Monday, December 21, 2009

RF design tradeoffs

Well, more like architectural tradeoffs.

I've looked at the Atmel AT86RF212 datasheet and some example code, and compared that to the RFM12B datasheet and the code in the RF12 library used in the JeeNode. I believe I could fairly quickly port the RF12 library to use Atmel's part. Some features, like a fast SPI interface and 128-byte TX/RX FIFO will make the Atmel device easier to use than the RFM12B. Not easier to port, but easier to use in my application code.

But, and this is a big but, I am worried about the time needed to debug the code. Debugging wireless is hard. Of course, I don't have to debug it before the paper design is due in 30 27 days. It just has to simulate.

Yes, that's right, 10% of my design time gone, and I haven't even made a decision on the wireless solution.

I'm going to move on to other parts of the system. Design and code those, then see how much time is left before the deadline. I have a feeling that I'll have to go with Raven modules due to time constraints.

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