Smart Home Reference Designs for IoT Device Development

Silicon Labs recently launched two new wireless occupancy sensor and smart outlet reference designs for the home automation. FCC and UL-precertified, the reference designs comprise hardware, firmware, and software tools that enable you to develop Internet of Things (IoT) systems based on Silicon Labs’s ZigBee “Golden Unit” Home Automation (HA 1.2) software stack and multiprotocol Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio. Both reference designs include Silicon Labs’s EFR32MG Mighty Gecko SoC.SiliconLabs Ref Design

 

The occupancy sensor reference design is a precertified ZigBee HA 1.2 solution featuring a wirelessly connected passive IR sensor along with ambient light and temperature/relative humidity sensors from Silicon Labs. The compact occupancy sensor’s battery-powered design provides up to five years of operation. The sensor’s detection range extends up to approximately 40′ with a 90° viewing window.

The smart outlet reference design is a precertified solution for a wirelessly controlled outlet plug. You can use it to power and control a wide variety of home and building automation products. Powered by an AC main-voltage line, the smart outlet communicates wirelessly to ZigBee mesh networks. It features the following: built-in diagnostics and metering with a user-friendly web interface; an AC voltage range of 110 to 240 V for global use along with a robust 15-A load current; and integrated high-accuracy sensors (ambient light and temperature/humidity).

 

Silicon Labs’s occupancy sensor and smart outlet reference designs are currently available. The RD-0078-0201 occupancy sensor reference design costs $49. The RD-0051-0201 smart outlet reference design costs $119. (All prices USD MSRP.)

Source: Silicon Labs

Sensor-to-Cloud Kit for Developing IoT Applications

Interested in developing cloud-connected wireless sensing products? Silicon Labs recently introduced its Thunderboard Sense Kit for developing cloud-connected devices with multiple sensing and connectivity options. The “inspiration kit” provides you with all the hardware and software needed to develop battery-powered wireless sensor nodes for the IoT.

The Thunderboard Sense Kit’s features and benefits:

  • Silicon Labs EFR32 Mighty Gecko multiprotocol wireless SoC with a 2.4-GHz chip antenna
  • ARM Cortex-M4 processor-based
  • Supports Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee, Thread, and proprietary protocols
  • Silicon Labs EFM8 Sleepy Bee microcontroller enabling fine-grained power control
  • Silicon Labs Si7021 relative humidity and temperature sensor
  • Silicon Labs Si1133 UV index and ambient light sensor
  • Bosch Sensortec BMP280 barometric pressure sensor
  • Cambridge CCS811 indoor air quality gas sensor
  • InvenSense ICM-20648 six-axis inertial sensor
  • Knowles SPV1840 MEMS microphone
  • Four high-brightness RGB LEDs
  • On-board SEGGER J-Link debugger for easy programming and debugging
  • USB Micro-B connector with virtual COM port and debug access
  • Mini Simplicity connector to access energy profiling and wireless network debugging
  • 20 breakout pins to connect to external breadboard hardware
  • CR2032 coin cell battery connector and external battery connector
  • Silicon Labs’s Simplicity Studio tools support the Thunderboard Sense

The Thunderboard Sense kit (SLTB001A) costs $36. All hardware schematics, open-source design files, mobile apps, and cloud software are included for free.

Source: Silicon Labs

Silicon Labs Acquires Micrium

Silicon Labs recently announced its acquisition of of Micrium, an RTOS software supplier. The strategic acquisition it intended to strengthen Silicon Labs’s position in the IoT market.

The following statement from Daniel Cooley, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Silicon Labs’s IoT products, was presented in a release:

IoT products are increasingly defined by software. Explosive growth of memory/processor capabilities in low-end embedded products is driving a greater need for RTOS software in connected device applications… The acquisition of Micrium means that connected device makers will have easier access to a proven embedded RTOS geared toward multiprotocol silicon, software and solutions from Silicon Labs.

