Powering micro-controllers by Battery

Working with low-power applications, one of the most common topic are batteries. Questions like “Which one is the best battery?” is a very common one. We all know that there’s not a single answer for such question, and this post will explore the different options as well highlight the weakness and strengths of some common kinds of batteries.

Although this is can be considered a generic battery post, it has been written having low voltage micro-controller applications in mind, more specifically solutions like our Whisper Node product.

So the question the post tries to answer is: “Which is the best battery to power my micro-controller application?”

batteries_comparison_45_d_c_aa_aaa_aaaa_a23_9v_cr2032_lr44_matchstick-1

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InfluxDB + Grafana for the IoT

Hello everyone, it has been a while since our last post. The Kickstarter campaign has proven to be quite involving, but things start to get back to normal and new posts will keep appearing.

As now we’ve an official product/platform, there’s a plan to start creating practical posts, complemented by video blogs to show real use cases step-by-step. Stay tuned!

Moving on, this post will present a very promising solution to store, presenting and analyse time series data. Perfect to save all the IoT data produced.

Grafana01

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Talk² on Kickstarter

As you may already noticed, we’re running a Kickstarter campaign. The objective is to get enough pledges to produce our Whisper Node in larger scale, reducing the total board costs to everyone.

Whisper Node -- Kicktraq Mini

Thank you all for supporting us! The project got funded and all updates will be posted directly into the Kickstarter Campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/340271897/whisper-node

Connecting to the Internet

Talk² is all about communication and adding Internet connectivity to your project can easily bring it to the next level! Despite the fact that you can find a couple of alternatives to it, we would like to present our prefered way.

On this post we’ll briefly check the common ways of connecting an Arduino to the Internet, evaluate the Pros and Cons. After we’ll present the Talk² approach to this problem, explaining concepts and queueing techniques to build a much more robust and flexible solution.

The popular options

After some research we easily concluded that the most popular way people are connecting their Arduino to the Internet is by using a direct Ethernet connection. Some cases using shields or expansion modules, others by simply relying on the build-in Ethernet capabilities of the board/MCU.

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Low Power Budget

One of the biggest challenge for the Internet of Things, especially for those devices using RF communication, is the power consumption. In many situations it’s normal to expect the wireless equipment to have their own source of power, instead of relying on an AC-DC power supply connected to the wall outlet. In the IoT world there is a real demand for 100% wireless devices, powered by battery or any kind of power harvesting.

The first question you need to answer yourself before start building battery powered circuits is: For how long I wish the device to run on new batteries? One day, a whole week, maybe a year? Or just be brave and say 2 decades.

On this post we’ll talk about the low power world, how you can plan, design and implement circuits that can work for years on a pair of wide available AA batteries. We’ll also present the common trade-off and techniques necessary to reduce power consumption, as well discuss how RF communication can be implemented with minimal power requirements.

This can be a very complex and long topic and we’ll try to keep it as much practical and simple as possible. Bear in mind that we won’t offer a ready-to-use, kind of copy and paste code. The whole idea is to be broader and educate how to identify and solve common problems.

Talking about Power

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The Talk² Protocol

For any kind of communication to happens it’s necessary to define some protocol, a well defined set of rules known by all parts involved in the conversation. Talk² is not here to propose a specification for a new protocol, instead we are presenting some guide lines and to assist you developing your ideas.

On this post we’ll be talking a little bit about the Protocol used on Talk², which technologies we chose and why we’ve decided it.

Talk² Frame

One thing to keep in mind is that Talk² does not restrict you to any physical media or lower level protocol, instead it provides you a simple frame format. This means the only rule you need to follow is to respect the message format below:

Field Length (bits) Short Description
id 29 Message Identification
ext 1 Message Id format
rtr 1 Remote transmission request
dlc 4 Data length, or payload size
data 64 Transmitted data, up to 8 bytes

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