nRF52 Architecture

nRF52 Architecture

This series of system on chip offers a very powerful microcontroller with an amazing multi-protocol 2.4GHz radio transceiver, combined with a rich set of  system, analog , digital peripherals  and RAM/flash memories all in  just one 3.2 x3.0 mm CSP chip. The nRF52 offers more processing power than its predecessor the nRF51  . The ARM Cortex-M4 on the nRF52 is more capable than the ARM Cortex-M0 , especially when it comes to floating point and DSP operations. More flash and RAM memory were added in the new series . The clock rate has also been increased substantially (See comparison here )and power consumption has been further reduced by adopting different advanced strategies and silicon technologies. The figures below show a brief and detailed view of the nRF52 architecture.

nRF52 Block Diagram – Brief

nRF52_block_diagram_detailed

nRF52 Block Diagram- Detailed

Available system peripherals and Digital and Analog I/O (in order as they appear in the detailed block diagram) :

  • 31x GPIO (Except the nRF52840 which has 48XGPIO ).
  • Hardware Random Number Generator (RNG).
  • 3×24-bit Real Time Clock (RTC).
  • 5×32-bit timer.
  • Built-in Temp sensor.
  • 128-bit AES ECB/CCM/AAR co-processor( AES Hardware Encryption Accelerator).
  • 2x Master SPI.
  • 2x TWI/M/S (2-wire(I2C compatible ) ).
  • 2xUART.
  • 2xSlave SPI.
  • Pulse Density Modulation (PDM)
  • Inter-IC Sound (I2S)
  • 4x Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
  • Quadrature Demodulator.
  • Successive Approximation Analog to Digital Convertor(SAADC).
  • 2x Comparators ( COMP and LPCOMP)
  • GPIOTE( GPIO Task and Events ).
  • Near Field Communication Tag (NFCT)
  • 16-channel Programmable Peripheral Interconnect (PPI).
  • Watchdog timer.

There are three chips options in the nRF52 series :

nRF52 Series

The complete comparison between these chips is shown in the figure below(Click on the picture to enlarge):

nRF52 series chips comparison

The same advanced feature present in nRF51 (PPI, Flexible GPIO, etc..) which were covered in LabA-1 are  also present on the nRF52.

nRF2 Development Boards:

    1. nRF52-DK

The nRF52-DK  development kit is a single board development kit for Bluetooth low energy, Bluetooth 5, ANT, and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using the nRF52832 multi-protocol SoC. The kit is compatible with the Arduino Uno Revision 3 standard, making it possible to use 3rd-party shield that are compatible to this standard with the kit. The kit gives access to all I/O and interfaces via connectors and has 4 LEDs and 4 buttons which are user-programmable. The board ID which identifies this development board in the SDK is PCA10040.

nRF52-DK (Development Kit)

The key features of the development kit are:

  • Hosts the nRF52832.
  • Buttons and LEDs for user interaction
  •  I/O interface for Arduino form factor plug-in modules
  • All I/O and interfaces available via connectors
  • USB Drag-and-drop mass storage device (MSD) programming
  • Segger J-Link and CMSIS-DAP interface for programming and debugging from offline tools and pyOCD
  • pluggable NFC antenna
  • I/O for power consumption measurements
  • Connector for RF measurements
  • Accepts power through:
    • USB
    • External source (1.8V-3.6V)
    • Single 2032 coin-cell battery, onboard battery holder

2. nRF52840-DK

The nRF52840  Development Kit is a single board development kit for Bluetooth low energy, Bluetooth 5, ANT, 802.15.4 and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using the nRF52840 multi-protocol SoC. The kit is compatible with the Arduino Uno Rev. 3 standard making it possible to use a wide range of 3rd-party shields during development. the  kit has more  I/O (48) than its predecessors and all are accessible via connectors and there is an integrated PCB trace antenna and an RF connector for direct RF test measurements. There is also a connector for interfacing to an external NFC antenna (included in kit). The board ID which identifies this development board in the SDK is PCA10056.

nRF52840-DK (Development Kit)

The key features of the development kit are:

  • Hosts the nRF52840.
  • IEEE 802.15.4 radio support
    – Thread
    – Zigbee
  • Buttons and LEDs for user interaction
  • Arduino Rev. 3 compatible connector for use with
    3rd party shields
  • All I/O (48) and interfaces available via connectors
  • USB Drag-and-drop mass storage device (MSD) programming
  • Segger J-Link and CMSIS-DAP interface for programming and debugging from offline tools and pyOCD
  • pluggable NFC antenna
  • USB interface direct to nRF52840 SoC
  • USB interface to power and Program/Debug MCU
  • Compatible with Nordic Power Profiler Kit
  • +5.5v – +1.7v operation from battery, external or USB

 

References and pictures:
Nordic Semiconductor http://www.nordicsemi.com