Low-Power Wireless is migrating over to Low-Power Design. We’re in the process of moving feature articles to that site, and all new product releases, news stories, videos, and blog posts will appear there instead of here.
Low-Power Design has garnered a lot more traffic than Low-Power Wireless, and we’d like to get our message–which is consistent across both sites–to a much larger audience, which this move will accomplish.
Thank you for your interest in and support of Low-Power Wireless, which we hope and trust will continue on Low-Power Design.
John Donovan, Editor/Publisher
For the first time, Sitara ARM MPU-based devices can leverage pre-integrated, community-backed mac80211 Wi-Fi and BlueZ Bluetooth drivers for cost-effective access point applications
DALLAS, July 11, 2011 – Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today premiered its first module platform housing the WiLink 6.0 (WL1271) single-chip, wireless combo solution with TI’s open source, Linux-based OpenLink drivers. The OpenLink drivers are built on the community-validated mac80211 Wi-Fi driver and BlueZ Bluetooth protocol stack. The first in a series of such open source platforms from TI, the new WiLink 6.0 OpenLink platform is pre-integrated with TI’s AM18x Sitara ARM microprocessors (MPUs). This enables customers developing industrial or point-of-service applications on cost-effective ARM MPUs to easily introduce reliable, low-power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. More information can be found here: www.ti.com/am18x-pr
Introducing OpenLink Wi-Fi access points
Today’s release also signifies the first time TI’s customers can easily repurpose Sitara ARM MPU-based designs as Wi-Fi access points via the new WiLink 6.0 OpenLink platform. OpenLink technology offers mobile-grade, battery-optimized Wi-Fi connectivity supporting native Linux designs, giving customers tested wireless technologies that can be easily re-integrated into designs as they migrate from one kernel version to the next. Additionally, TI’s mac80211 Wi-Fi driver is optimized to maximize system level throughput.
As a result, battery-friendly customer products built on Sitara ARM MPUs can serve as a mobile Wi-Fi gateway or support peer-to-peer file transfers with other Wi-Fi enabled devices. These capabilities eliminate the need for external access points and create new opportunities for unique use cases depending on mobile, self-networking devices.
The quick-start experience and other key features
The AM18x Sitara ARM EVM + WL1271 Development Kit is the latest version of TI’s original AM18x Sitara ARM EVM and includes elements that create a unique, quick-start experience right out of the box. Meaning a user can be up and running with a demo application in 30 minutes or less.
|OpenLink™ open source drivers
(Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies)
|· Native Linux connectivity solutions
· Simplified re-integration with Linux kernel upgrades
· Peer-tested technologies
|Predefined, validated hardware interfaces and software functionality||· Minimized risk and design trade-off analysis|
|WPA supplicant, hostapd, BlueZ Stack, Open Obex software profiles||· Inclusion of all components required for end-to-end connectivity functionality
· First-time availability of soft access point via AM18x Sitara ARM EVM
|Integrated system components
(all firmware, low-level drivers and applications)
|· Reduced engineering costs, faster time-to-market|
|Optimized system-level power consumption and throughput||· Lower power, higher throughput in complex system use cases|
|Robust TI E2E community and third party support||· Innovation through collaboration
· Faster time-to-market
Pricing and availability
The production-ready WiLink 6.0 (WL1271) OpenLink module is packaged as a daughter card and bundled in the AM18x Sitara ARM EVM + WL1271 Development Kit, priced at $1,150.00. For customers already working on an AM18x Sitara ARM EVM, the standalone daughter card is available for $249. [Note: The WiLink 6.0 OpenLink daughter card is compatible with all existing AM18x Sitara ARM EVMs, except the AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU.]
