User Manual


Users Manual

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2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

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       Functional description


       The Argon is a powerful Wi-Fi enabled development board that can act as either a
       standalone Wi-Fi endpoint or Wi-Fi enabled gateway for Particle Mesh networks. It is
       based on the Nordic nRF52840 and has built-in battery charging circuitry so it’s easy to
       connect a Li-Po and deploy your local network in minutes.                                           1/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       The Argon is great for connecting existing projects to the Particle Device Cloud or as a
       gateway to connect an entire group of local endpoints.


               Espressif ESP32-D0WD 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi coprocessor
                      On-board 4MB flash for ESP32
                      802.11 b/g/n support
                      802.11 n (2.4 GHz), up to 150 Mbps
               Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 SoC
                      ARM Cortex-M4F 32-bit processor @ 64MHz
                      1MB flash, 256KB RAM
                      IEEE 802.15.4-2006: 250 Kbps
                      Bluetooth 5: 2 Mbps, 1 Mbps, 500 Kbps, 125 Kbps
                      Supports DSP instructions, HW accelerated Floating Point Unit (FPU) calculations
                      ARM TrustZone CryptoCell-310 Cryptographic and security module
                      Up to +8 dBm TX power (down to -20 dBm in 4 dB steps)
                      NFC-A tag
               On-board additional 2MB SPI flash
               20 mixed signal GPIO (6 x Analog, 8 x PWM), UART, I2C, SPI
               Micro USB 2.0 full speed (12 Mbps)
               Integrated Li-Po charging and battery connector
               JTAG (SWD) Connector
               RGB status LED
               Reset and Mode buttons
               On-board PCB antenna
               u.FL connector for external antenna
               Meets the Adafruit Feather specification in dimensions and pinout
               FCC, CE and IC certified
               RoHS compliant (lead-free)


       Block diagram                                               2/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet


       USB PORT

       The USB port is the easiest way to power up the Argon. Please make sure that the USB
       port is able to provided at least 500mA. Power from the USB is regulated down to 3.3V by
       the on board Torex XC9258A step-down regulator.

       VUSB PIN

       The pin is internally connected to the VBUS of the USB port. The nominal output should
       be around 4.5 to 5 VDC when the device is plugged into the USB port and 0 when not
       connected to a USB source. You can use this pin to power peripherals that operate at such
       voltages. Do not exceed the current rating of the USB port, which is nominally rated to
       500mA. This pin is also protected with an internal fuse rated at 1000mA.

       LiPo                                           3/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       If you want to make your projects truly wireless, you can power the device with a single
       cell LiPo (3.7V). The Argon has an on board LiPo charger that will charge and power the
       device when USB source is plugged in, or power the device from the LiPo alone in the
       absence of the USB.

             NOTE: Please pay attention to the polarity of the LiPo connector. Not all LiPo
             batteries follow the same polarity convention!

       Li+ PIN

       This pin is internally connected to the positive terminal of the LiPo connector. You can
       connect a single cell LiPo/Lithium Ion or a DC supply source to this pin for powering the
       Argon. Remember that the input voltage range on this pin is 3.6 to 4.2 VDC.

       3V3 PIN

       This pin is the output of the on board 3.3V step-down switching regulator (Torex
       XC9258A). The regulator is rated at 1000mA max. When using this pin to power other
       devices or peripherals remember to budget in the current requirement of the Argon first.
       This pin can also be used to power the Argon in absence of the USB or LiPo power. When                                           4/22

2018/11/15                                                             Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       powering over this pin, please connect the ENABLE pin to GND so that the on board
       regulator is disabled.


       There are two radios on the Argon. A Mesh radio (nRF52840) and a WiFi radio (ESP32).
       For the WiFi radio, we have provide a u.FL connector to plug in the WiFi antenna. This is
       required if you wish to use the WiFi connectivity.

       There are two options for the Mesh antenna on the Argon. It comes with an on-board PCB
       antenna which is selected by default in the device OS and a u.FL connector if you wish to
       connect an external antenna. If you wish to use the external antenna, you'll need to issue
       an appropriate command in the firmware.

