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CC256x QFN EM User Guide

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This User Guide is intended for use with TI's Bluetooth development platform, the CC256x QFN EM board. This guide will help you quickly get started with this board to integrate with TI's evaluation platforms and software SDK's. In addition, this user guide describes the components/configurations of this board to quickly get started with using this board for various Bluetooth applications.

Introduction to CC256x QFN EM Board

This guide will provide information about the module so you can utilize the board specifics to apply it to your application. Module information and capabilities including pin descriptions and available software and tools will enhance your out of box experience.


Key Features

  • Bluetooth Specification v4.1
  • Fast Time to Market
  • Easy PCB Layout Using Cadence Tools
  • 4 Layer PCB design
  • Bluetooth & Bluetooth Low Energy or ANT
  • TI’s Bluetooth Stack with many profiles
  • Other Profiles Available on Request i.e. Audio Profiles
  • FCC, IC, BT SIG Compliant
  • High sensitivity (-93 dBm typ.)
  • Shield enabled for immunity
  • H4 UART and PCM/I2S Interface

QFN EM Board Applications

Example Embedded Wireless Applications:

  • Cable Replacement
  • Printer Adapters
  • Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
  • Printers/Scanners
  • Computers and Peripherals
  • Wireless Sensors
  • Industrial Control Applications
  • Low Power Medical

Module Description

The CC256x QFN EM board is the development environment for the CC256x family and plugs directly into Texas Instruments MSP430 and Tiva C experimenter boards with the added benefit of header connectors that simplify prototype wiring and field trials.

This family is based upon Texas Instrument’s CC256x integrated circuits and uses a Host Controller Interface (HCI), a cost effective and flexible means to implement a Bluetooth network. HCI reduces BOM cost by eliminating redundant processing capacity and giving designers the flexibility to work with a controller of their choosing, as the Bluetooth stack resides and executes on the application’s host processor.

CC256x QFN description.png

The CC256x QFN EM board is intended for evaluation purpose and works with Texas Instrument’s Hardware Development Kit. Please refer to Tools and Software Section.

To aid in the implementation of this reference design, schematic and layout files are available on the CC256x Main Wiki page.

Module Detailed Description

The reference files including schematic, layout, and BOM for the CC256x QFN EM board can be found at the following link:
CC256x QFN EM v1.2 Reference Design (swrr117)

Below is a block diagram depicting the input/outputs of the QFN board that is required for interfacing to host controller. These I/O's can be interfaced to the host controller either through the COM connector or the RF1 & RF2 sockets.

CC256x QFNDiagram.jpg

Pin Description

Board Jumpers

For correct operation, please make sure both jumpers are placed for connecting power to the device:

Jumper Configuration
Jumper Description
VBAT_CC Main power supply for CC256x
VDD_1V8 Supplies power to CC256x I/O's

Measuring Current Consumption

These jumpers can also be used to measure the current consumption by placing current sense resistors on R10 for VBAT_CC and R7 for VDD_1V8. Both these resistors are 0.10 Ohm, 1/4 W. VBAT_CC jumper can be used to to measure the voltage/power consumed by the CC256x including RF TX/RX while VDD_IO jumper can be used to measure voltage/power consumed by the digital I/O's.

Antenna/U.FL Selector

The board can be configured to route the RF output from the CC256x to the on board copper antenna or the on board U.FL connector. This configuration is done by placing the resistor in either R29 or R30 position which has negligible resistance of a 0 Ohm. R30 will connect the RF to the U.FL while R29 will connect to the copper antenna. The U.FL connector is used for conducted testing of the RF. The Bluetooth Hardware Evaluation Tool (BHET) can be used to test basic RF functionality on this board.

RF Connectors

The RF1 and RF2 connectors can be used to mount on a wide variety of TI MCU platforms such as MSP430 and Stellaris. Note that the RF I/O's are all at 3.3V levels. This enables seamless integration of the host using TI's platforms that comes preinstalled with EM headers. The standard pinout is described in the following table:

Pin # EM Adapter Pin Assignment Pin # EM Adapter Pin Assignment
1 GND 2 N/C
11 N/C 12 N/C
13 N/C 14 N/C
15 N/C 16 N/C
17 N/C 18 N/C
19 GND 20 N/C

Pin # EM Adapter Pin Assignment Pin # EM Adapter Pin Assignment
1 N/C  2 GND
3 N/C 4 N/C
5 N/C 6 N/C
13 N/C 14 N/C
15 N/C 16 N/C

NoteNote: The I2S/PCM interface on the EM board is set as PCM master by default. To change the role to PCM slave, mount 0 Ohm resistor on R18 and remote R19..

