SparkFun’s Nordic-powered breakout board prototyping kit enables Bluetooth Low Energy application design with open-source Arduino development tools
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Niwot, CO-based SparkFun has selected Nordic’s award-winning nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘SparkFun nRF52832 Breakout
Board’. The prototyping board targets the advanced hobbyist and maker
market, and aids development of Bluetooth LE wireless projects
and applications by providing easy access to the nRF52832 SoC’s
features. The product includes an Arduino bootloader, allowing users to
program the board with Arduino’s Integrated Development Environment
The Breakout Board is a fully-functional 2.4GHz
wireless module and includes an antenna, external 32.768kHz crystal for
precision timing, a user programmable button, and an LED indicator.
Users can access the features of the nRF52832 SoC—including 32
programmable I/Os, SPI, I2C, UART, PWM, and ADC interfaces together with
analog inputs, and the chip’s built-in NFC-A tag—from the PCB. The
Breakout Board can be powered from any 1.7 to 3.6V power supply, but
comes complete with a 6V input/3.3V output regulator for use with
batteries or a stepped-down mains supply.
The product is based on open-source hardware and users can access Arduino’s open-source ‘BLEPeripherals’ library for many examples of Bluetooth LE applications. The library also includes an application programming interface (API) which makes it simple for users to create and upload their own Arduino “Sketches” (applications) to the Breakout Board. Users can wirelessly communicate with the board from a Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) iOS or Android smartphone using Nordic’s nRF Toolbox and nRF Connect apps. The nRF52832 SoC’s RF protocol software (“stack”) and application code can be upgraded using the chip’s over-the-air device firmware update (OTA-DFU) functionality.
The nRF52832 SoC’s integrated 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M4F processor, and 512kB Flash and 64kB RAM allocations support Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2-qualified stack for advanced Bluetooth LE applications. The S132 SoftDevice supports Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, provides up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation. In addition, the processor and memory have ample performance to support advanced user applications. The SoC’s UART I/O enables connection of an external microprocessor for users familiar with alternative devices and application code from previous wireless projects.
The nRF52832 SoC also integrates a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio which can support ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz stacks in addition to Bluetooth LE. The radio features -96dB RX sensitivity and up to 4dB output power for a link budget of 100dB. The nRF52832 SoC has also been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system for extended battery life.
“While primarily targeted at Bluetooth LE applications, the nRF52832 SoC’s multiprotocol capability provides amateur engineers with a choice of ultra low power wireless protocols for their projects,” says Adam Swetlik, SparkFun Product Marketing Manager. “This multiprotocol capability was one of the reasons we selected the nRF52832 SoC for the Breakout Board. In addition, Nordic’s solutions are renowned for their reliability and cost-effectiveness - increasing our confidence that we made the best choice.”