Roundup: New Eval Boards Rev IoT Time to Market
The IoT market is continually calling for more miniaturization—and fast. Here are three recently-released evaluation boards that may help engineers speed up design cycles for such devices.
As the IoT market demands more interconnected and portable devices, design requirements are calling for smaller housing sizes while simultaneously increasing capability and performance. This trend, known as miniaturization, is becoming top of mind for design engineers.
Now, many component and device manufacturers are looking to meet these size demands while avoiding electrical noise, crosstalk, and power density issues. Manufacturers offer evaluation boards to provide all the necessary peripherals for PCB designers to test and implement a device into another PCB solution quickly.
Here are a few recent evaluation boards that may help engineers accelerate the time to market for emerging IoT designs.
ROHM Targets Battery Management
ROHM Semiconductor has announced the launch of its newest evaluation board designed for battery management solutions. The solution incorporates ROHM’s original Nano EnergyTM ultra-low current technology, along with battery charger control ICs that are compatible with a wide range of batteries.
The board is aimed at battery-based IoT applications, such as smart cards and electronic shelf labels as well as wearable electronics. The total solution has a thickness of just 0.60 mm for the mounted components along with the battery—an NGK INSULATOR thin, large capacitor EnerCera Li-ion battery.
Typical application circuit of the BD70522GUL. Image used courtesy of ROHM
The solution contains a Li-ion battery with a capacity of 27 mAh. It also features a Nano EnergyTM power supply IC with a quiescent current of 180 nA. The board's battery charger IC is capable of monitoring, charging, and discharging batteries in the voltage range of 2.0–4.7 V. Further, the reset IC is designed to detect abnormal voltages with a standby current of 270 nA.
ROHM says this solution can extend the battery life of a device by 40% compared to standard products, allowing longer operating times for compact battery-powered solutions.
Kyocera Accelerates Antenna Band Switching Design
Kyocera has also unveiled an evaluation board—this one tailored to antenna band switching. From powering a device to giving it the ability to communicate, this board is designed to rapidly deploy a range of high-frequency RF applications. According to the datasheet, the board contains the following specifications for various operating frequency ranges:
|790–890 MHz||890–960 MHz||1.71–2.17 GHz|
|-2.77 dBi||-1.75 dBi||-3.67 dBi||1.95 dBi|
The RoHS-compliant board measures at 45.5 x 60.0 mm. Kyocera attributes this small size to its patented isolated magnetic dipole (IMD) technology. The board also offers -2.5 dB return loss (at most) and 2.0 W continuous-wave power handling.
Kyocera claims the board is the first of its kind that is capable of switching from one frequency band to the next. The company says it also outperforms its competition in each band, which utilizes passive components rather than Kyocera’s active antenna solutions.
The board can be trimmed or extended with copper tape to better match the device in which the evaluation board will be used.
Nordic's "Development Bundle" for RF Front-end Modules
Lastly, Nordic Semiconductor has released its nRF21540TM development bundle (DB)—a package geared to help engineers test and implement applications that require the nRF21540 RF front-end module (FEM). The solution includes both the nRF21540 RF FEM and the nRF52840 SoC and targets applications that require 2.4 GHz technology, such as lighting mesh networks and industrial automation systems.
The nRF21540 DB. Image used courtesy of Nordic Semiconductor
The FEM module helps reduce radio packet losses, which is essential for increasing the system's overall efficiency. There is an adjustable TX boost of up to +21 dBm. The IC’s low-noise amplifier (LNA) capability of +13 dB RX gain allows the module to be used in a range of applications, resulting in an overall link gain of 18 dBm.
The board’s power system supports protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee, Thread, and 2.4 GHz proprietary protocols. The evaluation board is also paired with a software development kit (SDK) that supports a number of libraries to operate the module. The device is even compatible with an Arduino UNO Rev3 board, allowing for simple and quick deployment and testing capabilities.
What do you look for in an evaluation board—especially for IoT applications? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.