APC220-43 Transceiver Module

I have been looking for a solid wireless transmitter/receiver for some time. I tried a few different ones and found the performance poor. Then I came across the APC220-43 on DealExtreme. The kit contains two transceiver units with antennas and a USB interface for setting the units up. The transceivers operate up to 20 mW on 434 MHz.

APC220-43Using the included USB interface and a program called RF-Magic you can download, you can set up the power level, frequency channel, and other device parameters. (You can also do this from your application program if you want.)

The module offers an old-style serial interface which is easy to interface to many UARTs. Operation is simple: send it some data bytes and it transmits them. When not transmitting, it will send any received data bytes to the application.

There is a datasheet referenced for download on DXE's web page. This is a refreshing change, since many DXE products do not include datasheets and can be difficult to work with.

The APC220-43 datasheet is not the easiest to understand. For example, unused pin 6 is labelled as MUX or AUX, take your choice. And UART is printed as URAT, good for a chuckle.

The only problem I had was understanding how to use the SET pin. In nornal transceiver operation it must be kept HIGH. They don't bother to tell you that.

I have tried these transceivers in a prototype setup and they work well, providing solid communication inside my house for around 10 to 15 meters, through walls and floors. Next is to get them into a real project.

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