NRF24L01+ problem in power down mode

hi Guys pls HELPPPPP

I have developing active rfID tag using nrf24L01+ and ATtinny13A, the program code is done perfectly, firstly I start developing the tag with separate pcb between attiny13a and the NRF24L01+, I'm using the ready made NRF modul from ebay, and everything running well, in powerdown mode the NRF module comsume very litle current less than 1uA, as datasheet says, and the board is still running well until now (it have been 15days), i name it board "A"

then I build a pcb with NRF24L01+ and attiny13a in one board ( I named it board "B"), and I use the same program code with the board "A",

then I try tu run the board B, it is working perfectly as the board A, then I keep continuesly runing board B (as a tag), after about 2 hour there is a problem happend, board B start to draw high current even in powerdown mode approx 6.6ma,(all the fuction recieved and transmit is normal, except the curret draw is high)

i try to find the problem, then I found the problem is in the NRF24L01 chip,it is consume high current, i know it after I remove from PCB and replace it with the new one,

then the board B is runing well again with the second NRF, it is ok until next 5 hour, the same problem happend again . and then I replace it again with another new NRF24L01 , and as beforel, the board is running well again, , this problem still don't solved yet, and until now I have repalced five NRF24L01 to that board,

changing the NRF24L01 from the ready made module and soldered it to the board B is not solve the problem,

moving all the componenet from ready made nrf module to the board B, also not solved the problem

pls note : in this situation only the current comsumtion is error, but all the RX/TX function is OK,

I made a program code for testing and measuring the current comsumtion the code is work as follow:

  1. set up NRF as RX for 2 second

  2. then set up the NRF to power down for 2 second

  3. set the ATTINY13a to sleep

  4. back to step 1

i chose 2 second rest is because i will measure the current in every step above

when I measure the current, there are variation in 5 broken NRF24L01, in power down it comsume 2mA to the worst is 30mA

in RX mode it consume 16Ma to the worst 45mA

I have tested 100pcs ready made NRF module , and there are 2 pcs that have the same problem with abnormal high current conmsumtion, and I try to run 5 pcs NRF module for 3 days and the result is they are OK

My question is:

what may caused this problem?



  • hi,

    few days ago I found my NRF radio module under test (running test for several days) finally also have similar problem, it was broke in term of drawn 6.5ma in power down stage.

    since I haven't got good answer, i try to search over the web, and then found the forum that have similar problem with me, here is the link: 

    this forum is 3 years old now, (posted at 2010), and it is also seems they don,t solve the problem yet

    is there any NORDIC guys that could give me suggestion? or idea what may caused the problem? is it my software or chip design error? and there is maybe some advice on what should be avoided , or limitation info on how the trick to implementing power down to avoid or minimize the problem



  • Some of your description fit well with floating pins in power down, e.g. that the SPI and CE lines on the nRF24L01P doesn't have a defined level in power down. In that case you can experience high power consumption in power down, e.g. in the range of hundreds of uA, and maybe as high as a few mA. With floating pins the power consumption will fluctuate, and you can measure both low and high power consumption over time, and after power on reset.

    However 45mA is extremely high, it's far above anyting that has been reported before, which believe me to believe you also have another issue also. Since we don't know how how the nRF24L01P have been handled, it might be an ESD issue, or it can be caused by the devices have not been properly baked prior do soldering, this could damage the device when heated and moisture expands internally.

  • Hi Kenneth,

    I share my problem here with expectation there is somebody out there also experienced this problem and had solved it, because I don't have any idea to find some help

    As I also posting the problem in "MY SUPPORT CASES", I will also post it here

    back to the topic, pls forget about 45mA in RX active mode, and just focus on 300uA until 600uA for power down mode, this is the most importand feature that I had been unintentionally destroyed, and also pls note that I have tested (with logic analizer and recheck my software) there are no floating pins except Mosi pin in power down mode,

    pls also notice my previous report, that the board has been fuction perfectly for HOURs or even Days before it was broken (only in power down feature),

    and My latest progress report, after 5 days the board unpowered, now I found it is function normal again (recover by it self)

    In my observation/ opinion, there is a certain sequence that make something like electrical charge has been accumulated somewhere in the circuit inside the chips and have caused a current leakage in powerdown mode, and then it will self recover after many days unpowered mean that the accumulated charge have been decaying for some certain periode in this case 5 days

    pls correct me if you have another thought.

    what I hope you can advice me is what sequence or something that have caused this problem so at least I know what to do next, to fixed or to avoid this problem occur

    pls I realy need your help,



  • Hi, David.

    I have the same problem. I use NRF24L01+ only in TX mode, I send data 1 time per minute and then I set up module to powerdown . I had ~1 uA current consumption in powerDown mode. But 5-7 days later I measured the consumption in powerdown and it had increased to ~800-900 uA. I changed the module to new - and got ~1 uA again, but it was broken the same way few days later.

    Did you resolve this problem? Thank you, I need your help

  • Hi guys,

    I ran into same problems some time ago. I also had many unexpected issues that weren't reproducible. Meanwhile everything is fine and my Atiny/Atmega consumes µA in power-down mode.

    I think the culprit is naming this mode "Power-Down" on Atmel chip, since it is still a sleep mode, where only the oscillator stops. So it is not like a on/off switch. If you have some pins set as output, then they will draw current. Also if you have internal pull-up resistors set, then in power-down mode will draw current.

    My solution before calling Power-Down:

    1. call SPI.end()
    2. save concerned registers and put pins as inputs with DDRx = 0
    3. save also pull-up registers and set no-pull-up with PORTx = 0