LONDON – Nordic Semiconductor A/S has announced the availability of the nRF8001 Bluetooth 4.0 slave transceiver, which the company claims is the lowest energy Bluetooth Low Power chip.
It works from sub 12.5-milliamp peak currents and connected mode average currents as low as sub 12-microamps and can offer years of battery life from coin cell batteries. The chip is the first in a new product line from Nordic (Oslo, Norway).
The nRF8001 is supplied in a compact 5-mm by 5-mm, 32-pin QFN package suitable for wireless products and sensors designed to be worn on - or carried close to - the end user's body. Such devices include: mobile phone peripherals such as proximity tags and watches, and sports fitness and health sensors, as well as consumer electronic remote controls, and home and industrial automation devices.
In addition, the nRF8001 integrates a DC/DC regulator that, if enabled, can further cut peak currents and average currents by up to 20 percent when running from a coin cell battery source. The nRF8001 is also the first fully qualified Bluetooth v4.0 low energy design to combine the Radio, Link Layer, and Host, enabling designers to easily create new Bluetooth end products without any additional listing fees.
The nRF8001 chip also integrates a 32-kHz RC oscillator that eliminates the need for external 32-kHz crystals, a 16-MHz crystal oscillator supporting low-cost 16-MHz crystals, plus an on-chip linear voltage regulator that provides a supply range of 1.9 to 3.6-V as an alternative to its integrated DC/DC regulator.
Production samples and a development kit for the nRF8001 are available now directly from Nordic Semiconductor. General availability through sales distribution partners will start mid-February this year, with volume shipments beginning in March.
The technology operates in the 2.4-GHz Industrial, Scientific & Medical (ISM) band and features a physical layer bit rate of 1-Mbps over a range up to 15 meters. The Bluetooth Low Enery chips will typically operate with low duty cycles, entering ULP idle and sleep modes, to wake up periodically for a communication burst.