nRF Connect Desktop

nRF Connect Desktop

nRF Connect Desktop is the utility that you can use to manipulate your nRF9160 Feather. In this section we'll be focusing on two apps that will affect you the most:

  1. LTE Link Monitor
  2. Programmer

You can find the download page for nRF Connect Desktop here.

LTE Link Monitor

The best way to debug anything cellular-related is to use the LTE Link Monitor. You will need to install a special one that I compiled specifically for the nRF9160 Feather. Here's the LTE Link Monitor download (Version 1.1..1)

What's the difference you ask?

My version of LTE Link Monitor has flow control turned off. I hope in future versions of LTE Link Montior it will have this option to turn it on and off on the fly.

To install:

  1. Install nRF Connect Desktop app
  2. Copy the LTE Link Monitor .tgz file to %USERPROFILE%\.nrfconnect-apps\local (on Windows) or $HOME/.nrfconnect-apps/local (on Linux/macOS). Here's an example of where it is on Windows: Location on windows
  3. Close and re-open nRF Connect Desktop (if it's open)
  4. Then click Open next to the v1.1.1 version of LTE Link Monitor. It will also have local written underneath it.

Local version of LTE Link Monitor

For more information check out Nordic's Documentation.


The programmer is excellent for updating your application firmware. The most important function it provides is updating the modem firmware.

Updating Application Firmware

Another way of programming your application other firmware images is to use the nRF Connect Desktop Programmer App.

  1. First, you'll need to install it if you haven't already.
  2. Then open it up and select your programmer Port choices
  3. Then add a hex file using the button on the right side. Add a hex file
  4. Click Browse to loook for your file Add a hex file
  5. Browse your Nordic Connect SDK repo for your file. For instance the at_client hex image is: ncs/nrf/samples/nrf9160/at_client/build/zephyr/merged.hex Add a hex file
  6. Hit write to start the writing process. Remember your programmer has to be connected to the nRF910 Feather for this to work! Add a hex file

Handy trick! Since the nRF Connect Desktop app is web based, you can use (Command) ⌘ + R to refresh the program. (or CTRL + R on Windows/Linux) This is great when the app goes into a weird state or if your serial device/programmer is now showing up.

Updating Modem Firmware

Your modem firmware plays an important role in the nRF9160. The easiest way, as of this writing, to update is to use the Programmer's Update modem function. It's important to note that not all firmware is certified to work on every provider. For a full up-to-date list, check out Nordic's documentation.

Here are the instructions for updating your modem firmware:

  1. Download the modem firmware you need.
  2. Next, open up the Programmer in nRF Connect Desktop. (You may need to open it first)
  3. Then open up a connection to your programmer. (Your programmer should be connected to USB and attached to your nRF9160 Feather) Port choices
  4. Once opened, the program will read the memory contents of your device and display it. Reading non-volatile mem
  5. To update the modem firmware, scroll down to the bottom right and click Update modem Update modem button
  6. Find your modem firmware Find modem firmware
  7. Start the DFU process by clicking Write! Start the process