Microchip Technology and Future Electronics Partner to Create Wireless Sensor Solution

8/15/2002 - Microchip Technology and Future Electronics have partnered to create a "Wireless Sensor Solution" reference design kit that provides novice and experienced Radio Frequency (RF) designers with an easy-to-adopt RF solution.

The reference design kit is a self-contained "working prototype" that highlights Microchip's rfPICTM UHF transmitter and the PIC16C925 microcontroller with an LCD driver. The kit includes all of the necessary design files, schematics, PCB layout files, software, and supporting circuitry needed to easily and efficiently design a wireless sensor application.

"We partnered with Future Electronics to provide customers with a fully functional solution to accelerate the design of wireless products," said Fanie Duvenhage, Microchip's rfPIC product marketing manager. "The solution demonstrates the breadth of products Microchip offers for embedded control solutions."

"The Wireless Sensor Solution system provides engineers with a working demonstration system for the rfPIC transmitter that also offers a matching component level receiver circuit," said Rick Smith, Area Technical Manager for Future Electronics. "We want to make adopting the rfPIC technology as easy as possible by offering an evaluation system along with a complete set of design documents and firmware that will help speed-up the design process and demystify the black magic of RF at the same time."

The Wireless Sensor Solution kit demonstrates a 433MHz low power short-range wireless link between a Microchip temperature sensor and a receiver board that displays temperature on a LCD display. The Microchip devices featured in the Wireless Sensor Solution reference design kit include an rfPIC microcontroller with an integrated RF transmitter, a PICmicro® microcontroller with integrated LCD driver module, a low dropout voltage regulator, and a digital thermal sensor. The core of the transmitter board is Microchip's rfPIC12C509AF microcontroller with a 433MHz ASK transmitter. The rfPIC device integrates a PIC12C509 microcontroller with an UHF transmitter, enabling small, low-power RF applications. The easy-to-program PIC12C509 features an ASK or FSK modulation, PLL and VCO capable of transmissions in the 310-440MHz range, making it ideal for remote control and intermittent RF links. The engine on the receiver board is a PIC16C925 microcontroller with a built-in 32-segment LCD driver to display the sensor reading.

Microchip's TC74 digital temperature sensor in a small SOT-25A-5 package provides an 8-bit digital temperature output, eliminating the need for an external ADC. Fueling the design and regulating constant power is Microchip's TC55 low dropout regulator. The 250mA, 1.1 microamp voltage regulator offers a low drop-out voltage of 380mV (typical) at 200mA and is ideal for battery-powered applications requiring small input-to-output differentials and low power consumption.

The rfPIC devices are suitable for wireless sensor solutions where the installation of wires is not feasible due to space or physical constraints. Applications may include temperature sensing, tire pressure sensing, smoke detectors, water level sensors, and wireless home security systems. Other applications include remote keyless entry, garage door openers, lighting, and appliance control.

About Future Electronics (www.futureelectronics.com)
Future Electronics is a world-class leader and innovator in the marketing and distribution of semiconductors and passive, interconnect and electro-mechanical components. The company operates from 155 offices in 35 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

About Microchip Technology (www.microchip.com)
Microchip Technology Inc. manufactures the popular PICmicro® field-programmable RISC microcontrollers, which serve 8- and 16-bit embedded control applications, and a broad spectrum of high-performance linear and mixed-signal, power management and thermal management devices. The Company also offers complementary microperipheral products including interface devices; microID® RFID devices; serial EEPROMs; and the patented KEELOQ® security devices. This synergistic product portfolio targets thousands of applications and a growing demand for high-performance designs in the automotive, communications, computing, consumer and industrial control markets. The Company's quality systems are ISO 9001 (1994 version) and QS9000 (1998 version) certified. Microchip is headquartered in Chandler, Arizona with design facilities in Mountain View, California and Bangalore, India; semiconductor fabrication facilities in Tempe and Chandler, Arizona and Puyallup, Washington; and assembly and test operations near Bangkok, Thailand. Microchip employs approximately 3,200 people worldwide and has sales offices throughout Asia, Europe, Japan and the Americas.

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