Posts Tagged ‘smart grid’

WAVIoT LPWAN Technology Powers Low Cost Smart Water and Electricity Meters

January 20th, 2016 10 comments

With the rise of IoT and M2M applications, more and more Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) standards have been launched or being worked on, such as Sigfox, LoRa, 802.11ah “Hallow”, Weightless, etc… with all promising long range, low power consumption, and support for a high number of nodes. WAVIoT, a US startup founded in 2011, has decided to create its own solution called WAVIoT Nb-Fi (Narrowband Fidelity) that works in ISM bands, offers up to 50km line-of-sight range, supports up to 2 million nodes by gateway, lasts over 20 years on a small battery, and with WAVIoT said to cost as low as $2 per node. The technology is already available in smart electricity and water meters, and modules as shown in the picture below.

WavIOT_Meter_and_LPWAN_Radio_ModuleHere are some of WAVIoT Nb-Fi technical specifications:

  • DBPSK on physical layer of signal transmission;
  • End-nodes transmit radio signal in 10-500 kHz bandwidth
  • Minimum bit rate of 50 baud+ (8-10 bits per second)
  • Link budget available 184-194 dBm
  • Output power up to 25dBm (with FEM)
  • TX 250mA @ 27Bm, 90mA @ 16dBm, 44mA @ 14dBm
  • Sleep mode with RAM retention and wake-up timer running 1.5 μA
  • RF transceiver operates over a wide frequency range including 315MHz, 433MHz, 470MHz, 868MHz, 915MHz in the license-free Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency bands.

But the best way to see what the standard can do it to compare it to other solutions such as LoRa, Sigfox, LTE-M, WiFi, and Cellular.

Comparison Table

Click to Enlarge

(1) LoRa info source: Link Labs; (2) Sigfox info source: SigFox.

The table above has been provided by the WAVIoT, and while it’s informative, the data shown is likely to show WAVIoT Nb-IF in the best light possible.

You can already setup an ecosystem with WAVIoT, for example using WAVIoT GW200 base station combined with nodes using RM130 transceiver module ($15) supporting both Nb-Fi and LoRa, or smart meters such as SWM-1 smart water meter ($28)  or SEM-1 smart electricity meter ($59).

WAVIoT & LoRa RM-130 Development Kit

WAVIoT & LoRa RM-130 Development Kit

The company also provides a WAVIoT and LoRa development kit based on RM-130 transceiver module with the following hardware specifications:

  • MCU – SiLabs EFM32G210F128 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 32 MHz with 128 KB Flash and 16 KB RAM
  • RF Transceiver – Semtech SX1276 137 MHz to 1020 MHz Low Power Long Range Transceiver
  • Frequency Bands – 866.5 – 916.5 MHz
  • Radio protocols – LoRa, WAVIoT UNB
  • TX Power Range – -2…18.6 dBm, by 1 dBm steps
  • TX Current –  120mA @ 18.6dBm, 90mA @ 16dBm
  • RX Current – 16 mA
  • Sleep Current 10 µA
  • Expansion – 17 through holes for Power signals, as well as GPIO, USB, UART, SPI, I2Cm ADC, analog comparators, pulse counters, etc…
  • Debugging – 20-pin JTAG header, USB-UART interface
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB or 2.5 / 3.8V (selectable by jumper)
  • Dimensions –  80 × 38 × 11mm
  • Operating Temperature – – 40…85 °C

So WAVIoT is just using existing RF solutions, and seems to basically use the same hardware as LoRA, as Semtech SX1276 is featuring a “LoRa long range modem”, and the cost per node is likely lower because of its better scalability. The board supports add-on shields for LCD display, SWR sensor, and more.

The company provides a simple Windows GUI, command-line utilities for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, and an open source host-interface abstraction written for PCs and embedded microcontrollers. Several cloud solutions for data management and billing are offered. The development kit sells for $274.99.

You can find more details on WAVIoT website.

