The Adafruit Feather nRF52 Bluefruit is our latest easy-to-use all-in-one Bluetooth Low Energy board, with a native-bluetooth chip, the nRF52832!  It's our take on an 'all-in-one' Arduino-compatible + Bluetooth Low Energy with built in USB and battery charging.

This chip has twice the flash, SRAM and performance of the earlier nRF51-based Bluefruit modules. Best of all it has Arduino IDE support so there is no 'helper' chip like the ATmega32u4 or ATSAMD21. Instead, this chip is programmed directly! It's got tons of awesome peripherals: plenty of GPIO, analog inputs, PWM, timers, etc. Leaving out the extra microcontroller means the price, complexity and power-usage are all lower/better. It allows you to run code directly on the nRF52832, straight from the Arduino IDE as you would with any other MCU or Arduino compatible device. A single MCU means better performance, lower overall power consumption, and lower production costs if you ever want to design your own hardware based on your Bluefruit nRF52 Feather project!

The chips are pre-programed with an auto-resetting bootloader so you can upload quickly in the Arduino IDE with no button-pressing. Want to program the chip directly? You can use our command line tools with your favorite editor and toolchain.

And to get you up and running quickly, we've done all the heavy lifting of getting the low level BLE stack into shape so that you can focus on your project from day one!

nRF52832 Technical Details

  • ARM Cortex M4F (with HW floating point acceleration) running at 64MHz
  • 512KB flash and 64KB SRAM
  • Built in USB Serial converter for fast and efficient programming and debugging
  • Bluetooth Low Energy compatible 2.4GHz radio (Details available in the nRF52832 product specification)
  • FCC / IC / TELEC certified module
  • Up to +4dBm output power
  • 1.7v to 3.3v operation with internal linear and DC/DC voltage regulators
  • 19 GPIO, 8 x 12-bit ADC pins, up to 12 PWM outputs (3 PWM modules with 4 outputs each)
  • Pin #17 red LED for general purpose blinking
  • Power/enable pin
  • Measures 2.0" x 0.9" x 0.28" (51mm x 23mm x 8mm) without headers soldered in
  • Light as a (large?) feather - 5.7 grams
  • 4 mounting holes
  • Reset button
  • Optional SWD connector for debugging
  • Works out of the box with just about all of our Adafruit FeatherWings! (Wings that require the UART like the GPS FeatherWing won't work)

Further technical details available in the nRF52832 product specification.

Like all of our Feather boards, the Bluefruit nRF52 Feather includes on board USB-based LIPO charging, and has a standard LIPO battery connector to make your wireless projects genuinely 'wireless' at no additional cost (aside from the LIPO cell itself).

nRF51 or nRF52 Bluefruit Devices?

The Bluefruit nRF52 Feather (based on the nRF52832 SoC) is quite different from the earlier nRF51822 based Bluefruit products (Bluefruit M0 Feather, etc.), both of which will continue to exist.

From a hardware perspective, the nRF52 Feather is based on a much more powerful ARM Cortex M4F processor, with 512KB flash, 64KB SRAM and hardware floating point acceleration ... whereas the earlier nRF51822 is based on the smaller ARM Cortex M0 core (fewer internal instructions), with 256KB flash and either 16KB or 32KB SRAM.

More importantly, the design approach that we took with the nRF52 is completely different:

  • nRF51 based Bluefruit boards run as modules that you connect to via an external MCU (typically an Atmel 32u4 or a SAMD21), sending AT style commands over SPI or UART.
  • With the nRF52, you run all of your code directly on the nRF52832 and no external MCU is used or required!

This change of design helps keep the overall costs lower, allows for far better performance since you aren't limited by the SPI or UART transport channel, and can help improve overall power consumption.

As a tradeoff, it also means a completely different API and development process, though!

nRF51 Bluefruit sketches won't run on nRF52 Bluefruit hardware without modification! The two device families have different APIs and programming models, and aim to solve your wireless problems in two different ways.

This guide was first published on Mar 22, 2017. It was last updated on Mar 22, 2017.

This page (Introduction) was last updated on Jan 24, 2017.

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