Below you’ll find a listing of the most frequently asked questions that Linx receives. Should you have any questions that are not found here, or need help with any of Linx’s products, please reach out to one of our technical service representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to check out our Wireless Made Simple blog for answers and updates to the latest innovations in the world of wireless.
(10mW / 5mm) * (√0.43392GHz) = 1.3
This is less than 3.0 and would be excluded from SAR testing.
This is a difficult question to answer because of the large number of countries and the way in which some of these countries number their rules. And some countries have different rules for different applications, not just frequency. Here are some of the countries that we get asked about most often. Please note that these can change at any time and these links may not get updated. Please confirm any rules with the agency websites.
Australia – Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – AS/NZS 4268, LIPD Class License and Fact Sheet
Please contact Linx if you have questions about other countries that are not on this list.
The following Linx Modules have FCC and Industry Canada Certification. The TT Series, HumRC Series and HumPRC Series modules are designed for remote control applications. The HumPRO Series and Amplified HumPRO Series are designed for data applications. There are some restrictions on implementation required to maintain the module certification. These are listed in the module’s data guide.
All of our wireless remote handheld and keyfob transmitters are certified.
It should be noted that there is no modular certification for a receiver. All products must be tested as unintentional radiators regardless of whether or not they contain radios. This must be done on the final product as it will go to market. Any testing on the module itself would be irrelevant since the testing needs to include everything else inside the product as well. This means that while the transmitter portion of the radios is tested and done, the manufacturer is still responsible for performing Unintentional Radiator testing on the end product as it will go to market.
Europe does not have a certification or modular approval. Instead, a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) is used where the manufacturer of the equipment declares that the equipment conforms to all requirements under the Radio Equipment Device (RED) directive. A product placed on the market must be tested and fully assessed against the essential requirements of the RED directive to support that declaration.
The manufacturers are required to test the equipment it all possible configurations and use environments to ensure that they will conform in all likely ways that the end user will install and operate the equipment. This gets easier the closer to the end user you get. For example, a company making a USB dongle that plugs into a computer needs to test against all operating conditions like voltage, temperature and orientation. This is fairly straightforward since the number of variables in a computer are small (as long as the antenna is integrated into the dongle). For the manufacturer who makes the radio, they would have to consider the USB dongle use case as well as every other product that could use their radio and the typical operating conditions of each. This gets overwhelming very quickly. Even then, the RED directive requires some testing on the final product itself, so it is inevitable that some testing would get repeated. While some testing could be done on the module or subassembly and carried through to the end product, it is extremely limited and most likely would not have a significant reduction on the cost of testing.
Many modules have a CE mark indicating that they have been tested and comply with the RED directive. This is accurate for the test board used by the manufacturer for the testing and the conditions on that board. This may not apply to the end product depending on voltages, temperatures and antenna implementation. It is a good idea to consult an accredited test lab to get clarification on if any of the test data supplied by the module manufacturer can be applied to the end device testing.
It is ultimately the responsibility of the end equipment manufacturer to assess all possible installation environments and ensure that the equipment complies with the directive. While summaries are great, there is no substitution for reading and understanding the ETSI standards and how they apply to the end product.
The receivers must be issued a Declaration of Conformity (DOC) by an approved test lab. This is far less complicated and expensive than a transmitter certification. There is not an actual filing with the FCC, just keep these documents in your company files.
Recognizing that new uses of low-power transmitters often generate questions that are not directly addressed in the regulations, the FCC accepts inquiries or requests for specific interpretations. Occasionally, the FCC proposes changes to its regulations, generally to address industry concerns and/or as new uses of low-power transmission equipment appear. The FCC accepts questions through their website.
The FCC reviews thousands of applications a year. Depending on your presentation, an inspector may misinterpret information. If you feel you have complied with the regulations, you will want to exercise your rights in accordance with CFR 47 2.923 and petition for reconsideration and review.
In the FCC’s own words: IDENTICAL. However, identical is further defined as identical within the variations that can be expected to arise as a result of quantity production techniques. One of the advantages of using Linx modules is the tight production control and testing procedures to which the modules are subject. Similar controls over the rest of your product’s production will make compliance with these requirements straightforward.
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The FCC maintains an electronic copy of the FCC rules and regulations on their website. Refer to the FCC Resource Document for a copy of the sections applicable to Linx products. For a printed copy, you should contact the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C., and indicate that you need a copy of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (47CFR). If your need is for equipment authorization, you will require Volume 1 which contains Parts 0-19. Their telephone number is (202) 512-0132. You can also contact the Government Printing Office in your local area for a copy of the rules. The telephone number for the GPO in your area can be obtained from your telephone directory or operator. It would be listed under the federal government.