· TI’s AM18x EVM + WL1271 Development Kit: www.ti.com/AM18x-pr-es
· TI’s standalone WiLink 6.0 daughter card: www.ti.com/AM18xWLDC-pr-es
Two-chip bundle costs less than $1.00, enables long-range wireless connectivity for cost-sensitive, low-power applications such as toys, security systems and more
DALLAS (July 7, 2011) – Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today introduced a new Sub-1 GHz RF Value Line family, offering developers low-cost connectivity solutions for sub-1 GHz RF applications such as remote controls, toys, home and building automation, and security systems. The Sub-1 GHz RF Value Line family launched with the CC115L transmitter, CC113L receiver and CC110L transceiver, all available immediately. In high volume, the line offers a complete, one-way RF link for less than USD $1. The new devices are based on TI’s Sub-1 GHz CC1101 RF technology, and are pin-, register- and code-compatible, as well as backwards compatible with existing sub-1 GHz systems. For more information, see www.ti.com/rfvalueline-pr.
“TI’s new Sub-1 GHz RF Value Line answers the market’s increasing need for simple, low-cost connectivity for applications that require both long battery life and long range wireless connection,” said Erling Simensen, product marketing manager, Low-Power RF, TI. “Designs based on the Sub-1GHz RF Value Line family not only ease connectivity integration efforts for engineers, but promise wireless connectivity for more of today’s cost-sensitive consumer applications.”
The CC11xLDK-868-915 and CC11xLEMK-433 development kits provide complete hardware performance testing and software development platforms for the new product family. The kits also offer new low-cost reference designs, with a compact PCB antenna for 433, 868, 915 MHz, featuring a reduced component count and complete design ready for FCC and ETSI certification. The small-size, compact PCB helix antenna represents only a quarter of the size of previous PCB antennas, and is useful for applications requiring high antenna efficiency in a compact area.
Sub-1 GHz RF Value Line family: Key features and benefits
- One-way RF link for USD $1 in high volumes (transmitter + receiver bundle)
- Complete design with reduced component count, ready for FCC and ETSI certification
- Low-cost reference design with compact PCB antenna
- Low-power, long battery life time:
- Fast startup-time with 0.24ms from power down to RX or TX
- 0.2 µA sleep current
- Flexible and backwards compatible with existing sub-1 GHz systems:
- Supports multiple modulation formats with 2-FSK, 4-FSK, GFSK and OOK.
- Programmable data rate from 0.6 to 600kbps
- Supports multiple frequency bands: 300-348, 387–464 and 779– 928 MHz
- Easy to switch between one-way and two-way solutions:
- Pin, register and code compatibility
- Long range communication: seamless integration with CC1190 range extender: gives up to + 27dBm output power and -120 dBm sensitivity, and up to +20 dBm output power without frequency hopping (FHSS) under FCC
- Compatible with CC1190 range extender, MSP430™ Value Line microcontroller, and TPS62730 Step Down Converter with Bypass Mode for Ultra Low Power Wireless Applications
Tools, availability, packaging and price
The Sub-1Ghz RF Value Line is available today from TI and through authorized TI distributors. The solution is packaged in a ROHS-compliant, 4 mm x 4 mm QFN-32. Pricing starts at $0.75 in 1,000-unit quantities.
The new CC11xLDK-868-915 development kit is available today for USD $299 on TI’s e-store. An additional CC11xLEMK-433 development kit is available for USD $99.
June 29, 2011 – RFMD’s RFVC182X family of narrowband MMIC voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs) with integrated RF output buffer amplifiers have excellent temperature, shock, and vibration performance. These VCOs are suitable for applications in the 4.45 to 8.7GHz frequency range. All products in this family of VCOs provide POUT >8dBm from a +3V single supply and deliver low phase noise performance with minimum power consumption. Each VCO comes in a compact, RoHS compliant 4.0 x 4.0mm QFN package.
- -108 to -101dBc/Hz phase noise at 100kHz offset
- +8.0 to +9.12dBm POUT
- No external resonator or elements needed
- +3V operation
- Low cost, 4.0 x 4.0mm leadless QFN package
- Military and aerospace
- Satellite communications
- Test instrumentation
- Point-to-point radio
- Industrial and medical
For more information on the RFVC182X family, visit
The ability to find missing keys and smartphones, or alarm and securely lock almost any portable device that is separated from its owner, will be just the start of a new wave of proximity-based wireless sensing applications that the newly adopted Bluetooth low energy Find Me and Proximity profiles will allow as part of the latest Bluetooth v4.0 spec
Oslo, Norway – JUL 5, 2011 – Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA today announces that the Bluetooth SIG’s recent finalization of its Bluetooth low energy Find Me and Proximity profiles – part of the latest Bluetooth Version 4.0 (v4.0) specification – will make mass-market wireless proximity and security sensing viable for the first time.
