Co-authored by Bhargavi Nisarga, Systems Engineer at TI
How it all started
When starting in the ultra-low-power microcontroller (MCU) business at TI, just after finishing university, I found that I had a lot of questions regarding the features and functionality of a microcontroller. I started having regular discussions with more experienced colleagues to better understand the MCU functionality and its typical usage. After a while, I realized I could share what I was learning so other MCU newbies may benefit from the information I gathered. And, here I am, joining forces with my colleague to write this blog series!
Why another smart thermostat blog?
We wanted to focus on an end-application most people were familiar with, but would want a better understanding of how to implement using an MCU. We picked the smart thermostat end-application as it touches on different levels of detail and complexity, while still addressing basic MCU features and functionality. The basic building blocks of a smart thermostat application include sensing, processing, user-interface and wireless connectivity, and designing these components requires interaction between multiple MCU features Figure 1. The subsequent blog posts as part of this series will walk you through different implementation steps to help you better understand MCU features and how their functionality enables the creation of a smart thermostat.
Why make a thermostat smart?
The thermostat is a home or building automation application that automatically regulates temperature, or activates a device when the temperature reaches a certain point. With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and network connected devices, a whole new market has opened for smart thermostats. Smart thermostats not only enable remote management and programming via mobile app or web browser, but they also learn and adapt to users’ daily routine, and provide users with energy consumption data to see usage patterns and make adjustments to significantly save on energy bills.
Figure 1: Building blocks of a smart thermostat
What to expect from the blog series
In order to implement a smart thermostat, you will need some background on the functionality and options an MCU offers. This series of blog posts will help you get started by covering the important implementation steps on your way to a working smart thermostat.
Who can benefit from the blog series?
As mentioned before, this blog series is beneficial to MCU newbies, helping them to get started with MCU projects. So, if you are just starting to develop and dig deeper into MCU topics, you’re totally in the right place. Even if you already are an advanced user but wondering “How can I add smartness to my application?” or “How to make my application lower power?”, then you’re in the right place as well. We will focus on connectivity, low power and smart device operation within the course of this blog series.
What to take with you
As a wrap-up, here are the key takeaways of our first blog entry:
And, don’t forget to keep reading the rest of our series.
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