Low power Bluetooth PIR module for occupancy detection

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Nordic Semiconductor’s Bluetooth system on chip is being used for a plug-and-play low power proximity and occupancy detection module.

I-Syst in Canada is using Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) for its Bluepyro-M3225 module. The module provides plug-and-play motion/proximity detection capability, enabling PIR (passive infrared) for wireless room occupancy detection in a range of home automation scenarios such as lighting control, security systems and smart thermostats or, for example, wildlife motion detection photography applications. 

The 22 by 15mm module is aimed at applications where space is at a premium and features the Excelitas Technologies DigiPyro PYD2592. This is a dual-element PIR sensor with built-in signal processing, digital output, and wake-up/sleep mode functionality. The module adds and on-board ceramic antenna, DC-DC power mode configuration, as well as up to 27 programmable general-purpose input/outputs (GPIOs).

The integration of the PIR sensor in the module enables a wireless solution with low electromagnetic interference (EMI) characteristics. The PIR sensor’s wake-up feature is important for battery-operated applications because its use means only the pyroelectric detector consumes power until a motion event is detected. 

The nRF52832 SoC integrates a 64MHz, 32bit ARM Cortex M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), and a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dBm RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. 

In addition to the module, I-Syst provides a development kit which includes full open source library drivers and software abstractions optimized for low power and performance. This allows developers to write wireless application firmware in just a few lines of code. I-Syst also offers firmware and hardware design services to help customers quickly bring their product to market. 

Nordic’s nRF Connect SDK (Software Development Kit) or nRF5 SDK can be used to port the application firmware directly on the module’s Nordic SoC, eliminating the need for an external MCU, reducing development costs and time-to-market. The nRF Connect SDK is recommended for nRF52832 software development and integrates the Zephyr real-time operating system (RTOS), supports applications using Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth mesh and Thread, and includes examples, Bluetooth LE profiles, and driver support for all peripherals. The SDK also includes a migration of Nordic’s Bluetooth SoftDevice Controller from the company’s proven SoftDevices used with the nRF52 Series. The nRF5 SDK can still be used for development with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certifed RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth LE applications.

“The key features of Nordic’s nRF52832 for our BLUEPYRO-M3225 module are its tiny size, extreme low power capabilities, powerful Arm MCU, and generous memory allocation for user applications,” said Nguyen Hoan Hoang, President, I-SYST. “From a software perspective, Nordic’s SDK is highly flexible and adaptable to any development environment. In addition, the availability of open tech support from experienced users through Nordic’s DevZone forum helps us resolve issues quickly.”;

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