Source: Silicon Labs

Isolated FET Driver for Industrial Relay Replacement Applications

Silicon Labs recently introduced a new CMOS-based isolated field effect transistor (FET) driver family for industrial and automotive applications. The family enables you to use your preferred application-specific, high-volume FETs to replace old electromechanical relays (EMRs) and optocoupler-based, solid-state relays (SSRs).Si875x Silicon Labs

The new Si875x family features the industry’s first isolated FET drivers designed to transfer power across an integrated CMOS isolation barrier. When paired with a discrete FET, the Si875x drivers provide a superb EMR/SSR replacement solution for motor and valve controllers, HVAC relays, battery monitoring, and a variety of other applications.

The Si875x isolated FET driver family’s features and specs:

  • Industry’s first CMOS isolation-based SSR solution, supporting application-specific FETs
  • Best-in-class noise immunity, high reliability and 2.5 kVRMS isolation rating
  • Long lifetimes under high-voltage conditions (100 years at 1000 V)
  • Efficient switching: 10.3 V at the gate with only 1 mA of input current
  • Wide input voltage of 2.25 to 5.5 V enables power savings
  • Unique pin feature optimizes power consumption/switching time trade-off
  • Miller clamping prevents unintended turn on of external FET
  • Small SOIC-8 package integrates isolation and power capacitors for low-power applications
  • AEC-Q100-qualified automotive-grade device options

The Si875x devices come in a small SOIC-8 package. They are available in both industrial (–40°C to 105°C) or automotive (–40°C to 125°C) ambient temperature operating range options. Pricing in 10,000-unit quantities begins at $0.96 for industrial versions and $1.20 for automotive temperature options.

Evaluation kits are available. The Si8751-KIT (digital input) and Si8752-KIT (LED emulator input) evaluation kits cost $39.99 each.

Source: Silicon Labs

USBXpress Controller for Simplified USB Connectivity

Silicon Labs recently added new lower-power member to its line of USBXpress bridge devices. The CP2102N USB controller provides a simpler faster way to add USB connectivity to your embedded designs. Offering advanced functionality in QFN packages as compact as 3 mm × 3 mm, the CP2102N is intended for a variety of portable, space-constrained applications, such as USB dongles, gaming controllers, and wearable medical devices.USBXpress SiliconLabs

 

The CP2102N USBXpress feaures and specs include:

  • Data transfer rates up to 3 Mbaud
  • A low active current of less than 10 mA
  • Remote wake-up capability
  • USB battery charger detection capability (USB BCS 1.2) for detecting the type of charger connected to the system
  • Crystal-less operation and integrated regulator to reduce bill of materials cost
  • Small-footprint package options: 3 mm × 3 mm QFN20, 4 mm × 4 mm QFN24, and 5 mm × 5 mm QFN28
  • Royalty-free Virtual COM port drivers
  • Easy-to-use software tools including Xpress Configurator

Prices for the CP2102N begin at $0.91 in 10,000-unit quantities. The CP2102N-EK evaluation kit costs $25.

Source: Silicon Labs

Complete USB Type-C Reference Design

Silicon Labs recently announced a complete USB reference design for developing cables and cable adapters based on the USB Type-C specification. The USB Type-C reference design features EFM8 microcontrollers, USB Power Delivery (PD) protocol stacks certified by the USB-IF, and USB Billboard Device source code.Silicon Labs USB CDue to the rapid adoption of USB Type-C (USB-C), demand is increasing for dongles and adapters to connect with legacy and existing products. The Silicon Labs reference design provides a complete solution for a USB Type-C to DisplayPort (DP) adapter, making it easy to communicate with legacy products.

 

Qualified developers can access the reference design for free. In addition to schematics, it includes software libraries and stacks, source code, code examples, and access to Simplicity Studio development tools.

