1. Technical

Overview of the BLE Solar Beacon from Cypress Semiconductor

Transmit humidity and temperature data with a fully functional, off-the-shelf, battery-less wireless sensor node.

Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons have been around for a while and can be seen everywhere. Normally, they run off of a battery or a line-connected power supply like a USB port, but not always. The prospect of a solar-powered BLE beacon device is intriguing. In this article, we explore such a device from Cypress Semiconductor.

A BLE beacon is a device that only advertises. That is, the transmission is in only one direction. Unlike other BLE peripherals, they are not connectable by design. Instead, they simply advertise a very brief message. Generally, they are not continually transmitting the message, they transmit the message at intervals. The shorter the interval between transmissions, the greater the power used by the beacon.

BLE beacons are always short-range devices and their range is largely a function of the transmission power. Therefore, power requirements and, consequently, battery life, can be estimated by the power of the transmission and the interval between transmissions. Oftentimes, battery life for a beacon is quite lengthy and can be measured in months.

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