Can I use Bluetooth Low energy devices as micro controllers directly instead of communicating to Arduino e.g. HM-10/11 or even HC-05/06 ? If so what are limitations e.g. can I hook sensors or control other stuff like LEDs or transistors with PWM ?

I have built a motion sensor, which consists of Arduino, Bluetooth Low energy HM-11, battery and sensor itself. It worked just fine, but one guy told me that Arduino may be completely unnecessary and that Bluetooth module could replace its functionality ! I then started digging for information, and either it's impossible or I am terrible at googling. Everything I found was info about some kind of development kits for HM-10/11, also pin outs of those boards. They do have some IO pins, which can mean it's possible, but I found no tutorials nor examples on how to program those boards and use with other components.

  • What do the datasheets say?
    – Majenko
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 17:39
  • Funny how one letter 's' can change everything, the keyword here is datasheet(S). it turns out that there are multiple datasheets, and one i checked had no detailed information and so i gave up easily. However after your reply I checked datasheet once again , coincidently it was another datasheet, and this time it was MUCH more detailed, I even found keywords in it which i pasted in Google, and found some neat material. Going to read further and see if those modules can work the way I want.
    – boofati
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 19:31
  • im searchin for a long time how can i program it in the aim of building alarme watch or thermometer without arduino becaus there is same input can be used as analog input and PWM please if you have some idea about this help me Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


All bluetooth modules will need some sort of mcu to handle the requirements of the protocol stack, and it seems common that there will be at least a couple of GPIO which can be used directly if your sensor requirements are simple. At the other end of the spectrum, you will find there are also mcus with a full set of peripherals - enough to support a couple of sensors and a small display for example. Remember, the wearables market is likely bigger than the hobby electronics market.

Limitations are most likely to be in the area of ease of use (as you hint at with your question), and possibly the toolchain which you would need to use (unlikely to be arduino compatible). Also, the bluetooth stack typically takes a reasonable proportion of these wearables focused devices, so there is not a big amount of ram/flash or CPU cycles to spare even if you opt for a part which is more than 'just' a serial-to-bluetooth bridge.

  • Actually, while most bluetooth modules have an internal MCU, there are some that do not. Also, while there are now some with an internal MCU on the market where tools are provided that allow just about anyone to reprogram them, for others the intent is that only the manufacturer or their industrial partners are able to do that, with the device being fixed-function when used by anyone else. Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 2:46

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