Arduino Uno shield-compatible kit for Bluetooth Smart, ANT, 2.4 GHz designs

Arduino Uno shield-compatible kit for Bluetooth Smart, ANT, 2.4 GHz designs

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Nordic Semiconductors’ low-cost nRF51 DK development kit comes in Arduino Uno shield-compatible single-board form factor - supporting a broad range of third-party Arduino shield expansion boards - and provides flexibility for product development with all key ULP wireless technologies.
By eeNews Europe

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The kit also supports ARM mbed for rapid prototyping and development: the nRF51DK is a low-cost development kit platform for fast, easy, and flexible development of Bluetooth Smart (formerly known as Bluetooth low energy), ANT/ANT+, and 2.4 GHz proprietary applications. Nordic has also announced the launch of the nRF51 Dongle, a highly versatile USB dongle to aid test, analysis, and development of Bluetooth Smart, ANT, and 2.4 GHz applications.

The nRF51 DK is based on Nordic’s nRF51 Series System-on-Chip (SoC), a highly-integrated transceiver that combines a 2.4 GHz multiprotocol radio, 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 processor, 128 kB or 256 kB flash memory, and 16 kB or 32 kB RAM. The SoCs can support a wide range of peripherals and are available in quad flat no-lead (QFN) and wafer level chip scale package (WLCSP) options. The SoCs can support a range of SoftDevices (Nordic’s SoftDevices are self-contained stacks that incorporate RF protocols and associated management frameworks) for Bluetooth Smart, ANT, 2.4 GHz proprietary, and even combinations of these protocols on a single device.

The nRF51 DK is compatible with the Arduino Uno connector standard enabling use with a broad range of third-party Arduino shield expansion boards. The nRF51 DK allows access to all device peripherals, interfaces, and I/Os. The kit has four user-programmable buttons and LEDS plus voltage and current pins to measure device power consumption.


The nRF51 Dongle is a compact USB-connectable dongle that can be used for standard software development on the nRF51 Series SoCs. It has a user-programmable button and an RGB LED and is useful when used in conjunction with Nordic’s nRF Sniffer and Master Control Panel (MCP) firmware and software. nRF Sniffer is a utility available as a download from Nordic and when used in conjunction with the nRF51 DK can capture Bluetooth Smart packets over the air. The information can then be viewed and analysed using Wireshark, a free, open-source protocol analysis tool. The DK, dongle, and these two utilities (available as downloads from Nordic) provide developers with tools to test, monitor, and analyse the Bluetooth Smart communication of the application they are developing.

nRF51 DK and nRF51 Dongle are supported by standard tool-chain options including Keil, IAR, and Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC). nRF51 DK can also be used when developing ARM mbed applications. When using the standard tool-chain, the nRF51 DK and nRF51 Dongle use Segger J-Link OB for program and debug options. The nRF51 DK also supports CMSIS-DAP program and debug when developing using the ARM mbed tool-chain.

The nRF51 DK measures 63 x 101 mm and has a a coin-cell battery holder allowing field testing in target product application scenarios. The DK can also be used as a programmer for other target boards that use the nRF51 Series SoC. The nRF51 Dongle measures 16 x 28 mm.

"With the introduction of the nRF51 DK, engineers need only purchase one kit for all their product development irrespective of their choice of ULP wireless technology," says Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Director of Product Management at Nordic Semiconductor. "…the nRF51 DK offers the flexibility of Arduino Uno-compatible form factor and thus simple access to the huge and growing range of third-party Arduino shields. And because the kit supports ARM mbed with web-based software development, open-source libraries, and drag-and-drop programming, developers can get prototyping within minutes of unpacking the product from its box."


"The nRF51 DK significantly lowers the skill and cost barriers for professional engineers and keen amateurs in the ‘maker’ sector looking to develop Bluetooth Smart, ANT or 2.4GHz proprietary wireless products," explains Geir Langeland, Director of Sales & Marketing with Nordic Semiconductor. "Bluetooth Smart is booming while ANT and 2.4 GHz proprietary also show healthy growth in their respective niches so it’s not always clear cut which technology to choose when development begins. Because it can easily handle all three key ULP wireless technologies, the nRF51 DK allows the user maximum flexibility in his or her choice of wireless technology."

A video of the nRF51 DK is at; www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdY2m_bZTgE&list=UUWQMBzrPapk4qBfEM48NZ4w

The nRF51 DK replaces all previous nRF51 Series DKs and evaluation kits and is priced at $69; the is $49.

Nordic Semiconductor; www.nordicsemi.com

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