So, I found an interesting article the other day, and I'm trying to build a project that could benefit from a battery-backed memory (no wear limits, but keeps data over power cycling). The article lists how an extremely small current from an LED (acting as a photocell in the lit room) accidentally powered the AVR during a RAM-endurance test.
But, what if this is done on purpose with a battery?
(Article here: https://wp.josh.com/2014/03/03/the-mystery-of-the-zombie-ram/)
The problem with this idea (since the RAM can already be backed up, as shown in the article, though the author does not seem to have considered this) is that I need a way to keep an array of memory ignored by the C initializer. It would be the height of hilarity to have the memory survive the power-off event only to be nuked by the chip's powerup reset code. The listed example at that article would work, for the first requirement, but would break almost anything else I might try to do (since it overrides the entire initializer). (Comment on the reset issue: https://wp.josh.com/2014/03/03/the-mystery-of-the-zombie-ram/#comment-598)
Also, assuming I tried this, would I simply damage the pin rather than provide power? I plan to use a pin continually set to
input attached to the positive side of a lithium coin cell, with a common ground. In theory, powering the AVR (and I think at any voltage) through the VCC pin would cause the chip's diodes to disconnect the battery, but if it's unplugged, the core would receive enough power to keep the RAM alive.
Of course, my question is whether it would instead stupidly try to keep the core running when power is disconnected (in the original article, the nanowatts from the LED couldn't do that, so it's forced to shut down, but I don't know if this is solely due to power limits or if it would shut down the main systems if there's no connection over VCC). In this case, it might try to draw more than the 1mA rating over that parasitic supply, and try to power the entire chip when I don't want it to (thus frying the clamping diode or something equally bad).
I wonder if it would be possible simply to put a large resistor (10K? 1M?) in series with the battery in this case? That would automatically limit the supply to less than 1mA.