Silicon Labs USB Type-C solution highlights:

  • Comprehensive hardware/software reference design based on ultra-low-power EFM8 8-bit microcontrollers
  • Complete software solution, including a USB PD stack library, billboard device source code, and sample code for USB-C to DP applications available in Simplicity Studio library format
  • USB-IF certified USB Power Delivery silicon
  • Complete reference design solution for USB Type-C to DisplayPort adapters
  • Support for USB-C video adapter dongle and USB PD controller functions including attach/detach detection, power contract negotiation, and Alternate mode detection/selection
  • Billboard device support communicating Alternate Mode failure to host

The Silicon Labs USB Type-C reference design deliverables (schematics, PD stack library, billboard device source code and sample code) are available to qualified developers for free.

Source: Silicon Labs

IAR Systems Supports Wireless Gecko SoCs for IoT connectivity

IAR Systems now supports Silicon Labs Wireless Gecko SoCs, which provide scalable solutions and include Thread and ZigBee stacks for mesh networks, intuitive radio interface software for proprietary protocols, and Bluetooth Low Energy technology for point-to-point connectivity. The IAR Embedded Workbench development provides extensive debugging and profiling possibilities such as complex code and data breakpoints, run-time stack analysis, call stack visualization, code coverage analysis, and integrated monitoring of power consumption. IAR Systems also offers integrated add-on tools for static analysis and run-time analysis.

Support for the Wireless Gecko SoCs is available using IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM, from version 7.60. Free trial versions are available.

Source: IAR Systems

New Si827x ISOdriver Family Provides High Noise Immunity for Power Supplies, & More

Silicon Labs recently launched a family of isolated gate drivers that solves a critical need for modern power supply designs. Offering high noise immunity, the Si827x ISOdriver family is intended for power supplies, solar power inverters, chargers for electric vehicles, and more.Silicon Labs Si827x

The Si827x family offers single- and dual-isolated drivers with either two independent input controls or a single input for power converter applications. The drivers operate from 2.5  to 5.5 V input VDD and a maximum drive supply voltage of 30 V. The lower VDDI voltage capability of 2.5 V enables you to design systems with a low-voltage power supply that consumes less power and is compatible with low-power microcontrollers.

The Si827x family’s features and specs:

  • Industry’s highest noise immunity (200 kV/µs) and latch-up immunity (400 kV/µs)
  • Operate down to 2.5 V VDD to reduce power consumption
  • 30 ns delay with 10× shorter propagation delay and 20× lower skew than competing gate drivers
  • EN pin (instead of DIS pin)
  • Accurate timing including dead-time control to maximize system efficiency and safety
  • Stable operation over a long lifetime (up to 60 years or 10× longer than opto-based solutions)

Samples and production quantities of the Si827x isolated gate drivers are available in narrow-body SOIC and compact 5 mm × 5 mm LGA packages. Si827x family pricing in 10,000-unit quantities starts at $1.19. Evaluation kits ($29) are also available: Si8273ISO-KIT, Si8274ISO-KIT, and Si8275ISO-KIT.

Source: Silicon Labs

Next-Gen Optical Sensors Enhance UV Protection & Gesture Recognition

Silicon Labs’s new optical sensors are intended to protect consumers from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and enable you to develop touchless user interfaces. The Si1133 optical sensor provides a cost-effective solution for adding highly accurate UV index measurement capabilities to a variety of products (e.g., sports equipment).SiliconLabs Si1153

The Si1133 sensor enables you to accurately measure UV index levels and monitor UV exposure. You can implement it in a variety of outdoor recreation products (e.g.,  fitness wearables).

The Si1133’s specs and features:

  • ±1.5 on the UV scale
  • Ambient light sensing supporting less than 100 mlx resolution and operation under dark glass
  • Highly integrated solution reducing cost and complexity with on-chip dual 23-bit
  • ADCs, DSP, and high-sensitivity visible light, UV, and IR photodiodes
  • I2C serial communications with up to 3.4 Mbps data rate
  • 500-nA standby current
  • Small 2 mm × 2 mm QFN package

The Si1153 ambient light sensor is optimized for operation in bright daylight. You can use it for gesture control and proximity detection applications. The new sensor can be used outdoors over an extended range of up to 2 m, which makes ideal for the gesture-based operation of automotive infotainment systems, bicycle computers, and more.

