The RN4870/1 is a small (only 12mm wide) BLE module from Microchip. What makes this a little bit special (when compared to modules like the HM-10) are the advanced features that allow you to create your own services and characteristics. This opens up true BLE functionality. It has been available for a while now and I am surprised it is not more popular in the hobby area.
The RN4870 is very different to common hobbyist modules like the HM-10, AT-09, and BT05 and if this is all you have used you may need a refresher on BLE. Especially if you want to use your own services and characteristics.
This is a first look / getting started guide that I will add to as I get time.
Latest update: May 27, 2018
Here we create a basic Classic Bluetooth joypad for use on an Android device to control a microprocessor (Arduino) connected to a Bluetooth module. The app is fairly simply. There are 2 screens; the first is the main control panel and the second is a connection page.
When the CONNECT button on the main screen is clicked the second screen is opened to allow the user to connect to a Bluetooth device. The direction buttons, when clicked, transmit codes to the Arduino.
Update: The BLE extension included with the examples is out of date and does not function fully any more. Download the latest version from the app inventer BLE extention download and replace the existing extension. Do not delete the old version, upload the new version and it will over write the older version.
Hopefully this guide will give you a good introduction to using the HM-10 with App Inventor 2. I also hope that this takes you beyond the usual starter guides that do not go past very basic information.
Although I am using an Arduino the principles will be the same for any other microprocessor or indeed for using the HM-10 on its own. Warning: This is going to be a very long post.
To use this guide you should be somewhat familiar with App Inventor, have a BLE enabled Android device, and of course have an Arduino and a HM-10.
Controlling an Arduino over Bluetooth from Android using App Inventor 2
Here is an example of controlling the Arduino over Bluetooth using a HC-06 bluetooth module and an Android app. The example uses an Arduino Nano but other Arduinos will work just as well. A HC-05 module can be used stead of the HC-06.
The Android app was created in app inventor and the aia file can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
In the first part I showed how to control a single LED from an app created in App Inventor. This worked OK but was very limited. You could control only 1 LED and the control was one way; from the app to the Arduino. What if you want to have 2 way control of the LED and to be able to also control the LED from the Arduino side? What if you want to control more than 1 LED?
In this guide we look at adding two-way communication. Here we control an LED but you could have it doing anything.
In first example you could only control the LED from the Android app, here we extend the example so that we can also control the LED at the Arduino side. When the LED is turned on or off by the Arduino we want the button in the app to update to show the correct LED status.
The first example used methods only suitable for controlling one LED, this time we will try to make it so the Arduino sketch and also the AI2 app can be easily scaled and so once you have the basic app in place adding extra buttons and controls should be fairly straight forward.
Although I use a HC-06 in the below examples the HC-05 in slave mode can also be used.
Using MITs app inventor it is fairly easy to create an app that can turn a LED on and off from an Android device.
This is a fairly simply example of sending commands to the Arduino to turn a LED either on or off. The Android app sends ascii codes to the Arduino via the HC-06 BT module; “ON” for on and “OF” for off.
Load the app, connect to the HC-06 and then use the LED button to turn the LED on and off.
You can also open the serial monitor to see the commands as they are received