New Low-Power Smart Sensor Wireless Platform for IoT Devices

Dialog Semiconductor recently announced that it is collaborating with Bosch Sensortec to develop a low-power smart sensor platform for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The 12-DOF smart sensor reference platform is intended for gesture recognition in wearable computing devices and immersive gaming, including augmented reality and 3-D indoor mapping and navigation.DS008_bosch-Dialog

The platform comprises Dialog’s DA14580 Bluetooth Smart SoC with three low-power Bosch Sensortecsensors: the BMM150 (for three-axis geo-magnetic field measurement), the BME280 (pressure, humidity, and temperature sensor), and the siz-axis BMI160 (a combination of a three-axis accelerometer and three-axis gyroscope in one chip). The resulting 14 × 14 mm2 unit draws less than 500 µA from a 3-V coin cell when updating and transferring all 12 × 16 bits of data wirelessly to a smartphone.


The 2.5 × 2.5 × 0.5 mm DA14580 SmartBond SoC integrates a Bluetooth Smart radio with an ARM Cortex-M0 application processor and intelligent power management. It more than doubles the battery life of an application-enabled smartphone accessory, wearable device, or computer peripheral in comparison with other solutions. The DA14580 includes a variety of analog and digital interfaces and features less than 15 mW power consumption in active mode and 600-nA standby current.

Bosch Sensortec’s BMI160 six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) integrates a 16 bit, three-axis, low-g accelerometer and an ultra-low power three-axis gyroscope within a single package. When the accelerometer and gyroscope are in full operation mode, the typical current consumption is 950 µA.

The BMM150 integrates a compact three-axis geo-magnetic field sensor using Bosch Sensortec’s high performance FlipCore technology. The BME280 Integrated Environmental Unit combines sensors for barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature measurement. Its altitude measurement function is a key requirement in applications such as indoor navigation with floor tracking.

Source: Dialog Semiconductor

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

New LDO Regulators Deliver clean output voltage to MCUs

Intersil Corp. recently launched the SL80510 and ISL80505, which are two new single-output, low-dropout (LDO) voltage regulators that provide impressive dropout and transient performance for noise-sensitive loads. They deliver 1 A and 0.5 A of continuous output current and ultra-low dropout of 130 mV and 45 mV at full load, respectively. The ISL80510’s maximum dropout is approximately 50% lower than the nearest competitor, which enables lower power dissipation in industrial, wireless, and wired equipment.

The LDOs also provide better transient performance with peak-to-peak excursions up to nine times lower than otherLDOs. This transient performance level and DC accuracy of 1.8% safeguards against voltage undershoots and overshoots to deliver clean point-of-load voltage to CPUs, DSPs, and MCUs, which require tight voltage accuracy and low noise. The ISL80510/05’s compensation loop provides excellent noise filtering by maintaining a flat power supply rejection ratio (PSRR) response over a wide range of frequencies.ISL80510_Intersil

The ISL80510 operates from input voltages of 2.2 to 6 V. The ISL80505 supports 1.8 to 6 V. Since LDOs’ output voltage can be adjusted from 0.8 to 5.5 V, you can cover a broad range of applications, such as low-power RF amplifiers, communications equipment, and consumer network routers. An adjustable soft-start feature enables you to control the input inrush current and program the start-up time to accommodate any power-up sequencing requirement.

Specifications and features of ISL80510 and ISL80505:

  • ISL80510 provides dropout of 130 mV at Vout of 2.5 V with a 1-A load current
  • ISL80505 provides ultra-low dropout of 45 mV at Vout of 2.5 V with a 500-mA load current
  • Stable operation with a small 4.7-μF output ceramic capacitor
  • Delivers ±1.8% Vout accuracy guaranteed over line, load, and junction temperature range of –40°C to 125°C
  • Programmable output soft-start supports sequencing and helps power supply designer control inrush current
  • Current limit protection and thermal shutdown function safeguards against excessive load current or operating temperature
  • Both LDOs are pin-to-pin compatible and supplied in thermally enhanced 8-lead, 3 mm × 3 mm DFN packages

The ISL80510 and ISL80505 cost $0.39 1,000-unit quantities. The ISL80510EVAL1Z evaluation board costs $20.

Source: Intersil Corp.

Small, Low-Power Battery Management Solution for the IoT

Texas Instruments’s new bq25120 battery management solution features low quiescent current (Iq) at 700-nA with the buck converter and operates at 1.8 V. Supporting batteries from 3.6-V to 4.65-V, and fast charge currents from 5-mA to 300-mA, the bq25120 enables wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) applications to remain on without draining the battery. TI Battery1

The bq25120 includes a linear charger, configurable LDO, buck converter, load switch, push button control, and battery voltage monitor. You can use it with other devices to integrate more end application features.

