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I see that Bluetooth LE modules like the Bluegiga BLE112 sell for around $20, whilst HM-10 sell for just $4.

Beside the FCC certification, what makes the BLE112 a superior product? The both have onboard the CC2541, which is the most critical component. Are there usually pitfalls with cheap modules like the HM-10 though?

Is there a catch somewhere?

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Here are the differences I could find:

HM-10:   power: 3.3v (only)
BLE-112: power: 2.0 - 3.6V -- better for coin cell operation, for example

HM-10:   28 x 13 x 2.3 mm
BLE-112: 18 x 12 x 2.3 mm  (smaller)

HM-10:   available only from China  ($6.05, e.g. www.fasttech.com)
BLE-112: available from US distributors (Digi-Key & Mouser, $15.66)

HM-10:   must be controlled by AT commands (requires separate µC)
BLE-112: can run code directly on device (8051), or controlled via AT coimmands

HM-10:   GPIO interface
BLE-112: UART, USB host, SPI, I2C, PWM, 12-bit ADC, GPIO interfaces

HM-10:   max transmit power: +6 dBm (better)
BLE-112: max transmit power: +3 dBm

HM-10:   sleep current: 400 uA to 1.5 mA
BLE-112: sleep current: 0.4 uA (1000 x better)

HM-10:   speed: 48 Kbps
BLE-112: speed: 100 Kbps

HM-10:   range (line of sight): 100 meteres
BLE-112: range (line of sight): 150 meteres

The HM-10 comes out better on price and slightly higher transmit power. The BLE-112 comes out better on all other measures.

The HM-10 document you linked to said the HM-10 had FCC and CE certification. However when I tried to follow the links to find the FCC ID's, there was no information. The FCC and CE certifications for the BLE-112 are on the Bluegiga site.

The BLE-113 is similar to the BLE-112, except it is 1/3 smaller (16 x 9 x 2.1), draws less power, and uses the CC2541 instead of the CC2540. However the BLE-113 has slightly lower transmit power (max 0 dBm) and a reduced range of 100 meters. The BLE-113 also deosn't have the USB interface (all the others are the same as the BLE-112). At $13.45, the BLE-113 is slightly cheaper than the BLE-112.

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As for me HM-10 is almost perfect:

  • cheap

  • supports PIO controlled by AT commands

With Apploader iOS app you can even upload Arduino sketched from iOS to Arduino over BLE (for free): http://www.apploader.info

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