Dragino LoRaST M.2 LoRa Card Convert Compatible Platforms into LoRa Nodes

Modern motherboards or single board computers often expose mPCIe or M.2 / NGFF socket, and we’ve seen it was possible to easily add a LoRa radio using RAK833 mPCIe LoRaWAN gateway card to hardware with an mPCIe (USB/SPI) socket.

You can now do something similar with Dragino LoRaST M.2 LoRa card by inserting into a spare M.2 / NGFF socket. There’s an important distinction however, as while RAK833 is designed for LoRa gateways, LoRaST is based on SX1276/SX1278 for LoRa end nodes.

Dragino LoRaSTDragino LoRaST M.2 LoRa card specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32L072CZT6 Arm Cortex M0+ MCU @ 32 MHz with 192 KB flash,  20 KB of RAM, 6 KB data EEPROM
  • LoRa Connectivity
    • Semtech SX1276/78 LoRa Wireless Modem
    • Available Bands – 433/868/915/920 Mhz
    • Built-in antenna or optional external antenna via I-PEX connector
  • Host interface – Standard M.2 (NGFF) interface
  • Supply Voltage – 1.8V ~ 3.6V
  • Dimensions – 22 x 42 x 3.6 mm
  • Weight – 4g
  • Temperature Range – -40 ~ 85°C

The module is pre-loaded with ISP bootloader, running software based on STM32Cube HAL drivers, and compliant with LoRaWAN 1.0.2 Specification. The card can be controlled via AT commands with the default firmware.

M.2 LoRa CardUsers can re-program the firmware to support LoRa bands for their country, including EU868, AS923, AU915, CN470, CN779, EU433, IN865, KR920, and US915. Programming can be done via USART1, USART2, or STLINK.  The product page mentions datasheet, user manual, and hardware and software “source code”, but does not link to anything. Luckily, a quick web search pointed me to the Wiki where you should find all those including links to firmware binaries and source code, and EAGLE schematics.

I first found Dragino LoRaST on Tindie where it is sold for $19 + shipping, but the card is also sold on some European websites. The card sells with an antenna, but it is not soldered, so you can easily choose to either solder the antenna, or use your own via the I-PEX connector.

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tkaiser

Hmm… talking about ‘Standard’ M.2 (NGFF) interface when it’s all about the key used is a bit weird. And even if this information (key E) would be present it’s still lacking which protocol is used since key E allows for ‘PCIe ×2, USB 2.0, I2C, SDIO, UART and PCM’.