BLE Module Firmware Development Q&A: NFC pins creates “Error 404 – signal not found” (technically)

When you start developing your firmware for your Nordic nRF52832 solution-based Raytac BLE module, you will (like on most other projects) bump into some difficulties.

The other day, we had yet another case where a simple thing caused major difficulties for even some of the brightest people – a customer couldn’t get their GPIO direction bit to work.

Although not too difficult to solve, it’s a common error that most customers end up having on our modules and that is because Pin 0.09 & 0.10 are set to NFC per Nordic’s default settings. In order to be able to use these pins as normal GPIOs, you will have to change those settings.

The two pins I am talking about are the ones linked to the NFC-part to the far left in the circuit example below:


nRF52832 MDBT42V Schematic.png

So, to convert these two pins to normal GPIOs, here’s what you need to do:

In SES, you’ll need to add CONFIG_NFCT_PINS_AS_GPIOS.

Pic 1
Right-click on the project and click “Edit Options”
Pic 2
Select “Common”, click on “Preprocessor” under “Code” and then click “CONFIG_NFCT_PINS_AS_GPIOS”

Check out the link below for a reference example on Nordic’s DevZone.

Reference link: Nordic DevZone – NFC pins into GPIOs

 

Raytac Corporation
A BT4.1 & BT4.2 & BT5 module maker based on Nordic nRF51 & nRF52 solution 
(nRF51822 & nRF51422 & nRF52832 & nR52810 & nRF52840)
www.raytac.com          email: cs@raytac.com          Tel: +886.2.3234.0208

Guess What? Raytac is ready for nRF52840

Mass Production Information Updated
Raytac now is ready for coming nRF52840 SoC with Bluetooth specification BT5.
The module’s mass production schedule will be ascertained after Nordic IC supplying schedule affirmed. (expected around 2017 Q4 or 2018 Q1)
IMG_0773

New NFC feature on nRF52 Series: Read/write capable Type 4 Tag NFC library in nRF5 SDK

beacon_config-01.png
NFC feature is an interesting function in nRF52 series which can help developers and consumers to extent the device flexibility and accessibility.
Mostly, people knows that the NFC for nRF52 can work for paring work only.
Here Nordic Developer Zone introduced the new features of nRF52 for Type 4 Tag in nRF5 SDK.
Thus, not only used as a standard tag type for storing a web link or a text to launch apps and secure BLE pairing as known as Type 2 Tag. (The library already in nRF5 SDK), but also supports more features which enhance a faster communication and exposing data (known as NFC Type 4 Tag). Thus, nRF52 now can even write data to a tag with an NFC Reader/Writer such as smartphone and used in many secure transactions systems.
For more detail information, you can continue the reading in below which quoted from original post, or simply visit Nordic Developer Zone

Nordic nRF52840 Overview

 

Raytac Corporation

Bluetooth module maker based on Nordic nRF51 & nRF52 solution 
(Nordic nRF51822 & nRF51422 & nRF52832 & nRF52840)
Bluetooth Specification Version: BT4.0 & BT4.1 & BT4.2
Tel: +886.2.3234.0208
email: service@raytac.com
 
Quoted from Nordic
 

nRF52840

Advanced Multi-protocol SoC supporting Bluetooth 5 / ANT /802.15.4 / 2.4GHz Proprietary Acitve

Bluetooth 5-ready Nordic nRF52840 multi-protocol SoC released!

 

Raytac Corporation

Bluetooth module maker based on Nordic nRF51 & nRF52 solution 
(Nordic nRF51822 & nRF5142 & nRF52832 & nRF52840)
Bluetooth Specification Version: BT4.0 & BT4.1 & BT4.2
Tel: +886.2.3234.0208
email: service@raytac.com
http://raytaccorp.blogspot.tw/2016/12/bluetooth-5-ready-nordic-nrf52840-multi.html

Quoted from Nordic Press released!
https://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/News/News-releases/Product-Related-News/Bluetooth-5-ready-SoC-from-Nordic-redefines-scope-for-smart-home-IoT-and-wearables-by-delivering-4x-range-2x-bandwidth-and-best-in-class-security

Nordic Semiconductor has today released the new nRF52840 multi-protocol SoC with on-chip support for the upcoming Bluetooth 5 specification. In addition to Bluetooth 5 the nRF52840 also introduces on-chip support for the 802.15.4 standard. With Bluetooth 5’s new high throughput and long range modes and 802.15.4, it offers unparalleled development opportunities for connected devices for IoT. These opportunities include advanced single-chip wearables, wearables with payment options and connected home devices.
 