       FCC approved antennas

       Mesh and WiFi

                        Particle Device Frequency                   Antenna Type Manufacturer MFG. Part # Gain

                        Argon               2400-2500 MHz PCB Antenna                Particle         ANT-FLXV2   2.0dBi peak

       Peripherals and GPIO

                                                     Peripheral Type Qty Input(I) / Output(O)

                                                             Digital        20             I/O

                                                      Analog (ADC)          6               I

                                                             UART           1              I/O

                                                              SPI           1              I/O

                                                              I2C           2              I/O

                                                              USB           1              I/O

                                                             PWM            8               O

       Note: All GPIOs are only rated at 3.3VDC max.                                                                      5/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet


       The Argon has a dedicated 10 pin debug connector that exposes the SWD interface of the
       nRF5280. This interface can be used to debug your code or reprogram your Argon
       bootloader, device OS, or the user firmware using any standard SWD tools including our
       Mesh Debugger.

       Memory map

       nRF52840 Flash Layout Overview

               Bootloader (48KB, @0xF4000)
               User Application (128KB, @0xD4000)
               System (656KB, @0x30000)
               SoftDevice (192KB)

       External SPI Flash Layout Overview (DFU offset: 0x80000000)

               OTA (1500KB, @0x00289000)
               Reserved (420KB, @0x00220000)
               FAC (128KB, @0x00200000)                                           6/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

               LittleFS (2M, @0x00000000)

       Pins and button definitions

       Pin markings                                           7/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       Pinout diagram                                           8/22

2018/11/15                                                      Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       You can download a high resolution PDF version of the pin out here.

       Pin description

                Pin             Description

                Li+             This pin is internally connected to the positive terminal of the LiPo battery connector.

                VUSB            This pin is internally connected to the USB (+ve) supply.

                3V3             This pin is the output of the on-board 3.3V regulator.

                GND             System ground pin.

                EN              Device enable pin is internally pulled-up. To disable the device, connect this pin to GND.

                RST             Active-low system reset input. This pin is internally pulled-up.

                MD              This pin is internally connected to the MODE button. The MODE function is active-low.

                RX              Primarily used as UART RX, but can also be used as a digital GPIO.

                TX              Primarily used as UART TX, but can also be used as a digital GPIO.

                SDA             Primarily used as data pin for I2C, but can also be used as a digital GPIO.

                SCL             Primarily used as clock pin for I2C, but can also be used as a digital GPIO.

                MO,MI,SCK These are the SPI interface pins, but can also be used as a digital GPIO.                                                                   9/22

2018/11/15                                                         Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

                Pin             Description

                D2-D8           These are generic GPIO pins. D2-D8 are PWM-able.

                A0-A5           These are analog input pins that can also act as standard digital GPIO. A0-A5 are PWM-able.

       LED status

       System RGB LED

       For a detailed explanation of different color codes of the RGB system LED, please take a
       look here.

       Charge status LED

                                                             State Description

                                                             ON     Charging in progress

                                                             OFF    Charging complete

       Technical specifications

       Absolute maximum ratings

                             Parameter                                            Symbol         Min Typ   Max    Unit

                             Supply Input Voltage                                 VIN-MAX                  +6.2    V

                             Battery Input Voltage                                VLiPo                    +6.5    V

                             Supply Output Current                                I3V3-MAX-L               1000   mA

                             Storage Temperature                                  Tstg           -30       +75    °C

                             ESD Susceptibility HBM (Human Body Mode) VESD                                  2     kV

          Stresses beyond those listed under absolute maximum ratings may cause permanent
       damage to the device. These are stress ratings only, and functional operation of the device
       at these or any other conditions beyond those indicated under recommended operating                                                                    10/22

2018/11/15                                                         Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       conditions is not implied. Exposure to absolute-maximum-rated conditions for extended
       periods may affect device reliability.

       Recommended operating conditions

                           Parameter                                                  Symbol      Min      Typ    Max Unit

                           LiPo Battery Voltage                                       VLiPo       +3.3            +4.4   V

                           Supply Input Voltage                                       V3V3        +3.0 +3.3 +3.6         V

                           Supply Output Voltage                                      V3V3                 +3.3          V

                           Operating Current (uC on, Radio ON)                        ILi+ avg              8     240    mA

                           Operating Current (EN pin = LOW)                           Idisable             20     30     uA

                           Operating Current (uC on, Radio OFF)                       ILi+ avg             TBD    TBD    mA

                           Sleep Current (4.2V LiPo, Radio OFF)                       IQs                  TBD    TBD    mA

                           Deep Sleep Current (4.2V LiPo, Radio OFF)                  IQds                 TBD    TBD    uA

                           Operating Temperature                                      Top         -20             +60    °C

                           Humidity Range Non condensing, relative humidity                                       95     %

       Radio specifications

       Argon has two radio modules.

       Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 SoC for BLE, Thread, and NFC.

