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Posts Tagged ‘2g’

Particle E Series is a Family of 2G, 3G, 4G LTE Cellular IoT Modules Optimized for Mass Production

September 7th, 2017 9 comments

Cellular IoT has really taken off this year from the low cost Orange Pi 2G IoT board to 4G GPS Trackers, and global IoT SIM cards. Particle has been in this market for a couple of years, starting with their Electron boards, and the company has just announced the new Particle E series family of industrialized 2G, 3G, and LTE-enabled modules and a development kit.

Key features of Particles E series modules:

  • Cellular Connectivity
    • u-blox SARA modules for cellular connectivity
      • LTE: SARA-R410M
      • 3G: SARA-U201/U260/U270
      • 2G: SARA-G350 (2G)
    • Embedded SIM card, Particle MVNO support in 100+ countries
    • u.FL antenna connector
  • MCU – STM32F205RGT6 120MHz ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller with 1MB flash, 128KB RAM
  • Storage – • Expandable flash memory
  • I/Os – 63-pin surface mountable castellated module with up 30x GPIOs, 12x ADC, 2x DAC, 13x PWM, 3x UART, 2x SPI, 1x I2S, 2x CAN, 1x USB 2.0 (Some signals are multiplexed)
  • Power Supply – 3.88 to 12V input; BQ24195 power management unit and battery charger; MAX17043 fuel gauge
  • Power Consumption (@5V?)
    • Operating current (cellular ON): 180 mA to 250 mA
    • Operating current (cellular OFF): 47 mA to 50 mA
    • Peak current: 800mA (3G), 1800 mA (2G)
    • Sleep Current: 0.8 mA to 2 mA
  • Dimensions – 43 x 36 x 4.6 mm
  • Weight – < 10 grams
  • Temperature Range – -20 to +85°C (extended range)
  • Certifications – FCC, CE, IC wireless certifications, PTCRB (End-Product Certified) & GCF cellular certifications, RoHS

A total of 7 modules are planned to launch by mid 2018 with the naming convention using the first number reserved for the “G” number, the second for local (0) or global (1), and the third being an incremental number:

  • E210 – 2G only – Q4 2017 working worldwide (quad band)
  • E301 – 3G with 2G fallback – Q4 2017 for Americas/Australia (850/1900 MHz)
  • E302 – 3G with 2G fallback – Q4 2017 for Europe, Asia, and Africa (900/1800/2100 MHz)
  • E310 – 3G with 2G fallback – Q4 2017 working worldwide (850/900/1800/1900/2100 MHz)
  • E401 – LTE M1 – Early 2018 for US (LTE B13)
  • E402 – LTE M1 – Early 2018 for North America (LTE B2/4/5/12)
  • E410 – LTE M1/NB1 – Mid 2018 for the global market

Electron Board (Left) and E-Series Eval Kit (Right)

The new modules share the same software development tools, Particle Cloud platform, code and peripherals as Electron prototyping board with the modules running FreeRTOS, supporting  CoAP encrypted messaging, TCP/IP and UDP/IP, GCC toolchain, and various firmware update methods including OTA. E series were created because while Electron board suitable for evaluation, pin-row headers, plastic SIM cards, and USB connectors made it less appropriate for integration into products and mass production.

The company has also introduced an E Series evaluation kit working globally with the following specifications:

  • Module – Particle E310 3G with 2G fallback
  • Breakout Board with
    • 2x micro USB port for flashing and serial communications
    • SMA antenna connector
    • 1x female expansion header, 2x Grove connectors
    • Misc – MODE and RESET buttons, Charge and status LEDs
    • Power – Li-Po battery connector,  power barrel jack
  • Battery –  2,000 mAh Li-Po battery
  • Antenna – Taoglas penta-band antenna (u.FL), SMA to u.FL adapter for connecting external SMA antennas
  • 1x Grove temperature sensor
  • 1x USB Micro cable
  • Pinout reference card

The kit will come with three months of Particle’s 1MB monthly data plan upon eSIM activation. Data plan pricing depends on the country of operation and number of nodes, but for reference, for up to 100 nodes in the US, you’d pay $2.99 per month/device including 1MB data, plus $0.99 per extra MB.

