Panasonic PAN1720 Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Panasonic PAN1720 Kit

Author: gpolder

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: The LightBlue Cortado (https://launch.punchthrough.com)

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Lack of sufficient documentation.

Detailed Review:

First Impression

The PAN1720 Kit comes in a nice plastic box (see pictures). In the box are two identical USB sticks with the PAN1720 bluetooth module.

Other items on the PCB are a 5 to 3.3 volt converter, a FT232 usb to rs232 converter, two leds, three push button switches, a debug connector and a solder pad with additional connections to the PAN1720. One of the three switches is connected to the PAN 1720 reset input, the other two to GPIO inputs.

 

 

Pictures

The kit comes in a nice plastic box.

 

 

The box contains two USB dongles with a PAN1720.

 

 

 

Documentation

In the box is a smal leaflet with pointers to the documentation and demo software.

 

On www.pideu.panasonic.de the following files can be downloaded:


» Productflyer PDF-File
» Data Sheet PDF-File
» Application Note PDF-File
» Demo Software and Documentation BlueRadios Kit
» Demo Software and Documentation Texas Instruments Kit
» PAN172x ETU Eagle Data

 

 

 

The PAN1720

The PAN1720 is a complete Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy solution. Modules in this Series include an embedded processor, antenna and  Bluetooth Low Energy stack. The module includes an eight channel, twelve bit analog-to-digital converter, 19 GPIOs plus battery and temperature sensors. A single device for both Bluetooth Low Energy master or slave nodes. The PAN1720 Series combines an excellent RF transceiver with a high performance low power 8051 microcontroller, in-system programmable  flash memory, 8-KB RAM, and many other powerful supporting features and peripherals.

Be aware that Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy is not downwards compatible with older Bluetooth devices. A list of compatible smartphones can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_low_energy.

 

Software

There are two software options for the PAN1720 dongles provided in the kit:

  1. Preinstalled is the nBlue stack, which can be controlled using AT commands.
  2. The second option is the Texas Instruments Bluetooth Low Energy Stack. The TI BLE Stack needs to be installed on the users PC. The SDK can be downloaded free of charge. But a software development environment, e.g. IAR Embedded Workbench is needed for programming the PAN1720.

 

Information and documentation about the nBlue stack can be found on the BlueRadios/Panasonic Forum (http://www.blueradios.com/forum/). Unfortunately you need to register for this forum, and they are a little bit reluctant in approving users. My application, where I mentioned the Element14 road test was rejected anyway.

So I didn’t get any information on the available AT commands and it was not possible to check whether I could read the internal temperature, or set/get GPIO ports or the ADC using AT commands. I found some documentation from similar bluetooth devices on the internet, but the AT command set for those devices was not compatible with the nBlue stack.

 

 

Test

Using the provided BlueRadios demo software you can do a quick connection test between the two modules.

The demo software implements a wrapper around the AT command set. Some AT commands are implemented as buttons. There is also an input field from which you can send free format text. See the documentation for full details. Everything worked fluently as described, but without description of the complete AT command set the functionality is limited.

 

It is possible to connect to the device using other software, as far as you have a bluetooth 4.0 compatible device.

I tested it with the LightBlue App from Punch Through Design (http://punchthrough.com) on an iPad.

 

It is possible to connect to the PAN1720, but not much valuable information comes from the device after that, mainly because lacking documentation.

 

The demo software also has an option to change the transmitting power, and the receiver sensitivity, by implementing the ATSPL command.

The transmit power can be set at: -23, -6, 0 and 4 dBm, the sensitivity at: -93 and -87 dBm.

 

 

You can save battery power by adjusting these values.

I did some simple tests with the lightBlue App on an iPad.

The next table shows the Received signal strength indication (RSSI) at about 1 meter distance using the different power settings:

 

Power [dBm]RSSI         
-23-85
-6-66
0-60
4-58

 

At a RSSI value of about -100 the connection is lost. I also tested the distance from the device when this happens. Be aware that the values in the following table are in a building. In the free field these distances are expected to be much longer.

Anyway it gives an impression about the possibilities for sensor networks in buildings.

 

Power [dBm]                              Distance of signal lost [m]         
-233
-612
018
4not tested

 

Price

The price of the PAN1720 module (~15 Euro at Farnell) is quite affordable for its functionality, the price of the Kit, which is not more than two USB dongles with a PAN1720 module is very expensive, (~230 euro at Farnell).

 

Conclusion

Using the PAN1720 Kit with the nBlue bluetooth stack you can perform some quick connection tests, but due to lacking documentation about the nBlue stack functionality is limited.

For use with the TI BLE stack, using 8051 functions you need to have a commercial software development environment.

Anonymous