BBC micro:bit v2 board Unveiled with Nordic nRF52833 SoC, Microphone and Speaker

The original BBC micro:bit educational board was launched in July 2015 with a Nordic nRF51822 Arm Cortex-M0 MCU @ 16 MHz providing Bluetooth LE connectivity,  a few I/Os, some buttons, and a LED matrix acting as a small display. The British company has now launched a new update with BBC micro:bit v2 with the same form factor, but equipped with a more powerful Nordic Semi nRF52833 Bluetooth 5.1 Arm Cortex-M4 MCU clocked at 64 MHz and adding a microphone and a speaker. BBC micro:bit v2 specifications: Wireless MCU – Nordic Semi nRF52833 Arm Cortex-M4 MCU clocked at 64 MHz with 128 KB RAM, 512 KB flash, Bluetooth 5.1 LE connectivity “Display” – 25x red LED indicator lights in a 5×5 matrix USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming via NXP Kinetis KL27Z Cortex-M0+ microcontroller Audio – Built-in MEMS microphone and speaker Expansion 25 pins on edge connector with 4 dedicated GPIO, PWM, I2C, SPI etc… 5x rings […]

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Rakwireless Launches WisBlock IoT Modular System Beta Testing Program

Rakwireless has launched several IoT evaluation boards such as RAK4260 LoRaWAN EVB relying on WisBlock modules comprised of a carrier board and a module. So far, those were always sold as part of evaluation boards, but now the company is trying to expand WisBlock use as a modular system, so users can easily build their custom systems, LEGO style. The modular system is based on four different block types: WisBlock Base – A carrier board with connectors for other block types, power supply, some ports WisBlock Core – Module with a microcontroller/processor WisBlock Sensor – Modules with environmental sensors, motion sensors, ambient light sensors, or others WisBlock IO – Adds more inputs, outputs, or connectivity options including  LTE-M / NB-IoT, cellular and Wi-Fi modules, NFC reader, and interfaces for I2C, UART, ADC, and GPIO. The company is just getting started with the solution, and initially will be offering one WisBlock baseboard, an improved version of the one used with RAK4260 […]

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Tiny, Waterproof AirBolt GPS Tracker Works with LTE-M and NB-IoT Cellular Networks (Crowdfunding)

We’ve previously covered small waterproof LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT GPS trackers such as Mictrack MT825, but AirBolt GPS tracker offers another option and promises an even longer battery life of up to 12 months. At 37 x 34 x 11mm, AirBolt GPS may also be the world’s smallest waterproof GPS tracker on the market, as well as the lightest at just 21 grams, both of which are characteristics that make the tracker especially suitable for pets like cats and dogs, as well as track luggage, keys, bicycles, etc… AirBolt GPS tracker key features and specifications: SoC(s) Unnamed, but considering Nordic Semi is listed as a partner it should be nRF9160 SiP with Arm Cortex-M33 MCU core, 1024 KB flash, 256 KB SRAM, NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, and GPS connectivity There’s also Bluetooth 5.1 so one of the nRF52 chips might also be included. Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1 with long-range and direction-finding support Cellular – Worldwide support via NB-IoT and LTE […]

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Nordic Semi nRF21540 RF front end module Extends the Range of nRF52/nRF53 Bluetooth SoC’s

A little while ago, we wrote about RFCat N32 board integrating Meshtek-H52 module with nRF52832 2.4GHz multi-protocol SoC and a Skyworks power amplifier increasing power by up to 30 times to extend the wireless range to up to 200 meters. It turns out Nordic Semi outed its own range extender module late last year with nRF21540 RF front end module (FEM) that integrates a power amplifier (PA) and low noise amplifier (LNA) optimized to boost the link budget of the nRF52 and nRF53 multi-protocol wireless SoCs. nRF21540 key features and specifications: Supported wireless standards Bluetooth Low Energy (incl. Bluetooth mesh) Thread and Zigbee (802.15.4) Proprietary 2.4 GHz Output Power – Adjustable in small increments up to +21 dBm Receive Gain – +13 dB with 2.5 dB noise figure Antennas – 2x antenna ports for antenna diversity Host Interface – I/Os, SPI, or a combination Supply Voltage – 1.7 V to 3.6V Current consumption Tx tuned to +20 dBm: 115 mA […]

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nRF9160 Feather LTE IoT and GPS Board Launched for $99

