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RTC

 

Article updated at 24 Sep 2020
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Introduction

In the following article, we distinguish between an internal RTC (on the Apalis/Colibri/Verdin module) and an external RTC (on the carrier board).

For the Apalis and Colibri families, Toradex recommends the use of an external RTC because it often consumes more than 10 times less current than an internal RTC allowing a much smaller backup battery to be used. On the other hand, use of an internal RTC may simplify the carrier board design and may allow wake up using the alarm capabilities.

For the Verdin iMX8M Mini module, an external RTC is not necessary, since the module has an internal low power RX8130CE real-time clock from Epson.

For information regarding RTC use in Linux, see How to use the Real-Time Clock in Linux.

For information regarding RTC use in Win CE, see RTCSync.

Internal RTC

All Apalis, Colibri, and Verdin modules provide an internal RTC. Most modules (except some PXA models) provide an internal RTC which can be powered by a battery when other power is absent. Some modules also support the charging of the battery when other power is applied. The use of a battery is optional. When a battery is not utilized, the RTC is simply cleared when power is removed.

Some modules possess two RTCs - one in the SoC and one in the PMIC. In this case, the PMIC RTC is what is powered by the external battery when no other power is applied.

T20/T30

The following Colibri modules do have an on-module RTC:

  • Colibri T20
  • Apalis/Colibri T30

Note: On WinCE T20/T30 use the settings described here to use the on-module RTC.

TK1

The Apalis TK1 features an RTC in the PMIC.

i.MX 6/6ULL/7/8/8X

The internal RTC on modules that have i.MX 6, i.MX 6ULL, i.MX 7, i.MX 8 and i.MX 8X family processors is provided by the SoC.

i.MX 8M Mini

The module has an internal low power RX8130CE real-time clock from [Epson] plus an internal RTC provided by the SoC.

VFxx

Vybrid-based modules have an internal RTC that can be powered through VBATT and will not be influenced by changes of state of the main processor.

It is possible to use an external RTC and the RTCSync tool (already included in the standard Windows CE images) to synchronize it with the internal RTC at each boot.

PXA

RTC information for PXA modules

External RTC

We have added an external RTC (M41T0 by ST Microelectronics) on all our carrier boards. This is also recommended in many cases for custom carrier boards. Several factors lead the SoC manufacturers to not use ultra low-power RTCs: it may be a result of the silicon process selected for a specific SoC, while optimizing it for performance and speed; or due to the fact that some SoCs are designed for battery-operated devices like phones, a configuration in which the battery would be large enough that the current consumption of the RTC doesn't matter. The external RTC M41T0 has a very low operating current of about 1.7µA.

Using the external RTC on the Apalis Evaluation Board

Evaluation Board V1.0

Using the external RTC on the Colibri Evaluation Board

Evaluation Board V3.1/V3.2

Evaluation Board V2.1

To increase the accuracy of the external RTC on the Evaluation board V2.1, you can remove the two capacitors C100 and C101 on the Evaluation Board V2.1 (see Evaluation board V2.1 schematics). The following picture shows the location of the two capacitors which could be removed.


Using the external RTC on the Viola and Viola Plus

Viola V1.2

The RTC circuit components are not assembled by default. Please refer to the Real Time Clock (RTC) section of the Viola datasheet for detailed information.

Viola Plus V1.2

The Viola Plus V1.2 comes with the RTC circuit components assembled.

RTC Measurements

RTC drift measurements were made from each device's respective Linux image and are presented as absolute values.

Ext/Int CoM Family Device Ver RTC Current (uA @ 3.1V) Drift (ppm)
Ext Apalis Apalis Eval Board 1.0a Ext 1.35 20
Ext Colibri Colibri Eval Board 3.1a Ext 0.93 17
Int Apalis Apalis iMX6 1.0a SoC tbd 17
Int Apalis Apalis T30 1.0c PMIC tbd 38
Int Apalis Apalis T30 1.0c SoC - 38
Int Apalis Apalis TK1 1.2a PMIC tbd tbd
Int Colibri Colibri iMX6 - SoC tbd tbd
Int Colibri Colibri iMX6ULL - SoC tbd tbd
Int Colibri Colibri iMX7 - SoC tbd tbd
Int Colibri Colibri T20 1.2a PMIC 8.1 13
Int Colibri Colibri T20 1.2a SoC - 13
Int Colibri Colibri T30 1.1c PMIC tbd 35
Int Colibri Colibri T30 1.1c SoC - 35
Int Colibri Colibri VF50 1.1a SoC 11.8 17
Int Colibri Colibri VF61 1.1a SoC 12.0 17