iPhone control 100's of independent LEDs wirelessly

Hi Guys,

I am about to start a project, so I come here for some advise. Hope you guys can give me some idea how to achieve this project.

I have a warehouse with 100's of package inside. I want to develop a small wireless device (may be RF, may be bluetooth) that run on coin cell. so I can attach it to a package. so when I have 100's of these devices, I can attach them on 100's of packages.

each device simply have one LED on it. and I can use my iPhone to turn the LED on and off.


I come up with two approach but don't know which one is better. Or may be none of them are good.

  1. iPhone + Arduino uno + nrf24l01 (100s of them) + attiny85 ( 100s of them) + LEDs

Transmitter includes (iPhone, Arduino uno and nrf24l01)
Receiver includes ( nrf24l01 + attiny85 + LED)

iPhone will tell Arduino to broadcast a message with a special ID + 1 or 0. all receivers will receive the message. if the message match with a receiver ID. the receiver will turn on or off its LEDs according the if the message end with 1 or 0. if the message doesn't match its ID, it will simple ignore it.

  1. iPhone + CC2540 bluetooth modules (100s of them with LEDs on it)

iPhone can connect to the CC2540 and tell it to turn on or off its LEDs.


it sounds like the second approach it easier. but I don't know how fast the iPhone can connect to a CC2540. I sometimes need to find 10 packages at once. It means I need to turn on 10 LEDs with in a second.

Sorry for the long post.

so when I have 100's of these devices, I can't attach them on 100's of packages.

Aside from the astronomical cost, why not?

each device simply of one LED on it.

Plus the bluetooth or radio plus a microcontroller.

but I don't know how fast the iPhone can connect to a CC2540.

And, I'm not going to post a link to the CC2540. I expect all of you to go search for it.

Nope, it doesn't work that way.

Hi PaulS,

Sorry, it was a typo. I mean I can attach them on 100's packages

So, Do you think approach 1 with the nrf24l01 is better?

So, Do you think approach 1 with the nrf24l01 is better?

Each node is still going to require an LED, a microcontroller, and a radio. You need to determine how many NRF24l01s can be networked. You need to determine how long it will take to send the message(s) to hundreds of devices.

  1. iPhone + Arduino uno + nrf24l01 (100s of them) + attiny85 ( 100s of them) + LEDs

Transmitter includes (iPhone, Arduino uno and nrf24l01)
Receiver includes ( nrf24l01 + attiny85 + LED)

iPhone will tell Arduino to broadcast a message with a special ID + 1 or 0. all receivers will receive the message. if the message match with a receiver ID. the receiver will turn on or off its LEDs according the if the message end with 1 or 0. if the message doesn't match its ID, it will simple ignore it.

Yeah, I am going to use ATTiny85 as microcontroller, NRF24LO1 is the radio receiver and every node have an LED.

If I am right. NRF24LO1 as radio, you don't need to pair them. so you simply send out some signal and any receiver with in a reachable area will receiver the signal basically at the same time. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thx

If I am right. NRF24LO1 as radio, you don't need to pair them. so you simply send out some signal and any receiver with in a reachable area will receiver the signal basically at the same time. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thx

This is correct.

You will have a hard time attaching the nRF to an attiny85. The nRF normally uses five I/O lines.

If you like the Nordic stuff, there are modules with integrated processor, like the nRF52832 or nRF24LE1.

Edit: Hackaday Link (nrf24l01+ using 3 ATtiny85 pins)

My thoughts run to the simple fact that you will be able to inventory the entire lot every couple weeks (months) when you change the batteries.

why not alphabetise them while you are at it ?

a typical storage syustem is to use somethign like an RFID chip.
you place the box on the shelf, swipe the bar code or chip. then press save on the phone.
swipe the shelf/stoarage location.
now, when you look up box 87, you know it is on shelf 22
if you list contents, it offers search by part, not just by box.