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Home > Technology List > Nordic Semiconductor's NRF52840 Dongle And NRF52840 SOC

Nordic Semiconductor's NRF52840 Dongle And NRF52840 SOC

Published time: 2019-12-20 12:10:16

Nordic Semiconductor's NRF52840 Dongle And NRF52840 SOC

1.Who are the nRF52840 Dongle

The nRF52840 Dongle is a small, low-cost USB dongle for Bluetooth® low energy, Bluetooth mesh, Thread, ZigBee, 802.15.4, ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using the nRF52840 SoC.Nordic Semiconductor is the manufacturer to develop the nRF52840 Dongle

The Dongle is the perfect target hardware for use with nRF Connect for Desktop as it is low-cost but still support all the short range wireless standards used with Nordic devices. 

The dongle has been designed to be used as a wireless HW device together with nRF Connect for Desktop. For other use cases please do note that there is no debug support on the Dongle, only support for programming the device and communicating through USB.

It is supported by most of the nRF Connect for Desktop apps and will automatically be programmed if needed. In addition custom applications can be made and downloaded to the Dongle. It has a user programable RGB LED, a green LED, a user programmable button as well as 15 GPIO accessible from castellated solder points along the edge. Example applications are available in the nRF5 SDK under the board name PCA10059.The nRF52840 Dongle is supported by nRF Connect for Desktop as well as programming through nRFUtil.


Low cost USB dongle supporting Bluetooth low energy, Thread, Zigbee, 802.15.4, ANT and 2.4GHz
15 GPIO and interfaces available on castellated edge soldering points
1 Programmable RGB LED
1 Programmable green LED
1 Programmable Button
Updatable through USB DFU


The nRF52840-based dongle doesn’t seem to be widely available yet, and at the time of writing only Avnet (in Europe) seems to have some in stock. The price is €12.83 (approx. $15) in single unit quantities, dropping to €9.41 (approx $11) for orders above a 1,000 units. While Mouser (in the US) is offering the dongle at the lower price of $10, it doesn’t seem to have any on hand, and is advertising a 9 week factory lead time with 400 units “on order.” Right now I can’t find any other sources, although it’s likely that other Nordic distributers will quickly step in with stock available soon.

Note: The nRF52840 Dongle does not have native support for debug capabilities. Debug support can be achieved by connecting to an external nRF52840 DK/nRF52 DK.


The nRF52840 PDK is a versatile single board development kit for Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth low energy, ANT, 802.15.4 and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using the nRF52840 SoC. This kit supports development for the nRF52840 SoC.

The kit is hardware compatible with the Arduino Uno Revision 3 standard, making it possible to use 3rd-party shields that are compatible to this standard. An NFC antenna can be connected the kit to enable NFC tag functionality. The kit gives access to all I/O and interfaces via connectors and has 4 LEDs and 4 buttons which are user-programmable.


Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 Multi-Protocol System-on-Chip (SoC) is an ultra-low power, highly flexible single chip solution ideal for short range wireless applications. The embedded 2.4GHz transceiver supports Bluetooth® 5 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), 802.15.4 / Thread, ANT/ANT+, and proprietary 2.4GHz protocols. It is on-air compatible with existing nRF52 Series, nRF51 Series, and nRF24 Series products from Nordic Semiconductor. The Dynamic Multi-protocol feature of the nRF52840 allows concurrent Bluetooth 5 and Thread wireless connectivity. Dynamic Multi-Protocol ensures the radio hardware’s operational time is shared between the protocols, allowing both to remain connected. Transmitting and receiving data using one protocol does not interfere with the other link during concurrent support.

The nRF52840 SoC is built around a 32-bit, 64MHz Arm® Cortex™-M4F CPU with 1MB flash and 256kB RAM on chip. This CPU configuration supports DSP instructions, HW accelerated Floating Point Unit (FPU) calculations, single-cycle multiply and accumulate, and hardware divide for energy-efficient processing complex operations.

