Several weeks ago, as I noticed the lack of Bluetooth 5 USB dongles, I found MakerSpot CC2640 Bluetooth 5 USB stick based on Texas Instrument CC2640R2F Arm Cortex-M3 WiSoC. It’s not exactly a consumer products, and instead it’s more like a development kit, but it can still be inserted into the USB port of your computer or development board.
Today, I found out Nordic Semi also made their own Bluetooth 5 – or is it Bluetooth 5.0 now, I’m really confused at this point – USB dongle for evaluation & development based on nRF52840 WiSoC. It’s not only for Bluetooth 5 though, as the multi-protocol SoC also supports Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth Mesh, Thread, Zigbee, 802.15.4, ANT(+), and 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions.
nRF52840 USB dongle (PCA10059) key features:
- Wireless Connectivity – Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, Zigbee, 802.15.4, ANT/ANT+, and 2.4GHz
- USB – USB 2.0 ports
- Expansion – 15x GPIO and interfaces available on castellated edge
- Misc – 1x User RGB LED, 1x user LED (green), 1x button
The dongle is upgradeable through USB DFU, and for development purpose, the company provides nRF Connect for Desktop available for macOS, Linux, or Windows 7 or later, as well as nRF5 SDK with precompiled application firmware examples, and the hardware design files comprised of schematics, layout, bill of materials, and Gerbers. The complete documentation can be found on Nordic Semi’s infocenter. nRF Connect program also has it own repository on Github.
If you’d rather get something that you can purchase in quantities, with all certifications, and/or an enclosure, Fanstel is offering their USB840T Bluetooth 5 USB stick – based on the company’s nRF52840 module – for $15. That’s only the PCBA version for now, and the enclosure will become available in August 2018.