This will include the ability to find missing keys and smartphones, or alarm and securely lock almost any portable device that is separated from its owner (or authorized user) by more than a certain distance via the use of, for instance, a simple Bluetooth low energy key fob device.
Within the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification, that includes Bluetooth low energy as a hallmark feature, there are now two profiles applicable to proximity sensing and security:
- The Bluetooth low energy Find Me profile targets smartphone applications, and will allow users to pair small – but commonly misplaced – everyday objects with their smartphone in order to locate them. One early product example will be Bluetooth low energy key fobs that users will be able to use to find a misplaced phone (by pushing a button on the fob to make the phone sound an audible alert), or a misplaced key fob (by pushing a button within a smartphone app to make the key fob sound an alert).
- The Bluetooth low energy Proximity profile targets smartphones and other portable devices such as computer laptops and tablets, and further extends the functionality of the Find Me profile to include more advanced in- and out-of-range functions. This could include, for instance, the ability to trigger an automatic security lock-down if a smartphone or laptop/tablet is separated from its owner by more than a certain threshold distance, or wake a sleeping desktop computer as soon as the user sits down in front of it.
“The profiles have been developed within the Bluetooth SIG PUID [Personal User Interface Device] working group by technical teams from a number of different Bluetooth SIG member companies all eager to enable this new, standards-based wireless functionality,” comments Frank Berntsen, Chief Scientist at Nordic Semiconductor and chair of the PUID working group.
“I can foresee a day when proximity sensing will become a standard feature of almost all modern portable electronics – from car key fobs to smartphones and laptops,” comments Michael Foley, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG. “And with Bluetooth v4.0, manufacturers can go beyond the devices we know and carry today, to create personal security products that keep our children safe, our pets nearby, and our valuables within reach. The adoption of these profiles is the first step in that process.”
“The incidents of people losing keys, smartphones and laptops, and even personal and professional data security breaches, could be dramatically reduced in the future with the use of Bluetooth low energy-based proximity sensing,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “And I think most people and companies will welcome a simple solution based on proximity that helps protect and safeguard their valuable portable electronics and sensitive, personal data.”
Guest Blog by Will Strauss, President & Principal Analyst, Forward Concepts
New LTE Handsets Take Different Modem Tacks
There’s no question that HTC’s Thunderbolt LTE/CDMA handset for Verizon’s LTE network has been a hit. That, of course, followed the Samsung Craft fielded on the MetroPCS network. The Thunderbolt employs two Qualcomm modems while the Craft employs an LTE modem from Samsung and a Qualcomm CDMA modem. Note that Verizon’s LTE network is data-only, so CDMA is also required to handle voice (and 3G fallback, if properly implemented).
The two latest Verizon LTE handsets employ different modem pairings. The LG Revolution LTE phone employs GCT’s LTE modem (listed as the LG L2000, since it employ’s LGE’s LTE stack), and Qualcomm’s MSM8655 Snapdragon for CDMA and Application Processor implementation. The new Samsung Droid Charge totally departs from Qualcomm, employing Samsung’s LTE modem and Via Telecom’s CDMA modem. This presents a “breakout” for San Diego-based Via Telecom, whose baseband chips have been only evident in China handsets and some entry-level CDMA-1x handsets in the U.S. Now, Via Telecom, as Qualcomm’s only CDMA baseband competitor, will get more respect, and likely more sockets.
Neul Opens Whitespace Market with First Product
Cambridge U.K.-based Neul has launched NeulNET, the first production wireless radio system that is designed to use free, white space spectrum, formerly occupied by analog TV. NeulNET is targeting machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, local broadband delivery, smart meter communications, and more. There is up to 150MHz of high quality white space spectrum available and it’s free. However, to use white space systems must meet very stringent technical specifications to prevent interference with digital television equipment and wireless microphones. The company claims NeulNET to be the first wireless system to meet these conditions, including the FCC’s challenging adjacent channel power specification. The NeulNET system, which includes a basestation unit and portable battery-powered terminal, makes it easy to create white space networks that deliver up to 16Mbps per available white space channel at a range of up to 10km. The NeulNET system is available to order now. BTW: Neul was started by the founders of Cambridge Silicon Radio (now CSR plc), so they aren’t amateurs stumbling into a brave new world.
