Omer Kilic Unveils Open Hardware CC2652R SimpleLink-Powered Compact RF Dev Board: The Zig-a-Zig-Ah!

Stick-format board ideal for Thread, Zigbee, Bluetooth 5 Low Energy, IEEE 802.15.4g, 6LoWPAN and proprietary protocol development.

The design is complete, with the first prototypes due early February. (📷: Electrolama)

Omer Kilic has released preliminary details of a new board design dubbed zig-a-zig-ah!, designed to pack multi-protocol radio frequency capabilities into a USB stick form factor and powered by the TI CC2652R SimpleLink microcontroller.

"Think of it as an upgrade to the ubiquitous CC2531 USB Sticks commonly used for Zigbee tinkering," Kilic explains of the design. "CC2652R has a much beefier processor, more memory and a sane free compiler option that should enable easier development compared to the old CC2531 based option."

The compact board design includes the aforementioned TI CC2652R SimpleLink microcontroller, which features a 48MHz Arm Cortex-M4F processor core, 352kB of in-system programmable flash storage, 8kB of cache static RAM configurable as general-purpose RAM, and 80kB of ultra-low-leakage SRAM with parity protection alongside a 2.4GHz transceiver targeting Thread, Zigbee, Bluetooth 5 Low Energy, IEEE 802.15.4g, and 6LoWPAN protocols, among others.

"[The board] communicates with the host computer via CP2102N/CP2104 USB-UART bridge," Kilic continues. "Self-programming via the TI CC-series serial bootstrap loader (as long as it is not disabled in code!), push-button on the default BSL pin to put the device into bootloader mode. Cortex-M Debug Connector for SWD, in case you disable BSL by accident. SMA antenna port for an external antenna of your choice. Secondary uFL port for measurements or an alternative antenna."

The design is open source under the Solderpad Hardware Licence 2.0, with schematics due to be published over the coming weekend. Kilic is also soliciting feedback via the project page, and will be selling completed boards later this year following a prototype run in early February.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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