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Evaluating various RF Cards

The goal of my completed circuit is to be as small as possible.  So, ideally i would all the chips on one PCB.  But, since the package size on the RF transiever chips is so small, i don’t have the suitable equipment available to me in the lab to solder them.  Thus, i’m going to have to use a preassembled module.  This entry is a summary of the different RF modules that are available at the time (4-17-05).

Option 1:  PICDEM Z 2.4 GHz RF Card (part # AC163027-2) from Microchip

RF Chip: Chipcon’s CC2420 2.4Ghz RF Transceiver
Cost: $39-$49
Availability (from microchip): ship-by 30-may-2005 from microchip
Availability (from Digikey): not in stock
Approximate Dimensions: 1.8” x 1.8” (estimate using the .1” pitch headers as reference)
Antennae: PCB Antenna + option for SMA
Datasheet: Click Here and goto page 36

Conclusion: I like how this board has the PCB antenna which is a requirement, only problem is it’s currently not available.

Option 2: Chipcon CC2420EMK

RF Chip: Chipcon CC2420
Cost: $70.00 (2 for 140.00 from mouser)
Availability: in stock at mouser
Datasheet: Click Here - see page 3
Dimensions: Approx 2.75” x 2.10”
Additional Links: All Development Kit Files - user manual, etc.
Conclusion: This board is available but it’s more expensive then microchip’s and it doesn’t have a PCB antenna and attaching an SMA antenna will make my overall module pretty bulky.

Option 3: Freescale 13192 RF Daughter Card

RF Chip: MC13192
PCB Antenna: NO - two sma connectors only.


At this point I found another person’s blog which had considerable information about currently available zigbee stuff.


Option 4: CompXS Outerside Module

RF Chip: CX1540
PCB Antenna: YES - includes a ceramic antenna
Cost: $199 each!
Size: Half-Credit card sized… they have a mini version which is 12mm x 12mm
Availability: appears to be
User Manual: Click Here

Conclusion: This module is perfect except for it’s price.  But, it may be the only solution available if i wanna complete this project before the end of May.










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