For applications like amateur HAM radio, the FCC requires that the end user have a license to operate the radio equipment. For the portions of the spectrum governed by Part 15, the end user does not need a license. Instead, the product manufacturer must have the equipment tested in an FCC authorized facility and receive certification and an FCC ID number for the transmitter and a Declaration of Conformity (DOC) for the receiver before the product can be legally sold in the United States. In this sense, the equipment must get the license so that the end user does not need one.
The FCC makes available a list of FCC authorized test labs and updates it monthly. This information is at the FCC website. It is not necessary to be present at the lab during testing, so the lab you choose can be located nationwide. Linx highly recommends Compatible Electronics, which offers special pricing and exceptional service to our customers.
The FCC has greatly streamlined the approval process in recent years. The entire process can now be completed in less than 30 days. In fact, receivers no longer require certification — just a quick test at an approved lab through the Declaration of Conformity (DOC) process. Transmitter certification is almost as painless since many labs that are TCB certified are now allowed to issue certifications on behalf of the FCC. Linx maintains a close working relationship with Compatible Electronics Compatible Electronics, which extends excellent service and special pricing to Linx customers.
This depends on the radio technology and how much you have the test lab do. Full transmitter and receiver testing for a single channel radio can cost around $5,500. The transmitter only is around $3,800, and the receiver Declaration of Conformity is about $1,700. Multi-channel transmitters, such as FHSS systems, require more testing and lab time, so are more expensive. This is generally closer to $7,300 for the full certification.
Including a certification for Industry Canada will typically add $1,400 – $2,400. The testing is mostly the same, so there is an additional filing fee and a little more time for the report. Testing for Europe CE is much more expensive and can run around $15,000 for a multi-channel device. The testing is very different from FCC test requirements, so not much of the lab tests or time can cross over between the two.
The test time can usually be done in about a week, depending on the backlog of the test lab. The FCC has authorized private Telecommunications Certifications Bodies (TCB) to issue identity numbers on its behalf so the grants are typically issued within 3 to 4 weeks.
Linx maintains a close working relationship with Compatible Electronics, which extends excellent service and special pricing to Linx customers.
Yes. The RSSI line is used as the input to the data slicer, which takes the noisy, low amplitude RSSI signal and creates the sharp digital data output. Loading the RSSI line too much can reduce the signal amplitude so that the data slicer cannot distinguish the signal from the system noise, resulting in garbled data output. Significant loading can kill the signal entirely.
The RSSI output cannot source much current. This is a design decision to keep total current consumption low. The result is that it cannot support much of a load before the output is affected. The output is designed to be connected to high impedance circuits, like digital gates or Analog to Digital Converters (ADC). Anything with lower impedance than these kinds of circuits can have an impact on the DATA output.
There are several factors involved in determining the range of an RF link. The primary ones are frequency of operation, transmitter output power, receiver sensitivity, transmitter and receiver antenna gains, and the path loss of the operating environment. There are also sources of loss internal to the system. For more information on this, please see the Considerations for Wireless Range post in our blog.
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(10mW / 5mm) * (√0.43392GHz) = 1.3
This is less than 3.0 and would be excluded from SAR testing.
There are a few different ways to manage a microstrip line that is larger than the pads.
It’s not uncommon for microstrip transmissions lines to be thicker than the connection points. In this case, the trace can be tapered at the module / connector pin. It should not have a large impact on impedance to have the trace tapered ~2mm at the connection points. Especially at the lower frequencies, in the 400MHz band.
The microstrip width can also be narrowed by putting the ground plane on an internal layer, reducing the height to the microstrip, resulting in a smaller trace width.
Another option is a Co-Planar Waveguide (CPWG), which allows for more precise control over impedance and smaller trace width. This adds a ground plane on the top layer, on either side of the antenna trace. The gap between the plane and trace can be varied to make the trace width smaller.
AppCAD is a free program that is useful to help with transmission line calculations.
There is no hard upper limit on the number of nodes in a HumPRO Series system since the module does not store a list of connected nodes. The practical limitations are
- Operating range
- Channel availability
If all nodes are listening to a single master, then the limitation is the time on channel to transmit messages. Since the HumPRO Series only transmits when it has data or an acknowledgement to send, that depends on the system’s transmission activity. Only one transmitter can be active and be heard. If there are multiple systems such that they can be using different hopping patterns (logical channels), then the amount of total traffic can be higher, but less than 6 (number of hopping patterns) times as high because of occasional collisions between hopping patterns.
