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Battery-less IoT connectivity enabled by low-power & multi-standard wireless MCU

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By eeNews Europe

With these devices, TI says that designers have the flexibility to develop products that support multiple wireless connectivity standards using a single-chip and identical RF design. The SimpleLink ultra-low power platform supports Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, Sub-1 GHz, ZigBee RF4CE and proprietary modes up to 5 Mbps.

The SimpleLink ultra-low power platform is – TI asserts – the most integrated with an ARM Cortex-M3 MCU, Flash/RAM, analogue-to-digital converter, peripherals, sensor controller and built-in robust security on chip. The platform comes with ready-to-use protocol stacks, TI RTOS, Code Composer Studio integrated development environment (IDE), development tools, online training and E2E community support. Minimal RF expertise is required with available reference designs, which simplify development and layout. TI makes it easier for users to connect to the cloud through the TI IoT cloud ecosystem.

The first members of the SimpleLink ultra-low power wireless MCU platform are the CC2640 for Bluetooth Smart, and the CC2630 for 6LoWPAN and ZigBee. The CC2650 wireless MCU supports multiple 2.4 GHz technologies including Bluetooth Smart, 6LoWPAN, ZigBee and RF4CE. The multi-standard support helps future-proof designs and configure a chosen technology at the time of installation in the field. Additional members of the platform – the CC1310 for Sub-1 GHz operation and the CC2620 for ZigBee RF4CE – will be available later in 2015.

The ultra-low power platform is designed for low power operation, and includes an integrated sensor controller that interfaces external sensors autonomously while the rest of the device sleeps. The platform includes radio peak currents below 6.2 mA and MCU active current of less than 61 µA/MHz. The complete chip can stay in standby at only 1.1 µA with memory retention and RTC (real time clock) running. This enables the platform to claim half the power of other MCUs according to EEMBC’s ULPBench with a score of 143.6. TI has an on-line post about how battery-less operation is achieved, here.

The CC2640 is designed for a broad range of Bluetooth Smart applications including health, fitness and medical wearables, mobile accessories, beacons, industrial automation and more with low power Flash-based Bluetooth 4.1 solution with multi-year operation on smaller coin cells, and one-chip Bluetooth Smart system in a 4×4 mm size that integrates a Flash-based MCU, Bluetooth Smart radio

The CC2630 is designed for 6LoWPAN or ZigBee technologies for applications in LED lighting control, home automation applications such as security systems, appliances, smart plugs and wireless sensor networks with, ultra-low power operation on a coin cell battery to power a light switch for 10 years and enable battery-operated mesh networks or energy harvesting-based sensor nodes. A portfolio of IEEE 802.15.4-based networking solutions provides support for the largest networks; IP and cloud connectivity comes with 6LoWPAN operation.

Additional members of the SimpleLink family will include the Sub-1 GHz CC1310 wireless MCU for operation in 315 MHz, 433 MHz, 470 MHz, 868 MHz, 915 MHz and 920 MHz ISM bands and the ZigBee RF4CE CC2620 wireless MCU for advanced TV, set-top box and home entertainment remote controls.

SimpleLink ultra-low power wireless MCU platform-based development kits are available:

  • development kits for 2.4 GHz operation are based on the CC2650 solution and are customised with technology-specific software for Bluetooth Smart, 6LoWPAN, ZigBee or ZigBee RF4CE operation.
  • CC2650DK: $299 for a complete 2.4 GHz hardware, software and RF development platform for Bluetooth Smart, ZigBee and 6LoWPAN
  • CC2650EMK: $99 for two optimised plug-in boards to easily test RF performance with more nodes in a CC2650DK network
  • CC2650STK: $29 for the Bluetooth Smart SensorTag

The SimpleLink ultra-low power wireless MCU devices will be available in 4×4, 5×5 and 7x7mm QFN packages. The 7×7 mm package is available now as part of TI’s sample program, the other devices will follow in the coming months. Pricing for the 7×7 devices are as follows:

SimpleLink Bluetooth Smart CC2640 wireless MCU are $3.00; SimpleLink 6LoWPAN and ZigBee CC2630 wireless MCU are $5.10(all 1000).

TI; www.ti.com/simplelink


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