The nRF9160 Feather by Jared Wolff (aka Circuit Dojo LLC) is an electronics development board. It features a Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160-SICA part. This part is capable of both CAT M1 LTE and NB-IoT for communication with the outside world. It's compatible primarily with Zephyr via the nRF Connect SDK. Other toolchains and languages coming soon to a Github repository near you.
The nRF9160 Feather is a true Feather, and then some, board. As you would expect, It works well across both USB and LiPoly batteries.
The board is designed to be nice to your batteries. Not only can you take advantage of Nordic's advanced power states, but you can also put the device into a low power standby state. Laboratory measurements are putting that mode at about 2µA of current. 2µA!
The nRF9160 Feather is also designed to take harness every last mW your battery has to offer. That means from full-to-empty it's using every last mW your battery has to offer. It runs at 3.3V and can support and work with most Featherwing boards!
That's right! Thanks to Hologram, you're global-ready right out of the box.
Hologram has by my SIM of choice during the testing of the nRF9160 Feather. To top it all off, they have a robust network of cellular partners across the world.
Make sure you sign up for an account here. That way you're ready when your nRF9160 Feather hits your doorstep!
For more information about Hologram, check out their website at https://www.hologram.io
You can load your applications directly to the nRF9160 Feather without an external programmer. That's right, there are no extra costs associated with getting started with your nRF9160 Feather.
We've tweaked the MCUBoot boot-loader and command-line tools to boost loading speeds by 10x. This means loading via the boot-loader is nearly as fast as using an external programmer!
The nRF9160 Feather has been reviewed and the results are in.
It now has the Open Source Hardware Association stamp of approval!
That means you're able to view the source and build on the design yourself. All the Eagle files, PDF schematic, and 3D files are available for download today at the documentation website. (see below)
Hardware is licensed with CERN 1.2, firmware with Apache 2.0, and documentation with CC-SA-4.0.
The nRF9160 Feather runs on the up-and-coming RTOS. Combined with Nordic's nRF Connect SDK and you have full-fledged support. More development ecosystems coming in the future...
This campaign is brought to you by Hackster Launch, a collaboration between Hackster.io and GroupGets to bring high quality hardware to market.
In order to get the unit costs low enough, the manufacturer requires at least an order of 108 units. Help make this GroupGet a reality by supporting today!
nRF9160 Feather + LTE/NB-IoT Antenna
Campaign active, scheduled end date: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 20:00:00 PDT
nRF9160 Feather used an external active antenna. That means that it will work with most ceramic antennas that look like the one below.
You also have the option to purchase a pre-verified module. Not all GPS antennas are made equal. Go with the included one and you'll be ready to rock.
Here are some additional antenna specs:
Start your asset tracking projects off on the right foot with the nRF9160 Feather enclosure. It pairs perfectly with the GPS antenna and a 18650 battery cell. (not included). Check out the photos and details below:
The case has a few features you may find handy:
Order it with your nRF9160 Feather and make the package complete! It comes in a kit including the 18650 holder enclosure and PH wire assembly.
Connect to your PC for power and USB-to-UART with this cable.
FWIW I just tried an (old) J-Link Lite and it's a no go. As long as your J-Link supports ARMv8-M processors you should be good to go in that department. Otherwise the nRF53-DK is the solution.
And yes, Nordic's nRF Connect SDK (https://github.com/nrfconnect/sdk-nrf) and the Uart-over-USB bootloader. (the nRF9160 itself doesn't have a USB PHY. Or it does and Nordic hasn't turned it on yet!)Post last edited: 14 days ago
More details to the Documentation on programming and more. Check it out here:
Great work Jared! I have ordered a board and have a couple of questions:
- Are you using an embedded SIM for Hologram or just supplying a tri-cut SIM? We're already a Hologram customer and would want to either put our own SIM in or move it to our account.
