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Question: Which additional pins should the BLEbee use? 
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Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:36 am
Posts: 166
Hello Beta testers and others,
currently the BLEbee uses only a few pins. RX/TX and four Digital output pins.
Maybe there is demand for additional status pins, comparable to a connection flag/pin which is set high/low during connect/disconnect or other please let me know.

I think it would be good to use a pins as connection indicator.

What do you think?

Cheers,
Michael.


Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:05 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:32 pm
Posts: 7
The more pins the better ;-)

Why? I'm looking to support the KonashiJS- a UIWebView extension that does Javacscript BLE callbacks - on the BLE112 and BLEbee.

https://github.com/YUKAI/konashi-js-sdk

This way we can have an app that loads the whole UI from the web and uses Javascript calls to control the input/outputs of the BLE module.

YUKAI already have an app that does this on the App Store, it's called Konashi.js. I have it working with a Japanese BLE bee module but hope to have it working on the BLE112 too soon. Essentially they use one attribute for each type of setting and pin, like digital output/pin 1, PWM/pin1, digital input/pin2.

It's a cool idea because this way anyone can design an UI with simple standard HTML/CSS and tie BLE actions to controls or fields via Javascript. No need to write an app or even be in the iOS developer program. Just publish the web page anywhere you want.

It gets even cooler when you think a device can have an attribute that is the URL of the control UI, and then the phone can dynamically load the UI for that device....

This will get even better with the JavascriptCore changes in iOS7.

This makes using the standalone BLE112 as in the BLEbee very interesting, but for that more native pins is better.

What do you think?


Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:02 pm
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Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:36 am
Posts: 166
Hello Jose,
the idea sounds good too me.
Since the iO Ports on the BLE112 have to be defined at compile time, my biggest problem for supporting more than serial functionality is what pins to support and if to make them digital or analog inputs or outputs or PWM...

Any suggestions how to make them more dynamic or generic that others can use them as well?
What about suggesting a pin out?

I've been using XBee modules as serial ports only, so I decided to use the BLEbee as serial port only as well :-)

Thanks and cheers,
Michael.


Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:49 pm
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:37 pm
Posts: 4
I suggest you break out as many pins as possible for equivalence to the XBee pin out. If XBee offers pins that the BLE112 does not (or vice versa) then break out pins that are 'semantically equivalent', making sure the I/O direction matches. For example: the BLE112 has a connected output pin, XBee has an associated output pin, I would call these 'semantically equivalent'.

A key point behind my above suggestion is that you do not need to worry about firmware support for all these pins. They may or may not become supported in future firmware but if you do not break them out in the initial hardware revisions, supporting new features in the future will becomes expensive for both the manufacturer AND the customer who would then have 'unsupported hardware'.

That's my general suggetion but I do have a couple of specific requests:
1) RTS and CTS
2) Sleep pin

RTS and CTS

Hardware flow control (via RTS and CTS) don't seem to be widely used in the Arduino world but they are invaluable to many applications. A UART without hardware flow control is immediately extra work for the engineer: If I want to create a robust design (which I always do :)), I will have search through the datasheets and make sure my host adheres to the timing requirements and buffering abilities of the BLE112. Given that BLE is target towards low-power applications, simply 'slowing things down' is not acceptable; I want my host to wake up, burst data to the BLE112 as quickly as possible and then go back to sleep. RTS/CTS allows the host to spend the shortest amount of time possible communicating with the BLE112. This is also a reason why higher baud rate support would be useful.

Sleep pin

BLE's selling point is its low-power performance, as is 802.15.4 (XBee). XBee allows pin 9 to be configured to hibernate mode: low = XBee awake; high = 1 uA sleep mode. This allows the host to put the radio to sleep when not needed (e.g. between transmissions) and significantly reduce power consumption. I do not know if the BLE112 also offers sleep via an external input (and of same polarity) or only via serial command, but an an external input (on pin 9) sleep far more versatile and easier to use. You can create the same thing with a P-channel FET: source = pin 1; drain = BLE112 VDD; gate = pin 9 (sleep). Add a 1M pull-down resistor on pin 9 to ensure that the BLE112 is fully powered when pin 9 is floating/unused.

This is quite a long post, I hope it is useful. Let me know your thoughts.


Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:01 pm
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Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:36 am
Posts: 166
This is not a long but a valuable one :-)
I will take this into account for the next hardware revision so the BLEBee is a real XBee replacement.
Can I count you in for a prototype of a BLEBee supporting this additional hardware and firmware features?

Cheets,
Michael.


Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:02 pm
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:37 pm
Posts: 4
Please do count me in. I already have a BLEBee v0.7.1 but the firmware is corrupted and I haven't had time to purchase a programmer and get to grips with BlueGiga API. Hence why I'm asking you do everything! :)


Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:07 pm
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Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:36 am
Posts: 166
Ah ok.
You can send me the v0.7.1 one back and I can reflash it for you if you like?

Cheers,
Michael.


Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:37 am
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