A system having 100 to 200 nodes all hearing one another is possible, but would only work if the aggregate data rate is low. In general, you probably can’t get over about 50% utilization, due to packet overhead and delays between transmissions. A large system could be implemented using a repeater strategy implemented by the designer.
The modules that contain microcontrollers can become locked up if they are subjected to a brown-out condition. In this case, the supply voltage drops to well below the minimum limit, but not all the way to ground. Some circuits can remain slightly powered while others shut down, resulting in register and memory corruption. This can cause unpredictable operation, including lock-up.
This can happen under several conditions. If there is a lot of capacitance on the supply line, the turn-on and turn-off times can be slow. If it takes more than 50-75ms for the supply line to reach Vcc min during turn on or to reach ground during turn-off, then there could be a problem.
If there are devices in the circuit that pull more current than the power supply can source, then the supply voltage will sag and can cause a brown-out condition. This can happen toward the end of a battery life or if there is a solder short, ESD damage or other damage to the board.
If the module locks up frequently, then it is recommended to monitor the supply line as the device is operated and make sure that it is sourcing the necessary voltage and current to the radio. There are other conditions that can cause a lock-up, but they are much more rare. If the voltage supply looks good, contact Linx Technical Support to check other possibilities.
Yes, the wireless UART modules are designed to be connected to the UART of a microcontroller or similar device. It is not recommended to connect a UART to one of the transparent modules.
Transparent modules do not have any built-in protocol or memory, so all protocol aspects are managed by an external microcontroller. It is very simple to output data on a microcontroller’s UART and so many engineers try this. The issue is that the UART protocol was designed for a wired environment, which does not have much random noise. The RF environment is extremely noisy and UARTs cannot manage that noise well. It is recommended to develop a noise-tolerant protocol and to “bit-bang” an output on the microcontroller to send the data to the transparent modules. See AN-00160: Considerations for Sending Data over a Wireless Link for more information.
There are two primary entry points for ESD, the supply line and the antenna. These lines are commonly protected by Transient Voltage Suppressor (TVS) diodes and voltage dependent resistors called varistors connected between the signal line and ground. These function in different ways, but both become conductive when the voltage on the signal line rises above a threshold. During an ESD event, they shunt the current to ground, preventing it from getting into the radio.
When using an embedded antenna, this is generally not a concern. However, the line should be protected when using an external antenna. The transmitter output power will dictate the working voltage. The diode or varistor should be low capacitance so as to not affect the RF tuning. There are many devices marketed for antenna protection that meet this requirement.
The power supply line is more general because it does not have the low capacitance requirement. It is important to realize that ESD can travel through voltage regulators and bypass capacitors with enough energy to damage the radio. It is a good idea to put a TVS diode on the power line of the module even if there are other components between the module and the power input.
Yes, but it takes some work. The transparent modules are generally the physical radio only, so a mesh networking protocol can be used in an external microcontroller. The wireless UART modules offer some additional features and can act as the PHY and MAC layers. An external microcontroller can be used for the mesh networking logic.
There are many ways to make a mesh network; some fairly simple and others are very complex. Creating a mesh network can involve significant software and firmware development and require strong experience with wireless communications. For this reason, we generally recommend choosing a product with mesh networking integrated if it is determined that a mesh network is really needed.
Most of the wireless UART modules support the data structures of RS-232 and RS-485. None of our modules support the voltage levels required, so an external driver chip is needed. Some external circuitry may be needed to drive the RS-485 address line.
The QS Series USB module does support RS-485 for conversion to USB.
We do not endorse the use of any potting compound. They have the potential to affect inner component coupling, antenna match and other factors, especially for modules that do not have a lid.
That said, many customers do pot the modules with success. While we do not recommend any specific compounds, be sure to use one that is free of conductive materials or heavy in carbon. If the module does not have a plastic or metal lid, then it is a good idea to cover it and provide an air gap around the RF circuitry. Potting impacts not only the module, but also the antenna. Consideration should be given to the antenna traces and connections, especially if using a PCB or embedded antenna. There is a strong likelihood that the antenna will need to be re-tuned to accommodate the affects of the potting compound.
Regardless of the material, plenty of time should be allotted in the development schedule to test various materials and make sure that the potted radios still meet the product requirements.
Does Linx have sockets for the surface mount modules so that they can be mounted onto a protoboard without being soldered?