The Si1153’s specs and features:

  • Proximity detection adjustable from 1 to 200 cm
  • Up to three LED drivers for motion detection
  • Ambient light sensing supporting less than 100 mlx resolution and operation under dark glass
  • On-chip dual 23-bit ADCs, DSP, and high-sensitivity visible light and IR photodiodes
  • I2C serial communications with up to 3.4 Mbps data rate
  • 500-nA standby current
  • 2 mm × 2 mm QFN or 2.9 mm × 4.9 mm module with LED

Samples and production quantities of the Si1133-AA00-GM UV index sensor are available for $1.13 in 10,000-unit quantities. Samples and production quantities of the Si1153 proximity/gesture detection sensor are also available. The extended-range Si1153-AA00-GM costs $1.84in 10,000-unit quantities. The Si1153-AA09-GM with enhanced daylight performance costs $1.91 in 10,000-unit quantities. The Si1153-AA9X-GM module with integrated IR LED costs $2.32 in 10,000-unit quantities. The 115XOPT-EXP-EVB evaluation kit is available for $44.43.

Source: Silicon Labs

Heart Rate Monitoring Sensor Solution

Silicon Labs recently announced an optical heart rate-sensing solution for wrist-based heart rate monitoring (HRM) applications. The new Si1144 HRM solution includes a low-power optical sensor module paired with an EFM32 Gecko microcontroller running Silicon Labs’s advanced HRM algorithm. The compact Si1144 sensor module integrates an optical sensor, green LED, an ADC, LED drivers, control logic, and an I2C digital interface, making it a good option for power-sensitive wearables.Silicon Labs Si1144

 

 

The Si1144-AAGX HRM module’s features:

  • Accurately senses weak blood flow signals on the wrist
  • Choice of two algorithms to support static HRM and optional dynamic motion-compensated HRM using data from an external accelerometer
  • HRM solution pairs optical module with a Pearl Gecko microcontroller
  • Fully integrated HRM IC with green LED lens, high-sensitivity photodiode, low-noise ADC, LED drivers, optical blocking, and host communications/interrupts
  • Two LED drivers
  • Ultra-low-power consumption for long battery life (less than 500 nA standby current with 1.71-to-3.6-V supply voltage)
  • I2C serial communications, up to 3.4-Mbps data rate
  • 10-lead 4.9 × 2.85 × 1.2 mm LGA module package

Samples and production quantities of the Si1144-AAGX HRM module currently available. The Si1144 module along with Silicon Labs’s HRM algorithm costs $2.82 in 10,000-unit quantities. The HRM44-GGG-PS development board costs $57.60.

Source: Silicon Labs

New MCUs Combine Hardware Cryptography with Advanced Energy Management

Silicon Labs recently introduced two new EFM32 Gecko microcontroller (MCU) families that feature advanced security and energy-management technologies. The Jade Gecko and Pearl Gecko MCUs combine a hardware cryptography engine, flexible low-energy modes, an on-chip DC-DC converter, and scalable memory options backed by Silicon Labs’s Simplicity Studio tools. The MCUs target an array of energy-sensitive and battery-powered devices, such as wearables and IoT node applications.Silicon Labs jade pearl

Jade and Pearl Gecko MCUs are meant to equip IoT-connected devices with the latest security technologies to thwart hackers. They feature a hardware cryptography engine providing fast, energy-efficient, autonomous encryption and decryption for Internet security protocols (e.g., TLS/SSL) with minimal CPU intervention. The on-chip crypto-accelerator supports advanced algorithms such as AES with 128- or 256-bit keys, elliptical curve cryptography (ECC), SHA-1, and SHA-224/256. Hardware cryptography enables developers to meet evolving IoT security requirements more efficiently than with conventional software-only techniques often required by competing MCUs.

Based respectively on ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 cores, Jade and Pearl Gecko MCUs provide ample performance for connected devices while enabling developers to optimize battery life or use smaller batteries for space-constrained designs. The new MCUs feature an enhanced peripheral reflex system (PRS) that lets low-power peripherals operate autonomously while the MCU core sleeps, allowing connected devices to sleep longer, thus extending battery life. Energy-saving low active-mode current (63 µA/MHz) enables computationally intensive tasks to execute faster. Low sleep-mode current (1.4 µA down to 30 nA) and ultra-fast wake-up/sleep transitions further minimize energy consumption.

