RFX Nano 3.0 dev board w/ shield breakout, prototyping area, nRF24L01+ (Kit)
RFX Nano 3.0 carrier board with Arduino shield breakout, prototyping area and nRF24L01+ headers.
As Nano V3.0 clones can now be bought from ebay for under $4 (or for not much more than a DIP 328p chip), it makes sense to leverage this exceptional bang/buck ratio into an alternative to inexpensive bare-bones 328p deployment boards. And get USB connectivity and two extra analog input pins thrown in for free!
This Uno-sized (~7cmx5cm) breakout board for the Arduino Nano 3.0 (5V, 16Mhz) is a convenient way to add nRF24L01+ module and Arduino shield compatibility to a Nano project, as well as providing a general purpose breakout board with built-in prototyping area for the Nano 3.0.
Easy assembly using all through-hole components, so no advanced soldering skills or equipment required to assemble this board.
The carrier board supports the standard Arduino Uno R3 shield header layout, as well as a second breadboard compatible (i.e., proper 0.1″ pitch grid-aligned) header layout, so you can also easily connect the board to breadboards, or common 50mm (or wider) proto boards.
Carrier board has provision for a 3×2 connection header to the ICSP hardware SPI pins, which is required by some shields if accessing hardware SPI.
Carrier board also has two 8 pin (4×2) headers for plugging in a nRF24L01+ module, one header providing connection to the hardware SPI pins D11-D13, and the other to an alternative set of pins, D4-D6, for a software SPI (“bit banging”) implementation if preferred. IRQ pin is set at D2, CE is D3 and CSN is D7.
All Nano pins are broken out on the headers, including the two extra analog input pins A6 and A7 available on the Nano.
Power can be supplied by 5V micro USB connection directly to Nano, either from a “phone charger” style power supply with a micro USB connector, or USB connection to a computer. This will also power the external 3v3 voltage regulator. (Note: carrier board can accept TO-220 or SOT-223 LD1117v33 regulator packages — SOT-223 shown in photos above, but TO-220 supplied in kits.)
Alternatively, the 3v3 regulator can be powered directly by e.g., the DC barrel jack connector mounted under the Nano (standard 5/2.1mm size — refer photos). This has the advantage of bypassing the 500mA USB limitation, if you need higher current available on the 3v3 rail. And the prototyping area gives flexibility for many more possible configurations!
For many Arduino shields, a set of stackable headers will have to be used for the shields to clear the height of the Nano (which is mounted at the same level as a shield). So a set of stackable headers (available as a kit option) is recommended if deploying shields is a consideration.
The other advantage of using the stackable headers with shields (even those that would clear the placement of the Nano) is that they also allow clearance for a nRF24L01 module if mounted on the board headers. (Refer to photos.)
So lots of flexibility and configuration options with this carrier board! Combined with the generous prototyping area, this can make deploying of nRF24L01+ enabled projects using a Nano 3.0 faster and neater.
Photos show populated board with 5V/16MHz Nano 3.0 clone and nRF24L01+ low-power radio module. Also shown with Arduino IO shield mounted with stackable headers, and TFT display shield mounted without stackable headers. (Note: Nano 3.0 and shields not included, shown for demonstration purposes). Shown beside Arduino Due and Leonardo for scale.
Available as bare PCB, or PCB with basic kit components (headers, caps, voltage regulator, etc.).
A set of stacking headers is an optional add-on, to provide additional height clearance for shields, as described above.
Another kit add-on is a set of “long pin” male header “gender changer” headers for breadboard connectivity via the secondary grid-aligned headers. (To see how these are designed to work, review this thread. Specifically, reply #7. I’m describing a different RFX board, but the breadboarding set-up described using the grid-aligned headers applies equally this carrier board.)
Finally, a low or high-power nRF24L01+ radio module can also be added as a kit option.
Note that in kits, female pin headers supplied in 40-pin strips that need to be cut to length (all instructions supplied). Additional strip included in case of goofs!
Basic kit parts (BOM)
1 PCB mount 5mm/2.1mm DC barrel jack (see note below)
1 LD1117v33 (either TO-220 or SOT-223 package)
1 1N5817 Schottky diode
1 0.1uF cap
1 10uF cap
1 2x3 header (m)
2 2x4 headers (f)
2 1x15 headers (f)
2 1x6 headers (f)
3 1x8 headers (f)
1 1x10 headers (f)
1 1x18 headers (f)
1 1x6 long pin headers (m)
2 1x8 long pin headers (m)
1 1x10 long pin headers (m)
Single-row female pin headers supplied as three 1×40 strips of pin header, and the correct lengths need to be cut from these longer pieces.
Additionally, provision has been made for a PCB mount DC “barrel” power jack to be mounted on this board under the Nano as an option. The part required is a standard 5mm/2.1mm 3 tab barrel jack, modified to remove the side tab, leaving two tabs used to mount the part. See the assembly notes for more details.