Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ubertooth, ESP32, and a Jinou BLE beacon

Put a slight dent in my hardware backlog today. Managed to get the Ubertooth to "see" the Jinou BLE beacon. Had to install an app on my tablet to discover the correct address though.

The Jinou beacon is supposed to have a range of 50ft and is supposed to run off a couple AA batteries for about a year (depending on config settings). I'm thinking that the reason the beacon was so cheap is that it comes with no docs or software. It's main attraction (for me) is that it has a power switch on the side.

Intent is to use an ESP32 instead of the Ubertooth (motivation: cost) and carry the Jinou beacon with me. Idea is to have the ESP32 send a WOL packet when it senses the beacon.

The docs for the ESP32 indicate that the device should be able to act as a BLE gateway while simultaneously being connected to Wi-Fi. If that's actually possible, it makes for a very cheap (~$5) solution that only requires 5v power. Given the crashes on the Ubertooth (during mode switches), I'm hoping the ESP32 is a bit more reliable.