Retired Product

This is a retired product. There is an updated version available: WRL-14071

Creative Commons images are CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Description: The BLE Nano from RedBearLab is the smallest Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (BLE) development board in the market and with the included MK20 USB in this kit you’ll be able to deploy firmware to BLE Nano even easier. At each BLE Nano’s core is a Nordic nRF51822, an ARM Cortex-M0 SoC plus BLE capable of running at 16MHz with ultra low power consumption. The RedBearLab BLE Nano also supports numerous different wireless devices running iOS 7/8, Android 4.3 or higher, and Windows Phone 8.1.

The MK20 board functions as a USB dongle, accepting 5V from the USB port and regulating it to 3.3V via the onboard LDO which can be used to power RedBearLab BLE Nano. When plugged into your computer the USB Board will appear as both a serial port and a removable mass storage disk. Please refer to the Getting Started guide in the Documents section below to learn how to deploy firmware using MK20 USB board.

Developing a Bluetooth Smart enabled ‘appcessory’ (accessory device + companion application) is easier than ever. You can quickly produce prototypes and demos targeted for Internet of Things (IoT) and other interesting projects. The RedBearLab BLE Nano can operate under 1.8V to 3.3V, making it able to work in conjunction with a wide variety of electronic components. It should be noted that the RedBearLab BLE Nano can accept 3.3V to 13V from the VIN pin, however voltage will be regulated to 3.3V via the on-board LDO regulator due in part to the nRF51822 IC. Since the RedBearLab BLE Nano can work as low as 1.8V, the MK20 USB board has been designed to run at 1.8V as well. All you need to do to get the USB board to run at 1.8V as well is just short the switch S, then the regulator will output 1.8V instead, allowing your Nano to work with applicable components.

Note: The RedBearLab BLE Nano Kit includes two 1x6 male and female headers that can be soldered on after purchase for easy interface. Additionally, you can find a complete pin-out for these boards on the Product Page link found in the Documents section below.

Includes:

  • 1x RedBearLab BLE Nano
  • 1x MK20 USB Board
  • 2x Header - 1x6 (Male, 0.1")
  • 2x Header - 1x6 (Female, 0.1")

Features:

  • Smallest BLE development board, only 18.5mm x 21.0mm
  • Nordic nRF51822 ARM Cortex-M0 SoC supports both BLE Central and BLE Peripheral roles
  • 2.4 GHz transceiver
  • Ultra low power consumption
  • Support voltage from 1.8V to 3.3V
  • Software development using mbed.org, GCC, Keil or Arduino
  • Lots of libraries and examples available
  • Easy firmware deployment with the MK20 USB board
  • Work with our free Android App and iOS App

Documents:

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Customer Comments

  • Nightmare. Between everyone suggesting different APIs and the examples being opaque to the unwashed reader… I can happily run redbearlabs simple text demos but when it comes to simply sending sensor values to a phone forget about it. Doesn’t show up on any scans, don’t even know where to start (yes been to github and mbed; just tried the bleperipheral library and that doesn’t seem to do anything either).

    Is there any example available on how to take a sensor reading on an arduino and sent it somewhere via bluetooth in a way that makes sense to someone used to coding with arduino?

    Learning curve is a cliff.

  • I tried to use this component in the last few days. It has many problems, among them what seems to be bad galvanic connections in the Mk20 USB connection - it seems that the device just stops after several minutes of being connected to the computer. Then it connects and disconnects spontaneously. In addition, after managing to upload an example software using the mbed website, my OS will not upload anything to the component any more, stating the files are too large (even though there’s a free Mb, and the hex files are less than 300 Kb. The Redbear support forum shows that many people encountered similar problems, along with other problems. I could not find any response to these problems. I’m still looking for someone to explain how do I replace this device.

  • Which Arduino Sketch do you upload to the BLE Nano in order to use the Android app?

  • Can this be used to read i beacons signal strength? Or is it only to act as a beacon transmitter?

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5

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2 of 2 found this helpful:

My review at YouTube - hope it's helpful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk-DurzSisk


1 of 1 found this helpful:

This is a nice product!

I was able to get this up and running and acting as a Bluetooth central fairly easily from the Arduino interface (Mac). It seems to be the only product out there that can offer this functionality. Fun stuff.


1 of 1 found this helpful:

Arduino IDE programming works

I’m on Win7 and was able to get the nano boards to program via the upload menu using the Arduino IDE. So far so good for my experimentation with the product.

I did find that after dragging the bootloader file to the MSD window that I had to install the MBED driver a second time with the NANO connected before it would install the CDC driver. Then the device appeared just fine as a serial resource.


1 of 2 found this helpful:

If you use OSX..

Skip this product, as an experienced developer, I can say this does not work with the Arduino interface. And yes I have uploaded the new firmware from Red Labs to enable the USB upload. Using the mbed method for uploading the test “blinky” works.


Great product

I like the device’s site where people share their ideas and can be modified and expand. The downside is that the custom FTDI make it clunky. It would be better if there is a way to replace it with and arduino or another type of FTDI. The device is great and works perfectly as intended.


Nifty little board

I followed guidance on the following github site to program the board using Arduino (along with the MK20 USB dongle): https://github.com/RedBearLab/nRF51822-Arduino

Getting Ubuntu to program the board was troublesome at first, but I figured out the necessary udev rules, and it’s been working great since. Instructions on the github site have been updated to include the udev rules.

I’ve also managed to export a program from Arduino and program the BLE Nano over the air (OTA) from my Android phone, using Nordic’s nRF Toolbox app. Instructions are on the same github site noted above.

Lastly, the Arduino package uses mbed BLE libs/APIs behind the scenes, so the mbed BLE site can be helpful: https://developer.mbed.org/teams/Bluetooth-Low-Energy/


For Mac OSX users

Impossible to drag and drop or sudo copy the bootloader on to the MK20 USB board. Drive unmounts every time. Not getting a lot of support from RBL, as their support forum seems like tons of folks screaming into the void.

Sorry you’re screaming into the void. If you’ll contact our tech support team, they should be able to help you out.