A new Bluetooth Smart Module offers a simple way for engineers to create low-power, wireless products.
Known as the RN4020 Bluetooth Low-Energy module, the new device enables quick set-up of simple wireless applications ranging from thermostats to pulse monitors. The device, introduced at the 2014 Sensors Expo, includes a Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) software stack onboard to simplify implementation.
”It’s a complete turnkey solution,” Dave Richkas, Bluetooth product line manager for Microchip Technology, told Design News. “It saves designers several months of development time and gets them to market very easily.”
Microchip’s tiny RN4020 Bluetooth Low-Energy module enables quick set-up of simple wireless applications ranging from thermostats to pulse monitors.
(Source: Microchip Technology)
Like all Bluetooth LE-based systems, the RN4020 is aimed at wireless products powered by small, coin cell batteries. Used on toys, fobs, watches, appliances, door locks, pulse monitors, and industrial sensors, it can enable several years of operation on a single battery. In that sense, it differs from WiFi and Bluetooth Classic, which were created for more power-intensive applications, such as music streaming.
The RN4020 is also said to be different than low-power predecessors, in that it carries worldwide regulatory certifications, is Bluetooth SIG-certified, and can connect to any microcontroller with a UART (universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter) interface. As a result, it could save up to nine months of development time and tens of thousands of dollars of development costs, according to Microchip.
Microchip engineers foresee it being especially well-suited for command-and-control applications, such as thermostats and proximity detection.
”You can enable (your application) in a lower-power mode,” Richkas told us. “And you don’t have to go to WiFi or Bluetooth Classic to get the job done.”