We do not recommend the use of the modules on proto boards or solderless breadboards because they result in horrible RF performance. For this reason, we do not offer or recommend the use of sockets. The wires used on proto boards and sockets themselves have inductance and capacitance associated with them and their connections. These ‘parasitics’ have a larger impact as the frequency increases, so at RF frequencies, they are major players in the final performance of the system. Placing the modules on proto boards severely affects their range and performance and potentially gives an impression that the modules are bad. The modules should be soldered to a PCB with a large, solid ground plane either on an inner layer or on the bottom side of the PCB. For prototyping we recommend the purchase of one of our evaluation kits. These kits include a PCB that has been designed to optimize the RF performance of the modules and includes a prototyping area where additional circuitry can be added to aid the integration of our modules into your design. You can find additional information about the evaluation kits on our website and they can be purchased from us directly or from our distributors.
It is a simple task to control relays using Linx RF modules and remote control encoders and decoders. The MS Series, MT Series and HS Series decoders can provide enough current to drive many small relays directly. If a higher voltage or drive current is required, a switching transistor can be used as a buffer.
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An RF signal is transmitted in all directions from the transmitting antenna much like a water ripple travels in all directions from the point where a stone hits the surface of a pond. When that ripple hits a rock or the bank of the pond, the wave will bounce off and travel in a new direction across the pond.
The same thing happens with radio waves. They bounce off of trees, mountains, buildings and other objects. Since straight and reflected waves take different paths some arrive at the receiving antenna more quickly than others, causing cancellation due to differing phase relationships. This concept is called multipath. It results in lowered signal levels at the receiver and thus shorter useful distances for the link. Multipath is particularly a factor in interior environments where objects provide many different reflection paths.
There are many ways to combat multipath ranging from careful frequency and antenna selection, error correction, transmission redundancy, antenna diversity and the use of spread spectrum and frequency hopping.
Every year, Linx Technologies supports a number of projects and educational institutions with samples of modules, antennas and evaluation kits. These allocations are decided upon in the beginning of the year, and, unfortunately, we cannot support all the requests for donations of products and samples we receive. If you would like to submit a comprehensive outline of your project, a list of companies involved, and the proposed benefit, it will be considered as allocations are available.
We are often asked if one can extend the range of Linx RF Modules. This depends on the radio module. The 300 and 400MHz radios (LR Series, LT Series, KH3 Series) as well as the narrowband 868 and 900MHz radios (NT Series) are capable of achieving the maximum output power allowed for unlicensed operation under government regulations (FCC Part 15, Industry Canada, Europe’s ETSI). In most cases, increasing the output power of the modules would make them illegal. It is possible to add an LNA onto the radios, but that would result in a marginal range increase. A higher gain antenna is also an option on the receiver. The transmitter output power will likely need to be reduced by the same gain added by the antenna, making it pointless on the transmitter.
The 900MHz FHSS radios like the HumPRO Series, HumRC Series, HumPRC Series and TT Series can use an amplifier to increase the transmitter output power. In fact, we added an amplifier to the HumPRO Series to make the Amplified HumPRO Series in order to increase the range. Adding another amplifier to these will run afoul of government regulations. A high gain antenna can also be used with these, but the transmitter output power will need to be reduced.
There are several factors to consider when selecting the best module for your application. They include the usual suspects (price, power consumption, range, size, ease of implementation, inter-operability) as well as legal aspects (which frequency can be used in which country).
Describing all of the consideration would lead to a very long post, so here are some basic items to get started. For applications that need to send data between microcontrollers, look at our Wireless UART RF modules. These have a simple UART serial interface to pass data between the microcontroller and the module. The modules handle all of the aspects of wirelessly sending the data.
For applications that have non-standard data structures or critical timing constraints, look at our Transparent RF Modules. These are typically the physical radio only, with no microcontrollers or memory. There is a 1-wire interface that directly controls the RF carrier. This allows for the creation of custom protocols and has a very consistent latency from transmitter input to receiver output. The consistent latency means the module does not get in the way for timing critical systems.
For applications that need to activate a device remotely, look at our Remote Control RF Modules. These are fully integrated remote control solutions. Take a line high on one side (generally with a button) and a corresponding line goes high on the remote side to activate whatever circuits are required by the application.
This provides a starting point on selecting the best solution for the application. Contact Linx Technical Support for a more detailed discussion of your application. We will guide you to the best product and answer any questions you may have.
This is a concern when using Linx transparent radio modules with OOK modulation in the 260 to 470MHz band.
Part 15 Section 231 governs operation in the 260 – 470MHz band. In these frequencies the FCC has decided to restrict the type and duration of data that can be transmitted but has allowed for exceptions as well. Keyed carrier signals such as those produced by Linx OOK products can be averaged over a 100ms time, allowing a significantly higher potential output power. The high-bit-to-low-bit ratio of the data will thus have a direct impact on allowed power and thus range.
