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Bluetooth Beacon Project Help

BTZ93

Jun 6, 2022
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Hello everyone!

Let me start by saying that I am completely new here, so excuse me for my rookieness, but hopefully some kind souls here will be willing to help me! :D

I have a BLE Beacon project that I want to start, and potentially produce down the road, which has led me to beginning my study/learning process in this field for the first time in my entire life lol. I've always enjoyed electronics but have never studied how they work but will hopefully be able to learn from you all in the coming months and years!


Anyways, to get to the point...

What I'm looking to build/create is a really simple BLE beacon device with solid signal strength and reliable connectivity. The kicker is that I'm looking to make this in the smallest form factor possible.

Ideally I'm looking to create a footprint roughly the same as the "Tile Sticker" product, or potentially even smaller, but certainly no larger than a CR2032 battery. I'm also looking for it to be powered by a coin cell battery like a CR2032.


I know I may not be able to create a perfect product, and probably won't be close the first time, but I want to at least know I'm heading in the right direction, and if I can get pretty close to the final product on the first try then fantastic! I know nothing, but It doesn't seem that it could get much more simple than a BLE beacon. Maybe I'm delusional ;)


SO MY QUESTIONS ARE THIS:

Am I being crazy? Is building such a beacon reasonable? Why or why not?

What would I need to do to build this on such a small footprint? What am I looking at as far as materials? PCB? Components? Programming?


I know that is a lot to read so thank you all for your time and potential help and answers on this topic!

- Connor
 

Harald Kapp

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Am I being crazy? Is building such a beacon reasonable? Why or why not?
The idea per se of such a device is not crazy. The crazy part is that you think you can beat the experts although you have zero knopwledge of the matter.
Apart from some soif electronics knowledge you'll need manufacturing capabilities f handling barely visible surface mount components and possibly some programming skills to acrivate the BLE chip.
No doubt it can be done, but it needs experience. And it will probably still be bigger than what's commercially available.
 

davenn

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Sep 5, 2009
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SO MY QUESTIONS ARE THIS:

Am I being crazy? Is building such a beacon reasonable? Why or why not?

What would I need to do to build this on such a small footprint? What am I looking at as far as materials? PCB? Components? Programming?


Hi Connor,
welcome. :) So have you see what is already available on the market ?

visiting the example page, that Harald provided, would show you what the people with top manufacturing/design skills are currently producing :)

I have to go with Harald's response.....

The idea per se of such a device is not crazy. The crazy part is that you think you can beat the experts, although you have zero knowledge of the matter.
 

Nanren888

Nov 8, 2015
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Not sure of your motivation here.

It doesn't seem that it could get much more simple than a BLE beacon
Sure. Actually you might be surprised to see the software behind these things, but it is done and available.
f it is a simple beacon you want, you can buy them, for multiple standards.

You can buy beacons and small modules or modules on boards that have beacon applications.

Beacons is also a standard example application on the evaluation boards.
Many, such as Nordic nRf series give you access to the onboard processor, so you can customise at different levels, from high to low-level.
The SDKs give example code of standard applications, such as beacon.

For size, take a look at https://www.emb-star.com/en/product/Bluetooth-Module.html
take a look at the Nordic range, nRFxxxx.
You can see the Nordic module is pretty small and probably a limiting factor to size. The area at the top with the wavy serpentine track is antenna and space for it. To operate properly, this area has to be somewhat separated from the rest of the board. You can fold it up on top, if height costs you less than width, but then you have to shield it, or control ground-plane effects. RF modelling, or development such as to get such an antenna working well is yet another deep rabbit hole for novices and experts alike.

Multiple reasons why people prototype and manufacture with RF modules already proven and available.

As mentioned elsewhere - small-scale components for small formfactor hardware can be challenging, usually assembled by pick-&-place machines.
 
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