TI SimpleLink CC1310 Wireless MCU Promises 20 Km Range, 20-Year Battery Life on a Coin Cell

December 18th, 2015 8 comments

Some LPWAN standards such as SigFox, LoRa, or nWave allows for transmission of data at low bitrate over several kilometers, and I’ve very recently featured Microchip’s LoRa modules and motes in this blog. So when Texas Instruments sent their December 2015 newsletter entitled Wireless MCU spans 20 km on a coin cell, I decided to have a look, and the company’s CC1310 wireless Cortex-M3+M0 MCU based on a proprietary sub GHz technology also claims to last 20-year on a coin cell for applications such as grid communication infrastructure and heat and water meters.

TI CC1310 MCU Block Diagram

TI CC1310 MCU Block Diagram

SimpleLink CC1310 key features:

  • Microcontroller – ARM Cortex-M3 @ up to 48 MHz with up to 128KB programmable flash, 8KB DRAM for cache/general purpose, 20KB Ultralow Leakage SRAM
  • Sensor Controller – Ultralow power and autonomous; 16-Bit Architecture; 2KB of Ultralow Leakage SRAM for code and data
  • RF core
    • Cortex M0 core with 4KB RAM, and ROM
    • Data rate – 4000 kbps (Max)
    • Receiver Sensitivity – –124 dBm using long-range Mode, –110 dBm at 50 kbps
    • Selectivity: 52 dB; Blocking performance: 90 dB; programmable output power up to +14 dBm
    • Single-ended or differential RF Interface
    • Suitable for systems targeting compliance with ETSI EN 300 220, EN 303 131, EN 303 204 (Europe); FCC CFR47 Part 15 (US); ARIB STD-T108 (Japan)
    • Wireless M-Bus and IEEE 802.15.4g PHY
  • Peripherals
    • All digital peripheral pins can be routed to any GPIO
    • 4x general-purpose timer modules – 8x 16-Bit or 4x 32-Bit Timers, PWM each
    • 12-Bit ADC, 200 ksamples/s, 8-Channel Analog MUX
    • Continuous Time Comparator
    • Ultralow Power Clocked Comparator
    • Programmable Current Source
    • I2S
    • Real-Time Clock (RTC)
    • AES-128 security module, True Random Number Generator (TRNG)
    • Support for eight capacitive sensing buttons
    • Integrated Temperature Sensor
  • External System
    • On-Chip Internal DC-DC Converter
    • Few External Components
    • Integration with SimpleLink CC1190 range extender
  • Power Supply – 1.8 to 3.8V
  • Power Consumption
    • Active mode – Rx: 5.5 mA; Tx (+10 dBm): 12.9 mA; MCU: 48.5 CoreMark/mA; Sensor Controller @ 24 MHz: 0.4 mA + 8.2 µA/MHz
    • Sensor Controller woken up once per second performing one 12-Bit ADC sampling: 0.85 µA
    • Standby: 0.6 µA (RTC running and RAM and CPU retention)
    • Shutdown: 185 nA (Wakeup on external events)
  • Packages – 7-mm × 7-mm RGZ VQFN48 (30 GPIOs); 5-mm × 5-mm RHB VQFN48 (15 GPIOs); 4-mm × 4-mm RSM VQFN48 (10 GPIOs)
Connected Water Meter Block Diagram

Connected Water Meter Block Diagram

Software and development tools include reference designs for Different RF configurations, packet sniffer PC Software, Sensor Controller Studio, SmartRF Studio, SmartRF Flash Programmer 2, IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM, Code Composer Studio as well as development kits such as SimpleLink sub-1 GHz CC1310 development kit bundle comprised of one  CC1310EMK-7XD-7793 evaluation module kit with  two boards with the wireless MCU and RF layout (779 to 930 MHz) with two antennas, and two SMARTRF06EBK  evaluation board that is the  motherboard for the CC1310 evaluation module, and equipped with an on-board XDS100v3 debugger, LCD, buttons, LEDs, debugger and sensors.

