Texas Instrument CC2533

After almost 6 months of research and design I have finally got to a prototype zigbee wireless device that works!

Thanks to this amazing SoC(SystemOnChip) that Texas Instruments provides for a mere USD2, 2 caps, a crystal and PCB.. I got my self an amazingly advanced low power RF device  for about 5USD.. best part is the antenna is on the PCB, no balun and no calibrating is required, cutting the cost by 50%

It may seem like nothing special, but this time was dedicated for a special purpose that I cannot disclose here now. But the main drive of this project directly influences home automation.

The Pro's of such a device is that it can run on a 3.2V coin cell for 18months! In a extended sleep/ monitor mode. A practical example is a temperature sensor that sends temp data to a main unit every time the temperate changes by..1 degree or 2.. and it can run hidden away for up to 2 years. Pretty amazing, now use a proper battery pack and you can increase the intervals up to 10 fold and still achieve 2 years life time.

Using TI packet sniffer and RF Studio. I transmitted "AA AA" in hex from my PCB to a TI Generic Wifi device.

The blue circle my PCB transmitting data. On screen is the program that sent the "AA AA" command to usb and my PCB, which send the RF signals out.

The red Circle is the packet sniffer-- shows data on screen that was captured and runs independently.

I later plugged the sniffer into my other notebook and walked around my house up to 10 metres away from my PCB, with 100% packet received, while it was running in standard 0db RF amplification of a coin cell battery. If I needed to I could boost the RF signal to 7Db tripping its range! and on the flip side i could run it at -7db to save on battery power.. still giving me a 5 metre line of sight range..

One problem i ran into though.. there is no "free" or "lite" version of any IDE to compile code to these chips. So I have to keep trying and getting new trial keys every 30 days - And full version costs thousands... dammit.. there is always a catch isn't there..