Conexio Stratus Harvests the Sun's Energy While Accelerating Cellular IoT Development

Rapidly develop IoT apps with Zephyer RTOS and the new VSCode plugin, Conexio Studio.

Conexio Technologies is gearing up to introduce a new IoT development platform centered around the Conexio Stratus and Conexio Studio. The Stratus is an LTE-connected IoT development board with a focus on low-power operation. Conexio Studio is an application development tool that combines VS Code, Zephyr RTOS, and nRF Connect SDK into one environment.

Conexio Stratus's shape, size, and pinout are very similar to the Adafruit Feather format but with slight differences. For example, the battery connector turned 90 degrees and an extra pin labeled "Solar" replaces two mounting holes. Oh, and there is even an ON-OFF switch!

The primary silicon is a Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 system-in-package (SiP) with a CPU and LTE radio. The CPU is an Arm Cortex-M33 with one megabyte of Flash and 256 kilobytes of RAM. Its standard array of microcontroller peripherals, like SPI, I2C, UART, 12-bit ADC, and I2C, have direct access to data RAM with EasyDMA modules. For improved performance, they can use the Distributed Programmable Peripheral Interconnect (DPPI) to work together without CPU intervention.

Next to the nRF9160 are two U.FL connectors. One connects to an antenna for LTE and NB-IoT networks, while the other is for the GPS receiver. Both of these radios are in the nRF9160 SiP. On the back of Stratus is a 4FF Nano SIM socket. Conexio says the board comes with 500 MB of data and 250 SMS messages usable for ten years in over 100 countries.

There are also sensors on Stratus's PCB for motion and environment sensing. For motion sensing, Stratus uses an STMicroelectronics LIS2DH MEMS-based 3-axis accelerometer. A Sensirion SHT4x provides temperature and humidity measurements.

As an edge-capable device, energy management is critical. So not only is there a LiPo battery charger, but Stratus also implements an e-peas AEM10941 solar energy harvesting chip with built-in MPPT and integrated regulators.

Additionally, Conexio has a carrier board for the Stratus to aid in rapid development. For easy hardware expansion, it has a mikro BUS connector. That port supports over 800 click board from the Mikroe ecosystem. The carrier also adds connectors for Sparkfun's Qwiic, Seeed Studio's Grove, and a JST-style connector for solar panels.

A Visual Studio Code extension simplifies building, compiling, and deploying apps using Zephyr RTOS and nRF Connect SDK. Even Edge Impulse, the embedded machine learning platform, is getting support from Conexio!

For more information, check out the Conexio Stratus pre-launch Crowd Supply campaign. There you can sign up for notifications on when the campaign goes live.

James Lewis
Electronics enthusiast, Bald Engineer, and freelance content creator. AddOhms on YouTube. KN6FGY.
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