In the case of the 902 – 928MHz band, the FCC has only specified the output power and harmonic levels. There are no restrictions on the type or duration of data that can be sent. This gives the design engineer a great deal of freedom in the possible applications, but also results in the band being more crowded. Additionally, the band legally allows for the operation of high power spread spectrum devices. This means that a good protocol and a more robust modulation method, such as FM/FSK, is needed to try and ensure data integrity.
For more information, review the FCC Resource Document. A hard copy of FCC Title 47 can be obtained from your local government bookstore or from the Government Printing Office in Washington.
In some cases, yes. Some Linx modules (particularly the 300MHz and 400MHz products) are capable of achieving the maximum transmitter output power per FCC Part 15 and other regulatory agencies worldwide. Concentrating the power in a particular direction would, in most cases, result in illegal power levels and require the transmitter to be attenuated. This would negate the advantage of the high gain antenna to get more range. Using a high gain antenna on the receiver is a way to improve range with much less concern about regulatory issues.
For most of the 900MHz FHSS products, a higher gain antenna can be used to get more range. However, none of the modules have been certified with high gain antennas, so the final system will need to get tested and certified.
For questions on a specific product, please contact us.
Range is determined by a number of factors, including transmitter output power, receiver sensitivity, antenna gain and the operating environment. The ranges listed here are what we have been able to achieve using our development kits in open areas with straight line-of-sight between the antennas. It is possible to get more or less in specific environments.
The Amplified HumPRO Series can get around 8 miles (12.9km) with a good antenna (like the HWR Series) and line-of-sight. This module is great for general data transmissions.
The TT Series is designed for remote control applications and can get over 2 miles (3.2km).
The LR Series and LT Series can get around 3,000 feet (900m) and are primarily used for basic remote control but also for shorter range and lower power data transfer. Also in this same range, the KH3 Series is for remote control and the NT Series is for data transfer.
The 2.4GHz version of the HumRC Series is about 300 feet (90m) for remote control applications.
Why does the DATA line of the LR Series receiver seem to switch randomly when the transmitter is not on?
This happens because the module does not have any squelch built in. A squelch circuit stops the data output when the received signal strength falls below a certain level. While this is beneficial from a data standpoint, it does reduce the sensitivity of the receiver and the range of the system. Without the circuit, the receiver loses lock in a few milliseconds and outputs random bits based on noise in the system.
This is generally not a problem for off-the-shelf decoders and can be resolved in software for custom microcontrollers (see application note AN-00160 for protocol recommendations), but an external squelch circuit can also be used. Using a squelch circuit allows the designer to only allow data when the received signal is above a certain threshold, but it will sacrifice the range. This allows the user to make the tradeoff between random noise and range.
The RSSI line outputs a voltage that is relative to the strength of the received signal. Since the LR Series is On-Off-Keyed, this output follows the data and looks like a series of pulses. The output is at a lower voltage when receiving a ‘0’ and at a higher voltage when receiving a ‘1’. The amplitude of the ones determines the received signal strength.
An example squelch circuit for use with the LR Series receiver is shown below.
D1, C1, and R1 form a peak detector that follows the peak voltage of the ones. This voltage is fed into the non-inverting input of a comparator where it is compared to a reference level set by a potentiometer. When the signal level becomes greater than the reference voltage set by the potentiometer, the comparator releases the output line. When the signal level falls below the reference voltage, the comparator pulls the output line to ground. Most comparators have open collector outputs, meaning that they can only pull the line to ground or release it. They cannot pull the line high, so a weak external pull-up resistor (R3) is needed to pull the line to Vcc when the comparator releases it. The feedback resistor (R4) is used to stabilize the output.
The output of the comparator is fed into the non-inverting input of a second comparator. The DATA output of the receiver is also connected to this input through resistor R4. The inverting input is connected to a voltage divider that sets the reference voltage at half of the supply voltage. As with the first circuit, R8 provides a weak pull-up and R7 provides feedback.
When the first comparator pulls its output low, the non-inverting input of the second comparator is low and the output of the second comparator is pulled low. When the first comparator releases its output, the DATA line drives the non-inverting input on the second comparator. The output of the second comparator then follows the DATA line.
A discreet voltage divider or a voltage reference IC can be used in place of the potentiometer, and the values for C1 and R1 can be adjusted to tune the response as needed.
Linx offers radio modules in several frequency bands targeted for different applications and different geographical regions.
315MHz is a common frequency for RKE and garage door systems. As a result, this frequency is somewhat crowded, increasing the chances for interference. Also, the antenna size gets larger, or the efficiency decreases for the same size antenna.
