Nordic Semiconductor ASA has released the nRF24LU1+ USB dongle single chip solution for ultra-low power (ULP) wireless peripherals.
The nRF24LU1+ effectively combines the class-leading performance of Nordic’s existing nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz radio transceiver with the extended feature set of its nRF24LU1 USB dongle single chip device to produce a market-leading solution.
By integrating a full-speed USB 2.0 compliant device controller with an 8-bit flash microcontroller and the nRF24L01+ transceiver, the nRF24LU1+ provides a single chip USB dongle solution with a minimal external bill of materials (BOM). This includes an integrated voltage regulator that allows the chip to be powered directly from a USB bus, removing the requirement for an external voltage regulator. In addition, on-chip flash memory eliminates the need for an external E2PROM memory. The only external components the nRF24LU1+ chip requires are a low cost 16MHz crystal, decoupling, matching network and antenna.
“With the nRF24LU1+ we have completed the transition from nRF24L01 to the nRF24L01+ transceiver technology for the core of our mainstay 2.4GHz product portfolio comprising the nRF24LU1+, nRF24LE1 and nRF24L01+ products,” encapsulates Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Nordic’s Product Manager for Ultra Low Power Wireless.
“We have worked closely with our strategic customers on this line-up and they are as excited about the new chips as we are. All these devices are now all based on our latest class-leading 2.4GHz transceiver technology and represent the strongest and most complete line-up of 2.4GHz wireless solutions available on the market today for ULP applications.”
Bonnerud continues: “The nRF24LU1+ offers outstanding miniaturization and performance for single chip wireless USB dongles; the nRF24LE1 with its integrated mixed signal flash microcontroller and sophisticated power management is a compelling single chip solution for a broad range of wireless applications; and when combined with third party microcontrollers the nRF24L01+ provides a generic two chip solution for almost any ULP wireless application.”
In addition to the nRF24L01+ transceiver upgrade, the nRF24LU1+ extends the reference design support, feature set and performance of the nRF24LU1 in several key areas:
Ultra compact nRFready USB dongle
The nRFready USB dongle is a complete and production ready reference design for the nRF24LU1+ USB dongle, including mechanics and plastic. It takes advantage of the single chip architecture and the small 5x5mm form factor to place the nRF24LU1+ inside the USB connector to significantly reduce the length of the USB dongle. Thanks to Nordic Semiconductor’s expertise in advanced RF modeling and design, the ultra compact nRF24LU1+ USB dongle has an operating range comparable to full size USB dongles.
nRFgo Development Tools
The nRF24LU1+ is supported by Nordic Semiconductor’s new nRFgo evaluation and development platform. The core of the nRFgo platform is the nRFgo Starter Kit that provides a unified platform for Nordic Semiconductor ULP wireless offerings.
The nRF24LU1+ Development Kit works with the nRFgo Starter Kit and together they include everything needed to evaluate and develop applications on the chip. The Software Development Kit (SDK) includes full support for Keil µVision IDE, including a plug-in for the nRFProbe hardware debugger. A library of Hardware Abstraction Layers, verified USB firmware stack, Gazell RF protocol stack and complete example applications make it easy for firmware developers to take advantage of all the nRF24LU1+’s advanced features.
The nRF24LU1+ Development Kit includes two nRFgo RF modules with PCB antennas and one with an SMA antenna. It also includes a USB dongle that enables easy prototyping of dongle applications. The kit is based on the 32kbytes variant offering those who are targeting the 16kbytes variant code-space headroom for firmware development.
Gazell RF Protocol stack
The Gazell RF protocol stack included in the SDK is a complete wireless connectivity stack solution for the nRF24LU1+. It takes advantages of all the advanced features in the nRF24LU1+ to provide a reliable, secure, high performance and robust wireless solution.
Two flash size options: 16 or 32kbytes
The nRF24LU1+ comes in two variants with either 16 or 32kbytes of flash memory. Except for the flash memory size the variants are identical. Both variants are pin compatible with the existing nRF24LU1 and only a small firmware change is required for migration from the nRF24LU1 to nRF24LU1+.
“With the nRF24LU1+ we are making it very easy for our customers to make ultra compact USB dongles,” says Geir Langeland, Nordic’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “The nRFready USB dongle reference design, the nRFgo development tools and the Gazell RF protocol stack comprise a complete solution. If you then factor in the incredible performance of the nRF24L01+ transceiver radio technology we are confident that the nRF24LU1+ will accelerate the momentum we have already seen with the nRF24LU1.”
Langeland concludes: “Indeed this solution is really tailored to meet the stringent and tough demands of our existing and new customers and the early feedback we have received from them has been incredibly positive and enthusiastic.”
Availability and pricing
Production samples and development tools for nRF24LU1+ are widely available today. High volume quantities will be available from March 2009.
Pricing of the nRF24LU1+ 16kbytes variant will be identical to the existing nRF24LU1.
About Nordic Semiconductor ASA
Nordic Semiconductor is a fabless semiconductor company specializing in ultra-low power (ULP) short-range wireless communication. Nordic is a public company listed on the Norwegian stock exchange.
Nordic is an associate member of the Bluetooth SIG, and has contributed core expertise in ultra-low power RF design to the forthcoming specification for Bluetooth low energy wireless technology (formerly ultra low power Bluetooth). Bluetooth low energy wireless technology is a short range RF communication technology featuring ultra-low power consumption, a lightweight protocol stack and simple integration with Bluetooth® wireless technology chips. Bluetooth low energy wireless technology ushers in the next generation of RF communications by opening up many new opportunities for wireless data links between suitably equipped mobile phones or personal computers (PCs) and coin cell battery-powered devices such as sports and health sensors.
Nordic’s products are all manufactured in ultra modern semiconductor process technologies through strong relationships with world-best manufacturing facilities. Sales are primarily made through a carefully selected worldwide distribution network. The company has offices in Trondheim and Oslo, Norway, the US (west coast), Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, and is listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange (OSX: NOD). All operations are managed according to the ISO 9001:2000-approved quality assurance system.
Nordic Semiconductor ASA
T: +61 (0)2 8901 0230
M: +61 (0)403 810827
Note: The above text is the public part of the press release obtained from the manufacturer (with minor modifications). EETimes Europe cannot be held responsible for the claims and statements made by the manufacturer. The text is intended as a supplement to the new product presentations in EETimes Europe magazine.