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Designing a Product with SimpleLink CC26xx or CC13xx Wireless MCUs

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A 10-step guide

This is a step by step guide to designing a low power RF product based on the CC26xx/CC13xx family of SimpleLink wireless MCU devices. The goal is to present you with the resources that are relevant at the different stages of design. If you get stuck or have questions anywhere along the line, please post your questions to our e2e forum:

Step 1 - Decide on which RF technology you want to use

  • Bluetooth low energy (BLE) – low power star network with ~100 m range and connectivity to most phones, tablets and computers. Previously known as Bluetooth Smart.
  • Contiki 6LoWPAN – 6LoWPAN is a low-power wireless mesh network where every node has its own IPv6 address, allowing it to connect directly to the Internet using open standards
  • ZigBee – A robust mesh network with sleeping end nodes and standards defined application profiles for vendor interoperability
  • Proprietary – Take advantage or long range (kilometers) or high throughput (up to 5 Mbps) physical layers by writing your own protocol on top of the CC2650 or CC1310/50 very flexible and powerful radio architecture. The TI-RTOS release contains the drivers you need to access hardware features easily and ensure efficient power management:

Step 2 - Buy the relevant development kit

Step 3 - Download an evaluation tool

Step 4 - Download a software development environment:

  • You have several choices for the platform:
  • Download the relevant SDK (software development kit) according to your choice of technology above (follow the associated link to download and install)
  • Read the Bluetooth Low Energy Software Developer’s Guide: SWRU393 Bluetooth Low Energy Software Developer's Guide
  • Read the CC26XX Family SW Quickstart guide for a better understanding of the SW architecture: CC26xx Family SW Quickstart Guide
  • Find the application example that most closely resembles your application
  • Open it in your chosen IDE. The rest of this guide will assume that it’s Code Composer Studio. More details on how to use the SDK, including supported IDE version, are provided in the respective SW Developer’s Guide.
  • Make your own project based on the example. For BLE, there is a tutorial in SimpleLink Academy using Project Zero
  • For BLE proprietary profiles, you should also make the corresponding iOS and Android App

Step 5 - Design the hardware

  • Consider using a module to reduce development time & cost. Links to module vendors can be found on the BLE Wiki.
  • Based on I/O requirements, RF front-end options and form-factor constraints, choose the right package for your CC26xx/CC13xx device
    • The available package options are found in each device data sheet
  • Order samples of your desired device from Example for CC2640:
  • Based on form-factor, desired performance and cost targets, choose a relevant reference design to take as a starting point. The “EM” reference design is designed to be a good starting point for the most common applications. Example for CC2640:
  • Replicate the reference design into your PCB design tool.
  • Make changes and additions to the design based on your application requirements.
  • Think about how you will test and program your product, and make sure you have the required connectors available for that. Skip ahead to the “Production Test” section for details.
  • Send your design to production

Step 6 - Test the hardware

  • Check the following aspects as a minimum:
    • Power up/down sequence
    • Application functionality
    • Current consumption
    • RF performance
    • RF Standards compliance when relevant (Bluetooth Smart, ZigBee etc. )
    • RF regulations compliance (FCC, ETSI, ARIB) depending on the targeted market regions
    • Remember to test over the full voltage and temperature range of your application
  • Tuning and matching of the RF – compare to the TI reference design performance for a point of comparison
  • If you find bugs or performance below target, re-design and repeat – if in need of advice, please post on the relevant e2e forum

Step 7 – Test the software and application functionality

  • Test your software running on your hardware – you’re getting close

Step 8 – Certify your product

Step 9 – Production Test and Programming

  • Develop your production test solution
    • Test RF performance
    • Test peripheral functionality
    • Test current consumption
  • Program your device with the final program. This can be done by your distributor before mounting the devices on your board, before board production testing or after board production testing.
  • For BLE products, a lot can be tested with PTM mode controlled over UART:
  • More information:

Step 10 – Production

  • Send your product off to pilot production
  • Start production
  • Sell a lot of them and keep improving the production flow throughout the lifetime of the product.

Don’t hesitate contact us on the e2e forum if you have any questions along the way!