Remote control and sensor transceiver delivers flexibility in a tiny package

September 01, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Linx Technologies has released the first of many RF modules in its next generation Hummingbird platform: the HumRC™. At below $9 in volume, it claims to be the lowest cost complete wideband transceiver with microcontroller module on the market today.

The HumRC™ transceiver is designed for reliable bi-directional remote control and sensor applications. The module includes a Frequency Hopping Spread spectrum (FHSS) protocol and supports versions at 2.4 GHz and 900 MHz with a common footprint and pin out in this initial release, with 868 MHz and others to follow in the near future. This common footprint across the available frequencies also makes it suitable for global sale,so one product can be manufactured and sold around the world.

The RF module combines simplicity and advanced system on chip (SoC) technology in a tiny PLCC32-footprint package less than 14 mm x 12 mm and is nearly half the cost of similar modules and becomes very competitive with the concept of discrete designs.

The transceiver offers agility by having 8 lines that can be configured as either inputs for buttons or outputs to drive circuitry. It has selectable automatic acknowledgements that can include up to 2 bytes of custom data, which can be additional control codes, sensor values or battery voltage; whatever the application needs. No programming is required for basic remote control operation, but it has a serial UART interface for more advanced operation.

All functions can be controlled by serial commands allowing more functionality with fewer hardware connections. It also has two analog lines that can be connected to sensors and the capability to interrogate the voltage on those lines remotely. For basic sensor applications, the module can replace the microcontroller reducing the overall cost of the end product and the programming burden in design.

To aid rapid development, the HumRC™ Series transceiver is available as part of a newly conceived type of master development system. This comprehensive development kit is designed to assist in the rapid evaluation and integration of the HumRC™ Series remote control and sensor transceiver modules. The all-inclusive system features several pre-assembled evaluation boards, which include everything needed to quickly test the operation of the transceiver