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M2.COM is a Standard for IoT Sensors Based on M.2 Form Factor

March 25th, 2016 No comments

The IoT ecosystem really feels like a jungle now, not because of a lack of standards, but because everybody thinks about doing their own, so we’ve ended up with a wide range of communication protocols, initiatives, and consortia, and it will take some time until the winners and losers are sorted out. One the of the latest standard is M2.COM platform form factor for sensors that “adopts the standardized M.2 form factor and is defined as an evolutionary module that combines general wireless connectivity with additional built-in computing ability powered by MCU”.

M2.COM_ArchitectureM2.COM architecture diagram above describes both software and hardware requirements, but the specifications themselves only define the form factor, as well as mechanical and electrical characteristics:

  • Consistent with M.2 standard
    • Module size: 22 mm x 30 mm
    • PCB thickness: 0.8 mm ± 10%
    • Pin count: 75 pins
    • Module input voltage: 3.3V DC-in
    • Connector mating force: 30N Maximum
    • Connector current rating: 0.5A / Power contact
    • Connector operation temperature range: -45°C to +85°C
  • Suitable pin definitions for IoT solution
    • USB – A common interface for extending storage
    • SDIO – Another common interface for extending storage through SD/MMC
    • I2C – The most popular interface for sensors. Ex: pressure sensor, temperature sensor, moisture sensor and lightning sensor
    • I2S – Supports audio codec for broadcasting and playing audio through external speakers
    • UART – A commonly used protocol for device control, such as for motor and electric control units
    • GPIO – Basic I/O control, such as indicating lights, alarm and buzzer
    • SPI – Supports LCM to display values collected from the sensor or transmitted by an external device
    • ADC – Common pins of GPIO, the ADC transforms the analog signal from the sensor into a digital signal so that data can be readable and meaningful to the data analyzer

M2.COM_Architecture_2

So the idea is basically to be able to exchange one M2.COM compliant module with another one with better features or a lower cost as needed. You can download the specifications 1.0, design guide, and mechanical information on M2.COM website.

Companies behind the initiative include ARM, Advantech, Bosch, Texas Instruments, and Sensirion. Two products compliant with the standard are currently available: Advantech WISE-1520 M2.COM module and the corresponding WISE-DB1500 carrier board / development board using pico-ITX form factor (100 x 72 mm).

M2COM_module

Advantech M2.COM Module and Carrier Board

WISE-1520 M2.COM module specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments CC3200MOD Cortex-M4 MCU with 256KB RAM, 1MB flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz up to 16Mbps (UDP)
  • I/O interfaces – 1x 4-wire UART, 1x I2C, 2 GPIOs, 2x PWM, 1x SPI, 2x ADC as per the specs (but no USB)
  • Debug Port – 1x developer and debug port.
  • Power – 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 30 x 22 mm – M.2 type 2230-D3-E form factor
  • Weight – 3 grams

The module runs TI RTOS or ARM mbed OS, and supports multiple IoT communication protocols including LWM2M, OSGI, AllJoyn and MQTT. Software documentation and SDK do not appear to be available publicly.

The development board features a M.2 socket and brings out an SD card slots, expansion headers, a RS-232/422/485 DB9 connector, and a micro USB OTG port, as well as an on-board  humidity & temperature sensor.

You can find out more about Advantech solution on M2.COM product page.

Via Embedded.com

Texas Instruments 4K DLP Chip Should Bring Affordable 4K Projectors to the Home, Office and School

January 14th, 2016 3 comments

4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) is slowly with the price of 4K television going down, 4K media players flooding the market starting at $40, and 4K content appearing online via services like Netflix and over the air with DVB-S2. Thanks to the latest Texas Instruments DLP 0.67″ digital micromirror device (DMD), a cost down version of the 1.38″ DMD used in around 80% of cinemas worldwide, we could start seeing affordable 4K projectors in the second half of 2016.

TI_4K_DLPThe chip includes 4 millions tiny mirrors that quickly switch to generate the ~8 millions pixels required by a 3840×2160 display, and should be found in projectors capable of delivering up to 5,000 lumens. The DLP chip can be used in home theaters, but also in the office and at school for presentations or courses were text needs to be easily readable.

The solutions should delivery 100″+ displays with sharp images and text, as well as good color accuracy. Backlight can be achieved with LEDs, lamps, laser, or laser phosphor. Other details have not been published so far, but you can register to be informed once more infor is released on TI 4K DLP page. The new chip should launch in Spring 2016. In the meantime, you can watch an impressive demo with the device filmed at CES 2016.

Texas Instruments claims it will allow affordable 4K projectors, but did not mention any pricing. For reference, Optoma HD141X, a popular 1080p video projector, currently sells for around $550 on Amazon, so I’m assuming an affordable 4K projector could cost between $1,000 and $2,000, possibly in the higher range at the beginning.