What Goes “Zoosh” and Plays Mobile Wallet?
Tired of waiting for NFC to kick in for mobile payments? Zoosh™ is the trade name for a new mobile payments technology that is being fielded in the next 30 days by a new Silicon Valley company, Narette, Inc. (rhymes with “karate”). Rather than waiting for NFC standards or the required point-of-sale (POS) infrastructure to kick in, one can employ the new technology which simply employs an audio communications link from the speaker of the handset to the microphone of the other device, employing ultrasound technology. Besides Norette’s proprietary software, MP3 playback capability is the only technical requirement for the acoustic baseband solution. A unique and perishable transaction ID is created for every Zoosh. Besides cellphone-to-POS transactions, Narette is planning for social networking and machine commerce applications as well.
Freescale Shines in San Antonio
Last week, Freescale Semiconductor held its annual Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) at the new JW Marriott Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Of course, Freescale was showing off its new products, like working silicon of its new quad-core i.MX6 applications processor based on ARM’s Cortex-A15 core. But it also exposed the 2,000+ attendees to the company’s ecosystem and supporter’s products. Freescale grew its overall market share last year, and this event was a clear sign that the company is in it for the long haul.
TI Gets Small
Although it’s well known that Texas Instruments will exit the handset baseband business about the end of 2012 (or when its Nokia baseband contract runs out), it has continued growing its market-leading macro base station DSP business. Now, TI has begun renewed emphasis on silicon for smaller base stations, including femtocells and picocells. Not only with its new family of powerful DSP+ARM SoC’s (TCI6612/14), but also paired with wireless application specific libraries and a portfolio of complementary analog products such as data converters, RF products, power management, clocks and amplifiers, absorbing more of the small base station ecosystem. Although TI has already been shipping its DSP chips to several femtocell vendors, we believe that most have been earlier “off-the-shelf” DSP chips rather than new small-cell-specific devices. TI got more respect in the field last month when U.K. femtocell firm Ubiquisys Ltd. announced that it had chosen TI to supply silicon for a new range of 3G and future 3G/LTE enterprise femtocells and metro small cells. Ubiquisys will continue using Broadcom/Percello processors in its residential femtocells.
TI likes to bill itself variously as an “analog” company or an “embedded processing” company (depending who you’re talking to at TI). The embedded terminology now encompasses any electronic “squirrel cage” and analog mix the company can conjure up. I guess this fits the definition.
Neglected in Colorado?
For the many electronics firms in Colorado, you now have a voice. The new Colorado Silicon Network aims to be a new link between your company and the rest of the world. With partnerships with like-minded international organizations already established with France and the U.K., the Network aims to help members develop valuable international academic and business relationships. Check it out (http://coloradosilicon.net/).
Focus on Smartphones Overlooks the Big Low-Cost Phone Market
While we observe glowing (and in some cases, unbelievable) market analysts’ predictions of smartphone shipments in 2011 and beyond, the press seems to ignore the significant market for low-cost phones popular in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India & China). Certainly, Qualcomm sees the low-cost business as a great opportunity, as one Chinese language source indicated that the chip company’s upcoming 40nm chips would bring cellular chip solutions down some 30%, undercutting MediaTek’s dominance in the China handset market. Because of that, Deutsche Securities in Taipei has recommended a sell rating on shares of MediaTek and a hold rating on MStar. Our own analysis (see below) is that low-cost phones (consisting of budget and mid-range handsets) constitute almost 60% of the cellphone unit shipments this year. Note that Nokia currently dominates this market segment, a fact that is drowned out by reports of its diminishing smartphone market share.
