BLE SoC includes USB and Operates with Two-Thirds Lower PowerMarch 19, 2020 by Paul Shepard
Nordic Semiconductor has announced the nRF52820 Bluetooth 5.2 System-on-Chip (SoC), the sixth addition to its popular and proven nRF52 Series. The nRF52820 is an ultra low power Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and 2.4-GHz proprietary lower-end wireless connectivity solution. The nRF52820’s is capable of all the features of Bluetooth 5, 5.1, and 5.2 including Long Range and high-throughput 2 Mbps, Direction Finding, LE Power Control, and LE Isochronous Channels. The SoC also includes a Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB 2.0 interface.
The nRF52820 features a powerful 64-MHz 32-bit Arm® Cortex®-M4 processor and includes 256 KB Flash and 32 KB RAM making it an ideal single-chip option for a wide range of commercial and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) wireless applications including professional lighting, asset tracking, HID, and gaming products.
In addition, when paired with an application MCU, the nRF52820’s fully-featured multiprotocol radio and +8 dBm output power makes it a suitable network processor for gateways and other smart home applications requiring advanced wireless connectivity. The nRF52820 is qualified for operation across an extended industrial temperature range of -40 to 105 °C, making it useful for commercial and industrial applications, including professional lighting.
Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB operation is a key feature of the nRF52820. USB is a popular connectivity interface that enables low-latency and high-bandwidth communication with a range of host devices, such as PCs, smartphones, and gateways. The connectivity also makes device firmware updates (DFU)-over-USB practical.
In addition to the main supply regulators, the USB peripheral in the nRF52820 includes a dedicated regulator for converting the 5V VBUS signal to the 3.3V needed for the USB signaling interface, eliminating the cost and space required for an external regulator.
The nRF52820 includes up to 18 GPIOs and a range of analog and digital interfaces such an analog comparator, SPI, UART, TWI, and QDEC. The supply voltage covers a 1.7- to 5.5-V input range, allowing the nRF52820 to be powered by coin-cells and rechargeable batteries. When connected to a USB host, the nRF52820 can be directly powered by the always-present 5V VBUS signal. Nordic provides a reference layout for this configuration
The nRF52820 is supported by the S112 and S140 SoftDevices (Bluetooth 5.1-qualified protocol stacks), and the S122 (alpha version) SoftDevice. The S112 and S122 are memory-optimized peripheral and central stacks respectively, while the S140 is a feature-complete Bluetooth 5 protocol stack for central and peripheral, including Long Range and high-throughput 2 Mbps features. Development with the nRF52820 is supported by Nordic’s nRF5 SDK (Software Development Kit) v16.0.0, while full nRF5 SDK support will follow in Q2 2020.
The nRF52833 Development Kit (DK) can be used to emulate the nRF52820 and is a good basis to start nRF52820-based designs. The DK is a versatile single board development kit for Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth mesh, 802.15.4, Thread, Zigbee, and 2.4GHz proprietary applications. The DK is compatible with the Arduino Uno Rev3 standard, enabling the use of the compatible Nordic Power Profiler Kit and a wide range of third-party shields during development.
“The nRF52820 extends the mature and proven nRF52 Series hardware and software platform with a Bluetooth 5.2 multiprotocol SoC for budget-constrained applications,” says Kjetil Holstad, Director of Product Management with Nordic Semiconductor. “The nRF52 Series is now the ideal platform upon which ODMs and OEMs can base all their short range wireless products. The common hardware and software architecture across the series results in excellent software portability, increasing software reusability while lowering time-to-market and development cost.”
nRF52820 engineering samples are available now. The SoC is available in a 5x5 mm QFN40 with 18 GPIOs and is drop-in compatible with Nordic’s nRF52833 SoC.