SDK Setup (Windows)

This page is all about getting your Windows machine compiling code for the nRF9160 Feather. Run into trouble during the process? Post your questions on the community forum.

IDE Setup

  1. Install or use the code editor of your choice. I personally use Microsoft Visual Studio Code. The download link is here
  2. If you decide to use Visual Studio Code, make sure you install the C/C++ and Cortex-Debug extentions using the built in extension marketplace. Extensions installed

SDK Install

  1. Install the Chocolatey (choco) package manager. In the start menu type Powershell then right click and open with Administrative Privledges.

    Powershell w/ Admin

  2. Then paste the install script and press enter:

    Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))

    For more info check out this page.

  3. Now, lets install the remaining deps we'll need for Zephyr/nRF Connect using choco. In the same powershell.exeas above run:

    choco feature enable -n allowGlobalConfirmation
    choco install cmake --installargs 'ADD_CMAKE_TO_PATH=System'
    choco install ninja gperf python git
  4. Next install west using pip. West is the most important utility for using nRF Connect SDK & Zephyr. You'll become quite familliar with very soon.

    pip install west

    💡Note: you can update west by issuing pip3 install -U west It will uninstall the version on your machine and replace it with the latest. (It won't do anything if you have the latest installed.)

  5. Now create a folder on your machine and call it nfed (short for nRF9160 Feather Examples and Drivers). For windows it's best to put it in C:\. Open a new command prompt (or powershell) in this folder and initialize nRF Connect SDK using west:

    cd C:\
    mkdir nfed
    cd nfed
    west init -m --mr main

    Note: if you are using an ncs directory structure (older documentation) you can do this with the same effect:

    cd ncs
    git clone nrf9160-feather
  6. Once your nRF Connect SDK compontents are downloaded, you'll need to fetch the remaining SDK:

    west update

    You'll see a bunch of output go by as west downloads dependencies using Git. (This will take hot minute so make sure you're prepared with something else to do. 😬)

    Here's what your nfed folder should look like:

     Volume in drive C has no label.
     Volume Serial Number is B013-63F8
     Directory of C:\nfed
    10/27/2020  12:25 PM    <DIR>          .
    10/27/2020  12:25 PM    <DIR>          ..
    10/27/2020  12:22 PM    <DIR>          .west
    10/27/2020  12:24 PM    <DIR>          bootloader
    10/27/2020  12:25 PM    <DIR>          mbedtls
    10/27/2020  12:27 PM    <DIR>          modules
    10/27/2020  12:22 PM    <DIR>          nrf
    10/27/2020  12:22 PM    <DIR>          nr9160-feather
    10/27/2020  12:24 PM    <DIR>          nrfxlib
    10/27/2020  12:24 PM    <DIR>          test
    10/27/2020  12:26 PM    <DIR>          tools
    10/27/2020  12:24 PM    <DIR>          zephyr
                   0 File(s)              0 bytes
                  11 Dir(s)  29,099,958,272 bytes free
  7. Installing the remaining SDK requirements using pip3:

    pip install -r zephyr/scripts/requirements.txt
    pip install -r nrf/scripts/requirements.txt
    pip install -r bootloader/mcuboot/scripts/requirements.txt

    Note you will get an error during this process related to Visual Studio (not Visual Studio Code). You can ignore this issue.

The ARM Embedded Toolchain

  1. You can download and install the toolchain with this direct link.

  2. One installed, re-open your prompt (or use the provided DOS prompt that will pop up post install) and run arm-none-eabi-gcc --version to make sure it's installed correctly.

    arm-none-eabi-gcc --version
    arm-none-eabi-gcc (GNU Arm Embedded Toolchain 9-2019-q4-major) 9.2.1 20191025 (release)
    Copyright (C) 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
  3. You will have to set some important environment variables. Here's what they should look like:

    setx GNUARMEMB_TOOLCHAIN_PATH "C:\Program Files (x86)\GNU Tools Arm Embedded\9 2019-q4-major"


  1. For loading code to your nRF9160 Feather, you'll need to download and copy a custom version of newtmgr to a folder in your PATH.

    If you're not sure, C:\bin\ is always a good spot for these types of binaries.

  2. You'll have to make sure that C:\bin\ is added to your system PATH. Hit the start menu or Windows key and type "environment variables". Open the "Edit the system environment variables." option.

  3. Go to the System variables section and find path.

  4. Click Edit Edit system variables

  5. Click New

  6. Enter C:\bin\ into the new line.

  7. Press Ok for the remaining prompts.

  8. Then, you'll need to add your serial profile to make it easier to download/update your device:

    newtmgr conn add serial type=serial connstring="dev=COM5,baud=1000000"

    Make sure that the COM port matches the one attached to the nRF9160 Feather. An easy way to check is to remove and add the device to see which COM port shows up in device manager.

For more info in using newtmgr checkout the programming section of this documentation.

Testing it

You can quickly test if your SDK is set up correctly by checking out the blinky example. Make sure that you've closed and re-opened all terminals and Visual Studio Code so the environment is correct. Otherwise you may have issues compiling or flashing code.