BLE Sensor Tag Demo Module for Android/iOS - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: BLE Sensor Tag Demo Module for Android/iOS

Author: sipster

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: RuuviTag

What were the biggest problems encountered?: The application didn't work on a Samsung Core even if the OS version was above the required revision. The apk wasn't recognized..

Detailed Review:

Unboxing:

 

The device [4.3cm x 2cm]

came in a small electrostatic-safe pouch [10cm x 5cm]

which was in a bubble-wrapped envelope [29cm x 24cm]

which was in a box [22.5cm x 16cm x 8cm].

A big bubble-wrap sheet was inserted to prevent the product from moving

A smaller box could be used when only a few devices are ordered.

 

Usage:

 

After inserting a CR2032, the device was ready to be paired. After a little bit of digging through the website of the manufacturer and the PDF, the installation of the software on iOS was simple but didn't work on Android. The link to the software could be made available more clearly instead of opening a PDF to search for the name of the application.

 

Using the device is as simple as starting the application and pressing the button on the board; the blue led will start flashing until a pairing is made or a timeout occurs. The application scan the area to find signatures of known devices (The application can be used with other devices made by TE). Once the device is linked to the application, a window appears with data coming from the 2 sensor chips (HTU21D & MS5637).

 

 

A menu enables you to select which chip will be shown on the screen. One chip gives you humidity and temperature - HTU21D, and the other pressure and temperature - MS5637. Even though the 2 chips are next to each other, there is a difference in temperature.

 

There is an option to record the data by pressing the red dot in the top right corner; when pressed a second time, the recording will stop and the application will ask for the place to save the file. An option to stream the data could be made to store the data in real-time instead.

 

Two other items in the menu are available - Altimeter & Comfort.

The reason the comfort indicator is miserable is because the temperature & humidity at the location of the device are outside the range delimited in green. I put the device next to a balcony door which is poorly isolated to see if the device would perform well in a below zero temperature. Actual outside temperature were below -20C with a windchill factor of -30C.

 

Caveat of ble:

One drawback of BLE is that the device can only be read by one client at a time so only one person can view the data.

 

I wanted to used the device with a raspberry pi in client mode but a full analysis of the Bluetooth protocol was required and the learning curve is slightly high. A scan of the characteristics returned by the device showed that not all functions declared by the standard are available; the device uses vendor-specific characteristics to present the data to the application. Having those characteristics documented would be helpful to create applications on different platforms other than iOS and Android.

 

Conclusion:

The device is a great gadget to have. A weatherproof casing could be offered. It's small size makes it a perfect little companion to people who do environmental studies.

 

I will continue my work with the device to see if it can become a more permanent weather station with a raspberry pi / arduino / onion client to collect the information and make it available online.

Anonymous