Smartphone Growth Strong–Cannibalizing Feature Phones
- As smartphones continue taking an increasing share of the handset market, mostly at the expense of feature phones because smartphone prices have become more attractive. And ultra-low-cost phones for developing countries are also growing as fast as smartphones.
- Overall cellular handset shipments for 2011 are predicted to grow a more moderate 5% to 1.5 billion units, following a healthy 12% growth in 2010.
- One shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that cellphone LCD displays constituted $16 billion of the 2010 component market, making them the most expensive segment of the $55 billion cellphone component market.
- Although baseband chips constitute the largest non-memory cellphone chip market at $12.7 billion for 2010, There are other billion-dollar-plus cellphone chip markets, including $4.5 billion for power management units, $3.7 billion for RF transceivers, $2.9 billion for image sensors, $2.8 billion for RF power amplifiers, $1.5 billion for standalone application processors and $1.2 billion for touch- and navigation-screen controllers.
- Other cellphone chips in the billion-dollar-plus class include those for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and fast-growing MEMS & sensors. Of course, GPS and FM radio are also significant peripheral chips each with over a half-billion dollars in 2010 shipments. Moreover, the wireless peripheral “combo” radio devices consisting of Wi-Fi, FM/AM, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC (though not yet integrated) together now constitute fully 8% of the cellphone component market.
- NFC (Near Field Communications) is the newest chip to excite the cellphone business. Although popular in Japan for contactless payments, the 61-million 2010 unit market is just catching on in Europe and the U.S., but we predict will grow at a 71% annual rate to 458 million units shipping in 2015.
- The highest 2011 growth rates in cellphone chips include LTE basebands at 8x, NFC at 94%, GPS at 33%, touch controllers at 25%, standalone application processors at 17%, Wi-Fi at 15% and MEMS at 14%.
- In spite of the demise of FloTV in the U.S. the mobile TV market for cellphones is growing worldwide with 2010 receiver shipments of over 85 million units.
As always, I invite your comments.
New Devices Are Ideal for Embedded WLAN Applications Requiring Small Size, High Efficiency and Low Battery-Voltage Operation
CHANDLER, Ariz., June 20, 2011 — Microchip Technology Inc., today announced the expansion of its RF power amplifier portfolio, with the addition of the new SST12LP17E and SST12LP18E devices. The SST12LP17E is the smallest fully matched power amp in its class, requiring only one DC bypass capacitor to achieve optimum performance. The SST12LP18E is a lower-cost, lower-voltage alternative to Microchip’s popular SST12LP14E power amp. It offers the lowest operating voltage of any Microchip RF power amp, while operating at -20 to +85 degrees Celsius. The devices feature operating voltages as low as 2.7V, linear output power as high as 18.5 dBm at 2.5 percent EVM using IEEE 802.11g OFDM 54 Mbps, and 23.5 dBm for IEEE 802.11b and a high power-added efficiency of up to 38 percent for IEEE 802.11b. The amps are offered in an 8-pin 2mm x 2mm x .45mm QFN package. They are ideal for embedded WLAN applications where small size, high efficiency and low-battery voltage operation are required, such as in the consumer electronics market, in cell phones, game consoles, printers and tablets.
Many engineers are under pressure to extend battery life in their applications, and these new devices meet that demand by offering high power-added efficiency to reduce battery current drain, while their low operating voltages further extend battery life. The SST12LP17E’s matched input and output ports are easy to use and enable faster time-to-market. Additionally, this device requires no external RF matching components and requires only one external capacitor, taking up less board space.
“With the release of these new power amps, Microchip can now offer customers the same reliable operation over temperature with even lower operating voltages,” said Daniel Chow, vice president of Microchip’s Radio Frequency Division. “Combined with high-efficiency operation, these low-operating-voltage devices extend the operating battery life for applications in the consumer-electronics industry.”
Packaging, Pricing and Availability
The new RF power amps are available in an 8-pin 2mm x 2mm x .45mm QFN package. The fully matched, low-power SST12LP17E is priced at $0.48 each, in 10,000-unit quantities, while the low-power SST12LP18E is available for $0.29 each, in 10,000-unit quantities. Samples are available today, at http://www.microchip.com/get/337Q. Volume-production quantities can be ordered today. For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site at http://www.microchip.com/get/02K5. To purchase products mentioned in this press release, contact one of Microchip’s authorized distribution partners.
