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Challenger RP2040 board enabled with NFC

Mar 4, 2023 — by Giorgio Mendoza 436 views

ILABS has introduced a low-power embedded device based on the RP2040 microcontroller equipped with an on-board NFC controller. The Challenger RP2040 NFC provides flexible I/Os and support for LiPo batteries for portable applications. 

This new NFC embedded device appears to be part of the Challenger Series built around the RP2040 microcontrollers.


  • RP204032-bit Dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor (up to 133MHz)

PN7150 Transmission Modes
(click image to enlarge)

The NFC onboard is a PN7150 from NXP described as a “full featured NFC controller with integrated firmware and NCI interface designed for contactless communication at 13.56 MHz.”

The company is also selling a compatible 13.56MHz NFC antenna which can be connected to the rear NFC connector located on the opposite side of the USB port.

Challenger RP2040 NFC pinout (left) and NFC antenna (right)
(click images to enlarge)

The board is featured in a Feather form-factor and it can be programmed and powered using the USB Type-C. Additionally, the Challenger RP2040 NFC allows users to plug in standard 1 cell LiPo batteries to the JST connector found near on the side of the board. 

Challenger RP2040 NFC 
(click image to enlarge)

The product page indicates that the board “includes an onboard charger chip to charge batteries if there is a USB cable connected or 5V is applied to the USB power header pin.”

The Getting Started page indicates that this board can be programmed using the Arduino IDE; ILABS is currently working to provide support for CircuitPython. Refer to the Documentation page for the schematics and the datasheet.

Specifications listed for the Challenger RP2040 NFC include:

  • Memory/Storage:
    • 8 MB Flash 
    • 264 KB SRAM
  • I/O Interfaces:
    • 4x Analog Inputs
    • 16x Digital I/Os
    • 1x SPI, 2x I2C, 1x UART
  • Connectivity:
  • USB:
    • 1x USB Type-C
  • Other Features:
    • 2x Status LEDs
    • 1x JST battery connector
    • Onboard battery charger (450mA standard charge current)
  • Power:
    • 3.3V (Via USB Type-C or 3.3V pin)
  • Mechanical:
    • 50.80 x 22.86 x 3.20mm

 Further information

The Challenger RP2040 NFC can be found on the ILABS online store for ~$19.76. The 13.56MHz NFC antenna can be obtained for $3.97.

(advertise here)

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