Jade and Pearl Gecko MCUs also integrate a high-efficiency DC-DC buck converter. Offering a total current capacity of 200 mA, the on-chip converter can provide a power rail for other system components in addition to powering the MCU. This power management innovation reduces BOM cost and board area by eliminating the need for an external DC-DC converter.

Engineering samples of EFM32JG Jade Gecko and EFM32PG Pearl Gecko MCUs are available now in 5 mm × 5 mm QFN32 and 7 mm × 7 mm QFN48 packages. Production quantities are planned for Q2 2016. Jade Gecko pricing begins at $1.24 in 10,000-unit quantities. The Pearl Gecko pricing begins at $1.65 in 10,000-unit quantities. The SLSTK3401A EFM32PG Pearl Gecko Starter Kit costs $29.99.

Source: Silicon Labs

Connected Home Solutions with ZigBee and Thread-Ready Connectivity

Silicon Labs recently introduced a series of comprehensive reference designs that reduce time to market and simplify the development of ZigBee-based home automation, connected lighting and smart gateway products. The first in a series of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, the new reference designs include hardware, firmware, and software tools for developing high-quality connected home solutions based on Silicon Labs’s ZigBee “Golden Unit” Home Automation (HA 1.2) software stack and ZigBee SoC mesh networking technology.SiliconLabs IoT-SolutionsSilicon Labs’ ZigBee connected lighting reference designs feature wireless lighting boards and a plug-in demo board. The Golden Unit ZigBee stack allows LED lights to reliably join, interoperate, and leave a mesh network. The connected lights can support white, color temperature tuning, and RGB color settings as well as dimming.

Silicon Labs’ ZigBee-based home automation reference designs include a capacitive-sense dimmable light switch and a small door/window contact sensor. The light switch provides color, color tuning, and dimming control capabilities. As opposed to conventional switches, the wireless, battery-powered switches have no moving parts and are easy to place anywhere in a home. The switch design includes Silicon Labs’s EFM8 capacitive sensing microcontroller to detect different user gestures (touch, hold, and swipe). The contact sensor reference design provides all the tools needed to create wireless, battery-powered sensors used to monitor door and window positions (open or closed).

Silicon Labs offers two ZigBee gateway options to complement the reference designs:

  • A plug-and-play USB virtual gateway that works with any PC development platform and supports the Windows, OS X, and Linux environments as a virtual machine
  • An out-of-the-box Wi-Fi/Ethernet gateway reference design based on an embedded Linux computer system

Both gateway options enable you to control and monitor ZigBee HA 1.2-compliant end nodes through Wi-Fi with any device with a web browser, such as a smartphone or tablet. With an intuitive, web-based user interface, you can easily create rules between ZigBee end devices including lights, dimmable light switches, and contact sensors.

Silicon Labs’ connected lighting, home automation, and smart gateway reference designs are currently available. The RD-0020-0601 and RD-0035-0601 connected lighting reference designs cost $49. The RD-0030-0201 contact sensor reference design is $39. The RD-0039-0201 capacitive-sense dimmable light switch reference design is $29. The USB virtual gateway is $49. The out-of-the-box Wi-Fi/Ethernet gateway reference design is $149.