418MHz is a good frequency to use in the US as it is not very crowded. This gives the least likely chance for interference and therefore the best performance. This is the standard recommended frequency for North America.
433.92MHz is almost a global frequency, primarily due to automotive key fobs. This makes it a good frequency for products that will be marketed in multiple countries since only one product needs to be built. However, this makes the frequency popular and more crowded than 418MHz, increasing the chance for interference.
863 – 870MHz is an unlicensed band in Europe. The band is subdivided for different applications, and has restrictions on the amount of transmitter on time per hour based on which sub-band is being used. The band has only 2MHz to support many applications, so it has become somewhat crowded.
902 – 928MHz is more versatile than the 260 – 470MHz band in the US because the FCC has only specified the output power and harmonic levels. There are no restrictions on the type or duration of data that can be sent. This gives the design engineer a great deal of freedom in the possible applications, but also results in the band being more crowded. A disadvantage for cost-sensitive applications is that 900MHz modules are typically more expensive due to the more complex filtering and modulation required for link reliability at these higher frequencies.
2400 – 2483.5MHz is a true global frequency. Almost all developed nations have adopted the same regulations and requirements for this band. This was driven by applications such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but been adopted by many more applications. This means that it is possible to make one product and sell it into many countries, though the product does still need to get certified in each country or region. This has made the band extremely popular and extremely crowded. In addition, the range of these systems is much shorter and the signal penetration through walls and obstructions is much worse at these frequencies than at lower ones.
5725 – 5875MHz has not been adopted by many applications outside of Wi-Fi. This band is generally covered under the same rules as the 2400MHz band. There are not many products in this band. Currently, Linx does not offer any radios in these frequencies.
Review AN-00125: Considerations for Operation within the 260 – 470MHz Band, AN-00126: Considerations for Operation within the 902 – 928MHz Band, AN-00128: Data and bidirectional Transmissions under Part 15.231, FCC Resource Document and FCC Title 47 for more information. You may obtain a hard copy of FCC Title 47 from your local government bookstore or from the Government Printing Office in Washington.
Most of the FM transmitters and receivers have a constant current consumption when in use, so placing a resistor between the between the 5-volt power supply and the module drops the supply voltage and protects the module. This can also be done with our OOK receivers, such as the LR Series. However, the current consumption of the OOK transmitters varies with the data bit, so they cannot be used with a dropping resistor.
This does have potential risks. The current consumption of the modules is normally steady, but it can change depending on how the modules are connected. It is best to measure the current consumption in the final design and size the dropping resistor appropriately.
The receivers output data at the lower voltage. The microcontroller or device that is reading the data needs to be able to recognize the lower voltage or there needs to be some sort of voltage level translation between the module and microcontroller.
While this does work, it is always safest to operate the modules with a regulated voltage supply at the appropriate level.
What you really want is a better receiver, not a transmitter. The FCC limits the output power of all transmitters to about 0dBm (varies with frequency and modulation) in the ISM band, so you can’t get a more powerful transmitter and still be legal. The only place for improvement is on the receive side. This is exactly what gives the LR Series its exceptional range: a receiver that is potentially up to 20dB more sensitive than our previous line, the LC Series. With a doubling of range with every 6dB of sensitivity gained, the LR provides a significant improvement in range over the LC Series.
Quarter-wave antennas are only half of the antenna structure. The ground plane, PCB layout and implementation are all critical to proper antenna performance, especially for embedded antennas.
If the ground plane is smaller than what the antenna was designed with, the resonant frequency will shift higher. The frequency can be shifted down using a PI network between the radio and the antenna, but only to a certain extent. These are generally used for fine tuning an antenna to the board. If the shift is very large, it may be possible to use an antenna at a lower frequency and have it get pulled into the correct band.
Depending on the application, it could also be possible to design a custom antenna that works with the specific product.
Both of these options are not ideal solutions. It is best to pay close attention to the layout and implementation requirements of the desired antenna.
When using the MAG Series magnetic bases with the ELE Series antenna elements, does the metal mounting surface serve as part of the ground plane?
Yes, the mag base antennas are designed to work when applied to a large conductive surface (such as a car roof or trunk). We test them internally on a 24 x 24 inch (609.6 x 609.6 mm) ground plane.
The size of the magnetic base is not sufficient to provide an adequate ground plane, particularly for the lower frequency band of the antenna elements. Using the antenna and base without sufficient ground plane will affect the radiation pattern and performance.
An IP rating specifies how well an enclosure resists intrusion by solids and liquids. Antennas that are installed into a product can achieve high ratings depending on how they are installed. Since this installation is outside of our control, we cannot guarantee this with designs in general. However, customers have achieved ratings as high as IP67 with certain antennas when they are installed correctly.