Bluetooth 5 will undergo ratification by the Bluetooth SIG beginning December 6th2016. Upon completion, we will provide Bluetooth 5-ready SoftDevices to support nRF52840 and the nRF52832 (high-throughput mode only).

6 wireless technologies for wearables

6 wireless technologies for wearables

Raytac Corporation
A BT4.1 & BT4.2 module maker based on Nordic nRF51 & nRF52 solution 
(nRF51822 & nRF51422 & nRF52832 & nRF51802)
Tel: +886.2.3234.0208
Quoted from Nordic Blog
Which one of these wireless technologies is best for your wearable product?
Are you creating a wearable product, but not sure of what wireless technology to choose? The way modern APIs work, developers don’t necessarily need to know the technical details. But having a basic understanding of the underlying technology will help you make apps that are more efficient, more responsive and easier to use.
Which solution is best for your wearable product? This depends on your requirements for bandwidth, power considerations and range. Here’s a brief overview of the 6 most common wireless technologies to consider.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

NFC works best for wearables that require low power consumption. It involves the transfer of tiny amounts of data over a very short range, essentially by touching two devices together. The devices will switch between two different modes: Active and passive. The power consumption for NFC is similar to what we see in Bluetooth Low Energy, although higher when communicating with a passive tag.

If you need your wearable to transfer data over a longer range, you should look for other options.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Today, most wearables are running on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE, formerly called Bluetooth Smart).
This technology is known as an easy to implement, low-cost option that requires very little power from your wearable. Your product can be powered by a coin cell battery for months – even years in some cases. But BLE comes with a compromise: Your data throughput will be limited. As most wearables generally transfer very little data, product owners can usually live with this.
The BLE chip is small, and fits nicely into an esthetically pleasing wearable that is convenient for the user to wear. A line-of-sight range of up to 100 meters is possible.

Using BLE requires your device to be paired with a host, most usually a cellphone with an app activated.

If you plan for your wearable to transfer higher amounts of data frequently,Bluetooth Low Energy may not be the best choice. Limited data transfer capacity makes this technology unsuitable for audio and video streaming, for example.

ANT

The wireless network technology ANT is a good option for sports wearables. A subsidiary of Garmin, ANT is huge in the sports and fitness segment where it is typically used for monitoring of heart rate, cycling power, distance and speed. Many of today’s cycling and fitness brands use ANT for their wearables. In fact, it has almost become a de facto standard in cycling.

The sensors and other nodes will act as either slaves or masters within a wireless network. Each node can transmit, receive or even function as a repeater to increase the range of the network. You can configure the network to spend long periods in low-power sleep mode, consuming extremely little power.

Bluetooth Classic

Initially a standard intended to cover a lot of use cases for wireless communication, Bluetooth Classic (originally named slimply ‘Bluetooth’, of course) found its niche in audio. Today it is the de facto standard for audio streaming, whether from your smartphone to a headset, speaker or in-car multimedia system.
Compared to BLE, Bluetooth Classic requires much higher bandwith and therefore more power. The network topology is limited and not suitable for large sensor networks.

Wi-Fi

If your wearable needs to transfer a lot of data with as little lag as possible, Wi-Fi is your best option. The technology is best when streaming huge amounts of data, like video, but its main drawback is high power consumption that will require daily battery charging.

By using Wi-Fi, your wearable product can connect directly to the Internet via a Wi-Fi Access point.
Google Glass uses Wi-Fi to transfer graphics at high data rates for a better user experience. But the high power consumption of the display, and the high CPU load, requires the consumer to charge the device frequently. Be aware that such charging requirements will be a very important factor in overall customer satisfaction.

Cellular

In a similar way to how your smartphone operates, using a cellular radio means that your wearable device can talk directly to the cellular network. Although convenient, as there is no need for a bridge device such as a smart phone to access the cloud, today’s cellular technologies are not suitable for small wearable devices. Power consumption is high and the physical dimensions are usually rather large. In the future, we will see new cellular technologies that are more competitive in the wearable space. But we’re not there yet.

The best of all worlds?

Some wearables combine different wireless technologies to take advantage of different aspects of each method. The Apple Watch uses Bluetooth Classic, BLE, Wi-Fi, and even NFC for mobile payments. Nordic Semiconductor is currently the only manufacturer delivering chips that support both ANT and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), as well as NFC – all in one low power, ‘system on chip’ solution.

Hopefully, you’re now a little clearer on which wireless technology is best for you. If you’re still struggling, consider your product priorities. Is it size, power consumption, user experience, cost, or something else? Once you’re clear on the priorities for your wearable, your wireless communication options become a lot clearer, too.