Adafruit are excited to add another product to Adafruit's growing Adafruit Bluefruit line, this time it's the Bluefruit EZ-Link: the best Bluetooth Serial Link device ever made. Like you, Adafruit have purchased all sorts of Bluetooth serial link modules, with high expectations - Adafruit just wanted something that worked! But nothing ever did exactly what Adafruit wanted: there was always some configuration modes to wade through, and using one of those other modules to reprogram an Arduino is impossible.
So Adafruit did what Adafruit always do, Adafruit went in and engineered something better. Something that works!
The Bluefruit EZ-Link is a regular 'SPP' serial link client device, that can pair with any computer or tablet and appear as a serial/COM port (except iOS as iOS does not permit SPP pairing). But here is where it gets exciting: unlike any other BT module, the EZ-Link can automatically detect and change the serial baud rate. That means if you open up the COM port on your computer at 9600 baud, the output is 9600, 57600? 57600. Yep even 2400. All the most common baud rates are supported: 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, 115200 and 230400. You never have to configure or customize the module by hand - it all happens completely automatically inside the RF module.
Now if Adafruit stopped there, you'd probably think "wow that is pretty nice" but Adafruit didn't stop there! The EZ-Link has another impressive feature: the DTR/RTS/DSR flow control pins are automatically synced to the computer serial port. What this means is that if the computer sets the hardware flow control DTR or RTS pins high or low the pins on the bluetooth module will follow. If the DSR input pin is brought high or low on the EZ-Link, the computer can detect that as well. Every other Bluetooth SPP device Adafruit have ever seen, if they even have the RTS/DTR pins brought out, do not sync back to the computer, instead the flow control is for the module serial buffer itself.
Together, this creates something pretty amazing: a Bluetooth module that can change baud rates on the fly and toggle the DTR pin as desired. What Adafruit have got here now is a way to program an Arduino (or compatible) from 10 meters away, completely wirelessly, with no extra software, custom hardware, odd firmware hacks or modified firmware. In fact, you can use the Bluefruit as a sort of 'wire free' FTDI-like cable with any device that has an FTDI re-programming port. It works great, and you can use the serial console as well. This package includes the necessary 1uF capacitor between the DTR and reset pin.
Works great with Mac and Windows computers. Linux is not supported at this time.
To round out the design They also added two RX/TX indicator LEDs so you can tell when data is sent & received as well as a connection status pin. When the paired computer opens up a UART connection, the status pin goes high, letting the microcontroller know that it can now expect data to be sent and its also OK to send data to the computer.
Each order of this EZ-Link + Extras pack includes one ready to go and assembled EZ-Link board, with FCC/CE/RoHS certification. They also include a 6-pin right angle female header and a stick of 6-pin extra-long male header. Chances are you will want to solder the female header in to the center of the board so you can use it like an FTDI-cable but Adafruit left you the option of wires, or other kind of header. They also toss in a JST connector. The JST connector can be soldered on the back (optional) to connect a Lipoly battery for portable projects. If the JST is used, the battery can also power the microcontroller that the EZ-Link is plugged into.
We also have this design in an Arduino-ready shield form-factor
For all the details and tutorials, check out the EZ-Link page at the Adafruit Learning System
Bluefruit EZ-Link - Bluetooth Serial Link & Arduino Programmer (0:06)
- Dimensions: 20.4mm / 0.8" x 41mm / 1.6" x 4mm / 0.2"
- Weight: 4.35g
- On April 15, 2014 Adafruit updated to v1.1 of the firmware, which fixes MacOS X compatibility.
- On Aug 12, 2014 Adafruit updated to v1.3 of the firmware which fixes the 2-hour timeout if you do not pair within 2 hours. There is no longer a timeout.
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