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Posts Tagged ‘arduino’

STMicro Introduces Two STM32 Discovery Kits with 2G/3G or 4G LTE-IoT Cat M1/NB1 Connectivity

February 17th, 2018 No comments

Embedded World 2018 trade fair will take place on  on take place on February 27 – March 1 in Nuremberg, Germany, and we’re starting to see some company announce new products and solutions for the embedded market.

STMicro has just announced their showcase their very first cellular development kits at the event, based on a display-less variant on their 32L496GDISCOVERY Discovery board with cellular add-on boards:

  • P-L496G-CELL01 Discovery kit with with a 2G/3G modem
  • P-L496G-CELL02 Discovery kit with with an LTE-IoT Cat M1 (eMTC) / NB1 (NB-IoT) / 2G model

Now the company has not started designed their own cellular modem, but instead relying on QUECTEL modems. Both kits share most of the same specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32L496AGI6 Arm Cortex M4F [email protected] 80 MHz with 1 MB Flash, 320 KB RAM in a UFBGA169 package
  • On-board memory – 8 Mbit PSRAM
  • On-board + external storage – 32 KB I2 C EEPROM with OTP page preloaded with board ID and voucher code; micro SD card slot
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG HS port, 1x micro USB port for debugging (see below)
  • Audio – SAI Audio CODEC, ST-MEMS digital microphones, stereo headset jack including analog microphone input
  • Camera I/F – 8-bit camera header
  • Expansion – Arduino Uno V3 and STMod+ connectors
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • P-L496G-CELL01 model
      • Quectel UG96 worldwide cellular modem penta-band 2G/3G module, 7.2 Mbps downlink, 5.76 Mbps uplink.
      • Pulse 2G/3G SMA antenna for frequency ranges: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
    • P-L496G-CELL02 model
      • Quectel BG96 worldwide cellular modem LTE Cat M1 (eMTC) & Cat NB1 (NB-IoT) & EGPRS module
      • SMA antenna
    • Modem reset red LED and modem signaling green LED
    • Switchable SIM interface, eSIM and MicroSIM

Click to Enlarge

  • Debugging – On-board ST-LINK/V2-1 SWD,JTAG debugger/programmer with USB re- enumeration capability: mass storage, virtual COM port and debug port
  • Misc – On-board current measurement, 2x user LEDs, 1x user and 1x reset push-buttons, 4-direction joystick with selection button
  • Power Supply – ST-LINK, USB VBUS, or external sources

Free software libraries and examples for the board will be available in STM32Cube package – soon including X-CUBE-CELLULAR software expansion packs – , and as usual, STM32 DISCOVERY boards are also supported by IAR, Keil and GCC-based IDEs, as well as Arm Mbed.

Back of STM32 Board with Arduino Headers, micro SD slot, and Audio Jack – Click to Enlarge

Each kit will come with an EMnify SIM card, specially designed for IoT applications and with a global reach of 133 countries. The SIM card can be managed from a dashboard, and a free 3-month trial data plan of 90 days will also included with the discovery kits. So it looks to be a competitor of Hologram SIM card, which I’ve recently been using in a Raspberry Pi 3G quick start guide.

 

Developers who are not familiar with C language will be able to run JavaScript scripts thanks to Espruino JavaScript interpreter for STM32 and through the Espruino Chrome Web IDE.  The company has also partnered with cloud services providers with their own strengths:

  • Grovestreams’ analytics capabilities can help bringing decision-making mechanisms to any software
  • Exosite for industrial and enterprise systems
  • AVSystem for M2M applications
  • Aimagin for scientific application with its MATLAB analytics
  • Ubidots for application building

All those providers offer a free trial account, and extras may be offer to users of either Discovery kit. Both kits are sampling now, and should be available for purchase in Q2 2018 at a currently undisclosed price. Visit P-L496G-CELL01 product page for more details, as the company has yet to setup a page for P-L496G-CELL02 kit.

Sixfab Launches Arduino and Raspberry Pi NB-IoT Shields with Four Sensors

February 8th, 2018 2 comments

SixFab previously introduced a 3G/4G base shield for the Raspberry Pi boards that would take Quectel based mini PCIe card in order to add cellular connectivity to the popular development boards.

The company is now back with NB-IoT shields that should better suited to IoT projects with lower hardware and data costs, and support either 40-pin Raspberry Pi boards or Arduino.

SixFab Raspberry Pi NB-IoT Shield

Specifications & features:

  • Module – Quectel BC95-B20 NB-IoT Module supporting 800MHz frequency (suitable for the European market)
  • Micro SIM card socket, PCB Antenna and u.FL socket for external antenna
  • I/O expansions
    • 4x Channel 12-bit ADC via ADS1015
    • Relay with optocoupler protection (24V DC, 120-220V AC Switching)
    • 3-pin 1-Wire interface for DS18B20, DHT21, etc…
    • 4-pin I2C interface
    • 3.3V reference voltage
  • Sensors
    • MMA8452Q 3-axis accelerometer
    • HDC1080 temperature sensor (-40 to +125 °C)
    • HDC1080 humidity sensor (0 to 100%)
    • ALS-PT19 ambient light sensor
  • Misc – User button and LED
  • Optocoupler (3 – 12 VDC switching)
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi boards with 40-pin header

