BLE Range Testing

A project log for Sol BLE Tracker

Solar powered Bluetooth Low Energy Tracker with beeper and LED to assist in locating it.

DrYerziniaDrYerzinia 09/14/2015 at 20:390 Comments

Did some range testing to see how far I could connect to the SolBLETracker r7 from with a couple different phones.

The 360 degree video map video overlay didn't work quite like I wanted so here's that part unmolested. This is the part where I go over all the results of the testing.

I tested with 3 phones; the Galaxy S6 Active, the LG D90, and the iPhone 4s. Managed to connect at the following distances:

LG D90528 ft161 M
Galaxy S6 Active612 ft187 M
iPhone 4s761 ft232 M

I managed about half of the 450 M distance quoted by the BLE121LR datasheet. But ofcourse towards the end I diden't have perfect line of sight and the BLE121LR doesn't have the recommended ground plane.

A few things to note about these numbers. The iPhone 4s lost its connection after about 10 seconds at its furthest distance but it did work. When I walked back from where I couldn't hear beacons anymore to the max range test point the iPhone picked up the beacons slightly before the S6.

It will be interesting to compare this to what I get with the BLE112 and see which has better range in this configuration.

With the obstructions of housing the range of the radios is mostly confined within the house, but if the cats do get out and you need to track them down as long as they are somewhere along one of the streets you check while you have your phone out even if there quite a ways away you should still detect them and then once connected be able to pinpoint there location. The phones seem to have some directionality so rotating the phone and watching the RSSI can give you some indication of direction.

So some things to come. I will be posting a simulation of searching for the cat hiding somewhere in the neighborhood soon hopefully so we can see how hard it is to find them with the tracker if they escape. I plan on having an Android app that you can load on an old phone that you can plug in somewhere near the center of the house and leave running. It will constantly scan for the cats and if they miss a beacon period notify you that it hasn't detected them. I've been doing this with a raspberry PI and a USB BLE scanner but thats been having some problems so now I'm going to try the same thing with android see if I can get it to work more consistently.