Nordic Semi nRF9160 is a system-in-package part of nRF91 series offering NB-IoT and eMTC (LTE-M) IoT connectivity, as well as assisted GPS. The package is now accessible on a board following Adafruit Feather form factor. Made by Circuit Dojo (Jared Wolff), nRF9160 Feather board supports both CAT M1 LTE and NB-IoT, can be powered by a USB power adapter or a LiPo battery and runs Zephyr OS via the nRF Connect SDK. nRF9160 Feather specifications: SiP – Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160-SICA LTE-M/NB-IoT/GPS SIP with Arm Cortex-M33 MCU, 1024 KB flash, 256 KB SRAM Storage – Onboard 4MB NOR flash (note: upgraded from initial 2MB) Cellular Connectivity – LTE Cat-M1 (eMTC) and LTE NB1/NB2 (NB-IoT) plus 4FF SIM card slot, and u.FL connector for an external antenna GNSS – Built-in assisted GPS support plus u.FL connector for an external antenna Expansion – Feather I/Os (12+16 through holes) with digital and analog I/Os, I2C, UART, SPI, RST, 3.3V, VBAT, GND Debugging & Programmer […]

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ATCwatch Arduino Firmware Works with PineTime, COLMI P8, “Da Fit” Smartwatches

Earlier this week, we wrote about fake heart rate sensors found in ultra-low-cost fitness trackers as reported by Aaron Christophel. It turns out he also maintains an open-source project specific to P8 watch, PineTime, and other smartwatches compatible with Da Fit Android app: ATCwatch Arduino firmware. The firmware provides a basic menu system, notifications, and the latest implementation enables direct HTTP or HTTPS GET requests to control IoT devices and get info from the Internet. The current firmware consumes about 150-200uA standby current, and last roughly 92 hours on a charge with heavy notification and usage. While it’s possible to connect an SWD St-Link V2 to flash the bootloader and firmware, it’s not necessary, as it’s possible to flash ATCwatch Arduino firmware without having to open the watch by using over-the-air update function with DaFlasherFiles for PineTime or P8 watch together with DaFlasher Android app. Once the update is done, you can get notifications on your phone after installing D6 […]

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RFCat N32 Long Range nRF52832 Bluetooth Board Delivers 30x the Transmission Power with an Amplifier

Bluetooth 5.0 has two main new features: high speed (2Mbps) and long-range. But as we’ve seen in our nRF52840 vs nRF52832 vs nRF52810 comparison is that only nRF52840 supports Bluetooth 5.x long range. Bluetooth 5 long range is achieved with two new lower bit rates of 500 kbps and 125 kbps. So what do you do if you’d like a longer range and keep using the higher bit rates? You add a power amplifier and LNA to your board, and that’s exactly what Nikolaj (RFCat) did with RFCat N32 board based on Nordic Semi nRF52832 wireless SoC. RFCat N32 board specifications: Wireless module – Meshtek-H52 Smart Mesh Module with integrated PCB antenna based on Nordic Semi nRF52832 Arm Cortex-M4F Bluetooth 5-ready SoC (See datasheet) Skyworks RFX2401C PA &LNA with 18.9dBm TX gain and 11dBm RX gain USB – 1x USB-C port for power, programming and debugging via CP2102N USB to UART bridge I/Os – 2x 13-pin 2.54mm pitch headers with […]

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zGlue Launches the Open Chiplet Initiative in Collaboration with Google and Antmicro

We first covered zGlue’s ZiP (zGlue Integration Platform) in 2018 as the company introduced its multi-chip module similar to SiP (system-in-package) via a crowdfunding campaign. Just like SiP, the technology packages several components into a single package, but costs have been brought down to enable low-volume production of custom chips for a reasonable price. Since then the company announced new ZiP multi-chip modules such as nRF52832 based Omnichip and the FPGA, Arm or/and RISC-V based GEM ASIC by Antmicro. The company recently announced the Open Chiplet Initiative, a collection of open-source designs, tools and file formats, launched in collaboration with Google and  Antmicro. There are four main types of tools within the Open Chiplet Initiative: Open Chiplet Interfaces – Currently only ZEF (zGlue Chiplet Info Exchange Format) is provided. It defined the part numbers, pins, and mechanical dimensions of various parts. The ZEF specification can be found on Github. Design Tools PyChipBuilder, a Python implementation of zGlue’s ChipBuilder tool that […]

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