Nordic silicon in Bluetooth Smart module packaged for the makers

January 18, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Unique through-hole style module allows fast assembly of Bluetooth Smart prototypes without soldering because it plugs straight into a bread board

Nordic says that a third-party open source module, 'OSHChip', supplied in a specially-developed 16-pin through-hold DIP style package can allow Bluetooth Smart and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless prototypes using Nordic chips to be built without soldering because the module plugs straight into any standard bread board, as used by makers and hobbyists.

OSHChip (OSH standing for 'Open Source Hardware') from U.S. maker and hobbyist startup of the same name, employs a Nordic nRF51822 System-on-Chip (SoC) and in addition to eliminating the need for soldering, its 1.98 x 0.89 cm form factor is said to be less than 5%t the size of an Arduino UNO or 22% the size of an Arduino Nano.

"Size is another major motivation behind this module because at present almost all maker wireless boards are so big they typically cover up all the holes on the bread board below and so leave no space to plug in wires or other peripherals," comments OSHChip founder, Philip Freidin. "All of this adds time, complexity, and hassle to a project and hinders the ability to quickly develop and play about with a design."

To develop OSHChip Freidin had to develop his own IC-style pins that would be compatible with the vast majority of off-the-shelf bread boards. Freidin also says that were it not for the Nordic nRF51822's chip-scale package option he wouldn't have been able to fit his module into such a small form-factor.

OSHChip can be programmed and de-bugged (Keil) from a partner OSHChip programmer board that supports USB drag-and-drop programming, SWD debugging, and bi-direction serial communications.

Freidin says he plans to make the entire OSHChip module open source (including sharing its schematics, Gerber file, and BOM). He adds that over-the-air programming functionality and sample apps for iPhone and Android will also be added in the near future.

For price and availability of OSHChip and the OSHChip programmer/debugger, please visit

Nordic Semiconductor;