Assembling the CC2500 Arduino Shield


Please take note of the following changes and non-obvious issues :

  • The kit described ONLY works with the 1st generation LivingColors which is no longer sold.
  • I have made newer and slightly changed versions of the shield.  Little changes as far as assembly is concerned.  The software has changed : it has been upgraded to Arduino 1.0 and the output power has been increased.
  • Do NOT use JP1 en JP3 unless you understand what the do and how you intend to use them. They can be used for interrupting the Atmel when packets have been sent or received by the CC2500. This would require changes in the library.
  • The via’s of the surface mounted module are too close to the metal USB connector of the Arduino. The via’s are tented but it is best to punt some tape on the PCB just to be on the safe side after assembling the shield.

What is it ?

The CC2500 Shield for Arduino is a kit that interfaces an Arduino to a CC2500 radio transmitter – receiver.
What do you need :

  • An Arduino or Arduino clone like the Freeduino.
  • The Arduino development-environment.
  • (optionally) The Processing development-environment.
  • This kit.
  • Standard tools and skills om needed to assemble an electronics kit. At least you will need a small soldering iron, soldering tin, and diagonal cutters. A multi-meter is useful for finding errors and some solder wick or a solder vacuum. You can find various guides on how to use these tools.


Assembly is fairly easy :

  • Smallest parts first. In this case the two 74LVC125 and the DPAK voltage regulator.
  • If you are assembling the version of the CC2500 module with the eternal antenna, you should solder it now. Check the alignment with the holes in the PCB and the notches on the module.
  • If you have the module with the internal antenna, now is the time to solder the 8 pin header.
  • Solder the rest of the parts.
  • Make sure the IC’s are mounted correctly, pin 1 should be near the 8 pin header.
  • There are two different values resistors on the board. R2 and R3 are  680 Ohm, R4 is 10k Ohm. There is no R1.
  • The LED’s should be mounted with the cathode (the short pin) in the ground plane. The short pen should be near the prototyping area, the long pen near the resistors.
  • Do NOT mount JP1 and JP3 unless you know what you want to use them for. There is no JP2.

I have made a couple of clips showing how the prototype was assembled.

Mounting the  SMD’s  part 1.

Mounting the SMD’s part 2.

The LED’s and the 8 pin header.

The pin headers.

Testing the board.

After mounting the parts it is best to check a few things.

  • Check the top and bottom of the board for shorts and faulty connections.  Use the multi-meter to check for a short between 5V and GND on J1.
  • After that you can put the shield on the Arduino without the CC2500 module (if you have the internal antenna version). On the header for the module you should check the voltages. You should measure 3.3 V between pin 6 and pin 1. You can use the cut off pens of the LED’s to put in the 8 pins header.  S1 should reset the board.
  • If everything checks out you can remove the shield from the Arduino, place the CC2500 module on the shield and put the shield back on the Arduino.

Next : the software

The built up Arduino CC2500 Shield
Eagle3D allows you to render an image of the board.
Eagle3D allows you to render an image of the board.

16 thoughts on “Assembling the CC2500 Arduino Shield”

  1. Hi , is it possible to order such a pcb or an assembled pcb from you ?

    greetz marcus

  2. hi,

    i would like to buy a kit as shown. do you sell it, or do you have a shopping list?
    mostly perfect would be an assembled shield, mounted on an arduino, ready programmed ;)


  3. Really good job! Would you let me know please how to get your excellent CC2500 shield? Thanks!

  4. Interesting !!!!

    So i have a new Living Colur /smartlink is this possible to control via the CC2500. Are there any options to buy a ready and assembled unit ?

    And are all Smartlink Philips lighting products of the same communication protocol ?

  5. @lars : The new LivingColors (Gen2 and or SmartLink) use a different protocol and radio chip. The shield cannot control Gen2 and SmartLink devices.

    All SmartLink products seem to use the same protocol and can control Gen2 devices as well.

  6. Hi, amazing work – I’m also interested in buying one of your CC2500 shields – preferably preassembled! Please let me know how I can do this!

  7. Hi there! Nice engineering! Just came across to more extensive idea – would it be possible to make a sketch that will use cc2500 and Arduino functionality but with addition of the fft library spectrum analyzer in order to make a wireless RGB colour organ out of gen1 living colors? A line audio input from the source or mic amplifier to analogue input of arduino, then fft calculation and transmission to the LiCo. The only doubt is about transfer speed. Will it be enough?

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