A project log for BlueBasic: BASIC for Bluetooth

Embedded BASIC interpreter for CC2540 and CC2541 Bluetooth LE modules

tim-wilkinsonTim Wilkinson 09/30/2014 at 21:182 Comments

In the next few days I'll be putting in an order for about 100 CC254X modules to build a batch of prototype boards. This is most an experiment for me to see how easy, or not, it is to do a "small batch" run. I've been negotiating with various people on Alibaba because that seems the cheapest place to get the core module, but I admit to being somewhat nervous about handing over $400 without understanding the risks involved. Anyone have any insight or experience here?


Tim Wilkinson wrote 10/06/2014 at 08:22 point
Hi. For reasons unknown I'm not getting notified when people reply to stuff here (I have all the options enabled in my profile ... anyway). Yes, small numbers for Alibaba I'm sure, but I think I've found someone helping me for a good price (time will tell). I'll check out aliexpress too. For the moment I'm using a CC2540 based module for my boards rather than building directly. Tempted to do that of course, but not sure I can face all that pick-and-place by hand just yet. It would save me a dollar or two per device ultimately so I'll probably revisit.

I wouldn't say no to help with a .NET version. The communications protocol is brain damagingly simple so I can quickly write that up. The firmware upgrade one is slightly more complicated (although not by much) but is the standard one TI uses.

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deandob wrote 10/01/2014 at 09:03 point
Tim, I have some experience researching parts on Alibaba. It is likely to be the cheapest place for you to source. Are you buying the pre-made modules "HM-10" or the CC254X chips and getting the boards run & populated with your design? Do be a little careful, you will typically interact with a charming but not very knowledgeable lady in the 'front office' (answering web queries and getting quotes) but the moment you have anything technical to ask, ask to speak to an Engineer (typically who has limited English skills). $400 is still a small amount for most of the shops on Alibaba, you may have more luck with the sister site Payment can be a problem on Alibaba, typically they want L/C (letter of credit), a bank transfer or even Western Union (not recommended). Aliexpress will do credit card payment as well as escrow, and is sort of like an ebay of Chinese electronic parts and better geared for Westerners wanting smaller orders. I have bought a lot of stuff from Aliexpress, and like ebay check the rating of the store you want to deal with, stay away from sellers with no sales / ratings. Aliexpress will be a little more expensive but worth it. If you do want to use Alibaba, tell them that your 100 units are for a prototype run, as they typically will want to know if you will buy more for a later production run.

Also the offer I made you previously about helping with a .NET port of your console is still there - my HM-10 module should arrive in week's time and I'll be keen to try out your bluebasic (in fact also thinking the same approach of using tinybasic interpreter would work even better for zigbee modules).

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