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Drop-in modules dedicated to low-power ISM-band apps

Posted: 14 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:drop-in ISM modules? ultralow-power apps? Nordic RF Digital?

Nordic Semiconductor and RF Digital have collaborated on a range of ISM-band modules that have been pre-approved by regulatory agencies (FCC and IC). The modules are intended for ultralow-power applications that might utilize, for example a button-cell battery.

The drop-in modules make it possible for designers without RF expertise to build an UltraLow Power (ULP) ISM-band wireless link into a product or application within hours.

The modules were developed by RF Digital based on a reference design and five Nordic Semiconductor ULP transceivers. Because all the RF development work has been done, the modules only require a digital I/O, power (+V) and GND connection.

The modules work in almost any operating environment or product design with the exception of sealed metal enclosuresbecause the container itself would act as an electromagnetic shield to RF.

Seven radio-only modules based on the following existing Nordic transceivers are being offered: the Nordic Semiconductor 2.4GHz nRF24L01 (RF Digital modules RFD21010, RFD21676, RFD21677), nRF2401 (RFD21006), and nRF24E1 (RFD21018); plus the 433/868/915MHz nRF905 (RFD21002), and nRF9E5 (RFD21014). The modules based on the Nordic "E" transceivers (nRF24E1 and nRF9E5) also include on-board EEPROMs.

RF Digital has also developed six off-the-shelf application modules. All application modules are FCC and IC-approved with no further approvals required. European CE approval will be granted shortly.

Two varieties
The RF Digital modules come in two flavors: radio-only modules and application modules.

Radio-only modules are fully integrated and comprise a Nordic transceiver, all supporting RF passive and active components, on-board chip antenna, and pre-loaded, factory tested protocol code. They are not FCC/IC-approved because the approval bodies require an application to be loaded first before they will grant approval. .

Application modules are designed for off-the-shelf drop-in into a wide range of applications (such as remote control buttons and motor/light switches) with minimal design-in requirements. The six Nordic transceiver-based application modules currently offered by RF Digital are the Nordic Semiconductor 433/868/915MHz nRF905-based RFD21130, RFD21134, and RFD21138 (the latter additionally features an Atmel Tiny26 microcontroller); plus three 2.4GHz Nordic nRF2401-based counterparts in the form of the RFD21430, RFD21431 and RFD21438, respectively.

Every module has an industry standard UFL antenna connector that allows designers to attach an external gain or wire antenna optionally.

- Jack Shandle
Wireless Net DesignLine

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