Control RGBW LED Lighting Using ZigBee® technology with TI’s CC2531 Reference Design

Instantly implement ZigBee® light link protocol to create designs using the CC2531 System-on-Chip Solution for IEEE 802.15.4 device

Texas Instruments has sponsored the following story

Thanks to the Internet-of-Things, people are expecting more from even the most mundane objects. Something as simple as adjusting room lighting via remote or cloud control can make for a break-through design.

With the CC2530 and CC2531 Zlight2 reference designs from Texas Instruments (TI), engineers can enjoy some simple visual light cues while learning how to implement ZigBee networking designs. These products highlight the ZigBee 2007 (IEEE 802.15.4) functionality of TI’s ZigBee CC2530 and CC2531 (USB powered) wireless MCUs.

Zigbee and Bluetooth®

Though the ZigBee protocol is ten years old, it’s not as well-known as its cousin, Bluetooth. Zigbee was named from the dance movements of a honeybee because the protocol is used to talk to a mesh network of equipment.

Unlike Bluetooth, ZigBee is primarily used in lower-cost and lower-power applications like lighting, TV remotes, SCADA system sensors, and medical instruments. ZigBee networks can grow to 65,000 nodes, be configured in star or mesh topology, and have a transmit range of 10-1,600m. In the Americas, ZigBee operates on the 2.4GHz (unlicensed band) at a data rate of up to 250Kbps. It is the go-to protocol for engineers designing in the industrial environment.

LED reference design

TI’s ZigBee Light Link (ZLL) design is USB powered and features four separate LEDs (red, green, blue, and white). The design also includes a half-wave dipole antenna, and a complementary remote control reference design.

This remote allows for automated control of lighting, which is perfect for mood lighting, evaluating ZLL control, or showing off at a tradeshow.

The remote control reference design is based on TI’s ZigBee CC2530 wireless MCU. It includes an integrated ZigBee radio, on-board antenna, and 14 buttons for direct control of LEDs and lamps on a ZigBee Light Link network.

All reference design details are available in TI’s documentation. This documentation makes for easy set up and implementation of your design. The specific documentation available for the LED module includes:

Note that the reference design for the remote also includes the schematic, block diagrams, design guide, bill of materials, and design files for a build.

If you want to get started right away, the CC2530 ZigBee light link development kit is packaged with 3 LED lamp modules, the remote, and the necessary software to establish a network right out of the box.

With this package you can control a lamps’ color, intensity, saturation, and power when testing designs in your lab. The lamp and remote come pre-programmed from TI with the Z-Stack Lighting sample application.

How to develop with the kit

After inserting the remote batteries and powering the LED via USB, pair (or TouchLink) the two by holding the remote’s ON and OFF buttons in proximity to the ZLight. Once paired the devices are ready for communication. Controlling multiple ZLights is a matter of TouchLinking each ZLight and selecting the desired unit using the arrow key on the remote. For more information, the TI ZStack-Light wiki provides extensive details and instructions.

With additional hardware (such as a CC2531 USB dongle, or ninja blocks) the lights can also be controlled using a cloud based system. The CC2531 USB dongle can connect to a PC and become an IEEE 802.15.4 packet sniffer. It can then be used to troubleshoot your ZigBee design as it can display the data flowing between your ZigBee devices. The free Ninja Blocks platform, however, facilitates building webs and mobile applications for hardware communication through an API that uses JSON over HTTP. This will quickly integrate your designs to the internet.

Use the Zigbee Light Link protocols to provide the automation and wireless control that customers expect in this era of the Internet-of-Things. You can implement it quickly and easily using TI’s CC2530, CC2531 wireless MCUs and accompanying software utilities. Sit back, relax, and adjust the lights while TI does all the heavy lifting by providing the details for the design.

Texas Instruments has sponsored promotion of their industrial communications solutions on They have no editorial input to this post – all opinions are mine. Bruce Schreiner