Company Collaborates with Freescale to Deliver First Development System for AR4100, a Low-Energy, Low-Cost Module for Machine-to-Machine Communications
San Jose, California — June 16, 2011 — Qualcomm Atheros Inc., the networking and connectivity subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated today announced the AR4100, a first-of-its-kind, highly integrated Wi-Fi system-in-package (SIP) for microcontroller (MCU) based design. The new module is based on Qualcomm Atheros’ industry-leading 802.11b/g/n single-stream Qualcomm Atheros Align technology, enabling long range transmission while minimizing energy consumption. The product is initially aimed at customers implementing machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in the smart home/building/grid markets, also referred to as the “Internet of Things.”
The AR4100 is the newest product within the Qualcomm Atheros Internet of Everything product portfolio, which includes standards-based wired and wireless technologies to enable scalable Internet protocol (IP) infrastructures for smart grid, smart home, security, building automation, remote health and wellness monitoring and other M2M applications. With its extensive technology portfolio and IP networking expertise, Qualcomm Atheros is uniquely positioned to deliver a variety of low-energy, standards-based communications solutions that connect potentially hundreds of IP addressable devices in the home, building or grid.
The AR4100 is the industry’s smallest FCC-certified SIP package, integrating all Wi-Fi functionality into a low profile 8.3 mm by 9.2 mm LGA package that can be easily mounted via low-cost PCB manufacturing flows. The AR4100 is optimized for client applications hosted by low-resource MCUs that send infrequent data packets over the network. MCUs interface to the AR4100 via a simple serial peripheral interface bus (SPI) and will be initially aimed at customers in the smart home, smart grid and smart building markets. The AR4100 SIP provides full offload of all Wi-Fi functionality, including security protocols such as WEP, WPA, WPA2 and WPS. The AR4100 is a pre-certified FCC solution that offers simple wireless system integration, requiring only a few external bypass capacitors and a connection to an antenna for a board-level design.
Qualcomm Atheros is collaborating with Freescale Semiconductor to bring the AR4100 to market. The two companies have worked together to develop an implementation for Freescale’s Tower development System. The TWR-WIFI-AR4100 is a peripheral module for the Tower System that allows the AR4100 to be quickly added to tower designs based on select Kinetis and Coldfire processors. The TWR-WIFI-AR4100 package comes with all of the required software to implement an AR4100 design, as well as example designs. The module is tightly integrated with Freescale’s MQX operating system. The TWR-WIFI-AR4100 will be available beginning June 20, 2011 through Freescale and select distribution channels.
“The AR4100 is an exciting product for Qualcomm Atheros and marks a significant step forward in advancing our Internet of Everything vision. Many potential customers have been frustrated by the lack of a standards-based, globally interoperable, low-cost modular solution for M2M applications, which is broadly available, energy efficient and can connect easily to a simple MCU running various applications,” said Adam Lapede, senior director, Internet of Things technology, Qualcomm Atheros. “Qualcomm Atheros is providing an innovative, standard Wi-Fi based solution that can deliver outstanding performance in extremely small size, with low energy and cost. Our collaboration with Freescale will help enable a wide variety of customers with the AR4100 and accelerate products getting to market with the easy-to-use Tower system and MQX development suite. We believe the AR4100 offers a unique value proposition for the industry and will help expand the universe of connected devices.”
The initial development environment is the Freescale Tower System, with optimized support for the Freescale MQX Operation System, leveraging the IAR Embedded Workbench compiler for the Freescale Kinetis MCU product line, and the Freescale CodeWarrior tool suite for the Coldfire MCU product line. The AR4100 is backwards compatible to any existing 802.11b/g infrastructure and forward compatible with higher-performance, multi-stream, MIMO–based 802.11n infrastructures.
