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I am doing some research into a potential electronics project I would like to try out. What it involves is having a collection of small remote devices that communicate with a larger central device. The amount of communication would be minimal, and low volume and power usage is important. From my reading i think that using Bluetooth (the low energy usage version) might be a sensible choice.

I think the best choice would be some type of integrated system which has the BT chip as well as the micro-controller in one package. I have seen several of these systems online, though I admit I am unsure about what equipment I would need to start developing. Many of these systems seem to have "Dev Kits" however they are often quite expensive (compared to the unit cost of the chip itself) and what I am looking for is the bare minimum (ie. 2-3 chips, connection equipment, and compiler if needed).

A few that look promising are: CC2540 Mini Development Kit Nordic Semiconductor nRF8001 Development Kit

I have some limited experience using micro-controllers as I took a short course programming an Atmega128 in assembler. I would gladly hear any opinions or possibly alternatives.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are particularly cost-conscious and will be providing both ends of the link rather than interfacing to something existing, be aware that the "bluetooth" name itself has a premium cost compared to alternative technologies which do not bear that name. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Feb 6 '13 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you point me in the direction of some of these technologies? Cost is indeed a factor, though at this stage I would like to just get something simple working. Bluetooth appeared to me to be the most popular, though I would welcome alternatives. \$\endgroup\$ – user103583 Feb 6 '13 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to throw in my 2c worth I've never used either of those particular dev boards, but at $100 - $150 they will save you a world of pain unless you're very experienced with RF (I'm not) and at least you know you're starting with known working hardware. I see the CC2540 is only a few dollars in volume, much cheaper than years ago when I was looking and went down the custom protocol path for a particular project. \$\endgroup\$ – PeterJ Feb 6 '13 at 11:24

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