nRF52 as NFC reader

Is it possible to use the NFC functionality in the nRF52 series chip to read NFC tags?

  • Can you suggest any particular chip which is cheap and have the smallest amount external parts. I am considering between NXP PN532 and AS3909/AS3910 but maybe you have better option...

  • Hi Bartek, I'm pure SW developer and my knowledge of HW design is limited so I cannot judge these items from layout/PCB real estate/BOM cost point of view. I'd expect that for reader this isn't such a problem because HF (13.56MHz) contactless (NFC if you want) is such specific discipline that you need real expert to produce at least so-so tuning and then you simply take his recommendation (because saving few cents on BOM or similar is not worth months of learning and discovering completely new vendor/component). At least this is what I've seen during my professional career in smart card business;)


  • Dear Jan,

    I have made a device with both nRF52 and PN532 on the same board. I expect to start a Kickstarter campaign soon. You can find a picture

    Please let me know of you are still interested, or if you found your solution already.

    Thanks, Cristian

  • Hi Cristian, the board looks nice and clean, nice job! I'm wondering if I2C provides enough bandwidth in case you need to do some roundtrips between BLE MCU and PN532, solutions I know usually use faster SPI at 4 or 8 MHz. Also using nRF52840 might be useful because of larger buffer sizes SPIM (TWIM seems to be stuck at 8 bits = 255B which might be limiting in some cases, but I haven't studied PN532 wired protocols in detail). But as far as I know there is no "open hardware BLE equipped NFC reader" so it looks useful! I hope you get funded with your project. Cheers Jan

  • Dear Jan, Thank you very much for your reply. Apologies for the delay. Yes, I2C is not the best, but it permits me to run nfc_tag_reader example with just a few modifications. I have not had the occasion to test it yet, but I ran another example with the board and it worked. I think your suggestion is great and I will try to include SPI in the next revision (or both). My main goal now is to include other tags for reading and writing, for which I have to write the libraries. Thank you for your wishes and I wish you a very good 2017!