Bluetooth: HCI UART

Overview

Expose the Zephyr Bluetooth controller support over UART to another device/CPU using the H:4 HCI transport protocol (requires HW flow control from the UART).

Requirements

  • A board with BLE support

Default UART settings

By default the controller builds use the following settings:

  • Baudrate: 1Mbit/s
  • 8 bits, no parity, 1 stop bit
  • Hardware Flow Control (RTS/CTS) enabled

Building and Running

This sample can be found under samples/bluetooth/hci_uart in the Zephyr tree, and it is built as a standard Zephyr application.

Using the controller with emulators and BlueZ

The instructions below show how to use a Nordic nRF5x device as a Zephyr BLE controller and expose it to Linux’s BlueZ. This can be very useful for testing the Zephyr Link Layer with the BlueZ Host. The Zephyr BLE controller can also provide a modern BLE 5.0 controller to a Linux-based machine for native BLE support or QEMU-based development.

First, make sure you have a recent BlueZ version installed by following the instructions in the Using BlueZ with Zephyr section.

Now build and flash the sample for the Nordic nRF5x board of your choice. All of the Nordic Development Kits come with a Segger IC that provides a debugger interface and a CDC ACM serial port bridge. More information can be found in Nordic nRF5x Segger J-Link.

For example, to build for the nRF52832 Development Kit:

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

# On Windows
cd %ZEPHYR_BASE%\samples\bluetooth\hci_uart
mkdir build & cd build

# Use cmake to configure a Ninja-based build system:
cmake -GNinja -DBOARD=nrf52_pca10040 ..

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

Using the controller with QEMU and Native POSIX

In order to use the HCI UART controller with QEMU or Native POSIX you will need to attach it to the Linux Host first. To do so simply build the sample and connect the UART to the Linux machine, and then attach it with this command:

sudo btattach -B /dev/ttyACM0 -S 1000000 -R

Note

Depending on the serial port you are using you will need to modify the /dev/ttyACM0 string to point to the serial device your controller is connected to.

Note

If using the BBC micro:bit you will need to modify the baudrate argument from 1000000 to 115200.

Note

The -R flag passed to btattach instructs the kernel to avoid interacting with the controller and instead just be aware of it in order to proxy it to QEMU later.

If you are running btmon you should see a brief log showing how the Linux kernel identifies the attached controller.

Once the controller is attached follow the instructions in the Running on QEMU and Native POSIX section to use QEMU with it.

Using the controller with BlueZ

In order to use the HCI UART controller with BlueZ you will need to attach it to the Linux Host first. To do so simply build the sample and connect the UART to the Linux machine, and then attach it with this command:

sudo btattach -B /dev/ttyACM0 -S 1000000

Note

Depending on the serial port you are using you will need to modify the /dev/ttyACM0 string to point to the serial device your controller is connected to.

Note

If using the BBC micro:bit you will need to modify the baudrate argument from 1000000 to 115200.

If you are running btmon you should see a comprehensive log showing how BlueZ loads and initializes the attached controller.

Once the controller is attached follow the instructions in the Using Zephyr-based Controllers with BlueZ section to use BlueZ with it.