Bluetooth PTS with Nordic nRF52840 USB Dongle

The Bluetooth PTS 8.0.0 tool introduced support for testing of Extended Advertising features and LE Audio. For this, the BL654 USB dongle from Laird Technologies is required.

While there’s nothing wrong with using this dongle, due to unknown reasons it is not available from major distributors like Digikey or Mouser before Summer 2020. The BL654 is mainly an nRF52840 SoC in a nice USB casing that can be used with Nordics nRF5 SDK or Zephyr. By that, it’s not much different from Nordic’s nRF52840 USB Dongle.

In fact, it’s possible to directly flash the PTS firmware on the nRF52840 USB dongle and providing the instructions for this is the goal of this post.


  • Press “Next” to let it search for connected dongles

* Select the “new” dongle and remember the number of its COM Port (it’s COM4 here) * Press “Next”

  • Now, the software needs to download the latest version of the PTS firmware and asks for your Bluetooth SIG account credentials.

  • If you click on ‘OK’, updating the bootloader will fail (the Nordic booloader on the nRF52840 USB cannot be updated via DFU)

  • Close the software

  • Now, open an Explorer window and navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Bluetooth SIG\PTS Firmware Upgrade Software\tools and copy the file nrfutil.exe

  • Then, navigate to AppData\Local\PTSFirmwareUpgradeSoftware within your user folder and paste the nrfutil.exe into this folder. Please note the file with the UUID128-like file name as you’ll need it soon.

  • Open a PowerShell via File->Open Windows PowerShell as a regular user

  • Reset the nRF52840 USB Dongle by pressing the smaller button (labeled ‘RESET’) to enter DFU mode. A red LED should start flashing.
  • Run the nrfutil.exe with the .bin file (it’s actually a ZIP archive) with the UUID128-like name, or just press the TAB key,
    • .\nrfutil dfu usb-serial -pkg -p COM4
  • Et voila, the nRF52840 USB Dongle can be used with PTS.

We recommend to acquire a few of the original BL654 USB dongles when they become available again.

[UPDATE] As the nrfutil by Nordic is also available on for Mac and Linux, you can flash additional devices there as well using a correct device path like /dev/tty.usbmodemXXXXXXXX instead of COMx.

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