Rapid development and implementation of beacon technology
In common with most emerging technologies, the race is on to deliver functioning hardware and software to the market quickly to capture market share in the early stages of user adoption. One of the biggest challenges here is the steep learning curve many engineering teams face in implementing the new technology.
To help design teams deliver fully functioning beacons to market quickly, Toshiba has designed a standalone reference design based on the ultra-low power BLE IC, TC35667 and the BLE + NFC combined Tag IC, TC35670. The reference design is presented as a small (17-mm x 20-mm) module. This includes the TC35667FTG as well as oscillators, EEPROM, inbuilt antenna and 1.27-mm pitch connections for testing. Connectivity to an external NFC antenna is made available too (with TC35670). When advertising, the peak power consumption is just 5.9 mA – in deep sleep mode, the module consumes a miserly 0.1 μA. The average power consumption depends on the selected advertising cycle. With 1 second cycle the typical average power consumption lies in the range of 30 μA.
Within the reference design suite are a variety of customer-oriented options. These include the ability to change the IC to support Bluetooth 4.1 (TC35676) or Bluetooth 4.2 (TC35678) with embedded flash memory (instead of external EEPROM) for the application program. Comprehensive support and documentation is available in the form of schematic diagrams, Bills-of-Materials, layout guidelines, Gerber files and antenna patterns. A module solution (made by Panasonic Europe (PAN1760/PAN1761) is available, too. A Toshiba starter kit enables program development and debugging with the help of commercially available C++ debugger software.