Replacement for Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense

The Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense is out of stock in places and selling for black market prices in other places. How can I find another microcontroller that has an built in microphone, humidity sensor and temperature sensor?

I need about 100 for the honeybee monitoring project and cost is also important. How to compare MCUs? How can I find the right ones?


Perphaps you can consider Sparkfun MicroMod carrier board (with nRF52840). The spec is almost same as Arduino Nano 33. But I think there is no environment sensor built-in board with that.

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Check the Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Sense. Maybe a solution?

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Thank you, I appreciate it!

The MicroMod mentioned by @chanseok has a big advantage of having a selection of carrier boards. There’s one called dedicated to Machine Learning projects: it has two different microphones, but no weather sensors. Its not a big problem, though, as the carrier board exposes I2C connectors in Sparkfun’s Qwiic format, so that would be an almost exact replacement for a BLE Sense, after you connect something like this.

Note: with Arduino IDE it seems like you could just use it as a BLE Sense (just choosing BLE Sense as a board), but for some other uses, e.g. EdgeImpulse data forwarder, you need to downgrade the Arduino core to 1.3 from the current 2.x. But it’s all nicely described on Sparkfun’s website (BTW this workshop is very interesting, too. There’s a video and a GH repo).

Another option could be SiLabs Thunderboard Sense 2 - it has both microphone and weather sensors, and also battery power option. As far as I know there’s no Arduino core for this board, but it has its own nice IDE with tons of examples and a pretty friendly API, and it has native support from both Edge Impulse and SensiML

But then you asked about comparing MCUs and the cost, which brings us to a different question: do you need Bluetooth connectivity? Because if not, there are MCUs that might be cheaper and also less demanding in terms of energy than the nRF52840 used on the BLESense. E.g. the STM32L4xx line is dedicated to low power applications, and would be more than enough to handle tasks suited for the BLE Sense. There are boards like STM32L432 Nucleo-32, it’s the same Nano format as the BLE Sense, and there is Arduino core for those boards. It doesn’t have any sensors, but you could easily connect it to a microphone and a weather sensor (e.g. Bosch BME280).

If you decide to go for an MCU + external sensors option, check whether the sensors have drivers for Arduino. Those from Sparkfun, Adafruit, Pimoroni etc. most probably will.

I hope this helps :slight_smile: