Christmas Wish: an Electron with WiFi/3G and bonus.. BLE


#1

I would love to have essentially what an electron is with WiFi and optionally with bonus points… BLE. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#2

I will pass this feedback on to my team!


#3

An FCC-certified Electron+BLE, whooo sweet. Has my vote as well.


#4

That would be a great product addition. While we are wishing for things, personally I’d love a device that just straight up supported wifi, cellular and Ethernet connectivity. Then you don’t need to be making different versions of shipping products that incorporate Photon/Electron… ship something with all options and let end-user decide what works best for them.

Oh and can we call it a Quark? :smile:


#5

That’d be a Charm-Quark then :wink:
The downside would be the price tag I guess (more like a Higgs-Boson). Having three (or four with BT/BLE) “remote” interfaces and only use one (or two) adds to the cost for “no immediate” advantage for the user/customer.
BTW, the closest to that (without cellular option tho’) might be a RPi (maybe even Zero) which will also be able to talk Particle.

But if such a device would be possible for a reasonable price, that’d be charming :sunglasses:


#6

@ScruffR, let’s not forget the Redbear Duo which would cover the WiFi/BLE part.


#7

Exactly! I’ve been playing with the RedBear Duo. Well, not much really, just got it last Friday and got it all set up and updated the firmware. Looking/glancing at code samples for Bluetooth, it seems a bit more complicated than with other Bluetooth devices. But maybe the code I saw, was for something more complicated or was something that should be encapsulated in a library.

But a article device with WiFi/BLE would be nice. So maybe a Photon +BLE or Electron + BLE. I’m not so sure about a WiFi +GPRS + BLE Cost as @ScruffR mentioned), but then I don’t have a use case for this combo.


#8

Considering the Duo runs on the Particle Cloud, what additional functionality are you looking for, other than the cute Particle sticker ;)?


#9

Don’t quite know the Duo yet. But that shouldn’t stop Particle from combining WiFi and BLE considering that the ESP32 is also a WiFi + BLE device. The make for a great “Hub”


#10

In my case WiFi+GPRS is more desirable. I can switch between a local link when in familiar places with WiFi and then switch to GPRS when outside.


#11

Yes, I can see that as a valid need as well as something unique to Particle devices (thus far).


#12

Exactly my thoughts; would be nice to have a device that has built in internet backup via Cellular/WiFi.

BLE, Ethernet, and other connectivity can be added via outside boards; technically so can WiFi/Cellular, but I would think for IoT devices, WiFi/Cellular would be most popular combination and therefore would be nice to have contained in one nice compact device like Particle makes! :smile:


#13

I think a Particle / Electron board with WiFi would be ideal for many builders, since it has WiFi for primary connectivity, and cellular for secondary (more expensive) connectivity.

BT / BLE would be nice for initial configuration too.

The only two questions now are When and How much would it cost?


#14

I am currently grappling with this same issue. I have developed a medical data logger for use in clinical trials. It creates two 0.5 MHz data files per day. These are recorded on sd card using SDFat. They are currently recovered when the patient hands back the device after a period at home.

It is desirable to be able to transmit a summary record in real time following each session and to retrieve some or all of data files once the unit is back in the lab. The Electron or E series is ideal from the real time perspective but is hideously expensive for the file transfer requirement.

Use oh the mobile options is possible but requires use of a different carrier. Particle’s partner in Australia is notoriously more expensive than other networks - using the Optus network it is possible to get a data plan with 250MB/month for $5 which would be more than sufficient. I am concerned about reliability of the physical sim in the electron in the event that the device is not handled with kid gloves. The E series is attractive for a number of reasons including the sim but it is apparently not posssible to have that programmed for an alternative network,

Hence my interest in adding a wifi capability for periodic exflitration of files in the lab. There have been several posts relating to connection of a wifi module to an electron but I have been unable to find a post with a working solution. Has anyone cracked this particular issue.?

Any suggestions would be welcome.


#15

Why not use the photon for this?

If you really need 3G you could get a SIM card from the best carrier you like and use that.

I would hook the electron via i2C with your current MCU and use it as a pass thru device.


#16

The current device uses a Photon. The issue comes with real time reporting from a patient’s home and the need to enter the wifi credentials. Many of the patients are not tech savvy.

The use of an electron/e series overcomes that since real time reporting can be done without the need for an user setup at home. The issue then is easy and selective dumping of the large data files once the device is back in the lab. The sd card is not accessible for infection control reasons hence it is preferable to be able to access the data on the card remotely.


#17

One thought, do most of the patients have smartphones? That can be used as a free gateway that doesn’t require any extra credentials or setup, there could just be a simple app that connects to the device, fetches the files, and forwards them along.


#18

Thanks. That is an avenue I will explore more closely. I had discounted it because of the size of the data files. It could be used to transmit a summary record as proposed for the Electroqn variant.

I have a preference for a 3G/LTE variant since it makes no assumptions or reliance on patient actions. Hence my interest in being able to add a wifi for recovery of some or all data files via local wifi once the device is back in the lab.


#19

I have looked at the Bluz documentation. I was looking for ways of adding an ESP8266 module to provide a wifi capability to Electron or E series. Bluz provides an alternative using BLE. I had originally looked at Bluz as an alternative to Photon but had not considered it as an adjunct to an electron.

This is using it in a different manner to that for which it was designed. I will have to do more reading and thinking. The Bluz store offers a package including an Electron and two DK’s but there does not appear to be any documentation.

Will explore further - thanks for suggestion. Any further thoughts, pointers would be more than welcome.


#20

All our documentation is here: http://docs.bluz.io. We have a specific tutorial on how to use bluz with the Electron here: http://docs.bluz.io/tutorials/local_communication/. However, the local communication isn’t secured by the same encryption as the cloud connection would be, so I would caution against using that for sensitive data.

I wasn’t necessarily pushing the idea of bluz, but I do think that a users smartphone with an app is a pretty useful IoT gateway. We have also seen challenges with getting IoT boards onto regular users home WiFi, and cellular is expensive. A smartphone generally requires little configuration at first and then works always when the user is nearby. For a lot of use cases, that makes it a really good option.