Before you start uploading any of the example sketches, you'll need to CONFIGURE the Bluefruit interface - there's a lot of options so pay close attention!

Which board do you have?

There's a few products under the Bluefruit name:

If you are using the Bluefruit LE Shield then you have an SPI-connected NRF51822 module. You can use this with Atmega328 (Arduino UNO or compatible), ATmega32u4 (Arduino Leonardo, compatible) or ATSAMD21 (Arduino Zero, compatible) and possibly others.
Your pinouts are Hardware SPI, CS = 8, IRQ = 7, RST = 4

Bluefruit Micro or Feather 32u4 Bluefruit

If you have a Bluefruit Micro or Feather 32u4 Bluefruit LE then you have an ATmega32u4 chip with Hardware SPI, CS = 8, IRQ = 7, RST = 4

Feather M0 Bluefruit LE

If you have a Feather M0 Bluefruit LE then you have an ATSAMD21 chip with Hardware SPI, CS = 8, IRQ = 7, RST = 4

Bluefruit LE SPI Friend

If you have a stand-alone module, you have a bit of flexibility with wiring however we strongly recommend Hardware SPI, CS = 8, IRQ = 7, RST = 4

You can use this with just about any microcontroller with 5 or 6 pins

Bluefruit LE UART Friend or Flora BLE

If you have a stand-alone UART module you have some flexibility with wiring. However we suggest hardware UART if possible. You will likely need to use the flow control CTS pin if you are not using hardware UART. There's also a MODE pin

You can use this with just about any microcontroller with at least 3 pins, but best used with a Hardware Serial/UART capable chip!

Configure the Pins Used

You'll want to check the Bluefruit Config to set up the pins you'll be using for UART or SPI

Each example sketch has a secondary tab with configuration details. You'll want to edit and save the sketch to your own documents folder once set up.

Common settings:

You can set up how much RAM to set aside for a communication buffer and whether you want to have full debug output. Debug output is 'noisy' on the serial console but is handy since you can see all communication between the micro and the BLE

// ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// These settings are used in both SW UART, HW UART and SPI mode
// ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#define BUFSIZE                        128   // Size of the read buffer for incoming data
#define VERBOSE_MODE                   true  // If set to 'true' enables debug output

Software UART

If you are using Software UART, you can set up which pins are going to be used for RX, TX, and CTS flow control. Some microcontrollers are limited on which pins can be used! Check the SoftwareSerial library documentation for more details

#define BLUEFRUIT_SWUART_RXD_PIN       9    // Required for software serial!
#define BLUEFRUIT_SWUART_TXD_PIN       10   // Required for software serial!
#define BLUEFRUIT_UART_CTS_PIN         11   // Required for software serial!
#define BLUEFRUIT_UART_RTS_PIN         -1   // Optional, set to -1 if unused

Hardware UART

If you have Hardware Serial, there's a 'name' for it, usually Serial1 - you can set that up here:

#ifdef Serial1    // this makes it not complain on compilation if there's no Serial1
  #define BLUEFRUIT_HWSERIAL_NAME      Serial1

Mode Pin

For both hardware and software serial, you will likely want to define the MODE pin. There's a few sketches that dont use it, instead depending on commands to set/unset the mode. Its best to use the MODE pin if you have a GPIO to spare!

#define BLUEFRUIT_UART_MODE_PIN        12    // Set to -1 if unused

SPI Pins

For both Hardware and Software SPI, you'll want to set the CS (chip select) line, IRQ (interrupt request) line and if you have a pin to spare, RST (Reset)

#define BLUEFRUIT_SPI_CS               8
#define BLUEFRUIT_SPI_IRQ              7
#define BLUEFRUIT_SPI_RST              4    // Optional but recommended, set to -1 if unused

Software SPI Pins

If you don't have a hardware SPI port available, you can use any three pins...its a tad slower but very flexible

#define BLUEFRUIT_SPI_SCK              13
#define BLUEFRUIT_SPI_MISO             12
#define BLUEFRUIT_SPI_MOSI             11
Refer to the table above to determine whether you have SPI or UART controlled Bluefruits!

Select the Serial Bus

Once you've configured your pin setup in the BluefruitConfig.h file, you can now check and adapt the example sketch.

The Adafruit_BluefruitLE_nRF51 library supports four different serial bus options, depending on the HW you are using: SPI both hardware and software type, and UART both hardware and software type.

UART Based Boards (Bluefruit LE UART Friend & Flora BLE)

This is for Bluefruit LE UART Friend & Flora BLE boards. You can use either software serial or hardware serial. Hardware serial is higher quality, and less risky with respect to losing data. However, you may not have hardware serial available! Software serial does work just fine with flow-control and we do have that available at the cost of a single GPIO pin.

For software serial (Arduino Uno, Adafruit Metro) you should uncomment the software serial contructor below, and make sure the other three options (hardware serial & SPI) are commented out.

// Create the bluefruit object, either software serial...uncomment these lines
SoftwareSerial bluefruitSS = SoftwareSerial(BLUEFRUIT_SWUART_TXD_PIN, BLUEFRUIT_SWUART_RXD_PIN);

Adafruit_BluefruitLE_UART ble(bluefruitSS, BLUEFRUIT_UART_MODE_PIN,

For boards that require hardware serial (Adafruit Flora, etc.), uncomment the hardware serial constructor, and make sure the other three options are commented out

/* ...or hardware serial, which does not need the RTS/CTS pins. Uncomment this line */

SPI Based Boards (Bluefruit LE SPI Friend)

For SPI based boards, you should uncomment the hardware SPI constructor below, making sure the other constructors are commented out:

/* ...hardware SPI, using SCK/MOSI/MISO hardware SPI pins and then user selected CS/IRQ/RST */

If for some reason you can't use HW SPI, you can switch to software mode to bit-bang the SPI transfers via the following constructor:

/* SPI, using SCK/MOSI/MISO user-defined SPI pins and then user selected CS/IRQ/RST */
                             BLUEFRUIT_SPI_MOSI, BLUEFRUIT_SPI_CS,
                             BLUEFRUIT_SPI_IRQ, BLUEFRUIT_SPI_RST);

This guide was first published on Aug 07, 2015. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Configuration!) was last updated on Jan 08, 2016.

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