Review of Texas Instruments CC2531 USB Evaluation Module Kit

Table of contents

RoadTest: Texas Instruments CC2531 USB Evaluation Module Kit

Author: fidelsalinas

Creation date:

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.

Detailed Review:

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:

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