Via ARMDevices.net

Texas Instruments MSP432 LaunchPad Development Board Sells for $4.32 (Promo)

January 11th, 2016 7 comments

Texas Instruments has started the year by offering a deal on their 32-bit MSP432 LaunchPad Development Kit, dropping the cost from $12.99 to $4.32 for a limited time with coupon code [email protected]

MSP432P401R_LaunchPad

MSP432 Launchpad’s key features:

  • MCU – Texas Instruments MSP432P401R ARM Cortex M4F MCU @ 48 MHz with FPU and DSP, 256KB flash, 64KB RAM
  • Expansion – 40 pin BoosterPack Connector, and support for 20-pin BoosterPacks
  • Misc – 2 buttons and 2 LEDs for user interaction
  • Debugging – Back-channel UART via USB to PC, Onboard XDS-110ET emulator featuring EnergyTrace+ Technology
  • Power – Micro USB connector

The kit includes the board, micro USB cable and a quick start guide. There’s plenty of technical documentation for the board, although for some unknown reasons,  I can’t download any PDF documents from TI website tonight.

MSP432 LaunchPad Discount

MSP432 LaunchPad Discount (Click to Enlarge)

The coupon is still working, but free shipping on TI eStore seems to be a thing of the past, as the total price adds $7 for shipping and handling to the US, and it goes up to $19 to countries in Asia.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Texas Instruments Introduces Entry level Sitara AM3351 Cortex-A8 Processor

December 20th, 2015 No comments

Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x processor are designed by industrial applications, and found in develompent board such as BeagleBone Black or BeagleBone Green, and the company has recently launched the new Sitara AM3351 Cortex A8 processor without 3D GPU, no PRU just like AM3352, but they’ve also canned the two CAN interfaces (sorry, I had to) in order to bring the cost lower, while keeping the processor software and pin-to-pin compatible with other AM335x processors available in 13×13 mm package.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

TI Sitara AM3351 CPU clock will also be limited to 300 MHz to 600 MHz with respectively AM3351BZCE30 and AM3351BZCE60 parts. It will only come with one Gigabit Ethernet port instead of up to two ports of other members of the family that are produced in 15x15mm package, and temperature range is limited to 0 to 90 C. Other features remain the same, and the processors will support TI-RTOS, Linux, Android, and Windows Embedded CE like its big brothers.

Texas Instruments Sitara AM3351 processor is available now with pricing starting at $5.70 in 1k quantity. More details can be found in the product page.

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
    • UART, 2× SSI (SPI, MICROWIRE, TI), I2C
    • 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.

$249 TI AM437x Starter Kit for Industrial Design Launched by Element14

October 10th, 2015 1 comment

Element14 has recently launched their “Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit” based on Sitara AM4378 Cortex A9 processor, including a board and touch screen LCD, and targeting industrial, HMI (Human Machine Interface) and networking applications.

Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit For Industrial Design (Click to Enlarge)

Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit For Industrial Design (Click to Enlarge)

Element14 Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit specifications:AM437x_Touch_Panel

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM4378 ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 1 GHz with PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L SDRAM (2x 4-Gb Micron chips).
  • Storage – 64MB SPI NOR Flash (MX66L51235FMI), serial EEPROM with board specific data, 1x micro SD slot
  • Display – 4.3″ Capacitive Touch LCD
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ45 ports (Micrel KSZ9031RN transceivers), support for COM8 form-factor wireless boards via J20 Samtec card edge connector.
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 2x micro USB ports
  • Camera – 2x 12 header for custom-made camera module from TI
  • Audio – TLV320AIC3106 audio codec, 2x audio jacks for headphone out, and Line In
  • Sensors – Accelerometer (STMicro LIS331DLH)
  • Misc – Menu, Home, Back and Search buttons, user LEDs
  • Power Supply5V DC (rated 2.5 A minimum) via a DC Jack
  • Dimensions – N/A

AM437x_Starter_Kit_Block_Diagram

The kit includes the evaluation board, a power supply, a micro SD card with Linux, a micro SD to SD Adapter, a micro USB Cable, and a Quick Start Guide. Documentation can be found on Element14 website. The board may have been launched a few days ago by Element14, but it’s also been available via Texas Instruments website for about a year, and you can also find the same documentation on TI website.

TI AM437x Starter Kit sells for $249 on Farnell (Europe), Newark (North America), and Element14 (Asia Pacific), or you can also purchase it directly on TI eStore.

WiPy Wi-Fi Board for IoT Runs MicroPython on Texas Instruments CC3200 (Crowdfunding)

April 24th, 2015 29 comments

If you’ve interested in connecting devices via Wi-Fi, you’re being spoiled as “Internet of things” boards keeps getting designed and produced. The latest board with WiPy, a small board powered by Texas Instruments CC3200, running MicroPython, and consuming less than 1mA in suspended mode with Wi-Fi connected.

