It's a really nice article, love it. It helped me to know more about the device.
I also have a fit bit and it works great, However there are some things i dont understand.
As it usages a NRF8001 and it is a Bluetooth Low Energy, So how is it able to sync with Dongle as well as the smart phone's? Is it the Dongle which helping to do this? Is the dongle Dual mode, so that it can talk with Classic Bluetooth as well as Low Power?
Also when i plug in the dongle in my laptop i dont see it as a normal bluetooth device it appears as a human interface device in device manager. Isn't the dongle a bluetooth device? If yes why doesn't it show up as a bluetooth device?
I am really curious about it and looking forward to hear from someone.
Hi Rich, nice article, well written and informative. There is one technical error that's worth correcting though. The article states "With peak currents as low as 12.5 mA and average currents down to 9 mA (for a 1-second connection interval), the nRF8001 enables a battery life ranging from months to years from a single coin cell". While the figure for the peak current is correct, the average current should read 12microamps (from the Nordic Semiconductor website which actually states "average currents as low as sub 12 microamps (for 1s connection intervals)"). Otherwise the battery life from a typical CR232 coin cell would be tens of hours rather than months.
Yes, excellent article. Really enjoyed the write-up. Rich, do you have any "feel" for the accuracy of the device? I logged in to the Fitbit web site and definitely feel my wife and I should by at least one to share. We both exercise 3, 4, 5 times a week and this would be a great addition and allow tracking and calories burned. At $59.95 each, it's a great deal. Also, any difficulties with "syncing" with an i-phone or Android device? Again, many thanks for the information.
Thanks for the comments. I appreciate that you can appreciate that it takes a lot more time to write the Tear Down article with insight form the actual design team. In my opinion, that makes it significantly more valuable. Anybody can take somethng apart and identify the components.
As to the hammer vs. a screwdriver or some other tool, that's generally a time saver. I will admit (but don't tell anyone) that I have used a screwdriver in the past. But sometimes these devices are so hard to get apart that frustration (and deadlines) set in, and the hammer becomes very appealing.
I certainly did enjoy the analysis and discussion that included the comments from the design group. And the thinking that goes into a small package is always educational.
But using a hammer is rather brutal. I routinely take apart devices that are not intended to be opened and serviced, and I am able to repair a good portion of them. If they have a welded seam in the plastic housing that is the first point of attack. A sharp "gerber" brand knife blade is often able to open a package in a manner that allows it to be re-sealed when the repairs are done. So while it does take a lot more effort, opening devices in a re-closeable manner has a lot going for it. Of course, it is a liitle bit like those diamond cutters that we see pictures of. That is, it does take a lot of practice and a good deal of examination.
i'm one of those too who can hardly resist seeing the insides of products. but being ever hopeful about retaining the devices functionality, the hammer is verboten. why not use a dremel tool with a saw or grinder attachment or a hacksaw so your exploratory surgery isn't invariably fatal to your subject device?
I, too, like the way this teardown was written. The more I delved into it, the more I realized how many hours must have gone into the product development. Ninety percent of the code had to be rewritten? The team had limited familiarity with the ARM architecture? Sometimes, we see these teardowns and don't realize how much went into the creation of the product. This serves as a reminder of how complex the design of these seemingly simple products can be.
I certainly have a hammer or two at home that I need to do a functional check on. I enjoy exercising my hammers all the time. For bigger devices there is a bigger challenge. Remember the goal is to unlock the goodies inside with the least amount of force and strokes of the hammer. We would not want to damage the hammer or the operator...
As for software the reason I went the Computer Science for my Masters is the demand for embedded.
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