“Freescale and Qualcomm Atheros share a common vision for increasing connectivity in the home and enterprise to share information, streamline operations and reduce expenses. We are deploying leading-edge technologies into many of these markets, but no single connectivity solution meets the needs of our diverse customer base,” said John Weil, global product and enablement manager at Freescale. “Qualcomm Atheros’ broad array of wired and wireless solutions will complement Freescale’s offering in helping our customers deliver connected devices that will enable the true Internet of Things.”
Qualcomm Atheros will be demonstrating the AR4100 solution in the Technology Lab at the Freescale Technology Forum, June 20-23 in San Antonio, Tex.
Revolutionary industrial wireless receiver connects up to 14 Limitless inputs to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
MINNEAPOLIS, June 15, 2011 – Honeywell today introduced its new Limitless WDRR Wireless Din-Rail Receiver for industrial, construction, machine, material handling, and heavy transportation applications, including agricultural equipment, cranes, lifts, conveyors, grain diverters, and door positions.
The new WDRR is a din-rail or panel-mountable receiver designed to receive wireless signals from up to 14 different position-sensing switches and communicate the individual switch status to a programmable logic controller (PLC) or any controllers capable of receiving NPN/PNP inputs.
Limitless wireless switching can save up to 60% compared to traditional wired switching by reducing installation time, conduit, wire, clips and other accessories. Limitless also enables sensing capabilities where it is impossible or very difficult to run cabling.
“The new Limitless WDRR expands our innovation platform,” says Joseph Citrano, Global Product Manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control’s electromechanical line of business. “Wireless increases possibilities, reduces capital and operating expenses and adds reliability in many applications”.
The Limitless wireless network is an easy-to-implement solution for those looking for a cost-effective and reliable switching solution. It includes the WDRR and WPMM receivers, the WLS and WGLA limit switches, utilizes the global, license-free RF wireless 802.15.4 WPAN protocol, provides up to a 305 m (1000 ft) line-of-sight communication range, and prolongs battery life with advanced power management technology.
The MAX17710 harvests energy from power sources of 1uW to 100mW for efficiently charging THINERGY(R) Micro-Energy Cells (MECs).
SUNNYVALE, CA—June 15, 2011—Maxim Integrated Products introduces the MAX17710, the industry’s first IC to integrate all of the power-management functions for ambient energy harvesting, as well as for charging and protecting micro-energy cells (MECs), a form of solid-state battery. Operating at an ultra-low current level, the MAX17710 accepts energy from a variety of poorly regulated energy harvesting sources with output levels ranging from 1uW to 100mW. Examples include light (captured by photovoltaic cells), vibration (captured by a piezoelectric element), heat (captured by a thermoelectric generator), and RF (e.g., near-field communications (NFC)). The MAX17710 integrates a programmable input boost regulator and needs no expensive external components to charge a MEC with energy sources as low as 0.8V. It protects the MEC by using a linear shunt-series regulator. An ultra-low-quiescent current, adjustable low-dropout linear regulator (LDO) with selectable voltages of 3.3V, 2.3V, or 1.8V allows the MAX17710 to adapt to a variety of loads. Packaged in a low-profile 0.5mm TQFN, it enables a new class of thin, card-like applications. The IC will also be available in wafer form to enable even thinner form factors. The MAX17710 is targeted for powered smart cards, real-time clock (RTC)/memory backup applications, and wireless sensor networks. Examples of wireless sensor networks include remote applications like irrigation valve control, building energy management, machine monitoring systems, asset tracking, biometric security systems, medical applications, and a myriad of portable consumer electronics.
Industry Needs a Highly Integrated Energy-Harvesting System
Energy harvesting is poised for rapid and exponential growth. However attractive the energy sources and the uptake potential for business growth, efficient harvesting has been hampered until now by the many different power-management blocks and functions that needed to be combined for the task. As essential components were assembled, more space was consumed, which defeated the goal of reducing application size and cost. Meanwhile, a larger cell was needed for storage because quiescent current was added to the system, and the overall power budget rose to unmanageable levels for low-energy ambient sources.
