In the early days of computing, storage was expensive and limited, and using a two-digit date format in real-time clocks (RTC) allowed programmers to save valuable memory space. However, as the year 2000 approached, it became clear that this short-sighted approach would cause problems. This became commonly referred to as the "Y2K problem," as the two-digit format would cause the year 2000 to be interpreted as 1900, leading to potential errors in systems that relied on accurate timekeeping. Ultimately companies and organizations worldwide spend billions of dollars to fix the Y2K problem by upgrading their systems software, hardware, and testing to ensure that the systems can handle the changeover from 99 to 00.
The lessons learned from those bygone days have all been implemented in today’s class of RTCs, especially those offered by Maxim Integrated. The job of a real-time clock (RTC) device is to keep track of the current time and date even when the power is off. It is typically used in computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices to provide accurate timekeeping for various functions such as scheduling events, setting alarms, and synchronizing data. In a circuit, an RTC typically includes a crystal oscillator to maintain a precise frequency, a battery or other power source to keep the clock running when the main power is off, and an interface to allow the device to read and set the time.
In this week’s New Tech Tuesday, we will examine the benefits of using the MAX31331 Ultra-Low-Power, I2C Real-Time Clock from Maxim Integrated in your next medical or wearable design application.
The MAX31331 ultra-low power, real-time clock (RTC) is a timekeeping device that consumes a nominal 65nA timekeeping current for extending run time and battery life. This device comes in a 3mm x 3mm 10-pin TDFN footprint and requires no external load capacitors. The MAX31331 supports a wide range of 32.768kHz crystals providing design engineers with the flexibility to use a broader pool of crystals for this device. Other value-added features for ease of use include a dedicated event detection pin and event timestamping, including 32-byte timestamp registers that double as RAM storage. Plus, the date at the end of the month automatically adjusts for months with fewer than 31 days, including corrections for a leap year. The clock operates in a 24-hour/12-hour format. The precise timekeeping and event tracking of Maxim Integrated’s MAX31331 Ultra-Low-Power Real-Time Clock makes it ideal for medical and wearable applications.
While doomsday scenarios such as those triggered by Y2K seem so unlikely with today's technological advancements, one thing remains certain: RTCs still play a vital timekeeping role in most applications. Precise timekeeping and timestamping are essential, especially in medical applications. The MAX31331 Real-Time Clock from Maxim Integrated allows engineers to design medical devices such as insulin pumps, CT-imaging equipment, and wearable health monitors with precision timekeeping and minimal power consumption, extending battery life.
Rudy is a member of the Technical Content Marketing team at Mouser Electronics, bringing 35+ years of expertise in advanced electromechanical systems, robotics, pneumatics, vacuum systems, high voltage, semiconductor manufacturing, military hardware, and project management. As a technology subject matter expert, Rudy supports global marketing efforts through his extensive product knowledge and by creating and editing technical content for Mouser's website. Rudy has authored technical articles appearing in engineering websites and holds a BS in Technical Management and an MBA with a concentration in Project Management. Prior to Mouser, Rudy worked for National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.
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