photo 5

First look at Bluegiga’s Development Kit DKBLE113

Hello everyone,

last wednesday I received the DKBLE113 Development Kit from Bluegiga. Today it is time to write an initial article about what is see what’s in the box and compare it with the DKBLE112 I’m already using to develop my hardwares based on BLE technology. On first sight  I can say the box is much bigger 🙂

photo

The contents of the box is as follows:

  • Of course the most important part: BLE113 Development Board
  • Quickstart and EULA Documentation and an Import Notice
  • another CC-Debugger
  • a mini USB Cable (for the CC-Debugger)
  • a micro USB Cable (for the BLE113 Development Board)
  • one BLED112 USB Dongle
  • two BLE113 Modules
  • one CR2032 Battery
photo 2

The detailed photo below shows the development board as good as I can show it to you guys using an iPhone camera:

photo 5

Compared with the DKBLE112, the DKBLE113 is not very different on first sight. The board size is almost the same compared to the BLE112 one. Even the connectors on the left, the battery clip, the BNC connector and the position of the BLE module is identical. What is lacking on the BLE113 Development board is the DB9 connector for the legacy serial cable. Moreover the USB Port’s size has changed from mini to micro. What I have not yet found out is how to debug using the USB cable since there is no USB port available on the BLE113 module. I was using the BLE112 Development board on a Windows machine to debug BGScript to print text to the console. But I have to install a windows driver to make this happen.

The BLE113 Development board is using a USB to Serial Converter in order to connect it to the module. I have not yet tested it but I’m hoping now that I can easily connect the board my Mac in order to see the debug output without need use a Windows machine. But there would still be need for a Mac version of the BLE development toolchain for the BLE112 and BLE113 modules. Maybe Bluegiga is working on that already, but I have no information about it yet.

Since the BLE113 module is providing a native I2C bus, the board is now equipped with a Freescale MMA8451QT I2C Accelerometer and a Freescale MPL3115A2 Alimeter. The Display is still an SPI one.

Comparison of the DKBLE113 and the DKBLE112 Development Kits

In the following image you can see the BLE113 Development kit on top and below the BLE112 Development Kit:

photo 3

Comparison of the BLE113 and the BLE112 Modules

Finally it is time to take a look at the new module compared to the BLE112 one. From the marketing material Bluegiga is offering on their webpage the new module is about 30% smaller. But I think the best would be to see for yourself:

photo 1

Well this is just the size comparison. But as You can see the golden contacts on the left, bottom and right corner of the BLE112 module are missing on the let BLE113 module completely. Of course this reduced the space occupied on a PCB enormously, since the solder pads are very big but on the other hand side making it very easy to hand solder for prototypes. I don’t know if I will be able to solder the BLE113 by hand. See your self the picture below showing the different solder pads on the back side of the modules:

photo 4

Well, since this is an initial first look I’m at the end of this blog post already. Please let me know if you have further questions. There will be lot of other blogposts in the future dealing with the BLE113 module and the BLE113 Development kit for sure, since I will start to create first peripherals with the new modules starting this weekend 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Michael.

31 Responses to First look at Bluegiga’s Development Kit DKBLE113

  1. Luka March 30, 2013 at 16:40 #

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for great post. What are major benefits of using BLE113 instead of BLE112 in your opinion? Smaller form factor and lower power consumption or anything else? The price is still higher than BLE112’s.

    Did you ever used Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 SoC and modules?

    Br,
    Luka

    • Michael Kroll March 30, 2013 at 17:09 #

      Hi Luka,
      well you’re right. The module is more expensive than the BLE112. It is smaller, the module’s power consumption is lower and it is supporting a real I2C bus. I have not yet tried to access I2C sensors with the BLE112 directly but I will give it a try to add some temperature sensors to the BLE113.

      I never tried the nordic SoC or modules since what I can tell is that all solutions need to use expensive IDE’s to compile firmwares. Since I’m doing all the BLE research and projects in my sparetime I try to keep up front investments as low as possible. BGScript is a good solution to create simple and even more sophisticated peripherals as well. So why should I spend some thousands to get an IAR compiler.

      You guys are free to discuss BLE113 topics in my forum as well. I added a forum for the module today. Please send me an email in order to get a final forum activation since I’m still spammed by registrations and I still can’t decide which is real or a spamming robot.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      • Luka March 31, 2013 at 12:57 #

        Michael,

        thank you for your insights on this topic.

