Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) in production -- best practices, HM-11 or CC2541 directly?

Jan 31, 2019, 11:45 pm Hey guys!

I have a project that I am ramping up for production (10,000+ units).

I have a question on best practices in how to integrate BLE into the project.

I have prototyped on a HM-11 BLE device, which is a module that communicates with arduino through UART. It is based on CC2541, a bluetooth IC.

I am now questioning the feasibility of that in production. Do people actually mass source the HM-11 and place them directly into their production PCBs? Are there downsides to that? Other than, obviously, cost?

The alternative would be to use the CC2541 directly. My question is twofold; first--how to prototype with that chip? I would be talking to that chip directly, and I imagine the interface would be different than that provided through the HM-11. Are there guides/general practices that are used to make the dev process feasible if that's the approach we're to take?

Second, how prohibitively difficult is it to design a PCB which integrates a CC2541. Are there special considerations that I should be aware of?

Would love any answers and feedback from the smart minds in this forum. Thank you.

Will pay for answers. Just let me know your price.

The previous thread in the Project Guidance section:

Have you considered using an ESP32? Or a Nordic nRF5x chip? Either may have enough power and I/O for your purpose as stand alone solutions. Obviously I'm guessing here, as I have no idea what your application does.

Once you're talking that volume of units, it is more common to use a System On Module that incorporates the BLE radio and a microcontroller such as an nRF52832. There are arduino libraries for that device.

[edit] Looks like jarnoldbrown beat me to it :-)