- I was surprised looking at the AT&T site the nRF9160 isn't listed as a module (https://iotdevices.att.com/modules.aspx). If Nordic got PTCRB you would think they would also get the AT&T certification at the same time. Without Module certification, you can't get AT&T end-device certification. Do you know if Nordic has AT&T certification in progress?
Thank you for your support. :)
Are you using an embedded SIM for Hologram or just supplying a tri-cut SIM?
For Hologram it's a tri-cut SIM. Unassigned until you assign it to your account. The nRF9160 Feather has a 4FF slot so you'll be using the smallest size of the tri-cut.
Do you know if Nordic has AT&T certification in progress?
Yes it's in progress and nearly complete!
With regards to AT&T certification, do you think Nordic's software architecture will make it more difficult to get end device certification?
Considering both LWM2M stack and OTA of the modem are required by AT&T and both are running in 'user space' application CPU as opposed to more traditional modems where these components run on the modem CPU. Does it affect module certification in any way? It's one of the major concerns I have with nRF9160 at the moment.
Yup. That's a valid concern for sure. I've heard rumblings of "End Software" certification. Which defeats the point of doing end device certification.
With all of that being said, Nordic's architecture is here to stay. I only imagine more companies and competitors jumping into this once they see its success. It's an inevitability to have everything in one chip. Ignoring that trend would be futile!
I really hope so. Because they are really on their own at the moment. This page has some good information on the LWM2M carrier library: https://developer.nordicsemi.com/nRF_Connect_SDK/doc/latest/nrf/lib/bin/lwm2m_carrier/lwm2m_carrier.html
The architecture option is open to the end user. They can opt for the traditional Thin modem approach and lock down the application firmware and utilize an external processor if they desire. This would not be the lowest power option.
Here is a link to the Serial LTE Modem, https://developer.nordicsemi.com/nRF_Connect_SDK/doc/1.3.0/nrf/applications/serial_lte_modem/README.html.
The carrier Lib is associate with the certified modem firmware at the carrier. You should look at the changelog page of the LWM2M carrier library to see which library is associated with which carrier certification. https://developer.nordicsemi.com/nRF_Connect_SDK/doc/1.2.0/nrf/lib/bin/lwm2m_carrier/doc/CHANGELOG.html#liblwm2m-carrier-changelog. Today it shows the latest supports Verizon with Modem Firmware 1.1.1.
Hi Don, thank you for your reply. This is exactly what I have been doing for the past couple of months, the serial LTE modem works fine on it's own and is perfect for benchmarking. In terms of power consumption the nRF9160 is in a league of it's own.
I found one major drawback of using the carrier lib however, as stated in the docs: "The LwM2M carrier library uses both the DTLS sessions made available through the modem. Therefore, the application can not run any DTLS sessions."
Is this correct?
As a side note, is it possible to include the LWM2M carrier lib in the modem firmware?
More updates coming out on programming the nRF9160 Feather without a programmer. If you're not already on the mailing list make sure you jump on to get the update!
We've updated the product page! The nRF9160 Feather now has speedy DFU using the Bootloader. That means no fiddling with a debugger unless you really need it. More info on the docs: https://docs.jaredwolff.com/nrf9160-programming-and-debugging.htmlPost last edited: 5 days ago
Thank you so much for the support! We've reached our goal! If you're on the fence about buying more or someone you know is there's still time! The campaign will close in 5 days. So get in now on the action before it's too late!
Also, I've been monitoring the shipping situation with USPS carefully. There may be future unexpected delays with shipping. If you'd like to change your shipping method give us a shout so we can make that change.
Now that things are wrapping up. I'll be spinning up some long lead time items like testing. Fingers crossed everything gets done so you can get your boards ASAP.
Thanks again for your support!
Oh, here's an important bit I forgot to add: early access.
Once the campaign completes, I'll have some limited early access boards. They'll be the same as what you'd get in September. The catch? You need to be in the USA and willing to put your nRF9160 Feather to the test.
If you're interested in early access and have the time to help email me: email@example.com