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Problem

I am looking for a portable device which should fullfill my following requirement:

  1. Device should be able to connect and communicate with bluetooth devices.
  2. Device should be able to connect to internet. First preference is wifi connection, but as a fallback mechanism, ethernet will also work.
  3. I should be able to run Node.js server on it. This server will be very light weight, wont need much RAM and computing resources.
  4. Less than $30.

Now, after reading few resources i found, Raspberry pi gives me all such features, but only issue with Raspberry pi is that it has many other feature also (camera port, HDMI, etc) which add significant amount to its cost. Since i need device for commercial purpose, so i need to make it cost effective as well.

Can somebody suggest me some available readymade options ?

Note I am looking for device to control some lighting stuff. These device should be used as a gateway and needs to be installed in customer premises. So, thats why these devices should be either a chip/small size board.

  • Does the device need to be mounted somewhere, or carried around? You seem to be saying both in your question. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Oct 21 '15 at 14:00
  • @Gilles No device won't be mounted somewhere or carried around. – Gaurav Gupta Oct 21 '15 at 14:42
  • "which add significant amount to its cost." There's very few devices that meet that pricepoint in the embedded field I suspect. – Journeyman Geek Oct 21 '15 at 23:27
  • @JourneymanGeek Can you list out the names of those very few devices. May be something turns fruitful for me. – Gaurav Gupta Oct 23 '15 at 7:12
  • I can't think of any off the top of my head. The fact that you need to run node.js rules out many ultra cheap microprocessors. 35 dollars and running linux is rare raspi, maybe the odroid c1+ (but that's 2 dollars more + shipping, tho its got a few interesting features)... beaglebone's pricier.... and with most of these wifi and bt is optional. For what it is, the rpi/rpi2 is actually pretty cheap. – Journeyman Geek Oct 23 '15 at 7:19
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Most microcontroller boards less than $20 do not have Bluetooth/Wifi/Eth, or LCD ports. The Raspberry Pi is your best bet, but if you need something a bit cheaper with the same capabilities, I'd look at the PINE A64, Currently on pre-order.

$15 gets you:
-64bit Quad Core ARM A53 1.2GHz CPU
-512MB DDR3 SDRAM
-MicroSD Slot Supports up to 256GB
-10/100 Mb Ethernet port
-2 x USB 2.0 host
-4K x 2K HDMI port
-3.5mm Stereo Output mini-jack with Microphone Support

For the integrated LCD panel port, you will need to upgrade to the $19 model. It also adds:
-1GB RAM instead of 512MB
-4-lane MIPI video port port (LCD)
-Touchscreen port
-1000MB ethernet
-5MP Camera port

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You don't have to buy the additional parts of the Raspberry Pi in order for it to boot up and run your server. All you need is the power charger, the Pi itself, and an SD card large enough to run your system. I recommend the Pi, because it is much better supported than competing SBCs, there are models with wifi and bluetooth built in (Raspberry Pi 3), and ultimately it will provide you with more performance for less money than other solutions, both because of its integrated components and because good support means better production results overall, plus added benefits like well-understood overclocking, etc.

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  • As a small aside, since it is sometimes worth it to consider other configurations, I would direct you to this concept of running your IoT project with a Node.js component run from a server interfacing with an Arduino: adilmoujahid.com/posts/2015/07/… – Adam Wykes Jul 15 '16 at 14:25
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The awarded answer says

Most microcontroller boards less than $20 do not have Bluetooth/Wifi/Eth, or LCD ports

I would respectfully beg to differ.

The ESP32 has sold over 100 million boards and costs from about $4. You can get them with display (not requested by OP) for about $12. By default, they have both WiFi and BluteTooth. You can get BLE 5, you can get LoRa, which will broadcast 15km with clear line of sight, you can get Zigbee; for $11, you can get one which accepts a SIM card. They come with cameras too, and passive infrared, to detect body heat.

You would like to code Node.Js? Just search for ESP32 nodejs and you will be happily surprised.

I have bought dozens from AliExpress. I recommend that you use PlatformIO as your IDE, and look at the docs for board and find one with on-board debugger. Otherwise, it's a choice between buying a JTAG probe and debug by printf() over serial port.

Being such a popular board, there is extensive documentation & tutorials, but lots of support on forums (visit us at S.E Internet of Things.

Neil Kolban has written a great eBook for which you can pay from zero to however much you like (personally, I paid zer0. Then, after reading paid what I thought it would cost if sold commercially). There are more ESP32 books.

I also recommend the Random Nerd tutorials, which go form beginner to let's sell this puppy as a commerical product.

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