$2 MXCHIP EMC3080 WiFi and Bluetooth LE IoT module integrates Cortex-M33 MCU

While nowadays most people from the maker community are working with ESP8266 or ESP32 modules or boards for IoT projects requiring Bluetooth LE and/or WiFi connectivity, we’ve also covered some low-cost alternatives such as Bouffalo Labs BL602 or Realtek RTL8710.

MXCHIP EMC3080 module offers yet an alternative with 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.2/5.0. Where it differentiates against other solutions is that it features a more secure Cortex-M33 core clocked at 100 MHz, as found in UNISOC V5663 and Ameba RTL8722DM wireless SoCs, but still getting a fairly low price tag of $2.35 on Seeed Studio, which drops to $2.10 per pieces for orders of 10 or more units.

MXCHIP EMC3080 Cortex-M33 WiFi & Bluetooth-IoT moduleMXCHIP EMC3080 module specifications:

  • MCU – MX1300CF Cortex-M33 processor at up to 100 MHz with 256KB SRAM, 2MB XIP flash, 384 or 512 bytes OTP memory
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi
      • 802.11 b/g/n 1T1R WiFi @ 2.4GHz Single Frequency
      • HT20 support up to 65Mbps (72 Mbps on Seeed Studio)
      • 802.11e QoS enhancement (WMM)
      • Security – WPA/WPA2 PSK, WPA2 Enterprise
      • WPS, Wi-Fi Direct, IEEE Power Save mode
    • Bluetooth
      • Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy (BLE)
      • Supports Bluetooth slave mode for “Bluetooth distribution network”
    • Wi-Fi and BLE time-division multiplexing, sharing the same PA and antenna
    • Antenna – On-module PCB antenna (EMC3080-P) or IPEX connector (EMC3080-E)
  • Peripherals
    • 14x GPIO, 8x PWM
    • 1x SPI, 2x I2C
    • 3 x UART with hardware flow control support
    • Low-energy RTC
  • Supply Voltage – 3.0V to 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 33 x 18 mm
  • Temperature Range – -20°C to +85°C (-40℃ to +105℃ on Seeed Studio)

EMC3080 block diagramThere are some discrepancies between the information on Seeed Studio and MXCHIP’s product page, notably with the former claiming Bluetooth 5.0 supports but I’d assume it would be without long-range nor higher bandwidth (2 Mbps) support in any cases.

There aren’t any software development resources that I could find on either website, but the datasheet reads:

Shanghai MXCHIP provides MXOS and AliOS software platforms to support the development of EMC3080 series modules, providing an efficient development environment, access protocol stacks for various IoT cloud services, rich sample programs and various typical applications.

MXCHIP website has some documentation about MXOS, but nothing specific to EMC3080, instead listing support for earlier MXKit, AZ3166, and  EXT-AT3080 platforms. There’s also some code (header files) for EMC3080 module on Aliyun website.

EMC3080 module is designed for the Smart Home, healthcare devices, and portable devices. Somehow, the company does not mention Arm TrustZone support at all in their Cortex-M33 Armv8-M solution. Seeed Studio’s website lists MXMESH support on the product page, but without details, and I’ve yet to get an answer from them.

MXCHIP EMB1082 Bluetooth LE module MXMESH
MXCHIP EMB1082 BLE module

Having said that, the company also listed a $1.79 EMB1082 BLE module with MXMESH support, so we can assume MXMESH stands for some Bluetooth Mesh protocol. That module is based on a Cortex-M4F microcontroller. Smart lighting could be an application with an MXCHIP EMC3080 based “gateway” controlling multiple light bulbs based on EMB1082 BLE module within a room or house.

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