Wireless microcontrollers, evaluation kit facilitate design of Smart Home applications

January 11, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With the Internet of Things increasingly taking shape, the demand for wireless microcontrollers - with wireless standing for particular low energy consumption and a specific set of interfaces - is catching up. Against this background NXP Semiconductors introduces its JN516x family of microcontrollers. As an accompanying measure, the chipmaker also rolls an evaluation kit which simplifies development of ZigBee, JenNet-IP and other IEEE 802.15.4 applications.

The JN516x-EK001 evaluation kit provides the hardware and software components required for product design, and includes several demos such as a smart lighting system based on JenNet-IP; several energy metering applications using ZigBee Smart Energy; ZigBee Light Link; and an RF4CE remote control system.

NXP was showcasing its ultra-low-power yet high performance microcontrollers at the 2013 International CES (Central Plaza 8). One of the smart home and energy products using NXP's wireless microcontrollers is a wireless energy harvesting switch from Cherry, which operates without a battery and can be used for any application in the home requiring an on-off switch.

“For smart lighting, home automation and energy management applications, the JN516x wireless microcontroller family brings together the optimal combination of price/performance, on-chip memory and ultra-low power consumption, along with a choice of software stacks,” said Marcel Walgering, general manager, Smart Home and Energy product line, NXP Semiconductors.

The evaluation kit is specifically designed for use with the NXP JN5161, JN5164 or JN5168 wireless microcontrollers, which feature an enhanced 32-bit RISC processor with up to 256 kB of embedded flash, 4 kB of on-chip EEPROM and 32 kB of RAM. These devices also include an IEEE802.15.4 2.4-GHz transceiver and extensive analog and digital peripherals.

Providing all the components required for system development, the JN516x evaluation kit includes a series of wireless carrier boards; plug-in expansion boards; USB dongles; a remote control; a specially programmed Internet router running enhanced OpenWRT firmware; and a complete software design kit. The development kit is designed to facilitate design solutions for the Internet of Things using ZigBee, JenNet-IP or RF4CE. Using the various demos included in the kit, designers can quickly produce proof-of-concept systems, with software that can then be used for end products using JN516x ICs or modules.

A list of the complete contents of the JN516x-001 evaluation kit is available on NXP.com, and a video is available here: http://youtu.be/AnoGqZuqJIs