Lots of companies make IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee wireless modules, but California Eastern Laboratories (CEL) offers one with an internal 32-bit ARM processor. The FreeStar Pro is a complete radio module that’s ready to go as a node in wireless network (see the figure).
Based on Freescale Semiconductor’s MC13224V Platform-in-Package (PiP), the FreeStar Pro features the ARM 32-bit processor, expansive on-chip memory, and I/O to enable designers to eliminate the peripheral host processors often required by 8- and 16-bit transceiver solutions. This high level of integration helps reduce component count, lower power consumption, and reduce overall system costs.
The Freescale MC13224V provides a complete 802.15.4 radio and the ARM processor. The radio includes an RF matching section with balun on-chip. It only needs a crystal and a 50- antenna. The processor is an ARM7 with 128k serial flash, 96-kbyte RAM, 80k ROM, AES 128-bit encryption, and a JTAG debug port. Other I/Os include two 12-bit analog- to-digital converters (ADCs), generalpurpose I/O (GPIO), serial peripheral interface (SPI), UARTs, and a timer.
The FreeStar Pro modules are designed for any application where the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee standards are appropriate, including remote sensing, automated meter reading, home and building automation, industrial control, and security. They can be used to build point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and mesh networks.
With 20-dBm output power, they have a maximum range of up to 4000 ft. Their low power consumption makes them ideal for battery-powered designs. The module measures just 23 by 31 mm, and it has an integrated antenna to further reduce system size and cost. An external antenna connection is an option.
LOUIS E. FRENZEL
CALIFORNIA EASTERN LABORATORIES