SimpleLink CC1310 Evaluation Module Kit

SimpleLink CC1310 Evaluation Module Kit

TI CC1310 MCU is selling for $2.50 to $3.98 per unit for 1K orders, and the development kit is available for $299 + shipping. More details can be found on Texas Instruments SimpleLink CC1310 and CC1310 development kit product pages.

Orvibo Wiwo S20 Smart Socket Now Sells for $16

July 30th, 2015 10 comments

Kankun KK-SP3 used to be the cheapest smart socket on the market at around $20, and it is hackable too, but only available with a Chinese / Australian plug, and for some reasons, many sellers stopped selling the device. Last year, a similar product called Orvibo Wiwo S20 launched with US, UK, EU or AU plug types, but sold for nearly twice as much as KK-SP3 at the time. The good news is that the price has gone down considerably, as it can be purchased for around $16 on GearBest, and it’s available on others for $20 to $26 including on Amazon US, DealExtreme, and GeekBuying.

Orvibo_Wiwo-S20_Multi_Countries_PlugsLet’s remind us of the specifications first:

  • Material – ABC 94V-0 (fireproof)
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n
    • Security – WEP, WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK
  • Power Plug – US, Europe, United Kingdom or Australia plug
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2000W max.
  • Voltage Range – 100-240V AC
  • Power Consumption – ≤0.3W
  • Dimensions – 10.3 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.7 cm
  • Temperature Range – -20 C to 60 C
  • Relative Humidity – ≤80%
  • Weight – 110 grams

You can control the device with Orvibo’s Android or iOS app. Since it has been around for a while, there’s quite a lot of user’s feedback, and users are usually satisfied.

Orvibo_Wiwo_S20_Hardware_Power Orvibo_Wiwo_S20_Hardware_WiFi
Images Source: (Click to Enlarge)

Orvibo Wiwo S20 is also compatible with Linux based Ninja Block automation box, the communication protocol has been reversed engineered, and an open source app “Orwivo S20 socket manager” has been released, and can be available as a command client client, or with a simple GUI. So beside Wiwo S20 getting cheaper, it has also become more flexible, thanks to the work of the community.

Thank you Onebir!

Orvibo Wiwo S20 Wi-Fi Smart Socket Features US, EU, UK, or AU Plug Types

July 31st, 2014 65 comments

I’ve previously covered several Chinese Wi-Fi smart sockets including Broadlink SP2 also supporting power monitoring, and Kankun KK-SP3, a cheaper, more basic version that can only be turned on and off manually or via timers, and which runs OpenWRT. These plugs have one thing in common: they only come with Australian/Chinese plugs, so if you want to use them in Europe, the US, or United Kingdom, you’ll need an adapter, which may not the the safest things to do, and it’s also inconvenient. Orvibo Wiwo S20 is another model that appears to have the capabilities and a price similar to Broadlink SP2, but available in four flavors with US, EU, UK, and AU plug types.

Orvibo_Wiwo-S20_Multi_Countries_PlugsOrvibo Wiwo S20 is made of fireproof ABS, and is significantly smaller than Broadlink SP2, but the rest of the specifications are very similar:

  • Material – ABC 94V-0 (fireproof)
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n
    • Security – WEP, WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK
  • Power Plug – US, Europe, United Kingdom or Australia plug
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2000W max.
  • Voltage Range – 100-240V AC
  • Power Consumption – ≤0.3W
  • Dimensions – 10.3 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.7 cm
  • Temperature Range – -20 C to 60 C
  • Relative Humidity – ≤80%
  • Weight – 110 grams

This smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English. The  “WiWo” app to connect to your Wi-Fi router, control the device, set timers, scenes, etc.. is available for Android and iOS 5.0+. However, I can’t see any screenshots related to power monitoring, and after installing the Android app, I can’t find any instructions about it either. So “power indicator for your energy tracking” must be there is a LED showing if the device is in use or not… You can control up to 150 socket with your smartphone, and up to 20 mobile devices can control one socket…

I initially found out about the socket via GeekBuying, where it can be purchased for $38.99, and you can select the different plug type by changing the “color”. I could also find it on Aliexpress, where Orvibo has setup their own shop, and sell the devices for about $30 excluding shipping. You can also checkout Orvibo website for more details (I need a proxy to access the site).

