Freescale BeeKit for RF4CE

Feb. 10, 2010
Technology Editor Bill Wong has a hands-on look at Freescale's BeeKit for RF4CE. RF4CE is being used on the latest crop of HDTV remote controls.

BeeKit Wireless Connectivity Framework

Network coordinator and Sensor Reference boards

Network Coordinator Board based on the MC13213

Sensor Reference Board based on MC13213 SiP

HCS08/HCS12 Multilink BDM Interface

Freescale has been delivering wireless solutions almost since its inception. The latest development kit, the 1321x Consumer Starter Kit, targets 2.5 GHz 802. 15.4 and ZigBee applications and specifically RF4CE. RF4CE is being used in wireless remote controls for consumer devices such as HDTVs.

It comes with the Freescale BeeKit Wireless Connectivity Toolkit (Fig 1) that includes the BeeKit GUI, a wizard-based configuration system. The kit includes a 90-day evaluation version of the BeeStack that includes ZigBee RF4CE ( BeeStack Consumer) and ZigBee/ZigBee Pro (BeeStack ZigBee) protocol stack alternatives. The kit also supports the SynkroRF and Simple MAC stacks.

The kit comes with a pair of boxes (Fig 2). The larger is the NCB (network coordinator board) Evaluation Board and the smaller is the Sensor Reference Board (SRB). The NCB (Fig 3) is based on the MC13213 system in package (SiP). It contains a 2.4 GHz RF transceiver and MC9S08GT60 MCU with 60 Kbytes of flash and 4 Kbytes of RAM in a 64-pin 9 mm x 9 mm LGA package. The NCB also has a 2- line LCD display, push buttons, connectors, header pins and a programming/debug port. The SRB (Fig 4) is also based on Freescale's MC13213 SiP. Like the NCB, the SRB has LEDs, push buttons, connectors, header pins and a programming/debug port.

Both boards are designed to battery operated or they can run off power from the USB port or a DC adapter. The also have printed F antennas in addition to the antenna socket. Both boards can be programmed using the accompanying P&E Microcomputer System's HCS08/HCS12 USB-based Multilink BDM Interface (Fig 5).

The kit includes a copy of CodeWarrior Special Edition along with the BeeKit CD. Installing CodeWarrior was uneventful as was the BeeKit CD that includes the more interesting software. This includes the wizard-based configuration tool. This significantly reduced the amount time to get a framework setup compared to the original 802.15.4/Zigbee kit from Freescale I checked out a couple years ago. The wizard can retarget different Freescale platforms.

Getting started with the demo is about an hour chore in terms of setup time. Of course, setting up the system to simulate a remote control is an obvious approach. An afternoon is enough time to use the wizard and get a rudementary application up and running. Playing with the SRB accelerometer is a little different with this kit since the sensor is not part of the profile for RF4CE. Still, the kit is designed for the range of 802.15.4 so it is easy to take advantage of the options on the SRB.

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