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Ref design allows PC-wireless connectivity

Posted: 13 May 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:AVR USB  MCUs  PC peripherals 

While USB is the standard interface for connecting PC peripherals, wireless is becoming increasingly popular for peripherals like mice, keyboards, audio headsets or personal portable devices. Many desktops now offer WLAN, while Bluetooth is on most laptops. Both wireless standards come with a power consumption that is not compatible with devices operating from simple batteries for several months or years. Existing transceivers operating in the 2.4GHz ISM band can achieve low power consumption with short-range transfer speeds exceeding 1Mbps and rely on lightweight ad-hoc protocols.

Atmel Corp. has announced the AVRUSBRF01, a reference design that enables PC-Wireless connectivity using AVR USB MCUs in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz ISM band. With the AVRUSBRF01, designers can develop battery-based, wireless peripheral applications using Atmel's 1.8V picoPower AVR MCUs that feature low power consumption. By using the same architecture and development platform for a complete project, designers can concentrate on end-product optimisation and get to the market faster.

Atmel's picoPower AVR features in-system programmable flash and true EEPROM with the wide choice of package and memory ranges. This gives the best flexibility to meet with changing requirements and develop a range of products based on the same architecture.

The AVRUSBRF01 is based on the Atmel AT90USB162 MCU, which allows connection to a PC through the USB. This kit can be programmed through the USB in half a second and implement various standard USB device classes for input devices (Human Interface Device), generic HID I/O, communication (Communication Device Class), etc. The AVR USB can also support composite device classes, for instance, combining HID interface for remote control and an Audio interface for audio streaming. It offers 16KB of flash for USB and RF protocol as well as on-chip EEPROM for pairing with wireless devices. AT90USB82 is a pin-to-pin compatible 8KB variant of AT90USB162, which can be used for applications requiring less than 16KB. Conversely, the AVR USB family also offers flash sizes up to 128KB for the most demanding applications.

The kit also contains two identical AVR USB RF modules and can connect to two different USB ports to establish wireless communication and evaluate the solution. They can also communicate with wireless peripherals derived from this reference design. To help with evaluation and development, the modules include two push buttons for hardware reset, in-system programming and extra functions, two LEDs for monitoring activity and a 6-pin header to connect development tools or other peripheral functions. The PCB size is only 3.8cm x 1.6cm, small enough to be used without change for many applications. If necessary, size can also be further reduced by removing the extra features provided for evaluation and development.

The AVR USB 2.4GHz RF transceiver kit is available from Atmel's franchised distributors at a suggested retail price of Rs.2,782.35 ($69). The order code is ATAVRUSBRF01. All documentation and software updates are provided on Atmel's Website.

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