WiPyWiPy specifications:

  • MCU – TI CC3200 ARM Cortex-M4 @ 80 MHz with 256KB RAM, Wi-Fi and TCP/IP stack
  • Storage – 2MB flash
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11b/g/n 16Mbps (AP, Station and WiFi-Direct), on-board antenna and u.FL connector
  • Expansion – 2x 14-pin headers (2.54mm pitch) with
    • Up to 25 GPIOs
    • 2x UART, SPI, I2C, I2S, and SD card
    • 3×12 bit ADCs
  • Others
    • 4×16 bit timers with PWM and input capture
    • RTC
    • Hash and encryption engines: SHA, MD5, DES, AES
    • Reset switch, heartbeat LED
  • Power Supply – 3.6 – 5.5V DC input; 3.3V output up to 250mA
  • Power Consumption – Active: 14 mA; Suspended (Wi-Fi connected): 850 uA; Hibernating (No Wi-Fi): 5 uA
  • Dimensions – 25mm x 45mm (1.0″ x 1.77″)

WiPy_MicroPythonBeside low power consumption, the board can switch from suspended to active mode in less than 5 ms, send some data, and go back to sleep, with the developers claiming several years on a single battery charge with this type of activity.

The board run MicroPython and so it can be programmed using Python 3.4, minus some functions like “with” or “yield from”. You’ll notice no USB port on the board that can be used for programming, that’s because you’d normally connect via Telnet to access the console, and program the board from there, and alternatively you can also connect via FTP to upload Python scripts or other files. WiPy supports BSD sockets, and MicroPython compatible librairies are being worked on to handle HTTP, SMTP, XMPP, FTP, and MQTT, and since the TI MCU also support hardware hash and encryption, secure HTTPS and SSL connection will also be available.

MicroPython_GPIO

Sample code to toggle a GPIO in Python

There aren’t any shields for WiPy, as it’s breadboard compatible so you can easily connect it to your existing modules for your project, but they’re still in the process of developing an expansion board with a micro USB and battery connectors, FT234XD USB to  serial converter, a LiPo charger, a micro SD socket, two prototyping areas, and more.

WiPy_Baseboard

MicroPython source code for CC3200 is already available on WiPy github account, and the hardware files are being promised once the project is about to ship.

WiPy has just reached its 30,000 Euros target on Kickstarter, where you can pledge 27 Euros to get WiPy with the headers of your choice (male, female, double stackable, or none), or 37 Euros to also include the expansion board above. Shipping is included, and delivery scheduled for August 2015. You can find more details, ask question on their forums, and soon access tutorials on www.wipy.io.

Texas Instruments Introduces MSP432 ARM Cortex-M4F MCU Family

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Texas Instruments has just launched a successor for its 16-bit MSP430 MCU family with MSP432 MCU series featuring a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F core, a DSP, up to 256 KB flash, up to 64 KB SRAM, and according to the company ” delivering a ULPBench score of 167.4 outperforming all other Cortex-M3 and -M4F MCUs on the market”. The new MCU family targets  consumer & portable electronics, building & factory automation & control, smart grid & energy,  healthcare & fitness, and wearables applications.

MSP432_Block_DiagramKey features listed for MSP432P4xx:

  • MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F up to 48 MHz with FPU and DSP. Delivers 3.4 Coremark/MHz
  • Memory – Up to 64 KB RAM;  Selectable RAM retention
  • Storage – Up to 256 KB Flash; dual bank for simultaneous reading and writing
  • Security – 256-bit AES encryption, JTAG access lock, 4 IP Protection regions
  • EnergyTrace Technology
    • Real-time power measurement and debugging
    • Generate application energy profiles including current and CPU state
  • Ultra-Low Power Consumption:
    • 95 uA/MHz active mode
    • 850 nA LPM3 (With RTC)
    • Wake-Up From Standby Mode in < 10uS
  • ADC – 24-ch 14-bit (13.2 ENOB) differential ADC; up to 1 MSPS; 375 uA at full speed
  • Voltage – 1.62 to 3.7 V operation

There are currently 6 devices available with 32 to 64KB RAM, 128 to 256KB flash and various I/O options and packages.

MSP432 Family Table (Click to Enlarge)

MSP432 Family Table (Click to Enlarge)

To allow customers to quickly evaluate the new MSP432 MCU, Texas Instruments also launched MSP432 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit based on MSP432P401R with 256KB flash and 64KB RAM.

MSP432 Launchpad Board

MSP432 Launchpad Board

Key features listed for the kit:

  • Low-power ARM Cortex-M4F MSP432P401R
  • 40-pin LaunchPad standard that leverages the BoosterPack ecosystem
  • XDS110-ET, an open-source onboard debugger featuring EnergyTrace+ technology and application UART
  • Two buttons and two LEDs for user interaction
  • Backchannel UART through USB to PC

The kit includes the board, a micro USB cable, and a quick start guide.

Software examples and hardware design files have been released for the board. Development can be performed with MSPWare Software Development Package either from the desktop or within a web browser. MSP432 MCUs are also said to support real-time operating system (RTOS) such as TI-RTOS, FreeRTOS and Micrium uC/OS.

MSP432P401RIPZ MCU is already sampling, while other upcoming devices will be available later, and pricing starts at $2.15 US in 1K units.  MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad kit will sell for just $12.99, and the company can also provide MSP-TS432PZ100 target board for $89. You can find more details, including documentation, tools, and software for the boards, on Texas Instruments MSP432 product page.

Via Embedded.com