Evaluation Type: Independent Products
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?: TI EZ430-RF248 Digi Xbee pro/FTDI Adapter Digi Xbee pro/Amtel AVR Silcon Labs EM35X-DEV or EM35X-DEV-IAR
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Uploading New Firmware because of having to buy a debugger/programmer.
First Off Thanks to Element14 and TI for letting me review their dev kit.
Hardware: The CC2531 in itself is a great little chip Housing a 8051MCU, 2.4GHz (805.15.4 compliant ) and on board USB with a bit more in a small package. The only problem I had with the dongle was the fact that you have to buy a TI debugger/programmer to install new firmware.
Software/Default Firmware: The CC2531 is loaded with zigbee packet sniffing firmware and a downloadable program that I had no trouble at all getting running the "TI SmartRF Packetsniffer", Which can be downloaded on TI's website. It is a good out-of-box 805.15.4 zigbee auditing tool. Although, in my opinion, the software could be improved by having a promiscuous mode instead of being limited to sniffing a single channel. but other than that the product did what it claimed.
Literature/Alternative Firmware: There is more then enough information in the datasheets to get you started developing and a great info on crafting your own PCB for the chip. There is also a good amount of firmware to learn from and play with. But again the downside for me is that I didn't have a programmer/debugger and was unabled to flash custom firmware to really unlock the potential and see what I could get out of the chip. I'm hoping in the future I have the funds/time to get my hands on the debugger/programmer, perhaps even solve the the problem of not having the debugger/programmer by writing a bootloader/USB firmware updater on my own, which I think would make things a lot easier.
For now, though, since I couldn't use the chip to it's full potential, I'll post some packet sniffing shots:
Here are a few close ups of the dongle and xbees:
It should really come with teh necessary exuipment out of the box. That would drive this items poopularity up exponentially.
I'm glad that I am not the only one who thought it's annoyign that one has to get an extra programmer / debugger and can't really use the CC2531EMK out of the box.
Great review. Does the dongle only limit you to Xbee frequency sniffing, or can you sniff out other wireless signals?