Product News

New Energy Micro Line of Low-Power Cortex-M3 MCUs

100 new low power Cortex-M3 EFM32 microcontrollers introduced

Oslo, Norway, September 28, 2011 – Not to be outdone in the “race to the bottom”—in terms of low power—Energy Micro has announced the introduction of a further 100 EFM32 Gecko energy friendly microcontrollers.  Pin and code compatible with the existing Gecko and Tiny Gecko products, the new ARM Cortex-M3 based Leopard Gecko and Giant Gecko microcontrollers bring memory configurations up to 1MB, more package choice and additional energy saving, connectivity and display driving options.

Andreas Koller, Energy Micro’s VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, stressed to Low-Power Design the key points that differentiate the new Gecko offerings: they include the world’s first 1 MB flash low-power MCU; a 400 nA backup mode with RTC running and state retention; and they can directly drive a TFT LCD screen without burdening the MCU.

The Leopard Gecko product family is composed of 60 MCUs, providing 32KB RAM as standard and Flash of either 64KB, 128KB and 256KB. At the top end of the Energy Micro product portfolio, the 40 MCU Giant Gecko family provides Flash configurations of either 512KB or 1024KB with 128KB of RAM.  An extended range of package options comprises QFN64, QFP100, BGA112 and new QFP64 and 7mmx7mm small form factor BGA120 packages. The latest low power Geckos also take CPU operating speeds up to 48MHz.

A new feature introduced by the Leopard Gecko and Giant Gecko product families is a 400 nA back-up power mode, enabling the RTC to keep running and providing 512 back-up register bytes, thereby protecting against clock reset and data loss on a momentary power loss.  To help further reduce external component counts, the latest MCUs also integrate 3 on-chip operational amplifiers.

As well as Energy Micro’s low power 8x36 segment LCD controller, the latest MCUs also introduce the added option of a 320x240px direct drive TFT controller capable of driving display updates without CPU intervention, enabling further system power savings to be made in a wider variety of applications.

A USB 2.0 full speed connectivity option introduced on Leopard and Giant products supports host and OTG protocols and up to fourteen 2KB buffered end points, while a built-in 3.3V regulator also allows users to run the MCU from USB link power.  Additional communication options include five standard USART/UART serial interfaces and Energy Micro’s Low Energy UART, drawing only 150 nA at 9600 baud.
The LESENSE function block, previously integrated into Energy Micro’s Tiny Gecko family, is also included in the low power Leopard Gecko and Giant Gecko families.  A generic low energy sensor interface, LESENSE enables monitoring of a mix of up to 16 capacitive, inductive or resistive sensors independently of the processor core in the microcontroller’s sub-microamp Deep Sleep mode.

Based on Energy Micro’s unique low power MCU architecture and peripheral function blocks, EFM32 Gecko microcontrollers are capable of achieving an active mode current consumption of only 160µA/MHz and provide a deep sleep mode with RTC running that consumes just 400nA, a shut-off mode with GPIO wake-up consuming only 20nA and wake-up time from sleep modes being as short as 2µs.

The EFM32 Leopard Gecko and Giant Gecko microcontrollers are available now in production quantities, priced respectively from $2.47 USD and $3.53 USD each in 100K quantities.  Further information is available at


[Editor’s Note: In our interview Koller expressed frustration that people seemed to think that a leopard gecko was some sort of imaginary animal. On the contrary, my kids have a pet one in our living room—Gordon Gecko. He doesn’t act like a leopard, since he sleeps a lot. But then, too, so does Andreas’ Leopard Gecko.]

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