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Dev kit supports Bluetooth Smart, ANT, 2.4GHz apps

03 Nov 2014

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Nordic Semiconductor ASA, an ultra low-power (ULP) RF specialist, has announced the nRF51DK, a low-cost development kit platform geared for fast, easy and flexible development of Bluetooth Smart, ANT/ANT+ and 2.4GHz proprietary applications. The company also unveiled the nRF51 Dongle that it says is a highly versatile USB dongle to aid test, analysis and development of Bluetooth Smart, ANT, and 2.4GHz applications.

The nRF51 DK is based on Nordic's nRF51 series SoC, a highly-integrated transceiver that combines a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, 32bit ARM Cortex M0 processor, 128KB or 256KB flash memory, and 16KB or 32KB RAM. The SoCs can support a 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, 2.4GHz proprietary, and even combinations of these protocols on a single device, added the company.

The nRF51 DK is compatible with the Arduino Uno connector standard enabling use with a range of third-party Arduino shield expansion boards. The nRF51 DK allows access to all device peripherals, interfaces and I/Os. In addition, the nRF51 DK features 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 features a user-programmable button and an RGB LED and is especially useful when used in conjunction with Nordic's nRF Sniffer and Master Control Panel (MCP) firmware and software. The 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 very powerful tools to test, monitor and analyse the Bluetooth Smart communication of the application they are developing.

The nRF51 DK and nRF51 Dongle are supported by standard tool-chain options including Keil, IAR and Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC). The 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 additionally supports CMSIS-DAP program and debug when developing using the ARM mbed tool-chain.

The nRF51 DK measures just 63 x 101mm and features 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 is a highly compact design at only 16 x 28mm.

The nRF51 DK replaces all previous nRF51 series DKs and evaluation kits and is available from Nordic priced $69. The nRF51 Dongle is available at $49.

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