I want to know if is possible to update the firmware of the NFC chip PN532 from NXP. If it is, how can this be done?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What does the datasheet say? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Leon Heller The datasheet doesn't mention an update mode but I remember reading something about firmware update that I can't find now \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 12:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ assuming it'd be possible (which is unlikely; see answer by Bimpelrekkie below): what new firmware would you want to update? \$\endgroup\$
    – Curd
    Sep 18 '17 at 13:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Downvotes please explain why \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a silly question. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 16:15

I searched for "firmware" in the datasheet and this word pops up in only a few locations in the datasheet.

It mentions for example that the current consumption depends on the version of the firmware. That tells me that NXP determines what firmware is used on a particular chip.

Although a micro controller is used in this chip, I do not see how the end user can make use of that uC. As far as I can determine the uC is used to control reading/writing of data and generally controlling the IC. I do not see the possibility mentioned to load your own software into the uC.

Having that option to load your own software into the uC would require flash memory which would add cost to the manufacturing of these ICs. Since NXP sells these chips cheap and in huge quantities, my bet is that they use mask ROM and not flash ROM.

Updating the contents of a mask ROM should require only one mask change so despite not being cheap the cost becomes much lower as more chips are sold with the new firmware version.

Using mask ROM will also save the cost of programming each chip before it leaves the factory as would be needed when using flash ROM.

So my answer is: No, you cannot update the firmware in this chip.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have got a PN532 which can't read isoB, so I was hoping to update the firmware and maybe solve the issue. I don't know if this is even possible \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ What is "isoB"? The standards which the chip can support are listed in the datasheet. If your standard is not there you should use a different chip. Maybe NXP can make a version for you supporting the standard you want but they will probably not talk to you unless you're going to buy several millions of those special versions. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 13:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ isoB refers to NFC standard iso14443B. On the official datasheet is written that this chip should support iso14443B so i suppose it may be a firmware issue. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 14:19

I would assume so. It's expensive to use masked ROM for software you might change in the future.

There are 3 pins that are NC. My money is on those being a programming interface.

However, the chip might not contain all the boost circuitry required for erasing and programming flash. Which is why it's advertised as ROM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ where you can find that is "advertised as rom"? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 '17 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RoccoMancin "80C51 micro controller core with 40 kbyte ROM and 1 kbyte RAM" \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeroen3
    Sep 18 '17 at 13:58

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