL ICE™ In-Circuit Emulator enables designers to identify and eliminate code that consumes high current, in real-time. Used with the MPLAB REAL ICE In-Circuit Emulator and MPLAB X IDE, this development platform allows you to measure, graphically profile, and optimize code power consumption for all of Microchip’s 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit PIC® microcontrollers.

Operating Principles

The Power Monitor is connected to the MPLAB REAL ICE In-Circuit Emulator. The target hardware is connected to the Power Monitor/emulator through an In-Circuit Serial Programming (ICSP) cable. External power is applied to the Power Monitor. This power is then supplied to the target board through the ICSP programmer/debugger interface.

In Debug mode, as you control the flow of the application, the Power Monitor logs the power consumed by the target board. Using the Power Monitor, you can determine how the individual lines of code affect the power consumed by the target hardware.

System Requirements

When using the Power Monitor:

  • Only the basic debug features of the emulator are available: run, halt, single-step, and line breakpoints are available; advanced features such as trace, data capture, and run-time watch are not supported.
  • The target board cannot draw more than one amp from the Power Monitor.



Ensure the emulator is operational and can control the target through the ICSP interface.


Connect the Power Monitor to the emulator and the target board as shown in the figure at the top of this page. To do this, you will have to remove the ICSP adaptor from the emulator.

Click image to enlarge.


Install the MPLAB X IDE Power Monitor Plugin:

  • From the Tools menu in MPLAB X IDE, select Plugins.
  • From the Available Plugins tab, select Power Monitor, and then select Install.


Enable the Power Monitor board:

From the Project Properties window, select the Power Module from the menu under Supported Plug-in Board.

Click image to enlarge.


Configure the emulator / Power Monitor to supply power to the target hardware:

From the Project Properties window, select REAL ICE under Categories. Select Power from the pull down menu. Check Power target circuit from REAL ICE.

Click image to enlarge.


Start the Power Monitor Plugin:

From the MPLAB X IDE Tools menu, select Embedded, and then select Power Monitor.

Click image to enlarge.

The Power Monitor window will open up in the lower right hand side of MPLAB X IDE.

Click image to enlarge.

Using the Power Monitor

Please refer to the video referenced at the top of this page for several step-by-step examples of using the Power Monitor. To see the examples, advance the video to the 4:35 point.

Additional documentation on the operation is available for other configurations in the "Power Monitor User's Guide."

The Power Monitor (AC 244008) may be purchased at Microchip Direct.

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