BLE Transmitter without a microcontroller or a Microprocessor

Thread Starter

anikseng

Joined Sep 28, 2022
15
Hello,

I am a graduate PhD student at University of Southern California.

Our group works on MEMS fabrication, and we are looking for a very low energy BLE devices without a microcontroller.

I know there are BLE module which has its own microprocessor(uP) or a microcontroller(uC) or either it's a BLE transceiver which needs to be connected to either a uP or uC for it to transmit.

However, I am looking for a very simple BLE transceiver which works without a uC and uP and will be able to transmit our digital data to a BLE device phone.

I am writing this mail to know if there is any such devices in your company which might fit our interest.

Looking Forward to hear from you

Thanking you,

Anik Sengupta
 
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Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,551
Assuming you have the RF stage for the transmitter, how do you propose to create and format the data you wish to send and encapsulate it within the required protocol overhead? It should be possible with an FPGA, but that might be cheating according to your requirements.
 

Thread Starter

anikseng

Joined Sep 28, 2022
15
No it’s a digital data of a stethoscope recording that I need to send continuously to the phone.

I can do the later processing after taking the data from the phone.
This is the major requirement for this project
Is there any way to do this?
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,551
No it’s a digital data of a stethoscope recording that I need to send continuously to the phone.

I can do the later processing after taking the data from the phone.
This is the major requirement for this project
Is there any way to do this?
NO! You don't understand. The source of your data is completely IRRELEVANT. In order to send data on a network of ANY kind, the data you send must be encapsuled within a packet that is understood by the rest of the BLE devices. You can't just spew random data on a network and expect the rest of the devices to understand what you are doing. Also transmitting continuously or "jabbering" is also not allowed, especially on RF networks.

To answer your last question, it may be possible, but it will probably be costly and expensive to do it. It would basically amount to implementing a protocol processor in an FPGA.
 
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Thread Starter

anikseng

Joined Sep 28, 2022
15
I can understand there is a protocol but is there any module that has this firmware already incorporated and does not require a uC or uP.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,551
Here are the link Layer Packet formats
https://www.microchipdeveloper.com/wireless:ble-link-layer-packet-types

Note in particular the light magenta field labeled CRC that is 3 bytes long. A CRC is a Cyclic Redundancy Check word of 3 bytes or 24 bits. This has to be computed on each and every packet that you send. This requirement alone tells me you will have a VERY hard time doing this without some kind of processing capability.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,551
Let me do a RESET here. Are you perhaps asking if there is a BLE module already in existence that has digital inputs in some quantity on one side and a BLE module on the other side? The uC and the firmware is already developed and inside the module. All you have to do is hook up your digital input and you are set to go.

That may or may not exist and that is a purchasing function rather than an engineering function. Off the top of my head, I don't know the answer to that question.
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
3,181
I am, amongst other things, also a PhD candidate, at UCL's biomechanical research facility in NW London, UK. My colleagues developed a 32 channel implantable EMG capture device and originally planned to use BLE but with only an 80mW total power budget this was totally impractical notwithstanding the data rates required. We implemented an 8-channel QPSK RF modem to bring the data out.

Why do you think BLE is the right answer? What are your actual baseline requirements?
 

Thread Starter

anikseng

Joined Sep 28, 2022
15
Because we need the data in the phone. We are not allowed to build any receiver device that’s why we can’t use any RF communication.

BLE is the only possible way to get the data to the phone in a wireless manner.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,852
Because we need the data in the phone. We are not allowed to build any receiver device that’s why we can’t use any RF communication.

BLE is the only possible way to get the data to the phone in a wireless manner.
BLE is RF communications.

Do you have a specification of the problem, that is, the assignment. I suspect there is something you are missing. I think I might know what that is, but the main point here is that BLE is a protocol that uses RF, each side of the connection needs to be a transceiver.

There is absolutely no way to establish a BLE connection without using two RF transceivers.
 

Thread Starter

anikseng

Joined Sep 28, 2022
15
Sorry for the mistype we cannot use any analog communication.

our group fabricated some transcuders which is capable of taking analog data which we can easily convert to digital.

main idea of the project is to somehow transfer this data to the phone in a wireless manner so that’s why BLE is the only possible to do that.
Project requirement is that the device should be very low power that is why I am searching for BLE transceiver without a uC and a uP.

I know there are many module which incorporates low power BLE module with integrated uC but I want to get rid of a uC in my device that’s the requirement.
 

Thread Starter

anikseng

Joined Sep 28, 2022
15
I am, amongst other things, also a PhD candidate, at UCL's biomechanical research facility in NW London, UK. My colleagues developed a 32 channel implantable EMG capture device and originally planned to use BLE but with only an 80mW total power budget this was totally impractical notwithstanding the data rates required. We implemented an 8-channel QPSK RF modem to bring the data out.

Why do you think BLE is the right answer? What are your actual baseline requirements?
You are sending the data through a 8 channel QPSK RF modem but can you tell me where you are receiving the data?
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,852
Sorry for the mistype we cannot use any analog communication.

our group fabricated some transcuders which is capable of taking analog data which we can easily convert to digital.

main idea of the project is to somehow transfer this data to the phone in a wireless manner so that’s why BLE is the only possible to do that.
Project requirement is that the device should be very low power that is why I am searching for BLE transceiver without a uC and a uP.

I know there are many module which incorporates low power BLE module with integrated uC but I want to get rid of a uC in my device that’s the requirement.
There is no way to use BLE without a microprocessor on each end. As @Papabravo points out, just the fact a CRC is required is enough to ensure that. A CRC must be calculated, you can’t calculate a CRC without something to do the calculation.

While in theory you could implement the protocol in an ASIC which had no general purpose CPU, there is no practical reason for a manufacturer to do that because there is no advantage.

Could you provide the written assignment so we can see that that actually says? Your description of the requirements is confusing.
 

Irving

Joined Jan 30, 2016
3,181
You are sending the data through a 8 channel QPSK RF modem but can you tell me where you are receiving the data?
Another 8 channel QPSK RF modem...

why BLE is the only possible to do that.
No its not - you've artificially made that restriction. Since this is streaming data Serial Bluetooth - not BLE - is actually better and more energy efficient.

Project requirement is that the device should be very low power
Now you've finally stated a requirement, how about fleshing that out - what do you mean specifically? Give some numbers. What is your power source? what's its capability in WH or mAH? How is your power budget apportioned? The biggest power loss in a circuit is often the transistor switching losses - which are proportional to frequency, so what is your required data rate?

A uController need not be power hungry at the system level. Most Bluetooth transceivers have an embedded uController; sometimes its possible to gain access to that to provide customisation but generally only for volume production. ?
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
6,852
Another 8 channel QPSK RF modem...


No its not - you've artificially made that restriction. Since this is streaming data Serial Bluetooth - not BLE - is actually better and more energy efficient.


Now you've finally stated a requirement, how about fleshing that out - what do you mean specifically? Give some numbers. What is your power source? what's its capability in WH or mAH? How is your power budget apportioned? The biggest power loss in a circuit is often the transistor switching losses - which are proportional to frequency, so what is your required data rate?

A uController need not be power hungry at the system level. Most Bluetooth transceivers have an embedded uController; sometimes its possible to gain access to that to provide customisation but generally only for volume production. ?
Nordic actually has some really nice options with just that, and very low energy as well. The nRF52840 is an example, pretty impressive.
 
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