With the $99 bq25120 evaluation module (EVM), you can speed up time to market by easily evaluating device features and performance. The 2.5 mm × 2.5 mm bq25120 charger costs $1.60 in 1,000-piece quantities.

Source: Texas Instruments Vendor-Independent Search Engine Goes Live recently launched and announced that it is live, fully open, and free for anyone to use in their search for electronic components.  According to, you can search over 135 million electronic components by category, availability, popularity, and price across a global network of distributors and manufacturers. The platform offers a visual representation of complex data, enabling engineers to make the best component selection for their projects and allows users to order directly from their favorite supplier through the platform.partsIO

“Component selection is a critical step in the design cycle, often impacting production schedules six months or more down the line. offers a transparent way to compare and select the best components based on reliable data and big data analysis,” says Chris Gammell, Product Lead for, which is part of the SupplyFrame engineering network. Visit for more information.


Workspace for Electromechanical Innovation

Many Circuit Cellar readers dabble in both mechanical and electrical design. Jared Harvey—a senior electrical engineer at Howell Laboratories—recently shared with us a photo and description of his home workspace in West Newfield, ME, where he tackles interesting electromechanical projects.JH_workspace

Here is what he says about his space:

I was once told that a clean work space is a sign of a dirty mind. I hope that holds true in the inverse as my work space is always messy. For hobby stuff, I can never seem to prioritize the cleaning operations, I pretty much always choose to put those energies into building something.

Located in the basement, on the left is an oak bench with a vise, which is used for mostly mechanical stuff, in the middle is a metal bench for mostly electrical stuff. on the right is another metal bench for anything else. Also in view is an old drill press and one of those circular magnification glasses with a light, mounted on a move-able arm. I also have a large-ish garage with car lift, which allow for larger projects like the little red suby.

I have a small collection of electrical tools including HAMEG spectrum analyzer, DSO Quad, China logic analyzer, Metcal soldering station, and a couple misc bench top power supplies and misc function generators. It’s pretty basic tools, and whenever I need real tools I have always had access to good NIST traceable tools at work. I have made a re-flow toaster oven out of an B&D Infrawave, which is PID controlled using a thermo-couple controlled and generates mostly IR as well as some conduction heaters in the bottom.

Someday I’d like to help develop an open source multi meter, also I’d like to re-purpose my old AC units making them into a geothermal heat ex-changer. Lately I’ve been spending a bunch of time helping develop rusEFI, and in the past have helped with project like OpenServo. Projects these days have limited time as the 5 year old and 7 year old are higher priority and take up most of my spare time. So it’s generally 10 minutes a day late night or early morning.

Visit Jared’s webpage to read about his projects, including the following: FEA Magnetic encoder Analysis, Radio Propagation Analysis, and Solid Modeling and Gif Animation.

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October Electrical Engineering Challenge Live (Sponsor: NetBurner)

Ready to put your electrical engineering skills to the test? The October Electrical Engineering Challenge (sponsored by NetBurner) is live.

This month, find the error in the schematic posted below (and on the Challenge webpage) for a chance to win a NetBurner MOD54415 LC Development Kit ($129 value) or a Circuit Cellar Digital Subscription (1 year).


Click the image to enlarge. Find the error in this schematic and submit your answer by October 20, 2015.

Find the error in this schematic and submit your answer by October 20, 2015. Submit via the Challenge webpage. Click image to access submission form.


Out of each month’s group of entrants who correctly find the error in the code or schematic, one person will be randomly selected to win a NetBurner IoT Cloud Kit and another person will receive a free 1-year digital subscription to Circuit Cellar.

  • NetBurner MOD54415 LC Development Kit: You can add Ethernet connectivity to an existing product or use it as your product’s core processor! The NetBurner Ethernet Core Module is a device containing everything needed for design engineers to add network control and to monitor a company’s communications assets. The module solves the problem of network-enabling devices with 10/100 Ethernet, including those requiring digital, analog, and serial control.NetburnerMod54415module
  • Circuit Cellar Digital Subscription (1 year): Each month, Circuit Cellar magazine reaches a diverse international readership of professional electrical engineers, EE/ECE academics, students, and electronics enthusiasts who work with embedded technologies on a regular basis.Circuit Cellar magazine covers a variety of essential topics, including embedded development, wireless communications, robotics, embedded programming, sensors & measurement, analog tech, and programmable logic.


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NetBurner solves the problem of network enabling devices, including those requiring digital, analog and serial control. NetBurner provides complete hardware and software solutions that help you network enable your devices.

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