February 11, 2020
|By: Christine Young
Blogger, Maxim Integrated
When you're ready to start a new project, you're faced with a lot of IC choices. You can read datasheets, talk to your peers, and research parts online. However, one of the fastest ways to get a sense of how well an IC will work in your design is through an evaluation board. What's more, there are "mini" evaluation boards available that are even easier on your budget while providing a fast way to test-drive an IC's functions and features.
MikroElektronika (Mikroe) has built an array of "click boards" that serve this purpose. They're not intended for full development, but are instead a way to quickly assess an IC before you commit to buying the parts. One of the coolest click boards in Mikroe's collection is the $17 RTC 7 Click, a real-time clock module with low enough power consumption that it can be used with a single button-cell battery or a supercapacitor for an extended period of time. This board features the MAX31341B nanoPower RTC, which outputs time in a binary coded decimal (BCD) format. Its integrated, factory-calibrated crystal operates at 32.768kHz for a very low time deviation. The click board also has an onboard external (and more precise) crystal oscillator.
Using a discrete RTC like the MAX31341B allows your design to track time while saving power. You can also save on external components because of its integration and extend battery life of your product because of its low quiescent current (less than 180nA of timekeeping current). These capabilities, along with its 2mm x 1.5mm size, make the MAX31341B ideal for compact designs like wearables. For accuracy and flexibility, the IC also features external clock synchronization with an external crystal of your choice. Its automatic backup switch means the IC can use an external power source when power on the main power terminals gets interrupted. It can then be operated with the supercapacitor almost indefinitely.
The RTC 7 Click is supported by a mikroSDK-compliant library, which provides functions to simplify software development. In case you're interested, in addition to the RTC 7 Click, Mikroe also offers various other click boards featuring Maxim Integrated ICs. If you're ready to prototype a design that requires time-keeping, check out the MAX31341EVKIT evaluation kit, a fully assembled and tested PCB. The kit operates from a single supply and features an onboard crystal with a 32.768kHz clock signal.
Mikroe's RTC 7 Click provides an affordable way to evaluate the MAX31341B nanoPower RTC.