                                            Feature                    Description

                                            Operating Frequencies 2360 to 2500 MHz

                                            Output Power               Programmable -20dBm to +8dBm

                                            PLL channel spacing        1 MHz

                                            On the air data rate       125 to 2000 kbps

       Espressif Systems ESP32 for WiFi

                                                         Feature            Description

                                                         WLAN Standards IEEE 802 11b/g/n                                                                    11/22

2018/11/15                                                         Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

                                                         Feature            Description

                                                         Antenna Port       Single Antenna

                                                         Frequency Band     2412 to 2484 MHz

       Note: Bluetooth features of the ESP32 are not exposed.

       I/O Characteristics

       These specifications are based on the nRF52840 datasheet.

               Parameter                                                  Symbol        Conditions          Min      Typ    Max      Unit

               Input high voltage                                         VIH                              0.7*3.3   --     3.3       V

               Input low voltage                                          VIL                                0             0.3*3.3    V

               Current at GND+0.4 V, output set low, high drive           IOL,HDL     V3V3 >= 2.7V           6       10      15      mA

               Current at V3V3-0.4 V, output set high, high drive IOH,HDH V3V3 >= 2.7V                       6       9       14      mA

               Pull-up resistance                                         RPU                                11      13      16      kœ

               Pull-down resistance                                       RPD                                11      13      16      kœ

       Mechanical specifications

       Dimensions and Weight                                                                                  12/22

2018/11/15                                                    Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

               Weight = 10 grams

       Mating connectors

       The Argon uses two single row 0.1" pitch male header pins. One of them is 16 pin while
       the other is 12 pin. It can be mounted with matching 0.1" pitch female headers with a
       typical height of 0.335" (8.5mm). When you search for parts like these it can be difficult to
       navigate the thousands of parts available online so here are a few good choices for the

                                        Description                          MFG       MFG Part Number

                                        16-pin 0.1" (2.54mm) Female Header Sullins PPTC161LFBN-RC

                                        16-pin 0.1" (2.54mm) Female Header TE          6-535541-4

                                        12-pin 0.1" (2.54mm) Female Header Sullins PPTC121LFBN-RC

                                        12-pin 0.1" (2.54mm) Female Header TE          6-534237-0                                               13/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       Recommended PCB land pattern
       The Argon can be directly soldered onto the PCB or be mounted with the above
       mentioned female headers.

       The complete schematic and board files are open source and available on Particle's
       GitHub repository here.

       Power                                           14/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet


       ESP32                                           15/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       Ordering information
       Argon are available from in single quantities.

       Qualification and approvals

               Model Number: ARGN
               FCC ID: 2AEMI-ARGN
               IC: 20127-ARGN                                           16/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       Product Handling

       ESD Precautions

       The Argon contains highly sensitive electronic circuitry and is an Electrostatic Sensitive
       Device (ESD). Handling Argon without proper ESD protection may destroy or damage it
       permanently. Proper ESD handling and packaging procedures must be applied
       throughout the processing, handling and operation of any application that incorporates
       Argon. ESD precautions should be implemented on the application board where the
       Argon is mounted. Failure to observe these precautions can result in severe damage to
       the Argon!


       There are four connectors on the Argon that will get damaged with improper usage. The
       JST connector on the circuit board, where you plug in the LiPo battery, is very durable but
       the connector on the battery itself is not. When unplugging the battery, take extra
       precaution to NOT pull the connector using the wires, but instead hold the plug at its base
       to avoid putting stress on the wires. This can be tricky with bare hands - nose pliers are
       your friend here.                                           17/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       The micro B USB connector on the Argon is soldered on the PCB with large surface pads
       as well as couple of through hole anchor points. Despite this reinforcement, it is very easy
       to rip out the connector if too much stress is put on in the vertical direction.

       The u.FL antenna connector is a very fragile piece of hardware ( and is fancy too with all
       the gold plating). The connector was not designed to be constantly plugged and
       unplugged. Care must be taken not to put stress on it at any time (yes, swinging the Argon
       by the antenna is a very bad idea, this is not your cat). The antenna pin is also the most
       static sensitive and you can destroy the radio with improper handling. If you are feeling
       adventurous, we highly recommend putting a tiny dab of glue (epoxy, rubber cement,
       liquid tape or hot glue) on the connector to securely hold the plug in place.

       The 10 pin SWD connector provides an easy in-system debugging access to the device.
       The pins on the connector can easily be damaged if the mating connector cable is
       inserted improperly. If you are trying to debug the device, you probably are not in a good
       mood to begin with. The last thing you want is to render the connector useless. Be nice,
       and be gentle on the connector. Good luck with the debugging!


