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I'm looking for low-power RF solution working in sub 1GHz band (868MHz, battery powered, mostly sleeping). Originally I considered AVR with Digi Xbee 868LP module but doing deeper research I found TI RF solutions. TI offers open source SimpliciTI protocol implementing star wireless topology. Which is not as originally supposed mesh topology but it's simpler and has shorter packet time-to-delivery than multi-hop network (advantage for MODBUS). 868MHz range should be sufficient without multi-hopping and in the worst case even range extender is available, price is convenient as well. RF packet sniffer seems as good debugging tool, completely missing in Xbee.

TI options:

MCU MSP43x + RF module CC1100

MSP is ARM Cortex M3/M4 MCU which offers many variants (including more friendly non-QFN socket) as it is standalone MCU. A certified module CC1100 might be used, e.g. Anaren, to shorten time-to-market and avoid RF issues. Seems besides paid (for-free as crippleware) development tools (CCStudio, IAR) does exist GNU GCC for MSP. It should implement in-system debugging via GDB with MSP-FET. There is also open source Energia project, but authors present it as equivalent of Arduino IDE (which is useless for serious devel so I doubt about Energia).

CC1110 MCU+RF (SimpleLink)

There is not ARM but 8051 core. Seems as low cost solution to implement remote sonsors and control based on SimpliciIT. TI offers evaluation boards including CCDebugger but I cannot find info if does exist a free toolchain. Bundled with crippled IAR EW8051 IDE. Probably missing EnergyTrace power consumption monitor (only MSP feature).

CC1310

Similar as CC1110 but Cortex M3. I'm afraid it's slideware.

Does anybody get working CC1110 with GCC including full in-system debugging ? Are my findings correct?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your opening requirements are very understated to make any conclusion I reckon. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jun 2 '15 at 7:46
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I used MSP430G2553 and CC1101 for modbus project, Star topology and used a protocol similar to Bluetooth. First I can say that, cc1101 promises 10 dBm output power and -116 dBm receiving Sensitivity for 433 MHz but when you configure data rate and channel spacing it becomes really messy and useless for longrange. Maximum range we got was 120 meters. So if range is a heavy FoM in your project, I suggest you to find another transceiver(We switched to Semtech later). You can do your own research on internet, everbody complains about it.

Secondly, If you are communicating via MODBUS, package delivery time and Datarate should be the last things to worry. I assume you will be working with PLC's, have the slowest queries. I suggest SemTech SX series with MSP432 or any other ultra Low power mC's of ti with EnergyTrace technology. This is only my thought but I think ti has some more way for RF technologies.

Edit: Also Xbee 868LP should not be an option. Design flexibity becomes really important later on in the Process projects.

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I'm most definitely a noob but interested in getting into low power RF sensor and remote control.

Recently came across this kicksat - it uses open source hardware and powered by cc430F5123 - which is basically msp430 + cc1100 for sub 1Ghz RF.

The guy behind it has also ported energia for this chip - however, it's not merged back to mainline AFAICT (I know that energia isn't important - but as a beginner, it is for me - and maybe others also)

Extremely interesting - though I'm currently stumped at the QFN package.

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