Get Started with Thunderboard™ Sense and Sense 2

Start collecting environmental and motion data easily. Thunderboard Sense kits support multiprotocol wireless connectivity including Bluetooth®, Thread, and Zigbee, and its sleek design is supported by free online analytics dashboard and open source mobile apps. 

Fire up your Thunderboard Sense Kit

Difficulty Easy
Steps 6
Time Required 5-10 minutes
Requirements Thunderboard Sense or Sense 2
Coin cell battery or Micro-USB cable (not included)
Android or iOS mobile phone
Useful Documents Thunderboard Sense BLE Demo User's Guide (UG251)
Thunderboard Sense 2 BLE Demo User's Guide (UG313)

Unleash the power of Thunderboard Sense. Let's start with unboxing, downloading the app and exploring the sensors and basic features.

Note: Refer to the BLE Demo User's Guide for more detailed information on the Thunderboard Sense BLE demo
 

Step 1: Unbox Thunderboard Sense

  1. Purchase a Thunderboard Sense 2 if you don't already have one.
  2. Remove Thunderboard Sense from the box.
  3. Supply power to your Thunderboard Sense: place a battery in the coin cell battery holder on the bottom of the board, or plug in a micro-USB cable.

Step 2: Use the Thunderboard Mobile App

There are several apps available for Thunderboard from Silicon Labs and our partners. In this guide, we will use the official app from Silicon Labs.

  1. Download the Thunderboard mobile app
  2. Enable Bluetooth on your mobile phone

Launch the app to discover your Thunderboard Sense.

Press the Reset button on the Thunderboard Sense to re-enable discovery mode.    

After pairing with the Sense board you can access the app menu.    

Step 3: Try the Sensors

When you have successfully paired the Sense board and mobile app, we are ready to test the sensors. 

  • In the motion menu you can calibrate the board and test the accelerometer and gyroscope.  
    • Humidity and Temperature: Blow or cover the temp. sensor with your finger
    • Light: Cover or shine a light on the board
    • UV: Measure UV index from the sun or a UV light
    • Sound: Talk, whistle, sing or clap to record audio levels
    • Pressure: Move the board from floor to ceiling to test the barometric pressure sensor
    • Magnetic Field and Door State: Move a magnet near the Hall Effect sensor and observe the effects
  • Select the motion and calibrate the board and test the accelerometer and gyroscope.
  • Select "Environment" to test a number of environmental sensors
    • Humidity and Temperature: Blow or cover the temp. sensor with your finger
    • Light: Cover or shine a light on the board
    • UV: Measure UV index from the sun or a UV light
    • Sound: Talk, whistle, sing or clap to record audio levels
    • Pressure: Move the board from floor to ceiling to test the barometric pressure sensor
    • Magnetic Field and Door State: Move a magnet near the Hall Effect sensor and observe the effects
  • Select "I/O" to test a buttons and LEDs.
    • Switches: Press the two push buttons on the board    
    • Lights: The app switches will turn on/off the small LEDs on the board
    • Note that the four high-brightness RGB LEDs require external power. You will need to power the board via USB to test this.        

Note: that the air quality sensor requires external power. You will need to power the board via USB to test this.    

Step 4: Stream To Cloud

The mobile app seamlessly connects your Thunderboard Sense to a real time cloud database and dashboard. You can share the data using the built-in share option.

Enable streaming of data to the cloud    

Click the share button and choose how to share the data    

View the data stream in your browser    

Developing with the Thunderboard Sense Kits

Difficulty High
Steps 7
Time Required 60 minutes depending on download speed
Requirements Thunderboard Sense or Sense 2
Micro-USB cable
Simplicity Studio
Bluetooth SDK
Useful Documents

Thunderboard Sense User Guide (UG250)
Thunderboard Sense Bluetooth Guide (UG251)
Thunderboard Sense 2 User Guide (UG309)
Thunderboard Sense 2 Bluetooth Guide (UG313)

Step 1: Get Simplicity Studio

Download Simplicity Studio and run the installer. If you already have Simplicity Studio installed, you can skip to Step 5.

Step 2: Connect to your computer

Connect the Thunderboard Sense to your computer using a micro-USB B cable. A blue LED should turn on next to the USB connector to verify connectivity.

Step 3: Install drivers

Follow the Installation Wizard so it can install the basic drivers.

Step 4: Log-in

By logging in, you will get access to the required wireless stacks and SDKs for Thunderboard Sense. You do not need to register your Thunderboard Sense at this time.

Step 5: Install the latest software

5a. If this is your first time to install Simplicity Studio, simply follow the Install Wizard recommendations based on the detected “Connected Devices”.

5b. If you already had Simplicity Studio installed, click on the “Update Software” button and choose the “Install Wizard” from the bottom of the dialog box.

5c. Insure that latest version of the "Bluetooth SDK" (version 2.6 or later) is installed.

5d. In the Launcher window, click to change the preferred SDK, and choose the Gecko SDK Suite featuring the latest Bluetooth SDK.

Step 6: Cloning a Project

In the Launcher perspective, with your Sense kit selected in the Devices window, select the desired project from the available “Software Examples”. This action will clone the pre-tested project. From here you can explore and modify and source code, compile, and debug.

 



Projects using Thunderboard Sense

Get inspired by other users on the Silicon Labs community. These projects use the Thunderboard Sense, Raspberry PI, Python and other gadgets to create cool gateways, environmental monitors and experiments.

 

Cloud Partners

ClearBlade

ThunderBlade application, ClearBlade EDGE gateway and cloud analytics platform.

Learn More

Mesh Systems

SensorIntact gateway application and Microsoft Azure cloud and analytics.

Learn More

Xively

Xively Thunderboard gateway application paired with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Tableu/SalesForce analytics solution.

Learn More
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