From the Lab ...

... Hacking and Slashing since 2002

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So we've noticed an issue with the iOS 6.0 simulator … when running some iOS test code, and while trying to connect - disconnect from the target hardware (nRF51822 EVK), the iOS 6.0 simulator will not release the BLE connection for about 60 seconds. 
 
Annoying, but not fatal. 
 
Problem is, I was trying to debug some new nRF51822 firmware yesterday and in the end couldn't tell if it was the BLE firmware or the simulator. Long story short, when running the same iOS code in the iOS 5.1 simulator, we get the expected / correct operation (that being when the iOS code disconnects, the simulator immediately disconnects from the hardware).  
 
My setup is 2011 13.3" 1.8GHz i5 MBA running X.7.5 using Xcode 4.5 with iOS 5.1 and iOS 6.0 simulators installed. 

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Here is one of the nRF51822 EK's in a demo setup … the goal of this hardware stack is to run the EK from a single "AA" style battery. The lower of the 2 boards is a booster (actually 2) based on the Microchip MCP1640. It takes 1.5VDC of the single battery and boosts it up to a little over 2VDC. Current draw ( … on this board … ) when the nRF51822 is "off" is around 20uA; when on it's an average around 2mA. Really like these parts! 
 
scaled.IMG_2529_mod.jpg 

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A big THANK YOU! to M2STech and NIC for getting me these 0402 engineering sample kits. 
 
Lots of resistors! (100 x 150pc) 
 
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Lots of capacitors! (40 x 50pcs) 
 
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So we received our Nordic nRF51822 Eval Kits (for customer related Bluetooth LE work) back in October. You get a dongle, which can be plugged into a PC and used with their Master Emulator software ( … haven't tried with the iOS simulator … ), and a no-frills demo board. 
 
scaled.IMG_2534.JPG 
 
scaled.IMG_2535_mod.jpg 
 
The Nordic kit is about the same price as the TI CC2540 kit, with the TI kit giving you a very nice keyfob remote. 
 
scaled.IMG_2539.JPG 
 
scaled.IMG_2548.JPG 
 
In my humble opinion, the nRF51822 has one very distinct "developer" advantage over the TI part. The TI kit uses (requires you to use! - see below -) the IAR tool chain. With it, you get a free 30 day unlimited license, after that you roll back to 32K. If you need to continue to do development, you'll need to shell about $3000 for a full version of the tool chain ( … your code linked with the TI library >> 32K … ). 
 
On the other hand, Nordic uses Keil tools, but the development process is architected in such a way that you can continue to use the 32K evaluation edition for development (after 30 days). The Nordic Bluetooth LE MAC / PHY firmware ("softradio") is a completely separate pre-built "library" with no external dependencies. This softradio gets separately loaded into the part, and you merely call it from your separate firmware. So, as long as YOUR code does not exceed 32K, you are golden.  
 
One other interesting development angle for the Nordic part - since the softradio and your firmware are separate, you can use other tool chains for development - i.e. GCC! Lastly, the Nordic part uses an ARM cortex M0, while the TI uses an 8051 … I'll let you decide which one comes out on top. 

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