USB adapters are one of the easiest ways to add new features to existing hardware, and if you’d like to add LoRa connectivity and GPS tracking to any device or board with a USB board TTGO T-Motion USB adapter offers just that.
Manufactured by LilyGO, the USB dongle is based on AcSiP S76G system-in-package that integrates an STM32 MCU with a Semtech SX1276 LoRa transceiver and GPS into a single. The GPS antenna is placed on the board inside the enclosure, while the external LoRa antenna is connected through an SMA connector.
- SiP – AcSiP S76G system-in-package with STMicro STM32L073x Arm Cortex M0+ MCU with up to 192 KB of Flash memory and 20 KB of RAM, Semtech SX1276 supporting global 868 MHz or 915 MHz ISM-Bands, Sony CXD5603GF GNSS receiver.
- Internal GPS antenna
- External LoRa antenna
- Host interface – USB 2.0 male port
- Misc – Boot button, 26MHz active crystal
- Power Supply – 5V via USB port, around 18mA current draw
- Temperature range – -45 to +80°C
- Dimensions – 78.12 x 62.67 x 25.40mm
- Weight – 30g
TTGO T-Motion ships with the open-source SoftRF “Dongle Edition” firmware that is well-documented on Github, and LilyGO also has its own repo, albeit with limited details. The USD dongle can be inserted into any device with USB host function including a smartphone, a tablet, an e-Readers, a desktop PCs or laptop PC, a Raspberry Pi or similar SBC, a Mini PC, a Wi-Fi router, to your car multimedia/infotainment system, and so on.
It’s still small and light enough to be integrated into a drone, but can also be used in gliders, aircraft, or if flying is not your thing, as a ground vehicle onboard location beacon. Note the Wiki says that “effective from May of year 2021 the LilyGO manufacturer has started to ship new revision (a.k.a. T97_V1.0 20210401) of the T-Motion board” which includes an RF shield and a reset button. But none of the models I found online seem to be of the new type.
If you plan to purchase the USB adapter without a case, there are some I/Os that may be used for other purposes if you’re up to changing the firmware source code.
TTGO T-Motion is not the first LoRa USB dongle as we’ve written about LoStick, and I can also see another model called CatWAN. Having said that none of those also comes with GNSS functionality. The USB LoRa & GPS adapter is not exactly new either, but I just noticed it as a new product on Banggood where it is sold for $28.99 including shipping. You’ll also find it on LilyGO’s Aliexpress store with or without a case for $23.75 and up plus shipping.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.