Arduino Netduino: Still investigating the TI CC2541 and BLE

Ok, granted the TI CC2541 is basically an updated 8051, which first appeared in the early 1980s  and was a device that you could program but had to use a UV light to clear memory to update your program.  Talk about a pain in the posterior.  But it worked and we used it.  It is an 8-bit processor as I mentioned before. 

To program the chip you will need to download the software from IAR, there are two versions, one a 30-day evaluation copy that requires purchase at the end of the 30 day and the limited copy called the Kickstart size limited evaluation, the limitation is 4 Kbyte, no source code and doesn’t support MISRA C.  I installed the Kickstart edition.

You have to choose between the two when you do your installation, and I chose the Kickstart copy. 

Since Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 only support BLE in extremely limited functionality, why you ask?  Don’t know why that is. But I figured that would get me started.

There is a flash programmer, that none of the references mention, and TI is not clear about either.  So you don’t need the JTAG programmer apparently, I downloaded this “Flash” programmer but didn’t test it.  Here is the link (checked 6/13/2014): flash programmers&tisearch=Search-EN

I didn’t test it because the timeout on the sensortag makes it difficult to get everything work, you have 30 seconds.

And there is sample code at:

For a more complete discussion of the SensorTag, although with the technology links I show in my blog, you can see the Make Take: , not sure why this is a “teardown”, not a very useful on how to get started, I would have expected a more complete step-by-step blog that I could use in my blog.  Now I have to do all of the work.  Oh well.


Still working on the investigation, this is not an Arduino or Netduino for sure, but it does appear to be able to be programmed wirelessly.  The issue is that with the 30 second delay and very basic support for BLE in Windows 8.1, it is difficult to get everything wired up, so I have not tested it and plan on continuing my work with the Arduino for the time being.  In general for now, it is a waste of my time, but after I reach my goals with the Arduino, then that will change.  If this sensortag holds up to it’s promise, well that would be AWESOME!


SensorTag Front

SensorTag Rear

Comments (2)

  1. Mobimation says:

    You cannot use the Kickstart license because the max code size is too small for the BLE code.

    You need to run the 30 day version and if you want to continue after that the lowest cost license

    (single user tied to one PC) is appr 3000 dollars.

  2. Surf4Fun says:

    Yep, but I don't have $3000 US to spend on another IDE, Microsoft is kind of sensitive that way about my budget, since we have a really AWESOME IDE ourselves.  So the question is this: Can the CC2541 be programmed over Bluetooth using an open source approach?

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