Pricing information has not been publicly disclosed for the module, but you can purchase E series development kit for $99.99, or $249 with 3 extra spare E310 modules. Visit Particle E-Series product page for further details.

Checking out Hologram’s Developer SIM Card for Worldwide IoT Projects

August 20th, 2017 5 comments

Hologram is a service that offers 2G/3G/4G cellular connectivity for the Internet of Things via a SIM card that works in over 170  countries, and with pricing starting at $0.40 per month. In order to promote their services, the company offers a free developer SIM card which I ordered when I first wrote about the service last month. I was pleased and surprised they would sent it to Asia for free, and I got the card in a bubble envelop.

The back of the card includes a 18 to 22 digit SIM card number and bar code, that we’ll need to use for activation, and a link that redirects to https://hologram.io/docs/.

I planned to try the card with Wio GPS tracker board which requires a nano SIM card, and there are convenient cutouts to convert the SIM card to micro SIM or nano SIM card formats.

Before using the card in your board, you’ll need to activate it by logging into the dashboard with email and password you used to purchase the SIM card.

You can then click on Activate your first SIM to get the activation page.

In the first part of the page, you’ll need to type your SIM card number, and select your data plan between developer, pay-as-you-go, or monthly.

The second part of the page will allow you to select the zone with zone 1 being cheaper buy supporting less countries, and zone 2 supporting all countries shown above. It will show the cost summary, in my case $0.00 since I’m using the developer plan, and you can click on Activate to complete registration. That’s it, no requirement for ID card or passport copy, or anything.

Click to Enlarge

You’re newly registered SIM card will then show up the list of devices.

I tried two Arduino samples with Wio GPS tracker:

  1. Send SMS (MC20_SMSSend.ino)
  2. Download text file over GPRS / HTTP (MC20_GPRSHTTP.ino)

The first failed without error, and the second requires you to change the APN to hologram (See line 2):

But the program also failed with QIOPEN AT command failure (ERROR:QIOPEN) when trying to establish a TCP connection. Roaming needs to be enabled, but I could find a way to do so, and I did not have much luck already with my own SIM card during Wio GPS review possibly to the 2G limitation of the board, so I decided to try another option. Hologram has a tutorial with Raspberry Pi and a 3G USB dongle, but I did not want to purchase a dongle that I would not use regularly, so I decided to try the card with my phone, even though it’s definitely not the use case for it.

So I replace my current SIM card with hologram SIM card in my phone, and immediately I could see a 4G connection was established with the notification showing a “Local Telco”|Hologram message, and the local Telco changing between at least two different companies during my review.

Click to Enlarge

I then tried to send an SMS to a local number using the internal format with country code, and it was successful from my side, but the other phone never received anything, even after several attempts and enabling roaming.

I went back the Hologram Dashboard in my web browser and send an SMS via the web interface and it worked nicely with the SMS coming from a number in the UK (+44), but you can already spoof any number using the dashboard or SMS API.

Going into Configuration part of the dashboard, I discovered the SIM card did not come with phone number by default, which may explain why I could not send SMS in the first place. But you can purchase a US phone number for $1.00, and various prices for numbers from some other countries, but note that option is not available for number from all countries, for example you can’t currently get a number from Framce or Thailand. Here’s what the page says about getting a phone number:

A phone number allows you to easily send an SMS to your device from another SMS-compatible device. Phone numbers are NOT necessary to deliver an SMS via API calls or via the Dashboard – they basically enable you to send an SMS to your device directly from another cell phone.

The main reason to purchase a phone number is if you want to send an SMS from a phone to your device instead of using the Dashboard or API.

Note that the device will be able to respond back to your SMS but the response may show up as being from a different number. This is a special, internal number that your phone may not be able to SMS directly so you should send all messages to the purchased phone number. This is something that we’re working with our carrier partners to improve in the near future.