        For the same reason (lack of spare time) I try to use all communication modules as an communication bridge using just UART/SPI/I2C connectivity between MCU and outer world. This is fastest way to test PoC applications, because I’m more familiar with specific MCU than with various new modules that are coming to market on a daily basis.

        Please keep on writhing your great blog.

        Br,
        Luka

        • Michael Kroll March 31, 2013 at 13:48 #

          Hi Luka,
          exactly! In my case there is lot of Arduino stuff out there. The boards itself, sensors and even code to access them.
          I created a nice way to communicate from uC to the BLE112 module over a UART, which I developed for the BLE-Shield, and I can use it in BLEtherm as well.
          It is not 100% perfect, but for a simple BLE peripheral sufficient.

          Maybe I should start to setup some I2C code on the BLE113 to access e.g. an SHT25 and other devices as well. But this would stop me to create peripherals. I need to focus on one thing, you know 🙂
          Currently I want to create a nice BLEtherm and a corresponding iPhone app and the Cloud system to gather temperature Data as well.

          If you would like to do something I2C specific together let me know. We can discuss that in the forum.

          Cheers,
          Michael.

          • TEHSEEN January 10, 2014 at 10:32 #

            Hello all,

            I ordered BLE113 a few days ago and have the following questions regarding it:

            1. I dont know with which smartphones it is compatible. I have used BLE112 and it is comptable with iPhone 4S and above. But I want to know witch which smart phones models it will work?

            2. I am having difficulty in soldering it for prototype development. Any solution for that?
            3. Does Bluegiga offers a breakout/stensils for this?

            Regards,
            Tehseen

          • Michael Kroll January 10, 2014 at 14:09 #

            Hi,
            it will be compatible with all smartphones supporting Bluetooth 4.0.
            All Apple Smartphones starting with the iPhone4S and iPads starting with the iPad3 are compatible.
            Android is supporting BLE since v4.4. Since I’m an iOS developer I don’t know how many devices currently support BLE.
            I know that the Nexus 4 and 5 are compatible.

            Ince the BLE113 is difficult to solder I’m using the BLE112 for prototyping and production peripherals as well.
            Maybe you can use these breakout boards:

            http://www.betztechnik.ca/store/p1/BLE113_Breakout_board.html

            Cheers,
            Michael.

  2. Sven April 1, 2013 at 15:41 #

    Solder-Pain!

  3. hongbo zhang April 2, 2013 at 04:49 #

    Dr.Michael:

    How is the DKBLE113 compared to Bluradio BLE module? Which one should be better?

    Thanks!

    Hongbo

    • Michael Kroll April 2, 2013 at 08:43 #

      Hi,
      I cannot do this kind of recommendation. The BlueRadios one needs a commercial compiler provided by a third party ($$$) as I know. The tools for the BLE113 are free.

      That’s why I’m using the BLE112 and in the future the BLE113.

      Cheers,
      Michael.

  4. hongbo zhang April 2, 2013 at 15:19 #

    Thanks for the good information, very useful!

    Hongbo

  5. Peter April 9, 2013 at 19:58 #

    Hello again Michael,

    I see you commented about being able to hand solder or not, have you investigated this further?

    Peter.

    • Michael Kroll April 9, 2013 at 20:20 #

      Hello Peter,
      no I have not yet tried to create a custom board design where I’m using the new BLE113. I’m still busy working on the next BLEtherm.

      Cheers,
      Michael.

  6. Gregory Brill May 6, 2013 at 14:18 #

    M,

    To your point about expensive IDEs and Nordic…..

    I use the nordic ARM chips and have found that the free version of KEIL compiler they recommend is sufficient. The free version compiles up to 32k builds which, while not the full capacity of the chip, tends to be more then enough to test and generally write the apps you need to.

    So i wouldnt exclide nordic on those grounds. Ive also found them to be enormously supportive and helpful.

    I would check them out. Eval setup not expensive. Their stack is behind TIs in some way (they cant do a central role yet) but their soc chip is very powerful.

    Best,
    Gregory

  7. Rumen May 16, 2013 at 09:16 #

    Hello Dr. Michael Kroll!
    My name is Rumen Kalev and I’m from Bulgaria.I develop a digital hearing aids.I want to develop a I2C Wireless Extender for programming hearng aids with BL113!I see that you know the details of this module.Can you have your informed opinion about my idea?
    Thank you!