Debug Header

The debug header is provided for testing and debugging purposes. It exposes important signals used in the design such as power, ground, debug, UART, and Audio signals. Note that all I/O's are at 1.8V. Pinout is shown in the following table:

Pin # EM Adapter Pin Assignment Pin # EM Adapter Pin Assignment
7 AUD_OUT_1V8 8 AUD_IN_1V8
11 HCI_TX_1V8 12 HCI_RX_1V8
13 HCI_CTS_1V8 14 HCI_RTS_1V8
17 VDD_1V8 18 GND

COM Connector

The COM connector, aka Edge card, is used to interface with TI's MPUs such as OMAP and AM335x. As shown below, it provides HCI, Audio, Slow Clock, Shutdown, and Debug interfaces to the host connected through the edge card. Note that all I/O's for the COM connector are at 1.8V. Also note some components should be DNI to use the COM connector. See BOM for details.


Pin # Relevant COM Connector Pin Assignment
8 1V8_IN
52 AUD_CLK_1V8
56 AUD_IN_1V8
58 AUD_OUT_1V8
66 HCI_TX_1V8
68 HCI_RX_1V8
70 HCI_CTS_1V8
72 HCI_RTS_1V8

Pins 3, 9, 19, 37, 47, 63, 77, 83, 87, 95, 97, and 2, 6, 18, 22, 42, 60, 64, 92 are connected to ground.

All other pins are NC (Not Connected).

Clock Inputs

  • The slow clock can come from 2 sources, internal and external to the board. The CC256x QFN EM gives option to place the slow clock on the board itself or source it from an external source. It is connected to the SLOW_CLK_IN and can be a digital signal in the range of 0-1.8 V.
  • The slow clock's frequency accuracy must be 32.768 kHz, 250 ppm for Bluetooth usage (according to the Bluetooth specification).
  • When the MSP430 Experimenter board is connected, the signal is exposed from the µController. So within this application there is no additional clock needed.

CC256x QFN slowCLK.png

Module Dimensions

No. Item Dimension [in] Tolerance Remark
1 Width 1.550 +/- 0.001 Smaller at COM end
2 Length 2.125 +/- 0.001
3 Height 0.062 +/- 0.001

Tools and Software

TI’s Bluetooth Software Solution

Bluetooth software based used is TI’s Bluetooth stack, including a few profiles, for many platforms including TI’s MSP430 and Tiva C platforms. Detailed documentation is available in the Bluetooth Demo APPS page.

Evaluation Platforms

These are the evaluation platforms we support:

In addition, a software development environment, e.g. Code Composer Studio, is required.

For a detailed description on usage of these tools please refer to: CC256x EVM Platform

Evaluation kits and modules are available through TI's network of authorized distributors.

Below is a picture of the CC256x QFN EM board mounted to one of the platforms, the MSP430F5438 Experimenter's Board, using RF1 and RF2 interface:


Bluetooth Hardware Evaluation Tool

The CC256x Bluetooth Hardware Evaluation Tool is a program which can be downloaded as a complete package from Texas Instruments. It is a very intuitive, user-friendly tool to test TI's Bluetooth chips including this CC256x QFN EM board. More specifically, it is used to measure RF performance of our BT chips.


Certifications for the CC256x EM board include:

  • FCC - Federal Communications Commission
  • IC - Industry Canada
  • CE Mark - Conformité Européenne

It is also in process of being certified as a Bluetooth controller subsystem by the Bluetooth SIG(Special Interest Group).

NoteNote: Caution: This device is an engineering development board and cannot be used in an end product.

Life Support Policy

This TI product is not designed for use in life support appliances, devices, or systems where malfunction can reasonably be expected to result in a significant personal injury to the user, or as a critical component in any life support device or system whose failure to perform can be reasonably expected to cause the failure of the life support device or system, or to affect its safety or effectiveness. TI customers using or selling these products for use in such applications do so at their own risk and agree to fully indemnify TI for any damages resulting.

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