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I am using nRF24L01 with Arduino Nano and Mini. I feel they are very useful when we want to connect multiple Arduinos together.

In market we can buy Arduino with WiFi and Bluetooth, why don't they make Arduino model with nRF24L01? Is there any specific valid reason?

Or am I wrong in using nRF24L01 and there is a better cost and power efficient way to connect multiple Arduinos together wirelessly?

  • I have updated my answer with two "new" alternatives: NRF51 and NRF52. – Mikael Falkvidd Nov 13 '17 at 17:49
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NordicRF (the company behind nRF24L01) has released two series of SoC devices that are compatible with nRF24: NRF51 and NRF52. Thanks to the effort by Sandeep Mistry and other contributors, they can be programmed using the Arduino IDE and libraries. Instructions are available here: https://github.com/sandeepmistry/arduino-nRF5

I have tested NRF51822, which is the cheapest variant (costing slightly more than Arduino Pro Mini + NRF24L01+ but in a single small and power-efficient package) and it works great.

The BBC Micro:bit is based on NRF51. More information is available at https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/9722/bbc-micro-bit-and-mysensors-a-great-match

Compared to the Atmega328-based Arduino Pro Mini, NRF51822 has 8x larger flash and 8x larger RAM. It also has Bluetooth 5 and BLE support and a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 CPU.

There is also this alternative: https://www.ebid.net/eu/for-sale/arduino-ide-compatible-controller-with-the-nordic-nrf24l01-radio-transceiver-156695123.htm

Specifications:

  • Dimensions 59mm x 18mm
  • The Nordic nRF24L01+ 2.4 GHz Radio transceiver on board
  • Supply voltage up to 6.5 Volts
  • The Digital and Analog pins are 5 volts
  • ATMega328P frequency is 8 Mhz
  • 4 battery connector pins
  • FTDI header for programming enter image description here

Full disclosure: I am member of the MySensors core team. A MySensors user (not affiliated with the core team) created and is selling this board.

  • The link on the ebid website isn't working anymore. Could you share another link? Also is it still recommended to use this board? Cheers – Birla Sep 15 '18 at 5:56
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nRF24L01 is a proprietary system, unlike WiFi and Bluetooth. There is only one (official) maker of nRF devices (Nordic Semiconductor).

Yes, they are very nice modules, but why would you spend the time and money developing a generic microcontroller board that has such limited scope as to only be able to communicate with the same board or one with one specific module attached? You wouldn't - it doesn't make financial sense - especially when it's easy for an end user to add the module to any other board instead.

Bluetooth and WiFi make more financial sense because there is a huge range of devices that they can communicate with which means they can be used for a far greater range of projects thus increasing demand for them.

  • Thanks @Majenko. Is there any other module like nRF24L01 which is generic and not propriety. Main thing is I want to explore options but till now i can not find any thing like nRF24L01 which is low cost and low battery. – Rahul Sep 11 '17 at 10:43
  • Bluetooth or WiFi. For low power you want BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). – Majenko Sep 11 '17 at 10:44
  • BLE will be Master and Slave. I want to create network of few devices. – Rahul Sep 11 '17 at 17:38
  • (New BL supports meshes.) Nordic also sells MCUs that have the transceiver built-in (nRF24LU/LE) so you could use those (like many many wireless mice and keyboards do). I think it's just Nordic that doesn't see value in having an another Arduino board on the market and that's why there's none. – Avamander Sep 12 '17 at 6:04
  • @Avamander i have read online too new Bluetooth 4 supports mesh. But i can not fond even single online page with Bluetooth 4 mesh for Arduino. Do you know nay sample example? – Rahul Sep 13 '17 at 9:35

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