RoadTest: Anaren AIR CC2530 BoosterPack Kit
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?: We considered the other board, however, given the time constraints the MSP430 was the best available
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Time frame for proof of concept
Use: We intended to develop a environmental sensing device which would give constant secure data to a single data point. This application was absolutely perfect as it allowed us to do so virtually out of the box. We encountered some very minor issues over the period of this ROADTEST.
3 Zigbee Transcievers
3 Anaren AIR boards (provided by the kind folks at ELEMENT14
Initially there were some hiccups on setup, however once we moved past that we got up and running very quickly (mainly due to convoluted software setup and development environment, nothing major whatsoever). We made a few initial voltage draw measurements and they aligned with the datasheet / specs. We felt no reason to further measure the amount of draw. We also attempted to use the provided battery pack but for purpose its life was less than satisfactory. We posit that if the application is passive the battery life would be more favorable, however, we do not feel that for any mission critical operation that is a viable option
The product was well made and easy to implement. Our only reservation was the requirement to order the 3 launchpad boards, this was a minimal cost and worth the price. The Anaren device was remarkable in its simplicity to setup and use as a router (A PROBLEM WE HAD PUZZLED OVER FOR QUITE SOME TIME) another happy side effect of using Zigbee is relatively potent built in encryption.
Stage 1: Communication
This was a very simple task, get our zigbee network to communicate to eachother via a centrally managed single point router.
Stage 2: Functionality
Begin transmitting data and parsing it in a readable and and efficient manner
Stage 3: Reliably receive data using basic signaling and ensure nodes were gathering the required data
This step had us out for quite some time using a digital signal that would alert the receiver it was receiving something other than junk signals. With the Anaren this was not an issue whatsoever given the custom protocol it uses. We were able to transmit an assortment of data to one point with security and reliable transfers.
Upon completion of our 3 stages we were very pleased with the ease of use and our ability to very quickly arrive at proof of concept. Using the Anaren simplified so much of our communication problems, however, there was a big con on our list: COST zigbees and the required gear to operate them is (relatively) expensive in lieu of a more traditional 802.XX protocol. This effectively renders this gear a "proof of concept" device. This is an amazing development board and allows you to prototype SO quickly without any hassle. After completion you can adjust your transmission media accordingly given you are choosing to use something other than the Zigbee.
Overall we decided this is a 8 out of 10. We did not give it a ten because of its cost and its practical application other than prototyping / making. The device is well made and offers a bulletproof signal transmission with a relatively good form of encryption.
We did create a side project creating some home automation equipment for fun. We were able to turn on sockets, lights, and control blinds using this device. However, due to cost it was simply a fun project to slap together.