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I have a project that's currently using Arduino Uno with a cheap class-2 bluetooth serial adapter from ebay to send and receive data and control a LED light strip.

However, it struggles to establish connection at distances more than couple meters. I'd like to expand that range a bit - 15 meters with two load-bearing walls in the way. Bandwidth requirements are next to none - it should just move couple integers around.

Any suggestions how to do that on the cheap? From what I've seen, class-1 bluetooth adapters go for ~60$, two xbee modules + usb adapter end up costing even more, and wifi solutions seem to reside in the same price range. At that price point, it seems better to get a raspberry pi, wifi dongle and a couple beers for the software re-write. Am I overlooking some solution?

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Since one end is a PC I would look into a Wifi shield for the arduino. That way you would not need any extra hardware on the PC side.

You can get a Wifi shield for less than 2 xbee modules. But using wifi will require changes to your code since it won't be using the serial port for communication.

Another wireless option that I have no personal experience with is NRF2401 modules -- you can get them dirt cheap on ebay (caveat emptor) but they use an SPI interface so you can't directly interface with them directly on the PC side.

Be aware that depending on the LED strip you may not be able to drive it directly from a raspberry pi. For example WS2811 driven LEDs (AKA adafruit NeoPixels) need precise timing that you can't get (or is tricky to get) with the raspberry pi.

  • I'd suggest the NRF24L01 too. Though you'd need to attach something like an arduino to the PC, to receive the serial commands over usb, and send it to the RF24 module. – Gerben Jul 1 '14 at 16:57
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"Smart home automation webserver on OpenWRT router WR703N interfaced to Arduino, compared to Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu" may lead you to some answers...

Just think of that solution as a kind of "homegrown Arduino YÙN"... just older and cheaper: "Nah, you don’t need an Ethernet module for your Arduino"

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