Dipl.-Ing. Susanne Stern
NXP Semiconductors Austria GmbH
Several possibilities exist today to configure device parameters: DIP- and rotary switches are widely used and can be used without power – however only for a few bits of configuration data. Furthermore, the devices cannot be fully sealed due to the necessary openings in the housing. Near Field Communication (NFC) offers here an interesting alternative: Via a passive and cost effective “connected NFC tag” IC in the device, a regular NFC smart phone can program 2 kBytes or more of configuration data into the device. This works passively, the device does not need to be supplied with power. As NFC communication also penetrates plastic and glass, the device can be made water proof and dust proof and achieve high IP protection classes.
NFC also works as a diagnosis interface: status updates and error codes can be read out with a smart phone by simply tapping the device.
The article illustrates the current state of the art, shows examples of NFC implementations and explains how the NFC function can be added to a device.