BroadLink SP2 Wi-Fi Smart Socket for iOS and Android Adds Support for Energy Monitoring, Motion Sensing

March 4th, 2014 1 comment

Broadlink SP1, a low cost Wi-Fi smart socket released last year,  allows you to control your electric appliance with your mobile device running iOS or Android. You could turn it on or off, set timers, and so on. An updated model is now available, Broadlink SP2, that adds energy monitoring to the features found in the previous model, to track your historic and live power consumption on your smartphone or tablet, as well as a motion sensor to automatically turn off the lights, for instance, if you are away (Auto Home / Auto Away feature).

Broadlink SP2 and Energy Monitoring

Broadlink SP2 and Energy Monitoring

The hardware specifications are very similar to SP1 except it’s using a case made of polycarbonate plastic instead of ABS, and the device is a bit bigger:

  • Material – PC
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
  • Power Plug – Three flat-pin plug (Australia type)
  • Voltage – 100~265V @ 50-60 Hz
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2300W max.
  • Dimensions – 12.3 cm x 7 cm x 6.5 cm
  • Durability – > 50,000 On/Off
  • Temperature Range – -10 C to 60 C

The smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English. Just like with SP1, you’ll need a plug adapter or a universal power strip to use the plug, if you don’t live in Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand, and the few other countries using this type of plug.

The  “Broadlink” app is apparently the same as for SP1 for iOS 5+ and Android 2.2+ and support English as well as simplified and traditional Chinese. The company SP2 page is not very clear, and there are also other iOS and Android apps, but they must be for other products.

You can purchase Broadlink SP2 on DealExtreme for $45.24, but it should eventually be closer to $36, as it’s available for 179 CNY (About $29) on Taobao excluding shipping. For reference, Broadlink SP1 sells for $35 on

802.11ah Wi-Fi (900 MHz) to Provide Low Power, Long Range Connectivity for the Internet of Things

February 21st, 2014 3 comments

Most devices now feature Wi-Fi modules capable of handling 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 Ghz (and 5 GHz for dual band Wi-Fi), and newer devices and routers boast 802.11ac connectivity @ 5GHz with increased bandwidth (up to 1.2 Gbit/s in theory, maybe around 400 Mbit/s in practive), and in some case increased range with  beam-forming. But thanks to an article on EETimes, I’ve learned there’s another upcoming Wi-Fi standard called 802.11ah operating in the 900MHz range, with data rates from 150 Kbit/s with a 1 MHz band to as much as 40 Mbit/s over an 8 MHz band, lower power consumption, and a least double of the range of a typical 802.11n device,capable of covering an area of about 1 km2. The target applications are sensors networks, backhaul networks for sensor and meter, and extended range Wi-Fi, as the standard allows long range and more clients at low bitrates.

Smart Grid with 802.11ah - Source:

Smart Grid with 802.11ah – Source: Seoul National Univeristy

This new Wi-Fi standard will compete with other sub 1GHz wireless standard such as Zigbee, and Z-Wave, and it seems to have similar applications as Wi-Fi 802.11af standard operating in the TV white band. Companies such as Broadcom, CSR, Huawei, Intel, LG, Marvell, NEC, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Samsung, and ZTE are participating in IEEE 802.11ah standard which is expected to get ratified by the end of 2015. If you want to learn more about technical details, you could read a publications entitled IEEE 802.11ah: A Long Range 802.11 WLAN at Sub 1 GHz by the Department of ECE and INMC from Seoul National University.

