Sense Makes Everything: Introducing the Thunderboard Sense Inspiration Kit

by Administrator llooper on ‎09-28-2016 03:48 PM - last edited on ‎02-21-2017 02:16 AM by Administrator Siliconlabs

IoT development is happening at a breakneck pace, with consumer demand driving pressure to get connected products to market quickly. But getting into the hands of consumers is only part of the challenge, these products need to work pretty much as-expected. Creating a positive user experience is critical for any emerging technology and IoT is no different. Great products drive demand, and demand drives innovation. Rinse and repeat.


One of our goals is to help developers get to market quickly, but to also make great tools available that demonstrate the speed and effectiveness with which IoT connectivity can be achieved. This is why we’ve created the Thunderboard development platform.


Over the summer we unveiled Thunderboard React, which we designed as a cost-effective prototyping vehicle to demonstrate how easy it can be to connect wireless sensor nodes to mobile devices and the cloud. It featured a battery-powered, sensor-rich demonstration board with a Bluetooth low-energy module based on an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU for IoT connectivity, plus open-source design files and software for mobile applications running on Android and iOS devices.

Thunderboard Sense Lable.png

Now we’re expanding the platform with the introduction of Thunderboard Sense. This addition to the Thunderboard family blazes new ground with a host of sophisticated sensor technology and support for not only Bluetooth low energy, but ZigBee, Thread and proprietary wireless protocols as well. To complete the picture, Thunderboard Sense is developer friendly.  Connect to Simplicity Studio and proceed to hack away, without any other debug or programming hardware needed.


Once users have the opportunity to work with the embedded and mobile apps that come ready to go out of the box, we think they’ll be inspired to ask “what else can I do?” The logical next step is to incorporate the Thunderboard Sense as-is into an end product to provide device-to-cloud functionality.


Users can also push the boundaries of the device by using the open source hardware design files and software source code to integrate portions of the Thunderboard React into other projects. And by modifying the firmware on the board itself, customers can program the Blue Gecko module using an adapter. 


Thunderboard Sense ships with a revamped mobile app (iOS and Android) so you can demonstrate cloud connected sensors within minutes of taking it out of the box. It also comes with a powerful, multi-protocol EFR32 Mighty Gecko radio, an integrated debugger and is fully supported in Simplicity Studio.


Thunderboard Sense.png


The Sense brings together the best of what Silicon Labs has to offer in a single, easily accessible prototyping kit. The radio and sensors have industry-leading power consumption and the firmware and mobile app have been developed specifically to capitalize on the power saving features of each device.


We can’t wait to see what you do with it! Get Started with Thunderboard Sense here.



by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star</font></font> </a> josh1
on ‎10-20-2016 10:38 AM

I understand that this board just came out a month ago. However development resources have been scarce. Is there a timeline to add sample code to Simplicity Studio soon?

by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star Employee</font></font> </a> airsharma
on ‎10-20-2016 01:58 PM

@josh1 Sample code for Thunderboard Sense is available in Simplicity Studio v4.  You can download this free tool at  The software examples we offer are:

  • Blink
  • Blink RGB
  • Connected Motion (for 2.4GHz proprietary)
  • EMode
  • the "Official Thunderboard Sense App" (for BLE)
  • VCom
  • Empty BLE
  • NCP Empty target
  • SOC Empty
  • SOC Thermometer (for BLE)
  • SOC iBeacon (for BLE)


by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star</font></font> </a> josh1
on ‎10-20-2016 03:36 PM

@airsharma Thanks for the reply. It turns out that the Simplicity Studio I downloaded last week didn't have the sample code. I re-downloaded the Simplicity Studio and now I see all the Sense sample code. Thanks!

by edu69
on ‎10-28-2016 08:32 AM

Hi, I ordered and received two Senses last week. I´ve downloaded and installed Simplicity v4 in Windows10, but Simplicity doesn´t recognize any board by USB cable. What´s the problem? Is it necessary to install any other USB driver or something like that?

Thanks in advance,


by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star Employee</font></font> </a> airsharma
on ‎10-28-2016 08:41 AM


Thanks for ordering Thunderboard Sense kits!  We include support for these kits via an update to Simplicity Studio in the "wireless" package.  I have 2 suggestions.  First, make sure that you install ALL of Simplicity Studio or if you don't want to do that due to disk space restrictions, make sure to install the wireless package.  See below:





Then, after Simplicity Studio finishes the installtion and restarts, please click the update button  (shown by the white arrow) on the top toolbar.  See below.





by edu69
on ‎10-28-2016 02:30 PM

@airsharma Thanks for the quick answer.

I installed all the families and devices, including Wireless Products. Referred to the second suggestion, I guess that I have to push the update button with the Sense board connected to the PC, anyway it doesn´t appear any message about JLink Silicon Labs under Device tab.

Anotther check: If I connect the board to the PC (without launching Simplicity), a virtual COM port should appear in Windows Device Manager, shouldn´t it? But none virtual COM port appears. 

The boards have the references below:

Part Number: SLTB001A

Date: 29-08-16

Serial Number. 1635000211 and 1635000278

Rev.: B00

PCB4160A Rev A02

The boards are exactly like the picture at the beginning of this article but with a small difference (my boards don´t include the Hall effect sensor soldered on the PCB, though the pads and the layout of the tracks seem to be completely routed to the microcontroller and other components).

Any idea, please? Thanks again.

by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star Employee</font></font> </a> airsharma
on ‎11-01-2016 04:37 PM

@edu69 If you're still having trouble, please send me your contact details at  I'll try to walk you through the set-up process.


by ionu
on ‎11-10-2016 12:55 PM

When will the hall effect sensor be available on the board?

by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star Employee</font></font> </a> airsharma
on ‎11-10-2016 01:37 PM

@ionu We are targeting Q1 2017 to build the next revision of the Thunderboard Sense.  This revision will inlcude the hall effect sensor.

by ionu
on ‎11-10-2016 09:08 PM

What would be needed ro test/eval a small thread network using this kit.

WIll the BLE stack on this board be upgradable to BLE 5 when it arrives soon.

by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Star</font></font> </a> salih18200
on ‎12-03-2016 09:08 AM

Hi Everyone,


i have a Thunderboard sense kit and i installed the Simplicity Studio and the IAR ARM v7.60 30 Days Trial version.

And i click the any example and i want to build this example on Simplicity Studio but i have got some issues.


File: C:\SiliconLabs\SimplicityStudio\v4\developer\stacks\ble\v2.0.1.0
Error while loading stack:
Error loading 'C:\SiliconLabs\SimplicityStudio\v4\developer\stacks\ble\v2.0.1.0\app\bluetooth_2.0\appbuilder\fwk\meta-inf\': java.lang.IllegalStateException: Invalid architecture: efr32~family[B]+iar 


Ekran Alıntısı.PNG

by <a href=""><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Hero Employee</font></font> </a> jpitt
on ‎12-13-2016 10:39 AM

Hi salih18200,


I tried to reproduce the issue you are seeing, but I have been unable to so far.  Can you export your log files and upload them so I can look to see if they report more details of the issue? (Help->Report Bug..., then Export Simplicity Studio log files and after the log files are zipped you can click on the Silicon Labs Community forum link and then the Simplicity Studio Tool link to post a comment and upload the zipped log files.




by Jynx
on ‎08-06-2017 08:05 PM

@airsharma Any updates on Thunderboard Sense Hall-effect Sensor availability? The Thunderboard Sense Kit page ( still says "coming soon!". Thanks!