The nRF52840 SoC employs power and resource management to maximize application energy efficiency and battery life. The supply range between 1.7V and 5.5V supports primary and secondary cell battery technologies and direct USB supply without the need for external regulators. All peripherals have independent and automated clock and power management to ensure they are powered down when not required for task operation to keep power consumption to a minimum without the application having to implement and test complex power management schemes. The nRF52840 has a comprehensive system of automated and adaptive power management features. These features are built into all aspects of device operation from power supply switching, to peripheral bus/EasyDMA memory management, and automated shut down of all but the absolute essential peripherals required to perform a task.

Best-in-class security is provided by the on-chip Arm TrustZone® CryptoCell. A full-speed (12Mbs) USB 2.0 controller is also included on-chip. An extensive range of peripherals are available with a number of high performance digital interfaces such as high speed SPI (32MHz) and quad SPI (32MHz) to allow direct interfacing to displays and external memory sources. The nRF52840 SoC also features Over-the-Air Device Firmware Upgrade (OTA-DFU) support. This allows in the field updates of application and/or protocol stacks.The nRF52840 SoC is offered in a compact 7mm x 7mm AQFN73 package with 48 available GPIO.

Dynamic multi-protocol tranceiver
Bluetooth 5 / Bluetooth Low Energy
IEEE 802.15.4/Thread
Proprietary 2.4GHz
Arm Cortex-M4 32-bit processor with FPU, 64MHz
Up to 111dB link budget for Bluetooth long range mode
Full-speed 12Mbs USB controller
On-chip NFC-A tag for Out-of-Band (OOB) pairing
Software stacks available as downloads
Application development independent of protocol stack
Programmable output power from +8dBm to -20dBm
-96dBm Sensitivity for Bluetooth low energy
On-air compatible with nRF52, nRF51, nRF24
Arm Cryptocell CC310 cryptographic accelerator
Wide 1.7V to 5.5V supply voltage range
Full selection of interfaces SPI/UART/PWM
Programmable Peripheral Interface (PPI)
High speed SPI interface 32MHz
Quad SPI interface 32MHz
RSSI (1dB resolution)
EasyDMA for all digital interfaces
RAM mapped FIFO using EasyDMA
12bit/200K SPS ADC
128 bit AES/ECB/CCM/AAR co-processor
Single-ended antenna output (on-chip balun)
On-chip DC-DC buck converter
Quadrature demodulator
Regulated supply for external components up to 25mA

AQFN73 package, 7mm x 7mm


Advanced wearables
Connected watches
Advanced personal fitness devices
Wearables with wireless payment
Connected health
Virtual/Augmented Reality applications
IoT/Smart Home sensors and controllers
Industrial IoT sensors and controllers
Interactive entertainment devices
Advanced remote controls/Gaming controllers



nRF52840 Objective Product Specification v0.5

7.Final Explanation

The nRF52840 is ideal for building products and infrastructure employing mesh networking. It has hardware and software support for Bluetooth mesh with nRF5 SDK for Mesh. It is a Thread certified component and is supported by the nRF5 SDK for Thread for those building Thread compatible products.Processing power and flash flexibility

The nRF52840 incorporates the powerful ARM Cortex-M4 CPU with Floating Point Unit (FPU) running at 64 MHz enabling the most demanding applications with complex arithmetic requirements to be realized in a single chip solution.

8.About Nordic Semiconductor

Nordic Semiconductor is at the forefront of this wireless revolution having single-handedly pioneered the ULP wireless sector during the 1990s. Today, due in large part to Nordic's persistent efforts to continually develop, enhance and expand the reach ULP wireless – a version of ULP wireless connectivity called Bluetooth low energy (previously called Bluetooth Smart) has now been adopted by the open standards group behind Bluetooth wireless technology: the Bluetooth SIG. As such, Bluetooth low energy will shortly appear alongside classic Bluetooth in almost every new cell phone and Bluetooth-enabled device.Nordic remains passionately committed to ULP wireless technology and continues to be excited and sometimes even amazed by the new possibilities and applications that ULP wireless is creating – possibilities that will one day benefit the lives of billions worldwide.Nordic Semiconductor is a publicly listed, global Norwegian company listed on the Norwegian Oslo stock exchange (OSX: NOD) and headquarter in Trondheim, Norway. The company was established in 1983 as a spinout from the Technical University of Trondheim and is ISO 9001:2008 certified.


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