Bluetooth adapter teardown

Researching Bluetooth modules, it’s evident how darn expensive they are. $30 and up, usually. This is for small quantities but the regular stores don’t give a reasonable price even for larger quantities. I did find the aptly named Wireless Bluetooth RS232 TTL Transciever Module at DealExtreme for $6.60 (free shipping, of course). I haven’t got around to evaluate it yet.

But I also noticed these mini Bluetooth USB adapters for ridiculously low prices. DealExtreme has one for $1.80. I got two from eBay for $3.50 plus shipping. How can a retail product sell for so low compared to the main component inside??

Anyway. The dongle was easy to pry apart. It contains a bunch of 0402 passives, a BT chip, probably a USB interface chip and a SOT23 voltage regulator. On the top side, a single LED and through-hole 16MHz(?) crystal. Then I realized I wasn’t the first to take one apart:

Then again, the dongle I got uses an entirely different circuit…

On private projects

Today I stumbled across the animation short “The Passenger” on YouTube. An Australian animator spent eight years of his life and all of his private savings to complete the project. He described the process on his site. It’s an interesting read of a man who pursues his creative vision, determined to do it all himself and never compromise. I can identify with the strive to realize ideas , but it’s also a lesson to keep the scope within the manageable. With electronic devices, time to market can also be essential. As he points out:

“During the making of this film, A Star Wars trilogy, a Lord Of The Rings trilogy and a Harry Potter trilogy were made (not by me).”

Another project with undefined time schedule that comes to mind is Duke Nukem Forever