Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52820 Multi-protocol SoC combines Bluetooth 5.2 with USB 2.0

Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52820 Multi-protocol SoC combines Bluetooth 5.2 with USB 2.0

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Are you on the market for an SoC with advanced wireless connectivity in a really small package? Then, you should take a look at the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52820 SoC, that offers you advanced wireless connectivity and built-in USB 2.0, ready to size-down your awesome projects!

At first glance, nRF52820 seems like any other IC, but it gets more and more interesting when you dive into it. In its small package, there is an ultra low power, fully featured multiprotocol radio that is capable of handling all Bluetooth 5.2 has to offer (such as Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth Mesh, Thread and Zigbee mesh protocols, along with directorion finding, high-throughput 2 Mbps and long-range features), full speed USB 2.0 capabilities, among other digital interfaces and analog capabilities.

Overall, we are looking at a very solid solution, especially when we look at its set of specs:

  • ARM Cortex-M4 clocked at 64 MHz
  • Memories: 256 KB Flash and 32 KB RAM
  • 1.7 to 5.5 V supply voltage range + integrated DC/DC regulator
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth 5.2 + Direction Finding + High throughput 2 Mbps + Long Range) and Bluetooth mesh
  • 802.15.4 protocols (Thread and Zigbee)
  • Ultra-low power 2.4 GHz multiprotocol radio (+8 dBm Tx power, -95 dBm Rx sensitivity, 4.9 mA in Tx mode at 0 dBm and 4.7 mA in Rx mode at 1 Mbps)
  • Security: 128-bit AES encryption
  • Digital interfaces: 12 Mbps Full Speed USB 2.0, UART, 2x SPI/TWI, QDEC
  • Other peripherals: Analog comparator, 4x 32-bit timer/counter, 2x 24 real-time counter, PPI, GPIOTE, temperature sensor, WDT and RNG
  • Extended operating temperature range (from -40 to +105 ºC)
  • package: 5 x 5 mm QFN40 with 18 GPIO pins
The hardware stack of the nRF52820 in greater detail
The hardware stack of the nRF52820 in greater detail

Regarding the SoC, it gives you some degree of freedom when it comes to powering your projects. Since you can supply it with voltages ranging from 1.7 to 5.5 V, both rechargeable batteries or USB are viable options. Its extended temperature range makes it useful in projects where temperature can be an issue, such as professional lighting applications. The Bluetooth 5.2 features it packs, along with its small form factor, makes it a viable asset in tracking applications, where the Direction Finding capabilities come in handy. Lastly, the fully-featured, built-in USB and the multiprotocol radio with +8 dB transmission power make it a suitable network processor to be paired along with application MCUs in gateways, smart home applicancies, commercial and industrial applications that require you to have advanced wireless connectivity. Overall, there are a lot of possibilities in such a tiny module.

The nRF52820 augments the already interesting nRF52 series, by Nordic Semiconductor, and chances are you already worked with one of those modules, which will help you reduce the time to market and increase the reusability of your software / decrease the development cost. Overall, we think it is an interesting module to dip your feet into Bluetooth 5.2. Considering the small cost of $4.34 for each module (or $48.48 for a development kit), you have nothing to lose. 

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