802.11ah_specturmA Greek company, Antcor, will demonstrate its 802.11ah DSP block supporting 4×4 MIMO for home gateways and industrial automation networks at Mobile World Congress 2014, and the first 802.11ah SoCs should hit the market before the end of this year, using the draft specifications.

Smart Power Strip Controls and Monitors your Electric Appliances with Android or iOS Devices (Crowdfunding)

December 10th, 2013 3 comments

Broadlink SP1 and Plugaway are smart sockets controlled by your mobile device(s) via Wi-Fi, but they only support one appliance at a time. Smart Power Strip will fix that thanks to 4 sockets with independent power consumption meters that are controlled via Wi-Fi by Android or iOS devices.

Smart_Power_StripThe power strip is comprised of 4 independent relays, 2 USB ports, a 120V or 230V circuit breaker, and a dual 2.4 GHz module for Wi-Fi and Home Automation (MESH) technology. It supports 100-250V AC, with a maximum of 15 Amps. The smart power strip will be available for US, EU, UK, and AU standards. That’s about all we know about the hardware.

The mobile app will allow you to turn on/off devices manually, monitor each appliance’s power consumption individually, set timers, and monitor which device is on/off. As long as you have Internet access, the smart power strip can be accessed remotely, and if you forgot to turn on your appliances, you can do so from your car or work. You can also play God, or dad (or mum) the dictator, if you notice your kids are watching TV or playing games, whereas they should really be studying for their final exam.

Smart_Power_Strip_App The MESH network will allow to cascade several power strip together, with one master, and several slaves. I don’t clearly understand why it’s needed, but there must be a good reason that I’m missing.

Eventually you should also be able to control Wi-Fi sensors (motion, light bulb, other Wi-Fi sockets), but this does not seem supported right now. Beside Android and iOS, a Windows Phone app may be implemented at a later stage.

The company has almost got the $100,000 they need to go ahead with mass production, and if you are interested you can pledge $99 (early bird) or $119, adding $30 for shipping outside the US via their Kickstarter page to (hopefully) get one Smart Power Strip for your country in April 2014.

Broadlink SP1 Wi-Fi Smart Socket Can Be Turned On/Off by Android or iOS Devices

August 29th, 2013 20 comments

Broadlink SP1 is a smart socket with Wi-Fi connectivity that you can control remotely with your Android or iOS mobile device through a specific app in order to turn on and off lights, water heater, and other electrical appliances. This type of product already exists for example with Belkin Wemo, but Broadlink SP1 is cheaper as it sells for $32.90 including shipping, against $49.99 + shipping for Belkin Wemo Switch. So let’s have a closer look.


For this type of device there aren’t that many technical specifications, but they are very important as you need to make sure it matches your electrical grid specs, equipment power rating, and socket type:

  • Material – ABS
  • Power Plug – Three flat-pin plug (Australia type)
  • Voltage – 90~245V @ 50-60 Hz
  • Output Current – 10A
  • Output Power – 2200W
  • Dimensions – 8.9 cm x 7.7 cm x 5.8 cm
  • Temperature Range – -10’C to 55’C

The smart socket comes with a user’s manual in English and Chinese.

Unless you live in Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand, and the few other countries using this type of plug, you’ll need an adapter, or use an universal power strip.

The company provides “Broadlink Smart Plug” app for iOS that’s compatible with iPhone 3GS to iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation), as well as an Android app (apk). I’ve tried the app in Android, and the UI shows up in English. For some reasons, during installation, the applications requires permission to access the camera… Without the plug, I can’t obviously try much in the apps, but according to the FAQ in Chinese, it lets you configure the smart sockets (Up to 100 units), turn them on and off, and set up to 7 timers. For security, there’s a “lock function” that only allows your device to control the sockets.

You can find more information (in Chinese), including a promo video, on Broadlink SP1 page. In China (Taobao), the device sells for 159 RMB ($26 US) + shipping.