The Importance of MECs
While creating the MAX17710 energy-harvesting and power-management solution, Maxim worked closely with Infinite Power Solutions, Inc. (IPS), the manufacturer of THINERGY(R) solid-state, rechargeable MEC battery products. THINERGY MECs are flexible and provide unrivaled rechargeability, cycle life, and power performance. These ultra-thin, postage-stamp-sized energy storage products offer extremely low self-discharge rates, enabling many years of shelf life and still providing reliable backup power. The unprecedented cycle life capability and unique metal foil encapsulation enable decades of reliable, maintenance-free operation.
The MAX17710 provides the energy harvesting and power management to maximize, protect, and control the energy stored in MECs. “When combined with ambient energy harvesting, MECs uniquely enable autonomous, perpetually powered solutions for decades of use,” explained David Squires, Vice President of Business Development for Infinite Power Solutions. “In energy harvesting applications, a key enabler is the quiescent current drawn by the power-management IC,” Squires added. “The MAX17710 has an unprecedented 1nA battery current draw when a harvesting source is not present.”
The MAX17710 Brings Efficiency and Flexibility to Energy Harvesting
The ultra-low operating current MAX17710 simplifies the design of energy-harvesting systems by integrating a programmable regulator, buffer energy storage management, and the charger and protection for THINERGY MECs.
The MAX17710 has an ultra-low-quiescent linear charger block to safely charge THINERGY MECs. To protect the MEC from overvoltage conditions, the MAX17710 regulates the input voltage and can shunt excess power. An ultra-low-quiescent current, undervoltage protection circuit prevents potentially damaging overdischarge of the MEC. The undervoltage protection recovers only when an external energy source raises the voltage of the MEC back into a safe zone.
At very low temperatures, all batteries exhibit increased characteristic impedance, which limits high pulse currents to the application loads. The MAX17710 integrates a unique feature that manages an external storage capacitor to augment the battery output and provide high pulse currents, even at very cold temperatures like -40 degrees Celsius.
The Benefits of Energy Harvesting for Remote and Portable Applications
Designers are attracted to energy-harvesting-based solutions because they can eliminate the need to run expensive power cables to remote locations or to replace primary batteries frequently.
Many applications such as remote sensors need extensive wiring that is difficult and expensive to install, and often time-consuming and costly to maintain. Some alternative approaches use primary batteries. Ultimately, these batteries can be burdensome and costly to replace. Enhanced security systems for critical environments like airports and hospitals are also requiring significantly upgraded personnel identification systems. Many of these portable systems have traditionally used computationally intensive biometric techniques that require a power source like a battery on the ID device. These batteries add bulk to the form factor and can be unwieldy to use in high-volume deployments. Eventually each battery needs to be replaced, a process that will cost both time and money.
Maxim’s MAX17710, in tandem with THINERGY MECs, overcomes the power- and battery-management limitations posed by the traditional sensor installations. Managing harvested ambient energy from available sources such as light, heat, RF, and vibration with the MAX17710, and efficiently storing that energy in a THINERGY MEC, provides an autonomous, maintenance-free energy source to power a remote sensor. This solution eliminates the need for expensive wiring or prohibitive labor costs to replace traditional primary batteries.
The MAX17710 also works in power-bridging applications where energy harvesting is not necessarily used. In such applications, infrastructure power (from the grid or a larger battery) is typically available to power the system and can trickle-charge an MEC for memory or RTC backup power. In the event of a loss of grid power, or a system “brownout” during replacement of the larger system battery, the stored energy in the MEC continues to power volatile memory and/or an RTC for hours, days, or even weeks. This solution displaces bulky coin cells and supercapacitors that have high self-discharge currents and limited life, especially at elevated temperatures.
Designed for the low-profile requirements of many energy harvesting applications, the MAX17710 is packaged in a lead-free, 12-pin, 3mm x 3mm x 0.5mm UTDFN. Pricing starts at $4.11 (2.5k-up, FOB USA). An evaluation (EV) kit featuring the MAX17710 PMIC, THINERGY MEC101, and solar energy harvesting is also available.
At the Energy Harvesting & Storage Europe 2011 event in Munich, Germany, Maxim will be showcasing the MAX17710 in a two-part demo that displays the various energy sources used for micropower energy harvesting. This demonstration will take place in booths 27 and 28 at the Holiday Inn Munich City Centre, June 21–22, 2011.