Getting Started with the BGM220 Explorer Kit#

The BGM220 Explorer Kit (part number: BGM220-EK4314A) is focused on rapid prototyping and IoT concept creation around Silicon Labs BGM220P module.

Kit Overview#

The kit features USB interface, on-board J-Link debugger, one user LED/button and support for hardware add-on boards via a mikroBus socket, and a qwiic connector.

Explorer Kit

The hardware add-on support allows developers to create and prototype applications using a virtually endless combination of off-the-shelf boards from mikroE, sparkfun, AdaFruit, and Seeed Studios. The boards from Seeed Studios feature a connector, which is pin compatible with the qwiic connector but mechanically incompatible and it requires an adaption cable or board.

Testing the Bluetooth Demos#

The Bluetooth SDK comes with pre-built demos that can be directly flashed into this kit and tested using a smartphone running the EFR Connect mobile app (Android, iOS):

  • SoC iBeacon

  • NCP Empty

The iBeacon can be tested with EFR Connect as documented in Getting Started with the WSTK. NCP Empty can be tested with NCP Commander, which can be launched via the Tools dialog in Simplicity Studio 5.

NCP Commander

GitHub Examples#

Silicon Labs applications_examples GitHub repository contains additional examples that can run on the BGM220 Explorer Kit. Some of them leverage 3rd party add-on boards and they are typically found in the bluetooth_applications repository.

Porting Code from mikroSDK and Arduino#

If using a mikroE click board, ready made examples are on your specific mikroE click board Web page that typically reside in mikroE's libstock and/or GitHub. Those examples are using the mikroSDK, which provides abstraction to the supported hardware kits provided by mikroE.

If using a board from sparkfun, Adafruit, or Seeed Studios, they typically have examples for the Arduino IDE, which run on some of their own controller boards that are supported by the Arduino platform.

Those examples will not run out of the box on the BGM220 Explorer Kit, but with a small amount of effort they can be easily ported by using the guide below, which maps mikroSDK and Arduino APIs for UART/SPI/I2C/GPIO functionality into the Silicon Labs platform equivalents.

Whether porting from mikroSDK or Arduino, EMLIB and Platform Drivers/Services contain the most useful Silicon Labs APIs. For corresponding documentation, see below:

  • EMLIB - a low level peripheral driver library for all Silicon labs EFM32 and EFR32 device families

  • Platform Drivers - a higher level driver layer built on top of EMLIB. EMDRV abstracts some aspects of peripheral initialization and use but is more limited in peripheral coverage than EMLIB.

Additionally, Silicon Labs' Peripheral Examples on GitHub are a good resource for simple demonstration of peripheral control using EMLIB.

mikroSDK Porting Guide#

The mikroE ecosystem of click boards from MikroElektronika are typically supported by a collection of driver modules and example code built upon the mikroSDK. These click boards feature a mikroBUS connector for connection to a host board and can include connections for power (3.3 V, 5 V, GND), communications (UART, SPI, and/or I2C), and assorted other functions (GPIO, PWM, INT).

The mikroSDK is a framework that provides abstraction for the communication and GPIO functions of the mikroE click boards by wrapping vendor-specific functions in a common API framework to accomplish these tasks that is portable across a wide range of host devices. The microSDK is therefore ported to a new device via the assignment of function pointers and other device-specific configuration options. At this time, there is no official mikroSDK port for Silicon Labs devices.

Note: The goal of this configuration guide is not to instruct the user on how to port the mikroSDK to the BGM220 or other Silicon Labs devices, but instead to introduce the user to the spectrum of Silicon Labs' native APIs and how to use these APIs instead of the mikroSDK.

There is currently a wide selection of mikroE click accessory boards to facilitate product development with devices such as sensors, display/LEDs, storage, interface, and HMI. Some of these boards are shown below.

mikroE click boards

Using the mikroBUS-compatible socket included on the Explorer Kit BGM220, these boards can be used with the BGM220 as the host controller via the pin functions connecting the mikroBUS socket to the BGM220.

When porting mikroE click examples to the Silicon Labs platform, it is important to understand that interaction between the host controller and the click board is accomplished using a subset of UART, I2C, SPI, GPIO, analog, PWM, or interrupt. Pins for each function are allocated between the BGM220 and the mikroBUS connector, as shown below.

mikroBUS Socket

MikroE Socket Signal

MikroE Socket Pin

BGM220 Pin or Board Connection





















VMCU - BGM220P voltage domain






















+5 V


+5 V - Board USB voltage




Note: Knowledge of the pin mapping shown above combined with use of Silicon Labs' native APIs, as shown below, enable a user to port existing click examples to the Explorer Kit BGM220 by substituting Silicon Labs API calls for mikroSDK and click driver API calls.

The following sections cover four main categories of API-enabled interactions between a host device (BGM220P in this case) and a click board: GPIO, SPI, I2C, and UART. Note that the functions and structures presented here correspond to elements of the core mikroHAL and mikroBUS APIs of the mikroSDK and their closest Silicon Labs counterparts. Many click boards have additional libraries and driver files that integrate with these layers to create the mikroE project framework. However, these core elements should help guide users porting to the Silicon Labs platform.


The mikroSDK uses a complex system of function pointers and data structures to initialize a low level GPIO driver layer with initialization, "get," and "set" function pointers for each GPIO pin on the mikroBUS header. This structure is inherited by higher-level driver layers, which use "get" and "set" functions in higher-level wrapper functions.

By contrast, the Silicon Labs APIs for GPIO control, or em_gpio, are straightforward and easy to understand. Generally speaking, firmware should first initialize a pin and set its mode (i.e., input type, output type, and so on) by calling GPIO_PinModeSet(), then use various API calls to control or read the pin state. The following table represents a comparison and possible suggested substitution scheme for using em_gpio in place of the mikroSDK GPIO API.

Note: More em_gpio functions are available in EMLIB. For more information,see the GPIO API Documentation.

API category

mikroBUS/mikroHAL function/API


Corresponding Silicon Labs GSDK/EMLIB Platform API


T_gpio_setFp T_gpio_obj::gpioGet[12]

Pointers to Get functions

GPIO_PinOutGet(), GPIO_PinInGet()

T_gpio_setFp T_gpio_obj::gpioSet[12]

Pointers to Set functions

GPIO_PinOutSet(), GPIO_PinOutClear(), GPIO_PinOutToggle()

T_mikrobus_ret mikrobus_gpioInit (T_mikrobus_soc bus, T_mikrobus_pin pin, T_gpio_dir dir)