Develop a simple BLE Beacon


#1

Hi Guys!

I’m a french Boy and I want to develop a simple BLE beacon which will be able to interact with a smartphone via an Application. I mean the BLE schould be able to transmit and to receive information from a smartphone. I’m trying now to design my Hardware on EAGLE. Could you tell me please if I just need the following components:

  • The BLE Module nRF52832 with antena
  • a Flash Memory about 1MB
  • a Battery
  • a Push Button
  • and maybe a Crystal

I’m writting my thesis on this project but I’m not sure if it’s all that I need to design my Hardware.
Could you help me please?:pensive:


#2

Hello,

Do you have some specific reason for developing your own hardware for your thesis? Is the goal of thesis in developing the hardware or doing something with it?

It sounds to me that you could save a lot of effort by soldering the flash memory on the test pins of RuuviTag or even using the development board available on github as a template and add the sensors on development board and then connect RuuviTag on the development board.

Please be aware of the inherent time risks involved in designing the hardware for your Thesis. Usually Thesis budgets are somewhat limited, and you cannot use quick turnaroud factories for the boards. In effect a single mistake in your board design can set back your Thesis by 4-6 weeks.

If you do decide to design your own hardware, you could consider taking the Ruuvi design and replacing sensors with the flash memory.Just remember to brand your board as something which is not “Ruuvi” (trademark) and cite appropriately in your Thesis to avoid accusations of plagiarism. This way you can use proven design and cut on your development time. Ruuvi is designed with KiCAD, which is open source and free (as in beer) PCB design software, if you use Eagle you’ll need a paid license for a 4-layer board.

To answer your original question: Nordic Semiconductor provides a reference design on their infocenter, if you follow their design you have a good chance of getting your board properly done on a first try. Good luck on your Thesis!


#3

Hi!
the Goal of my thesis is to develop theHardware and Software because my profesor want to show that it is possible to develop inovation Products and cheaper. I have 4 Months to complete my thesis.
I forgot but I don’t need sensors to develop the board only:

  • the BLE Modul or BLE Chip may be an another Flash Memory(external)
  • the socket for the Battery
  • 1 Push-Button
  • maybe an another 8 Bit microcontroller ATmega 328P for example . I am not sur that is why I am asking
  • may be a Quarz/ Crystal Oszillator

We have the free professional eagle version at the University but I can only design 2 Layer(Bottom/TOP).
I don’t know which components I basicly need for the Hardwaredesign. The second step should be the Software I only know the objective C language.

Thank you in advance


#4

If the goal of your Thesis is to show that you have achieved the proficiency on hardware design, embedded software design and smart phone application design by building an application with beacons and smartphone, I’d be very concerned about the scope of your Thesis.

Typically you would have at least an electrical engineer and firmware engineer building the beacon and software. You’d also need a smartphone application developer. In essence you’re trying to do work of at least three experienced specialists on a tight schedule.

I would recommend you to discuss with your professor about the scope of your Thesis. Are you showing that you’re a specialist? Take one part of the project and excel in it. You could for example design the beacon, measure the RF performance and power consumption while the beacon runs Nordic’s stock firmware. Then compare performance of your hardware to others, such as RuuviTag or Puck.js running the same firmware.

Or maybe you want to show that you’re a great embedded software developer? Then you could take ready-made hardware and improve on it’s software. You could for example implement one of Bluetooth GATT services https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications/gatt/services on an existing hardware and show the results on a ready app which can understand the service. Similarly if you want to focus on the smartphone app, you could use available hardware and and firmware to interact with your app.

If you want to show that you’re an excellent generalist, able to work efficiently on all of the fields I’d recommend you to find as much ready-made pieces as available and modify them to suit your needs. You could for example solder an extra sensor to RuuviTag, read and transmit values with Espruino to a Raspberry Pi, send the data from Raspberry Pi to Blynk cloud and display the data from Blynk cloud to user in a smartphone with Blynk app.

I know that you asked something entirely else, however you can find the information on how to build beacons from the Internet. Just look at the reference designs and spend time researching them until you understand why the parts of the design are there.