REAL ICE™ Power Monitor

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

Operating Principles

The REAL ICE™ Power Monitor is connected to the REAL ICE. The target hardware is connected to the Power Monitor / REAL ICE though an ICSP cable. External Power is applied to the Power Monitor. This power is then supplied to the target board though the ICSP programmer/debugger interface.

In DEBUG mode, as the user controls the flow of the application the Power Monitor logs the power consumed by the target board. Using the Power Monitor the user can determine how the individual lines of code effect the power consumed by the target hardware.

System Requirements

When using the REAL ICE™ Power Monitor:

  • Only the basic debug features of the REAL ICE: 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 1 amp from the Power Monitor.



Ensure the REAL ICE™ is operational and can control the target through the ICSP interface.


Connect the Power Monitor to the REAL ICE™ 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 REAL ICE

Click image to enlarge.


Install the MPLAB® X Power Monitor Plug-in

  • From the Tools menu in MPLAB® X select Plugins
  • From the Available Plugins tab select Power Monitor then 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 REAL ICE™ / 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 Tools menu select Embedded, then Power Monitor

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

Click image to enlarge.

Using the Power Monitor

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

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

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