Complete ZigBee Demonstration and Dev. Platform


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Microchip Technology Announces Complete ZigBee Demonstration and Development Platform Supporting Multiple RF Transceivers; Offers Free Software Stack

PIC18 Microcontrollers Provide ZigBee Protocol Software Support and nanoWatt Technology Power Management

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, today announced the PICDEM(tm) Z 2.4 GHz Demonstration Kit that supports the ZigBee(tm) standard protocol for wirelessly networked control and monitoring applications. Microchip's PICDEM Z platform accelerates customer designs by providing hardware and a free ZigBee protocol software stack that can be easily integrated into wireless products. In addition, Microchip offers over 30 PIC18 8-bit microcontrollers that support the ZigBee software stack, and incorporate nanoWatt technology power-managed modes and self-programmable Flash program memory -- key features for ZigBee applications, many of which are battery operated.

Microchip's PICDEM Z 2.4 GHz Demonstration Kit is an easy-to-use evaluation and development platform for ZigBee application designers. The kit includes all of the hardware, software source-code and printed circuit board (PCB) layout files needed to rapidly prototype wireless products. Additionally, an instructional application note is available on Microchip's Web site at This development platform is based on Microchip's PIC18 high-performance microcontroller family, which supports ZigBee applications and offers a wide selection of products with 32 Kbytes to 128 Kbytes of Flash program memory in 28- to 80-pin packages.

"As one of the earliest members of the ZigBee Alliance, Microchip has helped to define the standard with cost-effective, low-power, reliable wireless control applications in mind," said Ganesh Moorthy, vice president of Microchip's Advanced Microcontroller and Memory Division. "This development platform was designed to enable engineers to accelerate their time-to-market for ZigBee applications."

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Wow!... $199 for the zigbee protocoland developers kit. Did i read that right! I'm gonna have to go back and read more carefully.
Ok after reading it carefully i am excited to say the least. To me this sounds like they are providing for $200 the same thing that Z-wave has been proving for $5,000 dolloars. This can only mean one thing. That the prices of ZigBee Products are going to be fair and inexpensive. At $200 the average Electronic GURU can buy and develope Devices that work just for him. I'm thinking about buying one just to know how it works. I'm also thinking about investing in some stock in microchip also. I have a feeling that ZigBee is going to be hot not only in Home Automation but in everything. I'm kinda kicking myself in the butt now for ever starting with Z-wave but hopefully Z-wave will develope a bridge to tie the two together. Not sure this will ever happen because Manufactures of Z-wave products would be the only people who could do this and i'm not sure its gonna be in their best intrest since it sounds like their going to be in compotition with ZigBee. Whatever the outcome is I am pretty sure of one thing. X10 is soon to be very outdated technology. Not saying it won't still be usefull but its gonna be old.

P.S. I wonder if my current PIC programmer will progam these chips. Probably not.
Remember that the "bridge" can always be your PC. I am sure Homeseer and others will add ZigBee support. Of course, this means having two devices hanging off of your PC. Maybe they will get a clue and use an Ethernet connection (with PoE), so you can stick the PC interface in the closet somewhere.

Anyway, hopefully the ZigBee stuff will get cheap enough that you can just replace your Z-wave stuff if you end up liking ZigBee better B)
There are actually samples of the PICS18F series available. I have received samples from MicroChip before and they are fairly fast at sending them. I think you can get upto 4 samples of two different chips each month. You guys might want to get s few samples just to have them.. You don't even have to pay shipping. Their is a complete list of the ZigBee Protocol supported microcontrollers at

I'm not very knowlegeable of these chips or what they are capable of so maybe someone like smee can pick a few of the cool ones and explain to us what they do and possibly some projects that we might be able to use them with.