Design ESP32 LoRa GPS Tracker Applications with TTGO T-Beam Board

TTGO introduced a small ESP32 LoRa board with OLED display last year that is still selling  for around $14 shipped. But the company is now back with a similar board called TTGO T-Beam that does without the display, but adds GPS support, and a 18650 battery holder, so it should be ideally suited for all sorts of LoRa GPS tracking applications.

ESP32 LoRa GPS Tracker
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TTGO T-Beam board specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual core Xtensa LX6 processor with WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Memory – PSRAM
  • Storage – 4MB SPI flash
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi up to 150 Mbps +  Bluetooth 4.2 Classic and LE with “3D antenna” soldered on PCB
    • LoRa
      • 433, 868, and 915 MHz versions with SMA antenna
      • Transmit current – 120 mA @ +20dBm; 90 mA @ +17dBm; 29mA @ +13dBm
      • Receive sensitivity
        • -139dBm with LoRa & 62.5Khz & SF=12 & 146bps
        • -136dBm with LoRa & 125Khz & SF=12 & 293bps
        • -118dBm with LoRa & 125Khz & SF=6 & 9380bps
        • -123dBm with FSK & 5Khz & 1.2Kbps
  • Location – Ublox NEO-6M GPS module with ceramic antenna
  • Expansion – 26-pin header (unpopulated) with GPIO, ADC, VP/VN, DAC, Touch, SPI, I2C, UART, 2x “LoRa” pin, and power signals (5V/3.3V/GND)
  • Debugging / Programming – micro USB port with CP2104 chip
  • Misc – Two buttons (power and GPIO39)
  • Power Supply – 18650 battery (not supplied)
  • Dimensions – N/A
TTGO T-Beam Pinout
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The board can be programming with the Arduino IDE, and you’ll find code samples on Github showing how to receive and send data over LoRa, and get GPS data.

TTGO T-Beam is sold on Banggood for $30.89 and ships with a LoRa antenna, and two unsoldered headers as shown below. The GPS antenna is already attached to the boards, and the WiFI/Bt antenna is soldered to the board, so all you need is a 18650 battery, and some good idea to implement. The board is also sold on Aliexpress’ LilyGO store, but for around $36 shipped.

LoRa GPS Tracker with 18650 Battery HolderAgain there’s no specific version for frequencies like AS923 (Asia), KR920-923 (Korea), or IN865-867 (India), but I’ve recently realized those work with the 915 MHz (first two) and 868 Mhz (last one), and just need a specific firmware, which as I understand it needs to be flashed by the manufacturer. For example, I’m soon expecting  a RAK811 LoRa tracker board, and RAK Wireless told me they’d send the 915 MHz version with firmware for AS923. The same is true for gateways. I just don’t know if this is a possibly for TTGO T-Beam board.

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