Beside SMS, you can also use the SIM card for data, and to do so you have to configure hologram APN in your device without username/password, and enable roaming.

Click to Enlarge

I could do this easily in my Android phone. The company also mention to enable DHCP, but I did not have that option in my phone and it was not needed. Finally, I enabled data connection in my phone, and created a small text files on my server to download it over a cellular data connection. I did so, because you have to remember your free monthly data is limited to 1MB, and the average webpage is now 3MB… The text in the file reads “Hologram GPRS Success”, but it was actually done over an LTE data connection.

It might also be a good idea to disable auto-sync, if you plan to test the SIM card in your phone, as background traffic is not negligible with 586KB of data transfered over a few seconds. The Usage Reports in the dashboard is not updated in real-time at all, as I took the screenshot below after 5 hours, and no activity was registered at all.

But checking out the data after and the usage report seemed correct.

So in summary I was able to receive SMS from the dashboard, and setup a cellular data connection to access the web, but for some reasons, I was unable to send SMS using the SIM card, maybe because I did not purchase a phone number. If you live in a country with strict regulations for local SIM cards such as providing an ID card copy and/or proof of address, it looks like it is not needed with Hologram SIM card, because it’s a foreign SIM card that works with roaming, in the same way that tourists would use their phones while in vacation in a foreign country.

When I ordered the card there was a coupon – now expired – for free shipping, so I got it completely for free. However, I’ve been told another LOSANTHIGH5 coupon is now working for free shipping and $3 credit, and you can still get the free developer SIM card for evaluation. Now, I should think about getting a3G or 4G capable IoT board…

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: 2g, 3G, 4g, cellular, hologram, IoT, lte, review

Hologram LTE Software-Defined Global Network for Cellular IoT Projects Starts at $0.40 per Month per Device

July 26th, 2017 15 comments

Cellular connectivity can be rather expensive, and in the IoT realms, new LTE standards are still evolving and you may want to manage your own mini cellular network, so ideally we would need a provider that offers both low cost and flexibility. Hologram LTE network does both as it’s a software-defined network, and pricing starts at $5 for the SIM card and $0.40 per month per device.

Global IoT SIM Card

The company also just announced that their network was available for global deployment with the service available in more than 170 countries via partnerships through over 200 cellular carriers. The SIM card supports automatic roaming and carrier switching, and spacebridge inbound tunnel access allows for secure remote programming and device management.

The SIM card specifications are as follows:

  • 2G/GPRS, 3G HSPDA, 4G LTE
  • Read/Write Cycles: Min. 500,000
  • Operating Temperature: -25°C ~ 85°C
  • Data Retention: Min. 25 years at 25°C
  • Triple-cut for Mini, Micro, and Nano SIM formats
    • Mini: 15 x 25mm
    • Micro: 12 x 15mm
    • Nano: 8.8 x 12.3mm

Pricing is divided into zone 1 (cyan) and zone 2 (purple blue) depending in the country where the SIM card operates, with the latter being more expensive.

Within each zone there are two pricing methods, with pay-as-you-go plans with a fixed platform fee per month plus a charge per megabyte, or monthly  plans with a fixed amount of data. For example, a SIM card in zone 1 would cost a $0.40 platform fee per month plus $0.60 per megabyte (charged per KB), or $3.99 for 10MB of data, while a SIM card operating in zone 2 would be $0.40 platform fee per month plus $0.85 per MB, or $6.99 for a monthly 10MB plan. You can also choose monthly plans with less or more data up to 500MB per month, except in the US where the company offers high bandwidth monthly plans up to 5GB per month. Inbound SMS are free, and outbound SMS cost $0.19 per MB or $0.30 per MB depending on your zone. You’ll find all details on the pricing page.

While the SIM card costs $5, you can try the service for free by “purchasing” a developer SIM card that comes with 1MB data per month. I ordered one with DEVPLANBLASTOFF promo code for free shipping. I’ll see if I ever receive it, and whether I can use it where I live, since in theory all SIM cards must be registered with an ID card or passport to work, and mandatory fingerprinting is coming next year.

