nRF5 SDK for Mesh
A Device Firmware Update (DFU) is the process of updating the firmware on a mesh device. The following guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and program the DFU example application, create a DFU file that contains example firmware, and transfer it. This guide should make it easy to use the mesh DFU to transfer any firmware to any device on the mesh network.
The mesh DFU supports two modes:
The DFU example included in the nRF SDK for Mesh demonstrates the side-by-side mode DFU.
To perform DFU transfers over mesh, use a customized version of the
nrfutil tool. This tool sends the DFU packets to one device over serial interface. This device then stores these packets, and also forwards them to the other devices withing the radio range.
The required steps are listed below, followed by a more detailed explanation for each step.
Before you start, note the following information:
-s <serial-number>option for each call to the
<serial-number>is the Segger ID of your device. This will make
nrfjprogexecute its operations on the specified device only.
mesh_dfubranch as mentioned above. See the tool's documentation for more information about installation and prerequisites.
intelhexpackage is installed for your python installation.
Complete the following steps to start using the mesh DFU:
You can check troubleshooting to verify that the bootloader is working correctly.
DFU images can be signed to ensure they stem from a trusted source. If you want to use this signature verification functionality, you need a signing key. The nrfutil tool can be used to generate a signing key:
This will create a text file in your current directory named
private_key.txt. This key must only be shared with trusted sources, and if it is lost, you would also lose authorization to do DFU updates to your devices in the future. The only way to recover from the loss of the private key is to reflash the device manually.
Now that you have a private key, you can generate the public key for it:
This will output something like this:
These two HEX strings make up your public key, which you can safely share with everyone. Note that the keys above are example keys and will only work with a specific private key.
All dfu-enabled mesh devices require a device page that contains information about the device and the firmware that is installed on the device. The device page is generated using the
device_page_generator.py script file available in the
tools/dfu folder. This script file uses
bootloader_config_default.json file to prepare the device page. The public key obtained above must be inserted in this JSON object.
To add the public key information to the bootloader configurator JSON, create a new property named
"public_key" and assign the concatenated values of the
Qx and the
Qy strings to this key. For example:
This allows your device to verify that the person that has initiated the DFU transfer has the private key associated with this public key.
You may also want to change the company ID entry. In the example, the company ID is set to
89, which is the decimal version of Nordic Semiconductor's Bluetooth SIG assigned Company ID .
If your company has an assigned ID, you can use that ID number. If you do not represent a company with an assigned ID, use a random 32-bit number higher than 65535. The company ID works as a namespace for application IDs in the mesh DFU. This way, any company with an assigned company ID may safely use any application ID for their products, without risking an application ID conflict.
To do a DFU transfer, you must create a DFU archive. The DFU archive is a zip file that contains the application binary along with some metadata.
A HEX file of an example application that causes an LED to blink on the boards is located in the
bin/blinky folder. Use the HEX file that corresponds to the chip and the SoftDevice you are using. Note that this file is generated when you build the mesh stack.
nrfutil tool to generate the DFU archive matching your SoftDevice requirement, for example:
Note that the
--company-id and the
--application-id values must match the values used for generating a device page as described in Step 2. The
--application-version must be higher than the version number that you used for the previous firmware image.
This command generates a DFU archive called
dfu_test.zip in the current directory. You can call
nrfutil dfu genpkg --help to get a list of possible command line arguments and their meaning. Note that some of the options do not apply to the mesh DFU, because the tool also supports the regular Nordic Semiconductor DFU transfer.
The example commands use the Nordic Semiconductor company ID, so make sure you use your own instead. Also note that the application version is set to 2. A device will only accept application transfers that match its current company and application IDs and have a higher version number.
In the same folder as the example device page file (
tools/dfu), there is a Python script called
device_page_generator.py that should be used to generate device pages (works for both Python 2.7 and Python 3, requires the
intelhex package from PyPi). See the README file in the
tools/dfu folder if you want more detailed information about usage of this script.
-d option to specify the device series, and the
-sd option to specify the SoftDevice version. All device pages contain a
SD_VERSION entry, which must match the
--sd-req value passed to
nrfutil when generating the DFU archive in step 3. Failing to match the SoftDevice version requirement parameters will make the device reject the transfer, as its own firmware ID won't match the one in the transfer.
For example, run the following command from inside the
tools/dfu folder to generate a device page hex file for an NRF52 Series device using s132 SoftDevice version 6.1.0:
This creates a device page .hex file in the
tools\dfu\bin folder. This file will be used in step 9.
Use nrfjprog (available on nordicsemi.com) to erase all previous data on your device (including UICR):
SoftDevices for nRF51 and nRF52 are located in the
For example, to flash S132 SoftDevice v6.1.0, run the following command:
Flash the precompiled bootloader with serial support to your device using nrfjprog. You can find precompiled versions of the bootloader under
bin/. The bootloader version must match your chip version, see the following table:
For example, you can run the following command to flash a bootloader compiled with GCC ARM compiler on an nRF52832_xxAA device:
To be able to do Device Firmware Updates, you must flash an application that supports DFU. The DFU example application can be found in
From your build folder, flash the DFU example application HEX file matching your chip version and SoftDevice to your device, for example
build/examples/dfu/dfu_nrf52832_xxAA_s132_6.1.0.hex if your device is an
nRF52832_xxAA with s132 SoftDevice v6.1.0.
Flash the file with the following command:
Flash the device page HEX file that you generated in step 4 to the devices:
Then reset the device to start the application:
After reset, observe that for every development kit that you programmed, all user LEDs are OFF. At this point you have everything ready for performing the DFU over the mesh.
Now we come to the interesting part: Doing the DFU! First, figure out to which COM port your serial device is connected:
/devdirectory. Use the
dmesgcommand after you have plugged in a device to see which serial port file has been assigned to the device.
To start the DFU, run the following command:
A progress bar should pop up, and the transfer should take a couple of minutes.
--verbosebefore any other arguments as follows:
nrfutil --verbose dfu serial -pkg dfu_test.zip -p <COM port> -b 115200 -fc --mesh.
When finished, the bootloader should switch to the application and one user LED should start blinking on each kit. Note that you cannot do the DFU twice with the same DFU archive, because the application version in the device page on your device is incremented to the latest version. Therefore, the bootloader will reject any attempt to transfer the same firmware again.
To try another DFU, re-run steps 3 and 10 with an increased version number, for example
--application-version 3, and use the new zip file to do the DFU again.
To verify that the bootloader is working correctly, run the bootloader verification script located in
tools/dfu. Note that it requires the pyserial package and that
nrfjprog is present in your
The output should look like this:
nrfjprog --reset to reset the board back to a well-known state of operation after running the bootloader verification script.