Stand-alone antennas that are installed remotely and connected to the product with a cable, like the ID Series, HDP Series, SH2 Series and VDP Series, do have IP ratings since they do not depend on the installation in the enclosure.
AM and FM broadcast radio operates at a frequency under 108MHz. Linx does not make antennas below 300MHz, so we do not make or support any antennas for AM/FM broadcast radio.
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Linx antennas have colored bands that denote the frequency.
We are often asked whether or not you can put your company’s logo on your antennas, the answer is yes. Our antennas can be produced in custom colors and marked to your custom requirements. There is a one-time NRE charge for setup and tooling and a minimum order quantity. We can assist with your artwork if needed. Pricing depends on the product and the customization, so it is quoted on a case-by-case basis.
In the case of a 1/4-wave antenna, the ground plane acts as the counterpoise to form, in essence, a centered 1/2-wave dipole. Since this plane is the other half of the antenna, its size and proximity are essential. Often an antenna can appear smaller than its specified wavelength. This is due to internal mechanical tricks such as helical windings that can dramatically reduce the antenna’s physical size. This does not mean that the same size is appropriate for the ground plane. A compromised ground plane can affect antenna stability and operational frequency. Review AN-00501: Understanding Antenna Specifications and Operation for a greater understanding of antenna issues.
The antenna is just one of several factors that affect the range of an RF system. Other factors within the system include transmitter output power, receiver sensitivity, and system losses. Outside the system, the propagation path between the two antennas (specifically what is between the antennas) has a big impact. It is not possible to estimate the range of a system knowing the antennas alone. For more information, please see the Considerations for Wireless Range article in our blog.
Wireless Remote Controls
What is causing my MS Series Linx Remote to “un-pair” with the receiver and preventing it from being “re-learned”?
This is typically caused by a brown-out condition on the decoder where the supply voltage drops below the minimum but not all the way to ground. This condition can corrupt internal registers and cause unpredictable operation. This is often seen as a slow drop on VCC when the system is turned off (possibly because of large capacitors that have a very slow discharge) or the transient drop on VCC due to something in the system. This can be resolved by ensuring the voltage gets to ground within 100ms.
No, the handheld transmitters and keyfobs have not undergone any testing for IP ratings. They have unsealed holes in the enclosure and are designed for general use.
If the LICAL-EDC-DS001 is in encoder mode, and Holtek protocol is selected, will it send data to address 0 of a Holtek compatible receiver / decoder?
Yes. As an encoder, it sends whatever address is set by the state of the address lines. When in decoder mode, it rejects packets with all address lines on or all address lines off.
Yes. Products such as our keyfobs, handheld transmitters, and even antennas can be produced in custom colors and cosmetic details, such as housings or keypads, labeled to your custom requirements. There is a one-time NRE charge for setup and tooling and a minimum per order. We can assist with your artwork if needed. Pricing depends on the product, customization and details like the number of colors used, so these are quoted on a case-by-case basis. Contact Linx Technical Support for further details.
The keyfob transmitters and the handheld transmitters all have FCC and Industry Canada transmitter certifications. The 433MHz versions have also been tested and found to conform to the ETSI RED directive.
Does the DS Series decoder reject transmissions from the CMD-KEY#-fff with all address lines pulled to GND (default setting)?
Yes, the DS Series rejects existing Linx CMD-HHCP-fff, CMD-HHLR-fff, CMD-KEY#-fff and OTX-fff-HH-KF#-HT transmitters where the addressing is set to the default all OFF (or ON) state. This is intentional, to eliminate triggering from unintended transmitters.
The DATA output of the LR Series does not have a strong driver so that the module’s current consumption can be kept low. It can drive 3 or 4 decoders without a problem, but any more than that and a buffer should be used that has a higher drive capability. At this point, there may be other products that are more suitable for the application, so contact Linx Technical Support to go over possible solutions.
An IP rating specifies how well an enclosure resists intrusion by solids and liquids. None of the connectors have an IP rating because the final enclosure rating depends on how the connector is installed. Customers have been able to achieve ratings as high as IP67 with certain connectors when they are installed correctly. However, since the implementation is outside of our control we cannot guarantee this with designs in general.
There is not a specific finish that has proven to be better or worse when used with the battery holders. Linx has used a gold (ENIG) finish for many years without issue, however many customers have used other finishes as well with no reports of failures.
The FCC requires that all antennas shall be attached permanently or with a connector not available to the general public. They have ruled that reversing the gender of a standard connector meets this requirement. Linx reverse polarity connectors are exactly the same as a standard connector except the internal sex is reversed. For example, in a connector where a male pin would normally be present a female socket is found.
No, Linx GPS and GNSS modules feature firmware not affected by the 2019 rollover event.
The TM Series, GM Series, RM Series and FM Series modules can work at high altitudes, but they must acquire their location below 10,000m and remain powered. They can track their position above that threshold, but cannot acquire a lock. The R4 Series and F4 Series modules are not recommended for this.
General Radio Frequency
RF interference generally comes from two sources, internal and external. Internal sources are things in the product that generate electromagnetic noise in the same frequencies as the radio. This can include things like crystal oscillators, switching power supplies and regulators and motors. Internal sources usually reduce the sensitivity of the receiver, resulting in a reduction in system range. When this happens, the noisy components need to be shielded and filtered to knock down the noise both conducted through traces and radiated around the board. This can get very complicated very quickly, so it is important to follow good PCB and system design rules for reducing the potential for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). In our experience, switching regulators and motors have the biggest impact in our customer’s designs, so take extra care if your design uses these components.
External interference is typically other transmitters on the same frequency in the same environment at the same time. This generally results in corrupted packets and reduces range since the two sides need to be closer to successfully pass messages. This is somewhat like trying to talk to your friend at a loud concert. Since it is rare that the installer can affect other transmitting systems in the area, having methods to repeat messages and receive acknowledgements as well as the ability to have many frequencies (or channels) to transmit on helps reduce the impact of external interference.
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(10mW / 5mm) * (√0.43392GHz) = 1.3
This is less than 3.0 and would be excluded from SAR testing.
Electromagnetic fields, radio waves, microwaves and wireless signals are referred to as radio frequency (RF) energy. RF energy is all around us. RF is used in various electronics and appliances, which include radio and television broadcasting, cellular telephones, satellite communications, microwave ovens, radars, and industrial heaters and sealers. These are just a few applications.
Electromagnetic waves are measured by wavelength and frequency. Wavelength is the distance covered by one complete cycle of the electromagnetic wave. Frequency is the number of electromagnetic waves in one second, also known as a Hertz or Hz. One Hz equals one cycle per second. One megahertz (MHz) equals one million cycles per second. Generally, microwaves are radio frequencies measuring more than 1 GHz.
HaLow is the Wi-Fi Alliance branding for IEEE 802.11ah. WiFi. 802.11ah operates in sub-1 GHz bands to provide longer range at lower power than other WiFi solutions. HaLow may therefore be considered a lowpower wide-area (LPWA) networking technology. HaLow typically operates in the unlicensed 900 MHz band, but also operates in 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands in some countries.
U-NII, which stands for Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure, is a United States designation for the frequency bands and requirements under which WiFi and other communications operate in the 5 GHz band. U-NII will likely be extended to cover the 6 GHz band as well. The U-NII frequency bands, including proposed 6 GHz bands are:
6 GHz WiFi relates to IEEE 801.11ax which offers WiFi capabilities in sub-bands from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz. WiFi 6E is the Wi-Fi Alliance designation for WiFi that operates in the 6 GHz band.
WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E both refer to the IEEE 802.11ax standard, but WiFi 6E, where “E” stands for extended, expresses that the solution operates in the 6 GHz band (5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz) of IEEE 802.11ax.
Because the IEEE 802.11 standards numbering system can be confusing, the Wi-Fi Alliance began branding WiFi “generations.” WiFi 6 equates to the IEEE 802.11ax standard which is the “sixth generation” WiFi standard, operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. WiFi 6 also has an “extended” generation known as WiFi 6E which leverages IEEE 802.11ax in new frequencies from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz.
Because the IEEE 802.11 standards numbering system can be confusing, the Wi-Fi Alliance began branding WiFi “generations.” WiFi 5 equates to the IEEE 802.11ac standard which is the “fifth generation” WiFi standard.
Because the IEEE 802.11 standards numbering system can be confusing, the Wi-Fi Alliance began branding WiFi “generations.” WiFi 4 equates to the IEEE 802.11n standard which is the “fourth generation” WiFi standard.
WiFi is based in the IEEE 802.11 standards. The IEEE standards cover WiFi operation in detail, but for antennas it mostly comes down to frequencies of operation as shown in Table 1.
WLAN is a contraction of Wireless LAN (which is a contraction of Wireless Local Area Network) and is interchangeable with the term, WiFi. WLAN is used in some regions, like much of Europe, rather than WiFi.
Wi-Fi is the branding of the Wi-Fi Alliance for IEEE 802.11-based wireless LANs. Beyond that, many formulations of Wi-Fi are used in industry including WiFi, WIFI, and WLAN.