Energy Micro – Tiny Gecko microcontroller powers radio position switch (EFM32)Sep 27 2012 - Design Applications [More Design Applications Articles]
Energy-friendly microcontroller and radio specialist, Energy Micro has announced that Steute has chosen the EFM32 Tiny Gecko microcontroller to power its RF95 radio position switch. Designed for use in battery powered and energy-harvesting applications, the RF95 uses low-energy wireless technology, aimed at building and factory automation applications.
With a maximum transmission power of 10mW, data rate of 120kbps and a mechanical life in excess of one million operations, the RF95 is the first product based on steute’s new radio module, which allows wireless communication using the 868/915MHz wavebands. Devices are available in 500m long and 800m ultra long range, and are delivered as battery-based or energy-harvesting versions.
Steute employed the EFM32TG210F16 Tiny Gecko to allow the cost-effective creation of an energy harvesting variant of the RF95 and to extend the operating lifetime of the battery-based version. With the ARM Cortex-M3 processor, the Tiny Gecko MCU boasts an active mode current consumption of just 150µA/MHz, drawing only 900nA in deep sleep mode and 20nA in shut off mode. The smallest Cortex-M3 member of the EFM32 family, it is equipped with many of the energy-saving peripherals featured in Energy Micro’s higher-specified Gecko MCUs.
“Combining Tiny Gecko with energy harvesting technology demonstrates that a modern 32-bit processor is the right solution for cost- and space-sensitive energy-efficient applications such as wireless switchgear,” said Andreas Schenk, product manager Wireless, Steute. “Working closely with Energy Micro, we have taken a major stride forward in injecting distributed intelligence and connectivity into our industrial switching products.”
The RF95 is designed for applications in which moving parts of machinery and plant systems must be positioned or switched off. It can be simply installed, with no need for cabling, piping or a power supply, and is available with ingress protection up to IP67, allowing its use indoors and out, including explosive atmospheres.
Andreas Koller, VP marketing, Energy Micro, said: “Steute is one of the foremost names in control and switchgear for industrial, medical and building automation. Efficient harvesting applications represent a major step in innovation in that arena, providing the ultimate test for an energy-friendly MCU.”
The EFM32 Tiny Gecko is an entry-level device for low power applications subject to stringent PCB space and product cost limitations. Benchmarked to 15.4 CoreMark/mA, the devices offer the energy-efficient performance and peripheral set of the company’s bigger Gecko products combined with smaller Flash and RAM combinations and a choice of space saving QFN24, QFN32 and QFN64 packaging.
Tiny Gecko is part of the wider Energy Micro Gecko microcontroller portfolio, which consists of more than 240 variants based on the ARM Cortex-M processor cores, and includes Gecko Technology benchmarked to consume just a quarter of the energy of competing 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit MCUs.More news from Energy micro