Solar-Powered IoT Device Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Solar-Powered IoT Device Kit

Author: Former Member

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?: null

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Lack of Documentation on how to get started with the firmware

Detailed Review:

The kit comes in a neat ESD protected Package which I always love to see. The Kit includes 3 main items and a few smaller items

    1. USB-BLE birdge that is a BLE Receiver module that communicates to a computer
    2. Energy Harversting Motherboard
    3. Solar Module, one of the ways you can independently power the device.

  1. The initial 4 steps in the quick start guide are pretty straight forward,
    1. Connect the USB-BLE bridge to a computer or any 5V USB Power supply and the module should turn on, I connected it to my laptop. you will see a green and red indicator LEDs like so:
    2. Connect the Solar module to Pin 5 (Power) and 6 (GND) of motherboard jumper J1. Nit pick:  I would have liked better silk screen on the module indicating which pins connect for the solar module. All I had was a really low resolution image on the Quick start guide. This is where there could be improvements on the Motherboard front.
    3. If there is enough light in the room (>200lux) the mother board should be powered and you will see blue LED blink.
  2. Step 5 is a bit tricky, I tried to navigate through the Cypress website and gave up. the link in the quick start guide takes you somewhere else and not to the produce page.
  3. To download the contents from Step 5  all I did was google " Solar-Powered IoT Device Kit Download" and the first link on google was S6SAE101A00SA1002 Solar-Powered IoT Device Kit | Cypress
  4. You will find various download options such as , user guide only, design files, documentation and examples only, The best bet for me was to download the ISO that has all the other items inside
  5. I Then extracted the ISO and ran the Autorun.exe file to install the provided software.
    1. This package will also copy user guide, release notes, quick start guide Design files and every other document to the folder you choose to install
  6. To perform Step 6 you will require a MiniProg3 connector which is not induced and costs $83.47 on Mouser at the time of writing this.

 

Other note worthy items:

  1. The user guide contains an example program to help you get started with the project.
  2. There are two major applications that is worth mentioning.
    1. CySmart PC Application - Host emulation application that emulates BLE central device. Requires a BLE-USB dongle.
    2. CySmart Mobile Application - iOS or Android application that lets you phone communicate with the Motherboard. Cypress has Made the Source codes available if you want to make your own custom CySmart Application.
  3. The S6AE101A Energy Harvesting PMIC and therefore the motherboard can be powered by
    1. DC input from the provided Solar
    2. AC input from vibrating energy systems like a piezoelectric or Electromagnetic modules
  4. The motherboard contains 4x GPIOs, 1x UART, 1x I2C. this makes it easy to add sensors to it.
  5. The combination of solar energy module and BLE is a good recipe for a sensor node that broadcasts data continuously without requiring any connection to the grid.
  6. The user manual is written very well with examples to get you started with the kit. It is very clear that this kit is intended for beginners and any one with basic knowledge of engineering will be able to put this to good use
  7. The software kit contains everything you require to create a new project, write new code and compile a binary and program it to the board. The motherboard is equipped with a UART bootloader which means that firmware can be updated in the field without requiring a dedicated programmer ( which also costs a lot of money)

 

To summarize: This is a very good kit for beginners and experienced people alike.

The items in the box are tied nicely with the software package Cypress provides and it is enough to start building your own unique sensor node. One of the projects i am working on is a " solar powered mail sensing system". The system will be used to notify the user if they have received physical mail in their inbox. This is the right step towards connected world or IoT world.

Anonymous