Taiyo Yuden Bluetooth® LE EVK - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Taiyo Yuden Bluetooth® LE EVK

Author: navadeepganeshu

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?: Espressif - ESP32 SoC, Microchip Technology - RN4870 Bluetooth 5.0 Module, ST Microelectronics - BLUE-NRG BLE SoC, Texas Instruments - SimpleLink CC2640 BLE MCU.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Supportability. Taiyo Yuden Bluetooth® LE EVK is recommended to use with Nordic nRF52 SDK which isn't completely compatible. It needs some modifications to be done in memory mapping and allocation. This would have been nice if there was a separate chip specific SDK for Taiyo Yuden chipsets to make the development process easy and handy.

Detailed Review:

Overview

Looking into the RoadTest posting, this product looked excellent and thought would have some very good applications. Indeed it was excellent after fully reviewing this Kit.

Here, I am going to leave a glimpse on my experience with this starting from breaking the box seal to running a complex UART application with Taiyo Yuden BLE KIT.

 

Review Flow [ ] First look >> Gallery >> Getting started >> Hardware Tools >> Software Tools >> Testing >> Projects >> Summary/Feedback >> Links/References.

 

 

What? Why? Where? How?

 

Taiyo Yuden BLE KIT EYSNSNZWW has the following features :

 

  • Latest Bluetooth version 5.2
  • Frequency ranging from 2402 to 2480 MHz
  • Typical output power of +4dBm
  • Single Mode Bluetooth® low energy / 802.15.4 radio support
  • High performance PCB mount antennae + External antennae support
  • ARM® Cortex M4 32bit processor and 192KB Flash and 24KB RAM
  • Outline of 3.25 x 8.55 x 1.00 mm making tiniest BLE module
  • SPI, UART, I2C, PDM and 12bit ADC interphase
  • Nordic Semiconductor nRF52811 based SoC

 

 

Being tiny, this module is open to vast applications in fitness/health trackers, wearables, telemedicine, home automation, Proximity, HID areas. By integrating with Nordic Tools, one can make any application up and running in a few hours. Also, ample amount of use cases and examples are readily available through nRF52 SDK.

 

The First Look

Taiyo Yuden BLE KIT reached me with good look and packaging. This is very much appreciated because some products lack this. The kit included a sheet having unique code for registration of the product in Taiyo Yuden website to get the encrypted "Getting started guide". Hopefully, this could have been made opensource for anyone to get started and learn. All supported peripherals, tools were provided within to get going with the basic first design for anyone. To note, only one USB Type-B cable was available inbox though it needed two of them(one fo debugger and other for BLE Module). Anyways, it was manageable by soldering GPIO pins onboard to power up. Overall, it's good enough.

 

The price of KIT seems little higher comparatively. Although, a major part of the price goes to Segger Debugger and BLE module poses to be cheaper.

 

{gallery}Taiyo Yuden BLE KIT

 

 

Software

 

Firmware expresses itself through hardware and without it, the system is void. For using the Taiyo Yuden BLE module, the following tools were used.

  • Segger Embedded Studio - Main IDE used to program the module. It has ready libraries/support for Nordic nRF52 based chipsets which need to be installed in advance.
  • nRF52 SDK - This SDK has a collection of program libraries and examples for some basic and common applications. SoftDevice can be downloaded with  this SDK.
  • nRF Toolbox and nRF Connect mobile apps for easy interface with Android/iOS devices.

 

Module's operation stack is as shown above. There is a processor core in the base which is just like MCU can be barely operated by C programming. To operate Bluetooth Low Energy, a separate stack is placed above so called SoftDevice (SD) which performs authentication, crypto, connectivity and some backend operations for Bluetooth protocol. Over this, user interface applications lie through which one can directly interact with the core. The composition, structure and planning of operation stacks look excellent and works seamlessly.

 

 

Getting Started and Testing

 

The getting started process is quite simple and good documentations are provided by Taiyo Yuden. Initially, I tried running a blinky application only by accessing the MCU core(explained with a separate blog in detail). Here, I am going to show about serial communication test with BLE from the smartphone using the Nordic toolbox app.

 

In Segger Studio go to "File" >> "Open" to open sample project from nRF52 SDK at "<location>" >> "examples" >> "ble_app_uart" >> "PCA10040e" >> "s112" >> "ses" >> "ble_app_uart". Sample projects are made for Nordic development boards which supports Taiyo Yuden BLE kit too with some modifications since they have same nRF5281x core. Following are the images shown for this process and inside 'red box', sucessfully modified sections are shown.

 

 

{gallery} Taiyo Yuden BLE Config

 

The above settings being done and built, BLE module spits out the network to which one can connect via the nRF toolbox moile app. This is a very good feature establishing security and reliability, unlike generic HC-05 Bluetooth module starts beaming signals once powered. One connected, seamless serial communication can be achieved with high transfer speed and bandwidth.

 

 

After this, terminal activates and messages can be sent through seamlessly. Any terminal softwrae like PuTTY, TeraTerm etc can be used.  It also supports emojis ; ]]

 

 

The PCB design and quality are very good. Board mount antennae is beautifully carved(check right side of the image) and has good BLE range. The real BLE chipset is very tiny and seems promising!

 

 

 

The Making!

 

To unleash the full potential and test in all perspectives, I have written a series of blogs with a variety of projects ranging from basics to using UART feature and making miniature control.  Feel free to go through the following :

 

Projects

First and basic test by running a blinky application.

Taiyo Yuden BLE EVK : Toggling GPIOs

Gearing up by implementing a simple GPIO toggling application.

Taiyo Yuden BLE EVK : Wireless LED Control

Implemented custom sequence for controlling multiple GPIOs with UART interface.

Taiyo Yuden BLE EVK : Miniature BLE Automation

 

 

Summary

 

To summarize, it's great and poses vast applications for real world problems and increasing comforts.

 

The major issue which I had was with software suportability[SDK] as stated above. It was quite easy for me to overcome since the documentation was provided to some extent. But, for developing a solution for scratch or building a product, its gonna be quite hard to figure out everything with this device. Currently, Taiyo Yude BLE devices use Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 SDK as the standard one for development where a lot of modifications needs to be done in terms of memory mapping, GPIO configuration, Memory allocation etc. Hopefully, independent SDK giving full support to these devices comes out.

Rather, everything was easy to follow and develop with Taiyo Yuden BLE module and I highly recommended interested people to check this out.

 

All in all, my experience was excellent with Taiyo Yuden BLE KIT and would likely recommend this to people and also looking forward to use it in coming designs.

 

Links and References

Product Page

https://www.yuden.co.jp/or/product/category/module/lineup/eysnsnzww/

nRF52811 Product Page

https://www.nordicsemi.com/Products/Low-power-short-range-wireless/nRF52811

Taiyo Yuden GitHub Page

https://github.com/TaiyoYudenUSA

nRF52 SDK Download Page

https://www.nordicsemi.com/Software-and-tools/Software/nRF5-SDK/Download#infotabs

Segger Studio Download  Page

https://www.segger.com/downloads/embedded-studio/

Getting Started Guide for nRF SDK

https://www.nordicsemi.com/Software-and-tools/Software/nRF5-SDK/GetStarted

 

 

Thanks to E14, Taiyo Yuden and all supporters for giving this opportunity to RoadTest.

 

Open for Comments / Improvements / Discussions / Interesting development ideas etc

Cheers!!!

Happy making.

Anonymous