Hologram Onboarding Kit – Click to Enlarge

You can certainly use the SIM card on your own hardware, but the company can also provide Hologram Dash board based on Ublox Sara-U260 2G/3G module, and kits such as the one above with components, sensors, cables, and other accessories. The documentation explains how to get started with Dash board, the SIM card, and cloud messaging and APIs.

Hologram is not the only company offering pay-as-you-go and monthly plans for cellular IoT, as Particle (previously Spark) has offered an inexpensive monthly plan for a little while, but it does not relies on an SDN implemtation. You’ll find further information and details on Hologram website.

Sonoff G1 AC Powered Smart Power Switch Works Over 2G GSM/GPRS

July 22nd, 2017 1 comment

Today, I’ve searched for AC powered wireless switched similar to Sonoff devices, but with ESP32 instead in order to get WiFi and Bluetooth, since the latter is better to use with a battery powered buttons. I did find a DC powered board, but no AC powered ones yet. However, as I visited ITEAD website to check if they had anything of the sort, I discovered they had a new model called Sonoff G1, similar to Sonoff TH16, but instead of using WiFi, you can use 2G GSM/GPRS to control the switch remotely.

Sonoff G1 specifications:

  • Wireless Module – ST86 quad band GSM/GPRS module
  • GSM/GPRS connectivity
    • GSM850, EGSM900, DCS1800 and PCS1900 MHz support
    • GPRS multi-slot class 10, GPRS mobile station class B
    • 1.8V, 3V  SIM card slot
    • Transmit power: Class 4 (2W): GSM850, EGSM900; Class 1 (1W): DCS1800, PCS1900
  • Relay – Up to 16A (3000 Watts max)
  • Terminals – 6 terminals for mains and load’s ground, live and neutral signals. 90~250V AC (50/60Hz) input supported
  • Misc – LEDs for power and connection status, button for manual on/off
  • Standby Power Consumption – 1.0 mW
  • Dimensions – 114 x 52 x 32mm
  • Weight – 100 grams
  • Temperature range – Operating -40°C to +80°C, but recommended is 0 to 40°C… So go figure.

Such system could be useful if you need to control devices in remote locations, as long as you are in a zone not affected by 2G sunset like China and Europe.

You’ll need to open the device to insert your own SIM card, install the usual eWelink app, scan a QR code on the device to initialize it. Once this is done, you can turn it on/off, set timers, integrate it into scenes, and share it with other permitted users. Basically anything you can do with the WiFi model, including Amzon Alexa & (soon) Google Home support, but it adds checking the remaining balance. This is explained in more details in the Wiki and links there. There’s also Sonoff G2 model for mainland China with a built-in China Mobile SIM card. You’ll have to happy with using eWelink Android/iOS app, as that model is unlikely to hackable with a custom firmware.

ITEAD sells Sonoff G1 for $19.90 plus shipping.

Review of Wio Tracker with GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and GSM Connectivity

June 11th, 2017 4 comments

Wio GPS – also called Wio Tracker – is an Arduino compatible board based on Microchip Atmel SAMD21 MCU with GPS, Bluetooth, GSM/GPRS connectivity, as well as several Grove connectors to connect sensors and modules for your IoT project. SeeedStudio sent me a sample for evaluation, so I’ve tested it, and reported my experience below by testing some of the Arduino sketches.

Wio Tracker Unboxing

All I got in the package was Wio GPS tracker v1.1 board. The top includes the Atmel MCU, an RGB LED, a microphone and 3.5mm AUX jack to make phone calls, a user and power button, a micro USB port for power and programming, a small 2-pin connector for a battery, and 6 Grove connectors for digital, serial, I2C and analog modules.

Click to Enlarge

The other side of the board comes with Quectel MC20 module that handles Bluetooth, GPS and GSM, a dual use micro SD card and nano SIM slot, and the GPS, 2G, and Bluetooth antennas. We can also see -/+ footprints close to connect speakers close to the OSHW logo.

