Microchip's next-generation Bluetooth Low Energy product

November 03, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Microchip has released a Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) range; qualified to the latest Bluetooth 4.2 standard, the IS1870 and IS1871 Bluetooth LE RF ICs, and the BM70 module, expand Microchip's existing Bluetooth portfolio and carry worldwide regulatory and Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) certifications.

These offerings are intended for Internet of Things and Bluetooth Beacon applications, allowing designers to take advantage of the low power consumption and simplicity of Bluetooth LE connectivity. They include an integrated, certified Bluetooth 4.2 firmware stack.  Developers can expect up to 2.5 times faster data transfer speeds and greater connection security, with government-grade (FIPS-based) secure connection support.  Data is sent and received over the Bluetooth link using Transparent UART mode, making it simple to integrate with any processor or PIC microcontrollers that have a UART interface.  The module also supports standalone “hostless” operation for beacon applications.


The optimised power profile of these new devices minimises current consumption for extended battery life, whilst compact form factors down to 4 x 4 mm for the RF ICs and 15 x 12 mm for the module reduce board space.  The module options include RF regulatory certifications, or non-certified (unshielded/antenna-less) modules for smaller and more remote antenna designs that will undergo end-product emission certifications. 


Modules include all of the hardware, software and certifications that designers may need.  Developers can use Microchip's Bluetooth Qualified Design ID (QDID) to list their products with the Bluetooth SIG.  Embedded Bluetooth stack profiles include GAP, GATT, ATT, SMP and L2CAP, as well as proprietary services for Transparent UART.  All modules are configurable using Microchip's Windows OS-based tools.


Microchip also has the BM70 Bluetooth Low Energy PICtail/PICtail Plus daughter board.  This tool enables code development via USB interface to a PC, or by connecting to Microchip's existing microcontroller development boards, such as the Explorer 16, PIC18 Explorer and PIC32 I/O Expansion Board.  The BM-70-PICTAIL is priced at $89.99.


The IS1870 Bluetooth LE RF IC comes in a 6 x 6 mm, 48-pin QFN package, whilst the IS1871 is expected to be available in November, in a 4 x 4 mm, 32-pin QFN package.  The 30-pin BM70 Bluetooth LE modules are available with or without built-in