ZigBee is finally becoming reality, or so it seems with the arrival of development kits like the PICDEM Z 2.4 GHz Demonstration Kit crafted by Microchip Technology.
This low-cost tool provides a pair of peer-to-peer nodes. These are controlled by a PIC18LF4620 microcontroller that employs Microchip's nanoWatt Technology power-managed modes. The MCU has 64 kbytes of flash program memory and advanced analog, control, and communications peripherals. The RF board holds Chipcon's CC2420 2.4-GHz RF transceiver. Communication between the two is done via a serial peripheral interface.
The MCU comes programmed with a free ZigBee network stack that implements a ZigBee endpoint node. Less than 12 kbytes of flash and a couple of hundred bytes of RAM are used, leaving plenty of processing power and memory for application code. PIC MCUs with more memory are available. The stack can support a Reduced Function Device (RFD) or a Full Function Device (FFD). Standard Microchip development tools, including the MPLab ICD2 in-circuit debugger, come with the demo board.
The PICDEM Z 2.4 GHz Demonstration Kit costs $199. The board and RF card are available separately for $89 and $49, respectively.
Microchip Technology Inc.