Microcontroller uses Zigbee communications

Paul Boughton

IDC's new ZB108 wireless programmable microcontroller makes it possible to eliminate centralised PLCs, control cubicles and fieldbus cabling.

Suitable for the control of mobile and fixed plant, The ZB108 has embedded intelligence to enable independent operation for standalone control and monitoring applications, or it can be connected in a wireless network with other Zigbee devices to provide distributed control.

The ZB108 features Zigbee wireless networking, which operates at the 2.4GHz, licence-free IEEE 802.15.4 international standard, providing secure and robust two-way communications over distance of up to 100m between nodes, with routing over multiple nodes for larger networks and longer distances. Additional security and redundancy is provided with encryption and alternative routing of messages in the event of a single node failure.

Complementing its embedded microcontroller, the ZB108 integrates four PNP digital inputs, 4 FET short-circuit protected outputs, and RS232/RS422/RS485 selectable serial connection with extensive LED diagnostics. The unit accepts 12-24V DC to cater for both mobile and fixed plant control and monitoring applications, and has an IP65 enclosure with cage clamp terminals for sensor wiring. The ZB108 is a central component in the IDC family of ZB modules, which includes Ethernet and serial gateways, routers, microcontroller and handheld devices. All of the modules offer a unique 64- bit MAC identifier, embedded intelligence, battery management and extremely low power consumption.

For server-based applications all the ZB modules are networked together using IDC's ZBGateway software, a Visual Studio .net component that enables predefined Zigbee templates to be configured in a Windows-based software tool via a ZB104 Ethernet Gateway

Typical applications for IDC's Zigbee-based systems range from simple remote monitoring to eliminate cabling, mobile plant monitoring and tracking, remote control and monitoring of automatic guided vehicles to full-blown telemetry systems for site-wide distributed control applications with hundreds of sensors and actuators.

For more information, visit www.zig-bee.co.uk