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Getting Started with Wio GPS Tracker with Arduino IDE

I’ve been following Wio GPS Board Wiki for this part of the review, and as we’ll soon discovered I’ve had a rather mixed experience.

First, you’ll need a micro USB to USB cable to connect the board to Windows/Linux/Mac computer. This is the kernel output I got from Ubuntu 16.04:

After installing Arduino IDE for your operating system, we can add Seeduino boards to the IDE, by going to File->Preferences and pasting the link https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Seeed-Studio/Seeed_Platform/master/package_seeeduino_boards_index.json into Additional Boards Manager URL field, and clicking OK.Now go to Tools->Boards->Boards Manager search for wio, and install Seeduino SAMD by Seeed Studio.

You can also install Adafruit Neopixel by going to to Sketch->Manage Libraries->Include Library, or importing the zip file. After that point, I decided to check whether I could find “Wio Tracker” in the list of boards as indicated in the Wiki, but there was no such board so I selected Wio GPS Board, and selected port /dev/ttyACM0 (Wio GPS Board) port.

Then I went to check for sample sketches, and found some in Examples->Seeed_Wio_GPS_Board for the all key features of the board. So I tried a bunch of them including RGB_LED, Bluetooth, GNSS (GPS), and GSM (Send SMS), and only the Bluetooth sample would work.

Click to Enlarge

By I went back to the Wiki, and found out I add to import Wio Tracker library too, which I did, and I had another very similar sets of samples for MC20_GPS_Traker-master.

I’m not exactly sure we have two separate sets of nearly identical samples, but let’s see if I have more like with samples in MC20_GPS_Tracker-master folder.

Blink.ino is supposed to blink the RGB using blue color:

I could upload the program to the board with the following warning messages:

The RGB LED did not work. So I tried to remove Adafruit Neopixel library, same results. Finally I checked schematics to confirm the RGB LED is indeed connected to D10, and inserted some println debug code to make sure the program is running properly. Everything seems right, but the RGB LED would not blink. I’ve contacted the company, but unsurprinsgly they don’t work during the week-end.

Let’s move on with BT_CLientHandle.ino sketch that should allow us to pair the board with your phone. The code is relatively simple for this task:

I could see QUECTEL-BT with my Android phone, and had no problem to pair the board.

The serial output with pairing, and disconnecting events shows some of the AT commands used:

I also tried to connect a speaker to the AUX port of the board to see if I could use it as Bluetooth speaker, but it did not work, so some more code and a different Bluetooth audio profile (not HF_PROFILE) are likely required. All I could hear was dial-up modem sounds from the speakers. But still, we can tick this Bluetooth test as success.

Time for a GPS test. GNSS_Show_Coordinate.ino sketch is supposed to  output latitude and longitude to the serial console, and again the code to achieve this is still fairly simple:

But all I got in the serial output was the following:

With +CREG: 0,0 shown over and over. We can find the different AT Command sets (and EAGLE schematics) in the resources directory in Github. One of the document reports that AT+CREG? is a read command to retrieve network registration status, and the two numbers referred as <n> and <stat> are set to 0,0 meaning that:

  1. Disable network registration unsolicited result code
  2. Not registered, ME is not currently searching a new network to register on

I firstly did the test indoors, and although previously I could get a signal indoors with NavSpark mini board, I still went outside in case it was a signal problem, but the result was just the same. So maybe the program is stuck somewhere because I had not inserted a SIM card yet. Since I was not sure whether my operator still supported 2G, I forced my Android phone to use 2G, and the phone did get a signal using “E” instead of the usual 3G, and I could send an SMS and make a phone call over 2G network (I think).

So I took out the SIM card from my phone, and …. I could not insert right away simply because my SIM card was cut out as a micro SIM, but the board requires a nano SIM. Luckily, I purchased nano/micro SIM card adapters a while ago as I knew sooner or later I would have this little first world problem. You can find those for less than $1 on eBay, so even if you don’t need them right now, it might be a good idea to get some.

