Nordic-powered Arduino evaluation kit delivers battery efficient range extension to makers and developers of IoT solutions

Nordic Semiconductor collaborates with Skyworks Solutions and Embedded Masters to provide long range, low power, nRF51 DK compatible development platform

Nordic Semiconductor today announced that Denver, CO-based Embedded Masters has released the EMRF-nRF51-SKY66111-11 Bluetooth® low energy long range Arduino -form factor evaluation kit. The evaluation kit is the result of a collaboration between Nordic, Embedded Masters, and Skyworks Solutions, an innovator of high performance analog semiconductors.

The Arduino compatible evaluation kit supports Nordic’s nRF51422 ANT/Bluetooth low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC), and Skyworks’ SKY66111-11, a low-power Bluetooth low energy front-end module (FEM) for range extension applications. Because it adheres to the Arduino shield form factor, the evaluation kit directly plugs in to Nordic’s nRF51 Development Kit (DK), providing OEMs with a platform to easily prototype, test, debug, and evaluate long-range and low-power coin cell battery powered Internet of Things (IoT) applications including sensors for the connected home and industrial sectors.

Skyworks’ SKY66111-11 RF FEM offers adjustable output power up to +12dBm and a power consumption of only 10 mA in Tx mode. The range of operation for the system using this highly efficient and low noise FEM doubles and coverage area increases four-fold. This performance-leading solution is optimal for the Nordic-powered coin cell battery applications operating in the 2.4 GHz Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) spectrum allocation.

Nordic’s nRF51422 SoC integrates a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 microcontroller, 2.4GHz radio, 256kB/128kB Flash memory, and 32kB/16kB RAM on a single chip. The powerful, highly flexible multiprotocol device is ideally suited for ANT and Bluetooth low energy ultra low power wireless applications. The nRF51 DK is a versatile single-board DK for Bluetooth low energy, ANT, and 2.4GHz proprietary applications using nRF51 Series SoCs, including the nRF51422.

The EMRF-nRF51 and SKY66111-11 combination also features a SubMiniature version A (SMA) RF Connector for RF analysis, a PCB Antenna, and a selectable power source (CR2032 battery, external supply, USB, or nRF51 DK). The evaluation kit has four push-buttons for application use, a header for additional GPIO access, four application LEDs and can make use of the Segger J-LINK debugger/programmer incorporated into the nRF51 DK.

“Embedded Masters’ long range Bluetooth low energy evaluation boards and Arduino shield-based wireless sensor evaluation platform make it easy for product developers to prototype, test and evaluate solutions based on Nordic’s ANT and Bluetooth low energy technology, helping customers bring their products to market faster,” says John Bucky Williammee, Embedded Masters Managing Partner.

“Skyworks is excited to be collaborating with Nordic to create a best-in-class solution that integrates one of our latest front-end modules with Nordic’s advanced wireless platform. This solution delivers an unmatched power consumption and range combination for the ever-increasing number of IoT applications,” adds John O’Neill, vice president of marketing for Skyworks.

“This collaboration simplifies the design process and development time for OEMs who are looking to accelerate their time to market. It also enables a new and extended range of applications that benefit from Bluetooth wireless technology including watches, proximity tags, sports and fitness sensors, healthcare sensors and remote controls,” continues O’Neill.

“The Embedded Masters evaluation kit is the result of the three-way collaboration between companies offering the best technology in their respective fields,” says J. Darren O’Donnell, Director of Sales & Marketing – Americas with Nordic Semiconductor. “The result is an Arduino shield form factor prototyping tool that not only builds on Nordic’s award-winning nRF51 Series RF technology and connects seamlessly with the company’s nRF51 ANT/Bluetooth low energy development environment but also, courtesy of Skyworks front-end module, introduces extended range to enable an even wider selection of wireless applications.”

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