Drop-in wireless modules allow design engineers to build button-cell powered wireless links in an afternoon
Feb 12, 2008
Oslo, Norway - February 12, 2008 - Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces that designers without specialist RF knowledge can now build an Ultra-Low Power (ULP) ISM-band wireless link into a product or application within hours by using pre-approved modules developed by US RF specialist, RF Digital. Because all the RF development work has been done, the modules only require a digital In/Out, power (+V) and ground (GND) connection. The modules are designed to work in almost any operating environment or product design with the exception of sealed metal enclosures which the laws of physics dictate will act as an electromagnetic shield to RF. This makes the modules particularly attractive to product designers that may be new to wireless: By using the modules they do not need to immediately get involved with the RF side when developing, for instance, a proof of concept. 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 ready for instant drop-in (see About RF Digital Modules below for more information). All application modules are FCC and IC-approved with no further approvals required. European CE approval will be granted shortly. "What our modules essentially do is fast-track designer engineers to having a fully functioning, fully approved, ultra-low power wireless link in their application without going through a full-on RF design-in phase," explains RF Digital designer Armen Kazanchian. "And by fast track I mean the time it takes to connect power, ground and data. "Later on when, for example, the product moves into volume production, they can then replace the module using a standard Nordic reference design and supporting components because that's all our modules are actually based upon. We've just done the RF development work for them." "Although Nordic Semiconductor works extremely hard to simplify RF design " successfully designing an ultra-low power wireless link into a product and gaining the necessary approvals demands a full development process" explains Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "By using a module design engineers can get a wireless link up and running quickly to demonstrate a proof-of-concept without delay, and even fast track a design to market, before moving to a full design-in process at volume production to maximize their profit margin." About the RF Digital Modules The Nordic Semiconductor transceiver-based 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, plus pre-loaded, factory tested protocol code. They are not FCC/IC-approved simply because the approval bodies require an application to be loaded first before they will grant approval. However, any product based on these modules will pass FCC/IC approvals without modification. " 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 also features an industry standard UFL antenna connector that allows designers to optionally attach an external gain or wire antenna. RF Digital also supplies SMT to DIP converter parts for all modules to allow users to hand solder using wires or 0.100-inch spacing header pins that plug into prototype boards. Alternatively, designers can simply solder direct to a module's SMT pads and leave them hanging in the air for development purposes as this won't affect RF performance.