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Once I cut out my SIM card so that it fits into the micro SIM to nano SIM adapter that I will need to use when I put back the SIM card into my smartphone, I inserted  the nano SIM and a micro SD card at the same time, as the picture below shows with the white band right above the 4GB micro SD card being the nano SIM card. I did not know they made those, as I’ve only seen shared slots in the past.

I reran the GPS sample program, and the serial output changes a bit, but still no longitude and latitude info:

+QGNSSC:1 means the GNSS module is powered on so that’s good news I guess.

+CREG: 0,2 means the SIM card is registered, and in home network, but then it will switch to +CREG:0,5 meaning the SIM card is registered and roaming. Not really re-assuring.

They also have a more complex sample called GNSS_Google_KML.ino, that will get coordinate display them in OLED display attached to the board, and save data into a gps.txt into the SD card with raw longitude and latitude data that can be inserted into a Google KML file. A GoogleMapDemo.ino sketch will upload your coordinates to ziladuo.com website. That’s provided it works of course… and considering the simplest sample GNSS would not work. I gave up on GPS/GNSS tests.

Last try was with the GSM function with the send SMS sample (MC20_SMSSend.ino) that will send “Hello MC20!!” message to the phone number of your choice”. Again it’s very easy to program:

But sadly I could not send an SMS, as the function waitForNetworkRegister failed:

I had to end my testing there. I could not remove the nano SIM card with my hands, and I had to use a pair  tweezers to get it out by pushing those the small holes on top of the slot mechanism.

So overall my experience with the board was quite catastrophic with only Bluetooth working,  and GPS, 2G GSM, and even the RGB LED sample all failing. I also often had trouble uploading the code to the board with messages like:

or (even after having close to the serial terminal for a while):

So I often had to re-try and re-try to successfully upload the code to the board. I’m sure there must be an explanation for all the issues I had. I can see they tested it in Windows, but I’m using Ubuntu 16.04, so maybe that could be one reason?

Having said that, if the board actually worked, I really like what SeeedStudio has done, as it looks really easy to program the board with GPS, Bluetooth, or 2G data, SMS, calls, and you can add Grove Sensors to make pretty more advanced IoT projects. The company also provides a more practical sample with their “Wild Adventure Tracker” demo reporting sending GPS coordinates over SMS when a shock occurs. The source code on Github with a video showing the results below.

The company is also working on a 4G version, and I’ll probably have a chance to give it another try once it is released. If you are interested in Wio GPS Tracker board, you can pre-order it for $24.95 including all three antennas.

Nadhat is an Add-on Board for Raspberry Pi Boards with 2G GSM/GPRS Support

May 26th, 2017 9 comments

Making Raspberry Pi HATs for fun seems to have become a popular hobby, as after checking out Leon Anavi’s Infrared pHAT a little while ago, I’ve just come across Nadhat add-on board with GSM/GPRS and Bluetooth 3.0 made by Frederic Pierson in his spare time.

Click to Enlarge

Nad stands for “Network Access Device”, and the device comes with the following specifications:

  • SIM800C module with 2G GSM/GPRS support, and Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR (but Bluetooth is not mentioned by the developer, so it may not work right now)
  • SIM card slot + connector for GSM antenna
  • CR1225 cell battery slot for RTC
  • 40-pin header provided, but not soldered
  • Dimensions – 65 x30 mm, compatible with Raspberry Pi Zero

He explains that he made the board himself and the  PCBs “are leaded reflow processed and do not follow regulations in Europe”. You’ll also have to provide your own GSM antenna and CR1225 battery. He’s released some files on github, the datasheet for the components, the schematics – but in PDF only, why? – , and the software directory only contains a short script to power up SIM800C.

Raspberry Pi 3 with Nadhat board – Click to Enlarge

The cellular module is attached to the Pi via /dev/ttyAMA0 serial interface, and you’ll have to send AT commands to control it. He also checked out 3G and 4G support as some people asked possible due to 2G sunset, but the modules he found where both expensive, and much bigger than the 2G modules, making it impossible to fit into the RPi Zero form factor.

