An energy harvesting RF sensor node is a device powered by various environmental means including solar, thermal (heat/cold) and even vibration. RF sensor nodes are typically used to monitor environmental changes such as temperature, pressure and ambient light – with data transmitted via RF to a host for remote sensing and control.
Energy harvesting RF sensor nodes are routinely deployed by manufacturers of building automation, climate control, access control and other self-powered sensor networks. Key design considerations include ultra-low power and low operating voltage, the (potential) expansion of such technology into a broader range of applications and high precision analog peripherals.
The following Atmel components can be used to design an energy harvesting RF sensor node that meets the above-mentioned industry requirements: Atmel’s ATxmega D or E series, AT86RF231/232/233 RF transceiver and AT30TSE Serial EEPROM with temperature sensor.
“Atmel’s AVR XMEGA D/E series and 86RF23x series offer low power consumption and true 1.62V operation, addressing the key design requirements for energy harvesting RF sensor nodes,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “Atmel’s XMEGA D/E series also boasts true 1.62V-3.6V operation, 5 sleep modes with fast wake up time, < 1uA in Power Save mode (RTC), 190uA/MHz at 1.8V in active mode, along with an Event system and Peripheral DMA Controller to further offload CPU activity.”
Atmel’s 86RF23x series is also capable of maintaining a sleep current consumption of < 20nA, along with a current consumption as low as 6.0mA RX and 13.8mA TX. As expected, the 86RF23x series is supported by Atmel’s complete line of IEEE 802.15.4-compliant protocols for low power applications: IPv6/6LoWPAN, ZigBee, 802.15.4 MAC and lightweight mesh network stack.
On the software and development side, engineers designing XMEGA-based energy harvesting RF sensor nodes can take full advantage of Studio 6 and Atmel Software Framework (ASF), ASF high-level drivers for sensors and wireless interfaces, as well as Atmel’s comprehensive portfolio of Xplained kits.
Interested in learning more about building XMEGA-based energy harvesting RF sensor nodes? Be sure to check out some of the links below: