Nordic nRF5x BLE In-Depth Training Course (Foundation Level) FAQ

Last modified: 4th January 2022.

Q1) What does this course offer?

Ans: Build in a short period of time a solid foundation in the nRF5x SoC hardware and software, this can significantly reduce your product time to market and help you avoid making early design errors that pays costly in later stages of your product.  The foundation level main objectives are outlined below:

  1. Get familiarized with the nRF5x (nRF51 and nRF52) family, it’s portfolio, available chip options, available development boards, and their typical applications.
  2. Provides a summary comparison between the nRF51 series and the nRF52 series of the nRF5x family.
  3. Identify the right nRF5x SoC for your project.
  4. Understand the hardware architectures of the nRF5x family, its computational capabilities, unique ultra low power features (Programmable Peripheral Interconnect-PPI, Flexible GPIO, Automated Power Management), available hardware peripherals, system blocks, and memories.
  5. Present all available methods and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to program and develop firmware for the nRF5x family and compare them in depth.
  6. Examine thoroughly the nRF5 Software Development Kit ( nRF5 SDK) by Nordic Semiconductor and understand its structure and content. The SDK contains a broad selection of hardware access layers(HAL), drivers, board definition files, libraries, communication protocol stacks such as the SoftDevices for BLE, and a large set of examples.
  7. Understand the nRF5x compatibility matrix to identify the compatibility between nRF5x SoC revisions, SDKs, the relevant SoftDevices with corresponding SoftDevice Specifications, and development kits. This is a very important step to select the right nRF5 SDK version to be used, and also to set the right settings for the Flash/RAM sections in the linker files.
  8. Go over all the steps needed to download, install, configure, license, and test the SEGGER Embedded Studio(SES) for Nordic nRF5x devices and development boards. Then, we learn how to setup, and run an SES project targeting an nRF5x chip from scratch. The SEGGER Embedded studio is a great IDE with free business license sponsored by Nordic Semiconductor for their chips.
  9. Get familiarized with interacting with system blocks, peripherals, the standards that define the interface with the on-chip hardware peripherals “The unified peripheral architecture”, tasks, events, shorts, and the peripherals I/O mapping.
  10. Study and practice through detailed hands-on coding exercises the following frequently used system blocks/hardware peripherals, their access layers, drivers, and libraries:
    • GPIO.
    • TIMER.
    • PPI.
    • GPIOTE.
    • UART.
    • Temperature Sensor.
    • PWM.
  11. Understand the power saving schemes available on an nRF5x SoC and the expected power consumption of each mode. Practice the nRF5 SDK API’s to safely put an nRF5x SoC into the desired sleep mode.

Q2) Is the course video-based?

Ans: No. The course is in the form of easy to follow text-based lessons rich with graphs, various types of illustrations and lots of hands-on codes. The lessons present both theoretical and practical information in clear, concise and logical walk-through. Preview sample lessons links are listed below:

Lesson 14 – nRF5x Power Management Tutorial

Lesson 2 – nRF51 Architecture

Lesson 1 – nRF5x SoC Overview

Q3) How long do I need to finish the course?

Ans:  The course is self-paced. How long will it take to finish the course, this depends on your technical background, your previous experience in writing software for embedded systems, and how much time you are planning to dedicate for the course per day.  Based on our clients’ feedback, a minimum of 18 hours in total is needed to finish the course. Nevertheless, you can always use the search feature of the course to quickly locate the topics you are most interested in.

Q4) How much does the course cost?

Ans: A one-month subscription costs 159 USD only. The membership will give you access to the course and associated content for the selected period (30 days from the date of purchase) in addition to technical support for the covered material. The course can also be conducted face to face on-site, or face to face remotely using Zoom, contact us to get a quote.

Q5) I am planning to use a different development board for my prototype (Ex: nRF52 DK or Nordic Thingy:52), is the course still useful for me ?

Ans: Yes. The reason why we chose the nRF52840 DK is that it utilizes the high-end SoC in the nRF5x family(nRF52 and nRF51), which means that it supports all BLE 5 features offered by Nordic Semiconductor.

Both the nRF52 DK, and the Nordic Thingy:52 boards utilize the mainstream nRF52832 SoC. You can think of the nRF52840 as a superset of all nRF5x SoCs(nRF52 and nRF51), except the newly added nRF52811 and nRF52833 which are dedicated for direction finding and extended temperature operation.

We would assist you with the modifications needed to run the course’s exercises on your board.

Q6) I am interested in taking the course using a different IDE/toolchain  (Keil, IAR, Make/Eclipse,  or Mbed). Which IDE do you support?

Ans: The online course is tailored to Nordic Semicondictor’s recommended IDE which is the SEGGER Embedded Studio(SES), however, the on-site version of the course can be conducted using your own flavor of IDE/toolchain (Keil, IAR, Make/Your IDE(Microsoft Visual Studio, Eclipse, etc..), or Mbed). Please feel free to contact our team for more information on this.

Q7) Is the course based on the bare-metal nRF5 SDK or the RTOS-based nRF Connect SDK

Ans: The course is based on the nRF5 SDK and focuses on bare-metal programming.

Q8) We are interested in topics/areas not covered in the syllabus. Can you help?

Ans: Yes. Our teams of engineers and firmware developers have extensive experience in Nordic Semiconductor chips and can help you with any aspect of it. We also offer outsourcing and turn-key solutions at competitive prices. Please feel free to contact our team for more information on this.