Zephyr applications use the nrf52840_pca10090 board configuration to run on the nRF52840 SoC on the PCA10090 Development Kit hardware. It provides support for the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 ARM Cortex-M4F CPU and the following devices:

  • GPIO
  • MPU
  • NVIC
  • PWM
  • RADIO (Bluetooth Low Energy and 802.15.4)
  • RTC
  • Segger RTT (RTT Console)
  • UART
  • WDT

The nRF52840 SoC does not have any connection to the any of the LEDs, buttons, switches and Arduino pin headers on the PCA10090 board. It is, however, possible to route some of the pins of the nRF52840 SoC to the nRF9160 SiP.

More information about the board can be found at the Nordic Low power cellular IoT [1]. The Nordic Semiconductor document library [2] contains the processor’s information and the datasheet.


PCA10090 DK has two external oscillators. The frequency of the slow clock is 32.768 kHz. The frequency of the main clock is 32 MHz.

Supported Features

The nrf52840_pca10090 board configuration supports the following hardware features:

Interface Controller Driver/Component
CLOCK on-chip clock_control
FLASH on-chip flash
GPIO on-chip gpio
MPU on-chip arch/arm
NVIC on-chip arch/arm
PWM on-chip pwm
RADIO on-chip Bluetooth, ieee802154
RTC on-chip system clock
RTT Segger console
UART on-chip serial
WDT on-chip watchdog

Programming and Debugging

Applications for the nrf52840_pca10090 board configuration can be built and flashed in the usual way (see Build an Application and Run an Application for more details).

Make sure that the PROG/DEBUG switch on the DK is set to nRF52.


Follow the instructions in the Nordic nRF5x Segger J-Link page to install and configure all the necessary software. Further information can be found in Flashing. Then build and flash applications as usual (see Build an Application and Run an Application for more details).

Remember to set the PROG/DEBUG switch on the DK to nRF52.

See the following example for the Hello World application.

First, run your favorite terminal program to listen for output.

$ minicom -D <tty_device> -b 115200

Replace <tty_device> with the port where the nRF52840 SoC is connected to. Usually, under Linux it will be /dev/ttyACM1. The /dev/ttyACM0 port is connected to the nRF9160 SiP on the board.

Then build and flash the application in the usual way.

# On Linux/macOS
cd $ZEPHYR_BASE/samples/hello_world
mkdir build && cd build

# On Windows
cd %ZEPHYR_BASE%\samples\hello_world
mkdir build & cd build

# Use cmake to configure a Ninja-based build system:
cmake -GNinja -DBOARD=nrf52840_pca10090 ..

# Now run ninja on the generated build system:
ninja flash


Refer to the Nordic nRF5x Segger J-Link page to learn about debugging Nordic boards with a Segger IC.

Remember to set the PROG/DEBUG switch on the DK to nRF52.

Board controller firmware

The board controller firmware is a small snippet of code that takes care of routing specific pins on nRF9160 SiP to different components on the board, such as LEDs, switches and specific nRF52840 SoC pins.

When compiling a project for nrf52840_pca10090, the board controller firmware will be compiled and run automatically after the Kernel has been initialized.

By default, the board controller firmware will route the following:

Component Routed to
Leds 1-4 physical LEDs
Buttons 1-2 physical buttons
Switches 1-2 physical switches
MCU Interface 0 Arduino pin headers
MCU Interface 1 Trace interface
MCU Interface 2 COEX interface

It is possbile to configure the behavior of the board controller firmware by using Kconfig and editing its options under “Board options”.