Nordic Semiconductor Announces the nRF52820 Bluetooth 5.2 SoC

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

March 19, 2020


Nordic Semiconductor Announces the nRF52820 Bluetooth 5.2 SoC

The nRF52820 Bluetooth 5.2 SoC is a network processor for gateways and other smart home and industrial applications requiring advanced wireless connectivity.

Nordic Semiconductor announces the nRF52820 Bluetooth 5.2 System-on-Chip (SoC), the sixth addition to its nRF52 Series. The nRF52820 features a 64-MHz 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4 processor and includes 256 KB Flash and 32 KB RAM making it an ideal single-chip option for a wide range of commercial and industrial wireless applications including professional lighting, asset tracking, HID, and gaming products.

The nRF52820 is a low power Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE), Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and 2.4-GHz proprietary lower-end wireless connectivity solution. The nRF52820's is capable of all the features of Bluetooth 5, 5.1, and 5.2 including Long Range and high-throughput 2 Mbps, Direction Finding, LE Power Control, and LE Isochronous Channels. The SoC also includes a Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB 2.0 interface.

In addition, when paired with an application MCU, the nRF52820's multiprotocol radio and +8 dBm output power makes it an ideal network processor for gateways and other smart home applications requiring wireless connectivity. The nRF52820 is qualified for operation across an extended industrial temperature range of -40 to 105 °C.

Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB operation is a key feature of the nRF52820. USB is a connectivity interface that enables low-latency and high-bandwidth communication with a range of host devices, such as PCs, smartphones, and gateways. The connectivity also makes device firmware updates (DFU)-over-USB practical. In addition to the main supply regulators, the USB peripheral in the nRF52820 includes a dedicated regulator for converting the 5-V VBUS signal to the 3.3 V needed for the USB signaling interface.

The nRF52820 includes up to 18 GPIOs and a range of analog and digital interfaces such as analog comparator, SPI, UART, TWI, and QDEC. The supply voltage covers a 1.7 to 5.5-V input range, allowing the nRF52820 to be powered by coin-cells and rechargeable batteries. When connected to a USB host, the nRF52820 can be directly powered by the 5 V VBUS signal. Nordic provides a reference layout for this configuration

The nRF52820 is supported by the S112 and S140 SoftDevices (Bluetooth 5.1-qualified protocol stacks), and the S122 (alpha version) SoftDevice. The S112 and S122 are memory-optimized peripheral and central stacks respectively, while the S140 is a feature-complete Bluetooth 5 protocol stack for central and peripheral, including Long Range and high-throughput 2 Mbps features. Development with the nRF52820 is supported by Nordic's nRF5 SDK (Software Development Kit) v16.0.0, while full nRF5 SDK support will follow in Q2 2020. The nRF52833 Development Kit (DK) can be used to emulate the nRF52820 and is a good basis to start nRF52820-based designs. The DK is a single board development kit for Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth mesh, 802.15.4, Thread, Zigbee, and 2.4GHz proprietary applications. The DK is compatible with the Arduino Uno Rev3 standard, enabling the use of the compatible Nordic Power Profiler Kit and a wide range of third-party shields during development.

nRF52820 engineering samples are available now. The SoC is available in a 5x5 mm QFN40 with 18 GPIOs and is drop-in compatible with Nordic's nRF52833 SoC. 

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Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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