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Building Automation

Training Center Classroom

Welcome to this installment of EE Classroom on Building Automation


Today’s BAS is no longer the HVAC of yesterday.


Building Automation Systems have evolved beyond the traditional heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning that relied more on mechanical or electromechanical systems than electronics. The technology currently embedded in buildings poses multiple challenges to the owners and facilities managers. Consequently, engineers are challenged with designing the next-generation of devices that can help solve those challenges. And where power draw and energy efficiency were once a line item, they are now a top priority as automation systems that integrate system and user requirements must reconcile with the associated power-hungry devices that comprise them.


In this classroom, you have access to tutorials and reference designs focused on the power, communications, and sensor network challenges that today’s building automation “builders” must consider if they are to optimize and provide new functionality at current and new installations — at lower costs and higher efficiency. Refresh your understanding of wireless networks and learn what to consider when not only choosing the appropriate communications protocols, but understanding what it takes to support the many wireless industry standards. A better understanding of power management can assist you in design for more stable battery operations, thermal efficiency and energy efficiency, and the long battery life over the wide temperature ranges inherent in building automation systems.


You don’t need lighting or a badge or a thermostat for this classroom. But it may just help you as you build better devices for the new HVACs of today’s BAS.

Aimee Kalnoskas

Senior Editor, EE World Online

Building Automation

Communications Protocols   •   Power Management

Understanding wireless across the spectrum

Power Management ICs: PMIC functions —Part 1

Power management ICs: PMIC implementations — Part 2

Wireless and MCUs: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Zigbee?

Most of the things in the Internet of Things (IoT) will include processors, sensors, and a wireless communication path to the Internet, and all likely will be limited to a small power budget. Which one should you use?

Many frequencies are channels used to carry signals, creating an entire spectrum that varies from signals with very long wavelengths to the very short.

It’s one thing to develop needed low-voltage DC rails via DC/DC converters or regulators, but there’s also a need to manage these power rails in many system designs.

The power management IC (PMIC) is often a vital part of the lower-voltage DC subsystem, as circuits have multiple power rails with tight individual specifications as well as mandated relationships among them.

Radio Receiver Architectures

Part 1 — TRF and Superhet

Part 2 — Zero-IF and SDR

Approaches developed in recent years which compete with it in some situations: the “zero-IF” (direct to baseband) and the software-defined radio (SDR) architectures.

A transmitter has a much-less challenging task than the receiver. The former operates on a higher-level, known signal in a known setting, while the latter must find and decode a largely unknown signal

Sensor Networks   •   Communications Protocols   •   IP

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) : IOT Part 34

Zigbee Protocol and Standard : IOT Part 35

Physical and Data Link Layer Protocols

There is a standard to connect the wireless sensor nodes to form a network. WSN nodes are typically organized in one of three types of network topologies - Star topology, cluster topology and Mesh topology.

Zigbee was developed as an open source global standard to solve the unique needs of low cost, low power wireless sensor networks.

A discussion of the physical and data link layers that comprise IoT objects and physical networks connecting them with other objects or network.