In search of the perfect BLE dev module

Submitted by davidseth on Mon, 11/Jan/2016 - 11:30

In search of the perfect BLE dev module

Soldering the BLE Nano

I ordered RedBear Lab's BLE Nano kit a while back. I took a look at it as soon as I got it and saw that I had to do some soldering before it would work. This lead me to putting it down and semi-forgetting about it for a few weeks.

Big mistake. This BLE module is by far the most programmable and accessible system I have had my hands on. It supports multiple development environments: Nordic C++ SDK, mbed and Arduino. I tried using mbed multiple times with no luck. The issue I had was with the .hex file it compiled. I could not get it to copy to the USB device. I use a mac and this seems to be a known issue. So, after feeling frustrated with the process (the workaround didn't work for me) I went with the Arduino library.

BLE nano soldering

Not sure why, but whenever a new board is added to the Arduino IDE it takes a long time. Knowing this I started the process and went to make a coffee. I came back 15 min later and it was good to go.

I would like to say it was as easy as that, but it was still another couple of hours before I had a blinking LED (the "Hello World" of hardware).

Once I had it working, all was good in the world. I was able to run a number of example programs. One of which was a simple messaging application.

ble nano chat app

The next step will be to add some additional sensors to the board and have it "talk" to a central role. This is probably my 4 BLE dev kit and previous to the BLE Nano it took months of time to get to the same point. So a few days versus a few months. BLE Nano wins.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on RedBear or other BLE dev kits? I would love to hear your opinion or get some feedback so please add a comment or drop me a line on Twitter: @davidseth.



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