Measure/Record Chip Power Consumption in Real TIme


After having some issues recording and measuring chip power consumption in real time, my lab did some investigating and heard about ChipWhisperer. I’ve seen many examples of it being used for power side channel attacks like DPA on the target board’s microcontroller, but we mostly do ASICs and we’re mostly only interested in the power consumption measurements – not the attacks.

Would ChipWhisperer be able to measure and store instantaneous power consumption traces of a small circuit with high accuracy and would it be able to do this for a chip located on a board other than the target board it comes with? Additionally, which product would be the best to buy to serve these purposes?


Hi Kelby,

The ChipWhisperer (CWLite and CW1200) have SMA connectors on them for measuring power from other targets. @coflynn would be able to tell you more about limitations and accuracy. In the meantime, I can point you to the relevant datasheets:


Hi Kelby,

As Alex mentioned, measuring power off-board isn’t an issue.

However - are you trying to get power traces for DC power measurements? The ChipWhisperer front-end is AC coupled only. While it has high resolution for detecting small variations (10-bit ADC & various low-noise amplifiers), it’s exclusively AC coupled, and does’t have any calibration to “real” current consumptions.

For it’s primary purpose of power analysis delta measurements, there is no need (or even use) for ‘absolute’ measurements. Thus if you need measurements that translate to actual uA/mA values it won’t be ideal.