       The breadboard provided with the Argon is specifically designed to require low insertion
       force. This makes it easy to plug the Argon in and out of the breadboard. If you end up
       using a different breadboard, remember that it may require more force. In this case,
       always remember to pinch-hold your precious Argon by the sides (along the header pins)
       when plugging-unplugging and not by the USB connector (don't be this person).                                            18/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       Default settings

       The Argon comes preprogrammed with a bootloader and a user application called Tinker.
       This application works with an iOS and Android app also named Tinker that allows you to
       very easily toggle digital pins, take analog and digital readings and drive variable PWM

       The bootloader allows you to easily update the user application via several different
       methods, USB, OTA, Serial Y-Modem, and also internally via the Factory Reset procedure.
       All of these methods have multiple tools associated with them as well.

       FCC IC CE Warnings and End Product Labeling

       Federal Communication Commission Interference Statement This equipment has been
       tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to Part 15
       of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against
       harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can
       radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the
       instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is
       no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment
       does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined
       by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the
       interference by one of the following measures:

               Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
               Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
               Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the
               receiver is connected.
               Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.

       FCC Caution: Any changes or modifications not expressly approved by the party
       responsible for compliance could void the user's authority to operate this equipment. This
       device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two

        1. This device may not cause harmful interference, and                                             19/22

2018/11/15                                                   Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

        2. This device must accept any interference received, including interference that may
             cause undesired operation.

       FCC Radiation Exposure Statement: This equipment complies with FCC radiation
       exposure limits set forth for an uncontrolled environment. This transmitter module must
       not be co-located or operating in conjunction with any other antenna or transmitter. This
       End equipment should be installed and operated with a minimum distance of 20
       centimeters between the radiator and your body.

       IMPORTANT NOTE: In the event that these conditions can not be met (for example certain
       laptop configurations or co-location with another transmitter), then the FCC authorization
       is no longer considered valid and the FCC ID can not be used on the final product. In
       these circumstances, the OEM integrator will be responsible for re-evaluating the end
       product (including the transmitter) and obtaining a separate FCC authorization.

       End Product Labeling The final end product must be labeled in a visible area with the

               Contains FCC ID: 2AEMI-ARGN

       Manual Information to the End User The OEM integrator has to be aware not to provide
       information to the end user regarding how to install or remove this RF module in the user’s
       manual of the end product which integrates this module.

       Canada Statement This device complies with Industry Canada’s licence-exempt RSSs.
       Operation is subject to the following two conditions:

        1. This device may not cause interference; and

        2. This device must accept any interference, including interference that may cause
             undesired operation of the device.

       Le présent appareil est conforme aux CNR d’Industrie Canada applicables aux appareils
       radio exempts de licence.

       L’exploitation est autorisée aux deux conditions suivantes:

        1. l’appareil ne doit pas produire de brouillage;

        2. l’utilisateur de l’appareil doit accepter tout brouillage radioélectrique subi, même si le
             brouillage est susceptible d’en compromettre le fonctionnement.

       Caution Exposure: This device meets the exemption from the routine evaluation limits in
       section 2.5 of RSS102 and users can obtain Canadian information on RF exposure and
       compliance. Le dispositif répond à l'exemption des limites d'évaluation de routine dans la                                              20/22

2018/11/15                                                         Particle Datasheets | Argon datasheet

       section 2.5 de RSS102 et les utilisateurs peuvent obtenir des renseignements canadiens
       sur l'exposition aux RF et le respect.

       The final end product must be labelled in a visible area with the following: The Industry
       Canada certification label of a module shall be clearly visible at all times when installed in
       the host device, otherwise the host device must be labelled to display the Industry
       Canada certification number of the module, preceded by the words “Contains transmitter
       module”, or the word “Contains”, or similar wording expressing the same meaning, as

               Contains transmitter module IC: 20127-ARGN

       This End equipment should be installed and operated with a minimum distance of 20
       centimeters between the radiator and your body. Cet équipement devrait être installé et
       actionné avec une distance minimum de 20 centimètres entre le radiateur et votre corps.

       The end user manual shall include all required regulatory information/warning as shown in
       this manual.

       Revision history

                                                   Revision Date             Author Comments

                                                   v001      26 Oct 2018 MB            Initial release

       Known Errata


       Community Forums

       Email                                                 21/22

Document Created: 2019-03-07 15:50:57
Document Modified: 2019-03-07 15:50:57

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