Source: Silicon Labs 

Next-Gen Programmable ProSLIC Devices

Silicon Labs recently introduced a new family of small subscriber line interface circuits (SLICs) that offer high levels of integration and programmability for the VoIP gateway market. The single- and dual-channel Si32x8x ProSLIC family provides a best-in-class subscriber line interface solution for a wide range of VoIP customer premises equipment (CPE) including cable gateways, xDSL integrated access devices, xPON optical network terminals, fiber to the home (FTTH), fiber to the building (FTTB), and wireless fixed terminals.Silicon Labs ProSLIC

The Si32x8x ProSLIC family provides industry-leading configurability to ensure future-proofed one- and two-channel foreign exchange station (FXS) telephony interfaces in a compact, single-chip solution. The ProSLIC devices minimize SLIC power consumption by using flexible, integrated tracking DC-DC controllers that support patent-pending, ultra-low-cost capacitive boost configuration technology. They also reduce power by leveraging Silicon Labs’s patented low-power ringing (LPR) technology and an ultra-low-power 50 mW per channel on-hook mode. Patent-pending smart ringing technology available in dual-channel ProSLIC devices also enables the use of cost-effective power adapters in two-channel CPE designs by typically reducing the required peak current by more than 300 mA.

The Si32x8x family offers single-channel SLICs in QFN package options as small as 5 mm × 6 mm, as well as a very compact 7 mm × 7 mm dual-channel solution. The Si32x8x BOM footprint is only 4.2 cm2 per FXS channel.

Beta samples of the Si32x8x ProSLIC devices and evaluation boards are available now. General samples and production quantities are planned for the first quarter of  2016. Single-channel Si3218x device pricing begins at $1.58 in 10,000-unit quantities. Dual-channel Si3228x 10,000-unit pricing begins at $2.12. The ProSLIC evaluation kit costs $250 and ships with full documentation and Silicon Labs’s ProSLIC GUI software.

Source: Silicon Labs

Reference Design Addresses Demand for Voice Control

Silicon Labs recently released a new, cost-effective solution for voice-enabled ZigBee remote controls. The ZigBee Remote Control (ZRC) reference design reduces the need for expensive external hardware by implementing a software-based audio codec into a single-chip wireless SoC. It includes all of the hardware and software necessary for developing full-featured, voice-enabled remote controls.SiLabs Zigbee

The ZRC reference design is based on Silicon Labs EM34x wireless SoCs and ZRC 2.0 Golden Unit-certified software stack, which provides an industry-standard way to implement interoperable, low-power RF remote controls. The reference design includes complete RF layout and design files, an acceleration sensor for backlight control, a buzzer for “find me” capabilities, support for IR control, a digital microphone, and the ability to transmit voice commands over RF.

Silicon Labs offers two development kits the voice-enabled reference design. The  $249 EM34X-VREVK Voice Remote Evaluation Kit features preprogrammed devices and a simple GUI to demonstrate remote control capabilities, including RF, voice commands, and legacy IR support. The $399 EM34X-VRDK Voice Remote Development Kit provides you with an “out-of-the-box” design experience. It simplifies development of the remote control and target devices, and it comes with an EM34x voice-enabled remote control, USB stick, EM34x development board, EM34x wireless modules, and ISA3 debug adapter.

Samples and volume quantities of Silicon Labs’s EM34x SoCs are available with prices starting at $1.68 in 10,000-unit quantities.

Source: Silicon Labs

Analog Amplifier Provides Precise Current Shunt Measurement

Silicon Labs has introduced a new isolated current sense amplifier with industry-leading signal bandwidth (up to 750 kHz) that ensures rapid, precise DC current measurement and accurate representation of the primary signal and harmonics. The Si8920 isolated amplifier provides an ideal current shunt measurement solution for power control systems operating in harsh environments (e.g., hybrid vehicles, industrial motor drives, and high-voltage power converters).SiliconLabs Si8920

The Si8920 isolated amplifier uses Silicon Labs’ proven, CMOS-based isolation technology, supports up to 5 kV withstand and 1200 V working voltage, and offers a wide operating temperature range, noise immunity, and long lifetimes. With exceptionally low 1-µV/°C offset drift, you gain stable performance over diverse operating conditions.

The Si8920 isolated amplifier is available in standard SOIC and DIP packages. Pricing in 10,000-unit quantities starts at $2.39. The $29 Si8920ISO-KIT evaluation kit enables you to connect quickly to a shunt resistor to evaluate Si8920 analog isolation functionality including low-voltage differential input, response times, offset and gain characteristics.

Source: Silicon Labs