1
\$\begingroup\$

I have used Xbee's several times and I am working on a basic project which involves multiple MCUs talking to a central MCU and sending some updates such as Temp, GPS and etc...

Very basic setting bunch of Atmels ATMega controllers and they each have an Xbee connected to them. I am trying to take this a step forward and like to have professional design and printed on a PCB, also I have had several orders for the network, so I like to take this from an XBee based system to something more robust. I have looked into some TI's RF transceivers and Atmel's as well, but since I have never done an communication project from scratch I am scared to step into this dark area. I know RF is nothing but pain, dealing with the antenna's and noise, and etc... I was wondering if anyone can help me with some design notes, and examples, maybe a chip that can be interfaced and would be easy to program. again this is a really basic 2-way network and I don't need a long range. It's a residential building solution so I am thinking about 2.4Ghz, or 900 Mhz would do just fine, all I care is to bring down the cost of production while keeping the design and implementation process fairly easy.

Thanks

\$\endgroup\$
2
\$\begingroup\$

If you're designing for higher quantity or commercial release, you will be facing one big problem for rolling your own RF solution: compliance. Even though most electrical and electronic regulations are voluntary or self-certification, anything RF quickly needs to be FCC approved to be sold at all (assuming you're a US person). This is why it's actually a good idea to stick with a ready-made module. This way you can rely on the certification and compliance testing that they have already done.

Of course, this still means a lot of vendors remain. But I would definitely recommend sticking with complete modules instead of trying to build your own. They are slightly more expensive in quantity than for instance an nRF24L01+ solution (currently the lowest-cost fairly robust low-data rate RF solution on the market), but you don't have to go through expensive audits and tests.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Fair enough, but the problem is not just the cost. Xbee is a hobby based module. It doesn't look that robust, and professional, also having it attached to a breakout board, makes it difficult to integrate it to a SMT circuit and wastes lots of space. I have PCBed my circuit and now I have to have a Through Hole only because of Xbee. Any suggestion that I can use a device similar to Xbee but in 'pre-fab' category? Have you used ZigBit? \$\endgroup\$ – Caspian Sep 30 '13 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that is just a matter of image and marketing then. If you don't like the XBee because you feel it's a hobby module, then you should choose something that feels more professional - although this really gets into the 'I don't like green PCBs' territory. And you can get lots of variants of XBee including SMT modules like this one: digiwireless-solutions.com/Bizit/store/img/p/… . \$\endgroup\$ – user36129 Oct 1 '13 at 8:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ WOW, taht's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks man, problem solved! \$\endgroup\$ – Caspian Oct 1 '13 at 18:37
1
\$\begingroup\$

There are lots of modules based on NRF24 or look/work alikes. Often they are available either with pins or as 'SMD module'. I sell the HopeRF RFM73 in pin version, but they also have an 'SMD' version, which is just the PCB without the pins:

enter image description here

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.