steute selects Energy Micro’s EFM32 Tiny Gecko for use in energy harvesting enabled wireless switch

Fact or fiction; Batteryless 32-bit apps?

Turns out that power efficiency enables developers to create some really powerful and amazing applications. This low power designs runs without external power, AND it´s wireless and EX safe.

Oslo, Norway, 26 September, 2012 – Energy Micro, the energy friendly microcontroller and radio company, today announced that steute GmbH has chosen the EFM32 Tiny Gecko microcontroller to power its RF95 radio position switch. Designed for use in battery powered and energy harvesting applications, the RF95 uses low-energy wireless technology, aimed at building and factory automation applications.

With a maximum transmission power of 10mW, data rate of 120kbps and a mechanical life in excess of one million operations, the RF95 is the first product based on steute’s new radio module, which allows wireless communication using the 868/915MHz wavebands. Devices are available in 500m long and 800m ultra long range, and are delivered as battery-based or energy-harvesting versions.

steute employed the EFM32TG210F16 Tiny Gecko to allow the cost-effective creation of an energy harvesting variant of the RF95 and to extend the operating lifetime of the battery-based version. With the ARM Cortex-M3 processor, the Tiny Gecko MCU boasts an active mode current consumption of just 150µA/MHz, drawing only 900nA in deep sleep mode and 20nA in shut off mode. The smallest Cortex-M3 member of the EFM32 family, it is equipped with many of the energy-saving peripherals featured in Energy Micro’s higher-specified Gecko MCUs.

“Combining Tiny Gecko with energy harvesting technology demonstrates that a modern 32-bit processor is the right solution for cost- and space-sensitive energy-efficient applications such as wireless switchgear,” said Andreas Schenk, Product Manager Wireless, steute. “Working closely with Energy Micro, we have taken a major stride forward in injecting distributed intelligence and connectivity into our industrial switching products.”

The RF95 is designed for applications in which moving parts of machinery and plant systems must be positioned or switched off. It can be simply installed, with no need for cabling, piping or a power supply, and is available with ingress protection up to IP67, allowing its use indoors and out, including explosive atmospheres.

“steute is one of the foremost names in control and switchgear for industrial, medical and building automation,” said Andreas Koller, VP Global Marketing, Energy Micro. “Efficient harvesting applications represent a major step in innovation in that arena, providing the ultimate test for an energy-friendly MCU.”

The EFM32 Tiny Gecko is an entry-level device for low power applications subject to stringent PCB space and product cost limitations. Benchmarked to 15.4 CoreMark/mA, the devices offer the energy-efficient performance and peripheral set of the company’s bigger Gecko products combined with smaller Flash and RAM combinations and a choice of space saving QFN24, QFN32 and QFN64 packaging.

Tiny Gecko is part of the wider Energy Micro Gecko microcontroller portfolio, which consists of more than 240 variants based on the ARM Cortex-M processor cores, and includes Gecko Technology benchmarked to consume just a quarter of the energy of competing 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit MCUs.

About Steute
Safe switchgear for complex and demanding applications
For fifty years steute has been developing and manufacturing high-quality switchgear, sensors and control units for industrial automation, medical equipment and building automation. Wireless communication is opening up a wealth of new possibilities, e.g. in the design of flexible man-machine interfaces. steute recognised these possibilities very early on and can already look back on nearly ten years of experience developing wireless switchgear. The company created platforms and radio standards exactly suited to specific applications. On this basis steute is able to offer machine and plant engineers a comprehensive range of wireless switchgear, sensors and receiver units. One focus of development is “energy harvesting”: the switching devices generate the energy they require to transmit the radio signals themselves – for example via a solar module or a robust electrodynamic energy generator.

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