    • Dutchy January 1, 2014 at 11:22 #

      Dear Rumen,
      Came up with the same idea, must definitely be possible! Ordered the TI2541 kit and am busy sorting things out. You probably are already done with development, since it is more than half a year ago you posted your question. I would like to know if you succeeded in your work. Perhaps we can share thoughts / knowledge.
      Best regards,
      Dutchy

  8. Nathaniel Adam Briggs May 23, 2013 at 19:36 #

    I’m looking to use BTLE to send a timestamp upon physical push of a switch to a mobile device. Would it be possible to discuss this offline?

    nathaniel – syntheticMagic.com

  9. Peter July 12, 2013 at 21:22 #

    Hi Michael,

    I have answered my own question. I recently tried out my new BLE113 breakout boards that I designed to try to hand solder (http://betztechnik.ca/ble113-breakout-board/).

    After killing two PCBs and critically injuring one BLE113 module I feel confident in saying that the BLE113 is NOT hand solderable.

    In light of that disaster, I made a super brief tutorial (http://betztechnik.ca/ble113-breakout-board/649-2/) on soldering the BLE113 with the SparkFun “Reflow-Skillet” method. No reflow oven, solder stencil, hot air rework station etc. required. Works GREAT !!

  10. Christos Moutevelis August 28, 2013 at 14:34 #

    Dear Michael ,
    thanks for the presentation of the BLE113

    You mention that there is no usb connection in BLE113
    I have no previous experience on BlueGiga products but since these modules are based on TI 2540/2541 chips I assume the main difference is that BLE113 is using TI2541 chip . ( compared to the 2540 of BLE112 )
    Instead of the ( TI2540) USB port the new (TI2541) module must have I2C port

    From Panasonic’s similar TI BLE module products …..
    Compared to the PAN1720, the PAN1721 provides lower RF current consumption. The PAN1721 does not have the USB interface found on the PAN1720, and provides lower maximum output power in TX mode.

    Regards,
    Christos

    • Michael Kroll August 30, 2013 at 09:12 #

      Hello Christos,
      yes, the BLE112 is using the CC2540 and the BLE113 is using the CC2541 and yes, the BLE112 has a USB Port and no hardware I2C but the BLE113 has a hardware I2C but no USB.

      Cheers,
      Michael.

  11. behzad October 8, 2013 at 08:36 #

    Hi Michael
    I have BLE112 using the cc2540, how do you reset it to factory setting?
    my main problem is when I connect the device to the PC it turns on, but the display its not turning on. this is my final project for my university, can let me know how do I turn on the display, by the way first time when i turned it on display was there but after that it went off.
    thanks.

    • Michael Kroll October 8, 2013 at 08:46 #

      Hi,
      are you using the BLE112 Development board provided by BlueGiga?

      Cheers,
      Michael.

      • behzad October 20, 2013 at 09:04 #

        Hi
        yes I’m using BLE112 by BlueGiga.

        Thanks

        • Michael Kroll October 20, 2013 at 11:37 #

          And what is the rest of your setup?
          What is turning on and why do you factory reset it?
          Could you please be a little more specific on that?

          • behzad October 20, 2013 at 16:14 #

            My main problem is I can’t turn on the display, only once it turned on, that was the first time when i had conected to pc ! After that display is always off, so I can’t find out what is temperature. What should I do to turn on the display ?? Should I reset the device ??

          • behzad October 21, 2013 at 08:38 #

            My main problem is I can’t turn on the display, only once it turned on, that was the first time when i had conected to pc ! After that display is always off, so I can’t find out what is temperature. What should I do to turn on the display ?? Should I reset the device ??
            Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          • Michael Kroll October 21, 2013 at 08:42 #

            Hi,
            thanks for hinting me on the pending moderation on this comment :-/
            Well maybe you ask the display question on the official bluegiga support channel.
            I’m not really using the display on the eval kit, so I’m not the best person to get support on this issue.
            Please go to http://www.bluegiga.com and write their support concerning this.
            Thanks for your understanding,
            Michael.

  12. behzad October 21, 2013 at 08:37 #

    My main problem is I can’t turn on the display, only once it turned on, that was the first time when i had conected to pc ! After that display is always off, so I can’t find out what is temperature. What should I do to turn on the display ?? Should I reset the device ??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  13. Nirav October 26, 2013 at 18:18 #

    Hello Dr. Michael

    I am just a biginner for BLE113 and i want to know how to compile BGscript using notepad++….please guide me…i mean tell me what to do once my BGscript is ready in notepad++…how will i get my .hex file in order to burn it to the BLE module..

  14. Frank Cohen January 6, 2014 at 06:43 #

    Dear Dr. Kroll, this is only a note of appreciation. Your effort to share your experiences is great. Thank you. -Frank Cohen, http://www.votsh.com

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