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EYE on NPI: TI CC2652RB and CC2652R/CC1352R #EyeOnNPI #Adafruit @digikey @adafruit @TXInstruments

This week’s EYE on NPI (video) is a family of fresh wireless microcontrollers from TI that recently got a cute new update. The CC2652RB is the latest addition to the CC2652/CC1352 family, which a cool twist: there’s no external crystals required for this 2.4GHz radio, the built in oscillator is temperature compensated and precise enough to keep the radio tuned!

While researching it, I ended up looking up the rest of the family, so let’s introduce them.The CC2652RB is the latest iteration of the CC2652R, which is the little sister to the CC1352R. These are part of the TI SimpleLink wireless family of chips – combining a Cortex M4 main processor with a wireless radio subprocessor, in one chip, for ultra-small and ultra-integrated wireless devices. TI has been developing chips in the CC wireless family for years, and they have a substantial segment of the market for WiFi, BLE, ZigBee, sub-GHz, etc. SimpleLink wireless is TI’s API/IDE that builds on the MSP43x series of microcontrollers with wireless hardware tacked on so you can reuse the main application code, while changing the underlying protocol and transport. This is handy for IoT products because its common to design a product for WiFi or ZigBee and then release a version that is BLE. We have a video all about IoT protocols and transports if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the design decisions and trade-offs you’ll face.

Let’s check out the deets on this microcontroller set:

Texas Instruments’ CC2652RB SimpleLink multiprotocol 2.4 GHz wireless crystal-less MCU with integrated TI bulk acoustic wave (BAW) resonator technology supporting Thread, Zigbee®, Bluetooth® 5.1 low energy, IEEE 802.15.4, IPv6-enabled smart objects (6LoWPAN), proprietary systems including the TI 15.4-Stack (2.4 GHz), and concurrent multiprotocol operation through the dynamic multiprotocol manager (DMM) software driver. Integrated BAW resonator technology eliminates the need for external crystals without compromising latency or frequency stability. The CC2652RB device is optimized for low-power wireless communication and advanced sensing in building security systems, HVAC systems, medical, power tools, wired networking, portable electronics, home theater and entertainment, and connected peripheral markets.

  • Microcontroller
    • Powerful 48-MHz Arm® Cortex®-M4F processor
    • EEMBC CoreMark® score: 148
    • 352KB of in-system Programmable Flash
    • 256KB of ROM for protocols and library functions
    • 8KB of Cache SRAM (Alternatively available as general-purpose RAM)
    • 80KB of ultra-low leakage SRAM. The SRAM is protected by parity to ensure high reliability of operation.
    • 2-Pin cJTAG and JTAG debugging
    • Supports Over-the-Air upgrade (OTA)
  • Ultra-low power sensor controller with 4KB of SRAM
    • Sample, store, and process sensor data
    • Operation independent from system CPU
    • Fast wake-up for low-power operation
  • TI-RTOS, drivers, Bootloader, Bluetooth® 5.1 Low Energy Controller, and IEEE 802.15.4 MAC in ROM for optimized application size
  • RoHS-compliant package
    • 7-mm × 7-mm RGZ VQFN48 (31 GPIOs)
  • Peripherals
    • Digital peripherals can be routed to any GPIO
    • 4× 32-bit or 8× 16-bit general-purpose timers
    • 12-Bit ADC, 200 kSamples/s, 8 channels
    • 2× comparators with internal reference DAC
      (1× continuous time, 1× ultra-low power)
    • Programmable current source
    • 2× UART, 2× SSI (SPI, MICROWIRE, TI), I2C, I2S
    • Real-Time Clock (RTC)
    • AES 128- and 256-bit Crypto Accelerator, ECC and RSA Public Key Hardware Accelerator, SHA2 Accelerator (Full suite up to SHA-512), True Random Number Generator (TRNG)
    • Capacitive sensing, up to 8 channels
    • Integrated temperature and battery monitor

There’s 4 interesting things we found in this NPI that we wanted to call out since they’re unique to this family.

First up, the B in the part number CC2652RB stands for bulk acoustic wave (BAW) resonator technology. What is that? Check out this handy TI video with nice graphics that explains how they created a precision integrated resonator. This means you can skip the external 24MHz crystal, for even smaller and fully-integrated wireless.

Second, while looking up the CC2652RB, we of course checked out the CC2652R and then the CC1352R. Although they have the same core hardware, the CC2652R has only a 2.4GHz radio for use with BTLE 5.1 (which is backwards-compatible with 4), and 802.15.4/ZigBee/Thread/6LoWPAN. The CC1352R costs a little more, has the 2.4GHz radio and also contains a sub-GHz radio that can rand from 287MHz to 1315MHz (covering the common 433, 868, 915 ISM bands). Something we haven’t seen before in a fully integrated design! That means you can bridge various ISM bands and home-automation protocols to BLE or ZigBee. You give up some GPIO for that capability since there’s two RF output sets.

Third, in addition to the R series, there’s also the P series of chips, which are nearly identical, but with an additional +20 dBm high-power amplifier. That’s another capability you often don’t see in wireless chips, there’s sometimes a gain adjust but other BLE chips max out at +8 dBm – external circuitry is required for an amplifier (PA). You can check those out at Digi-Key as well, the part numbers are CC2652P and CC1352P.

Finally, in addition to the Cortex M0 that handles the radio, there’s also a 16-bit MCU sensor controller, which has access to ADC/GPIO/SPI and 4 KB of RAM. You can use this sub-controller to sequence power control to sensors and read data before turning on the full microcontroller. For example, say you have a simple analog light sensor phototransistor – you don’t want to keep it biased all the time, instead you would control the power to the sensor with a GPIO pin (either directly or thru a P-FET for example). The sensor can stay off, until it’s time to take a reading at which point the sensor controller timer goes off – it powers up the sensor, waits for the value to settle, reads the ADC, stores in SRAM, then shuts back off. After a few readings it can poke the CPU to wake up to transmit that data over BLE.

The CC2652RB Launchpad eval board is available at 296-LP-CC2652RB-ND. There’s a great educational tutorial system called SimpleLink Academy that will take you through setting up the Launchpad as well as teaching you core wireless and BLE concepts!

You can pick up the CC2652RB chips themselves from Digi-Key using part number 296-CC2652RB1FRGZRCT-ND.

To see more products in the EYE on NPI series, click here.

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