Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[Tutorial] Wixel Programmable Wireless Module - Part 1: Setting up the environment


I was commissioned by a private company to create a wireless system over the summer.

I was looking for an RF alternative that can minimize the cost and came across Wixel Programmable Wireless Module.

What I love about this module is that this module contains TI CC2511F32 microcontroller with built-in 2.4 Ghz Radio and 6 analog input pins with 12 bit ADC. It even has built-in USB adaptor which makes it very easy to interface with this device.




This was perfect for my application since I needed to process and transmit <1v analog signal wirelessly.

The only downside in comparison with other RF modules is that this module can cover only about 50 feet/15 meters for wireless communication.

You can get this module either from Pololu directly or from Sparkfun.

Fortunately, my local supplier Creatron carried them so I got it from them.

Setting up the development environment for this module was very easy and took only about 5 minutes following this guide.

You just need to install Driver & Software, and Development Bundle and it worked out of the box!

Wixel Windows Drivers and Software

Wixel Development Bundle for Windows


When you first connect wixel module, you will notice that both red and yellow leds on indicating that there is no program uploaded.




Once you upload the program, you can control these two leds through functions

LED_YELLOW(STATE), LED_RED(STATE)


Wixel Windows Drivers and Software will install a Wixel Configuration Utility that makes it very easy to upload a program and set parameters (blink_period_ms).




You can see that the program automatically detect connected Wixel module with unique serial ID displaced on the left panel.


If we look at the actual source code of this program, we can see that the variable blink_period_ms preceded with "param_" with default value of 500. Notice we can control the Yellow/Red LEDS by calling LED_YELLOW and LED_RED functions.






To be continued ...