TI eZ430-RF2500 USB Stick Tool Speeds Wireless MCU System Development

Making development even easier for low-power wireless systems, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announced a new tool for designing embedded systems that combines ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers (MCU) with wireless communications. At the low cost of $49, TI’s new eZ430-RF2500 development tool, packaged in a convenient USB stick form factor, offers two radio frequency (RF)-enabled microcontroller target boards and a PC debugging interface that may be used to develop stand-alone wireless projects. Developers will now find it easier than ever to build low-power wireless systems for sensing and metering, home security and automation, medical and other innovative applications.

The eZ430-RF2500 builds on the success of TI’s eZ430-F2013 development tool, introduced in early 2006. The eZ430-RF2500 opens up new possibilities for low-power designs combined with wireless communications. Backwards-compatible with the F20xx target boards, which have been sold separately since late 2006, the eZ430-RF2500 provides continuity for enhancing existing designs.

“Recognizing the strong demand for the eZ430-F2013 and the versatility of the target boards used to develop customer end products, we understand that a low cost tool with wireless capabilities is the next ‘must have’ for developers,” said Cornelia Huellstrunk, product marketing manager, MSP430, Texas Instruments. “With the eZ430-RF2500, we are committed to meeting market needs, as more applications require wireless communications.”

A complete, affordable solution for easy wireless MCU development
The eZ430-RF2500 development tool provides all the hardware and software needed to program the MSP430 MCU and the Low-Power RF 2.4-GHz transceiver on the postage stamp-sized target board. The new eZ430-RF2500 tool provides a complete solution for writing code as well as operating and testing the application in the field.

The USB stick development interface plugs into a PC port with no additional driver software, and then connects directly to an MCU-RF target board — the eZ430-RF2500T. Two target boards are included in the eZ430-RF2500 kit, providing the developer with the essentials of a wireless network. A battery pack (AAA), also included in the kit, enables a target board to operate as a stand-alone system, and standard through-hole pin connectors make it easy for external components or existing systems to attach to the target board. Features of the target board include two programmable LEDs to display activity, a programmable toggle button for interface and an integrated zero-power brownout detector that resets the MSP430 when power drops.

An MSP430F2274 MCU and a CC2500 RF transceiver, both from TI, are integrated in the eZ430-RF2500T target board. The MSP430F2274 MCU, based on a 16-bit RISC architecture, can handle generous amounts of code and data with its 32 Kbytes of flash memory and 1 Kbyte of RAM. The MSP430F2274 also features high performance, integrated analog such as a 12-channel 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that samples at up to 200 kilosamples per second. Other on-chip peripherals include two operational amplifiers and support for UART, SPI, I2C and IrDA communications. The MCU offers five low-power modes for maximum power efficiency and features an ultra-fast wake-up from standby mode in less than one microsecond. The CC2500 is a highly-integrated multichannel RF transceiver designed for low-power wireless applications in the 2.4 GHz Industrial Scientific Medical (ISM) band. It has an automated packet engine and supports data rates from 1.2 to 500 kbps.

The eZ430-RF2500 kit comes with all the software needed to program wireless MSP430 applications, and the USB development interface provides the required hardware for emulation and debugging on the target board. The user can choose either the IAR Embedded Workbench(TM) IDE or TI’s Code Composer Studio Essentials(TM) IDE to write and download code, then debug the application at full speed using hardware breakpoints and single stepping, consuming no extra hardware resources. The kit’s software includes a protocol stack for low-power RF networks and hardware abstraction layers (HAL) enabling the rapid design and prototyping of wireless systems. In addition, the kit includes a complete example project, measuring temperature and voltage through a wireless sensor network. Full documentation for the tool and software is also included.

Availability and price
The eZ430-RF2500 development tool and eZ430-RF2500T target boards will be available in October 2007. Pricing per unit is $49 for the eZ430-RF2500 tool. Additional eZ430-RF2500T target boards can be ordered in Q4 2007 for $20.

TI Enables Innovation with a Broad Range of Controllers
From ultra low power MSP430 and 32-bit general purpose TMS470 ARM7(R)-based MCUs to high performance TMS320C2000(TM) digital signal controllers, TI offers designers a broad range of embedded control solutions. Designers can also accelerate their design to market by tapping into TI’s complete software and hardware tools, extensive third party offerings and technical support.

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers’ real world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductor, the company includes the Educational & Productivity Solutions business. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries. Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN.

TMS320C28x, TMS320C2000 and Code Composer Studio Essentials are trademarks of Texas Instruments. ARM7 is a trademark of ARM Ltd.