LTE Cat M and NB-IoT Shield for Arduino Features SIMCom SIM7000-Series Module (Crowdfunding)

Orange Pi Development Boards

We’ve already covered several NB-IoT (and/or LTE Cat M1) Arduino shields with products like RAK Wireless WisLTE, Sixfab Arduino NB-IoT shield, or AIS NB-IoT shield, which all happen to come with Quectel modules.

A young self-taught engineer has decided to make his own Arduino eMTC/NB-IoT shield, but based on a SIMCom SIM7000-series module instead of a Quectel one found in the other aforementioned products.

NB-IoT Shield Connected to Arduino UNO Board

Board specifications:

  • Cellular Module (one of the list depending on your location)
    • SIM7000A LTE Cat M1 & NB-IoT module certified for AT&T and Verizon in the US
    • SIM7000C Cat M1/NB-IoT module with 2G/2.5G fallback for the Chinese maket
    • SIM7000E Cat M1/NB-IoT module with 2G/2.5G fallback for the European market
    • Note: The developer is also looking into SIM7000G module which should work globally, but the option is not available for now
  • Micro SIM card holder
  • GNSS – GPS/GLONASS with 2.5m accuracy supported by SIMCom modules
  • Antenna – 2x u.FL connectors for LTE and GPS
  • USB – Micro USB port for debugging and sending AT commands
  • Sensor – MCP9808 I2C temperature sensor with 0.25° typical accuracy
  • Expansion – Arduino headers (compatible with Arduino Uno, Arduino Mega, and Arduino Leonardo), extra I2C header

EAGLE schematics and PCB layout, documentation, and software example have already been pushed to Github.

The board launched on Indiegogo last month with the “Arrow Certified Technology” campaign aiming to raise at least $7,000, but since it’s a flexible funding campaign, mass production will happen regardless of the success of the crowdfunding effort. The $79 pledge for the shield may look expensive at first, but considering it ships with LTE & GNSS antennas, a stacking female header kit, a Hologram global IoT SIM Card with $40 of credit, price does not look too bad after all. Shipping fee does not appear to be included, and price is not mentioned, so you may have to pay an extra shipping fee when actual shipping is due around June 2018.

Timothy also uploaded some video tutorials to YouTube such as the Real-Time LTE Arduino GPS Tracker tutorial below.

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Jon Smirl
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SIM7000A is about $16

Philipp Blum
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Philipp Blum

@Jon Smirl
Where do you get it for 16 USD?

loboris
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loboris

It is quite expensive considering you have to add the shipping cost, which may be quite high.

LTE CATM1 EMTC NB Multimode MINI SIM7000C 4G module LTE breakout board on eBay is US $33.77 (Free shipping)
You can get good LTE + GNSS antennas for ~10 US $

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HOT-LTE-CATM1-EMTC-NB-Multimode-MINI-SIM7000C-4G-module-LTE-breakout-board/263327020207?hash=item3d4f8374af:g:2HcAAOSwUwFaEqEW

Jon Smirl
Member

It is on Aliexpress for $18.52 including shipping.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1PCS-LOT-SIMCOM-SIM7000C-SMT-TYPE-4G-100-New-Original-NB-IoT-LTE-CATM1-EMTC-module/32841385186.html

The Alibaba place would be more if you are going to have 100 boards assembled in China and mailed to you. Places like Elecrow will do that for really good prices.

Jon Smirl
Member

Note that you need to email these vendors and make sure they ship the SIM7000A or SIM7000E version for US/EU. Most of the Chinese vendors will default to SIM7000C – the China version.

As far as I can tell all of the modules are priced the same but the distributors having varying markup from 10% to 100%.