SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini: a Powerful Combination of Cortex-M4 CPU and 2.4GHz Bluetooth

By on December 4, 2018
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The SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini Bluetooth development board is now available priced at $30 and features a ARM Cortex-M4 CPU supported by 1MB internal Flash and 256kB internal RAM.

The board comes pre-programmed with a USB bootloader. You can develop programs for the nRF52840’s Cortex-M4 using either Arduino, Circuit Python, or C (using Nordic’s nRF5 SDK), and load that compiled code using a USB serial or mass-storage interface.

“Our mini development board for the nRF52840 breaks out most of the critical I/O pins including GPIO and those needed for power while maintaining a small footprint that nearly matches that of the Arduino Pro Mini (except those covered by the Qwiic Connector). It features a USB interface (using the nRF52840’s native USB support), which can be used to program, power, and communicate with the chip making it able to be used for any purpose (UART, I2C, SPI) that those of the Arduino Pro Mini could. The Pro nRF52840 Mini features a Raytac MDBT50Q-P1M module. This module connects the nRF52840 to a trace antenna, fits the IC into an FCC-approved footprint, and also includes a lot of the decoupling and timing mechanisms that would otherwise be required for a bare nRF52840 design. Also included onboard is a LiPo battery charger, a Qwiic connector, an on/off switch, a reset switch, and a user LED/button.

SparkFun Pro nRF52840 Mini Bluetooth development board features are:

  • ARM Cortex-M4 CPU with floating point unit (FPU)
    • 1MB internal Flash – For all of your program, SoftDevice, and file-storage needs!
    • 256kB internal RAM – For your stack and heap storage.
  • Integrated 2.4GHz radio with support for:
    • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) – With peripheral and/or central BLE device support
    • Bluetooth 5 – Mesh Bluetooth!
    • ANT – If you want to turn the device into a heart-rate or exercise monitor.
    • Nordic’s proprietary RF protocol – If you want to communicate, securely, with other Nordic devices.
  • Every I/O peripheral you could need
    • USB – Turn your nRF52840 into a USB mass-storage device, use a CDC (USB serial) interface, and more. This is a big add compared to the nRF52832!
    • UART – Serial interfaces with support for hardware flow-control if desired.
    • I2C – Everyone’s favorite 2-wire bi-directional bus interface
    • SPI – If you prefer the 3+-wire serial interface
    • Analog-to-digital converters (ADC) – Eight pins on the nRF52840 Mini Breakout support analog inputs
    • PWM – Timer support on any pin means PWM support for driving LEDs or servo motors.
    • Real-time clock (RTC) – Keep close track of seconds and milliseconds, also supports timed deep-sleep features.
  • Peripheral-multiplexing – (Nearly) any pin can support any of the above features.

About Luca Ruggeri

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