Since the board is just a hobby project, it will probably never be manufactured in large quantities, but Frederic made a few boards himself, which you can get for 49 Euros + delivery if you are interested, and boards are still available.

Wio GPS is a $40 Grove & Arduino Compatible Bluetooth 3.0 + GSM/GPRS + GPS Tracker Board

April 21st, 2017 2 comments

After Wio Link and Wio Node boards, Seeed Studio has added a new board to their Wio (Wireless Input Output) family with Wio GPS board based on Microchip SAMD21 Cortex M0+ MCU for Arduino compatibility, and Mediatek MT2503 ARM7 processor for GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and 2G (GPRS) connectivity.

Click to Enlarge

Wio GPS board specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip ATSAMD21G18A-MU ARM Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 256KB flash, 32KB SRAM
  • Wireless SoC – Mediatek MT2503 ARM7EJ-S processor @ 260 MHz
  • Storage – micro SD slot (shared with nano SIM slot)
  • Connectivity (built-in MT2503 in Quectel MC20 module)
    • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 3.0 with SPP Profile and HFP-AG Profile; u.FL connector for external antenna
    • Quad band 2G GSM/GPRS  with u.FL connector for external antenna and nano SIM card slot
    • GNSS – GPS + BeiDou + QZSS with u.FL connector for external antenna
  • Audio – Speaker footprint (+/-), 3.5mm AUX jack with mic and stereo audio
  • Expansion – 6x Grove Connectors (2x Digital, 2x Analog, 1x UART, 1x I2C)
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and firmware update
  • Misc – RGB LED, GSM power button, reset button
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 2-pin JST 1.0 header for battery
  • Dimensions – 54.7mm x 48.2mm
  • Weight – 45 grams; antennas add 9 grams

While you can already do much of the things achieved with Wio GPS using an Arduino board, and corresponding GPRS/GPS shields, Seeed Studio’s board offers a more compact solution, and access to over 180 modules via the grove connectors. The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE, and in due time a Wiki will be setup showing how to get started with the board.

Wio GPS Board with tis three antennas (GPS, Bt, GSM) is available for pre-order for $39.90 on Seeed Studio, and shipping is scheduled for June 1st. The company also plans to released an 4G /LTE version in Q3 2017.

RDA Micro RDA8810 Android SDK with Linux & U-boot Source Code for Orange Pi 2G IoT Board Released

April 18th, 2017 31 comments

Orange Pi 2G IoT board was released a couple of weeks ago, shortly followed by Android and Ubuntu images, but since it was not based on Allwinner, but an RDA Micro  8810PL processor, we did not have any source code so far, which can be a real problem for a development board… Shenzhen Xunlong has now managed to upload a 6.7GB Android SDK to MEGA, with the link published via Orange Pi Resources page.

MEGA has a download limit which depends on how much traffic they get at the time, and after 5.3 GB download,  I was asked to register for a PRO account, or wait for four hours before resuming the download. If you want to avoid this limit for any large MEGA download, you can run megadl instead. That’s what I did in Ubuntu 16.04 (remember to escape any special characters with \):

Once the download is done, none of the files have extension, but the first file is a gzip compressed files, while others are just raw data, so I concatenated all 6 files into a gzip file before uncompressing it, at which point I realized it was a tar file too:

The company has made it unnecessary difficult for that part, but I was finally successful, and that’s what the content of the SDK looks like.

Click to Enlarge

The Android SDK  relies on Linux 3.10.62, and I’ve been told while the Android part is quite poor, the Linux part looks better, even though the version is not quite the latest. U-boot source code is also included, and part of the 2G modem code can be found in the modem directory.

I got the news through ParrotGeek1 who plans to rebase the code to Linux 3.10.105, and release a Debian image. He has setup a RDA8810 github account with the Linux kernel. So you’ll have to be patient, or join the fun to get a better Linux image. There’s no clear roadmap for Orange Pi 3G-IoT or 4G-IoT based on other RDA Micro processors, but that would certainly help motivating a few more people if such boards were planned.