SixFab Arduino NB-IoT shield

The Arduino shield is pretty similar to the Raspberry Pi one, except or the lack of ADC and some I/Os, since the Arduino board can handle those:

  • Module – Quectel BC95-B20 NB-IoT Module supporting 800MHz frequency (suitable for the European market)
  • Micro SIM card socket, PCB Antenna and u.FL socket for external antenna
  • I/O expansions – Relay (24V DC, 120-220V AC Switching)
  • Sensors
    • MMA8452Q 3-axis accelerometer
    • HDC1080 temperature sensor (-40 to +125 °C)
    • HDC1080 humidity sensor (0 to 100%)
    • ALS-PT19 ambient light sensor
  • Misc – User button and LED
  • Compatible with Arduino boards

Both boards can be typically used for IoT applications such as smart farming, smart cities, smart home, smart metering, bike sharing, smart parking, asset tracking, environmental monitoring and more.

The company is now taking pre-orders for both boards for $66.75 with delivery scheduled on March 19. If you’re using Arduino and don’t need the sensors nor relay, RakWireless WisLTE board might be worth a look, as it’s a cheaper option at $40 + shipping.

Sixfab NB-IoT Evaluation Board

Sixfab also launched a tiny standalone NB-IoT evaluation board to test NB-IoT network and development with different platforms using a micro USB port to interface with the host platform. It is sold for $51.75 during the pre-order period, and also based on BC95-BC20, which according to Quectel BC95 product page is only suitable for the European market, while China, Korea, and Australia require a different version of the module.

Getting Started with TinyLIDAR Time-of-Flight Sensor on Arduino and Raspberry Pi

January 30th, 2018 8 comments

TinyLIDAR is an inexpensive and compact board based on STMicro VL53L0X Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor that allows you to measure distance up to 2 meters using infrared signals, and with up to 60 Hz. Contrary to most other VL52LOX boards, it also includes an STM32L0 micro-controller that takes care of most of the processing, frees up resource on your host board (e.g. Arduino UNO), and should be easier to control thanks to I2C commands.

The project was successfully funded on Indiegogo by close to 600 backers, and the company contacted me to provided a sample of the board, which I have now received, and tested with Arduino (Leonardo), and Raspberry Pi (2).

TinyLIDAR Unboxing

I was expecting a single board, but instead I received a bubble envelop with five small zipped packages.

Click to Enlarge

Opening them up  revealed three TinyLIDAR boards, the corresponding Grove to jumper cables, and a bracket PCB for three TinyLIDAR boards together with headers and screws. So I looks like I received the “3 tinyLiDAR – IGG Special” plus the bracket board that was supposed to be a stretch goal unlocked at $25K (but they only got $23,717). Maybe that’s a good sign for backers, we’ll see.

Click to Enlarge

Due to time constraints, I won’t use the bracket, but only single boards. The brackets can be used with three tinyLIDAR boards using different I2C addresses, and you’ll see an example use with the Follow-me 2 Sketch where the 3 LIDAR boards are mounted on a tilt/pan platform that can track your hand.

Click to Enlarge

The bigger chip on the by is STM32L0 Cortex M0+ microcontroller with the much smaller STMicro VL53L0X laser ToF sensor placed right on top of it on the photo above. There are also a few I/O include the 4-pin I2C Grove connector and through holes, some pogopin for direct UART access, an LED, a reset button, and more, as described in the diagram below.


TinyLIDAR on Arduino

Now, it’s time to play with the board using sample and documentation on a dedicated page.  Refer to this page for the latest versions, as below I’ll link to the versions I used for the review.

To easily evaluate and learn about the platform, the company has made what they call Arduino GUI Terminal sketch to let your control the device from an Arduino board using a serial terminal. https://microelectronicdesign.s3.amazonaws.com/tinyLiDAR_Terminal_GUI_1_1.ino

The company only tested Arduino Uno, but it turns out I don’t have one so I had to use an Arduino Leonardo clone instead, and after initial troubles, and help from my contact at the company (Dinesh), I could use tinyLiDAR_Terminal_GUI_1_24.ino with my boardsince it now supports Arduino Uno, Leonardo, and Mega .If you don’t use Arduino Uno (default), make sure you enable your board accordingly in the code by commenting out the relevant line:

The hardware connections are very easy as you just need to connect the jumper cables to the I2C pins, 5V and GND on the board.

Click to Enlarge

Once this was done I connect a micro USB cable to my computer, and tried to upload the ino sketch file, but it failed to compile. That’s because I forgot to install Arduino I2C Master Library, which can be downloaded here, and you just need to click on Sketch->Include Library->Add .ZIP library, and select the freshly downloaded  I2C_Rev5.zip file to complete the installation. I could then build and upload the program to Arduino Leonardo.

Time to start a serial console using minicom, TeraTerm, Putty or others with 115200 8N1 and no flow control to access the Arduino GUI terminal:

You’ll get a list of command in the terminal, but you may want to read the reference manual to clearly understand each item.

I started with the query command, which worked just fine:

I could also use to read command, but to test accuracy I decided to use a ruler and a small box as shown below.

Click to Enlarge

I tested 5cm and 10 cm:

  • 5cm:

  • 10cm:

Not that good…. But there’s a calibration command as explained in the reference manual:

CD Auto-Calibrate Distance Offset
Perform Offset Distance Calibration on tinyLiDAR.
Before using this calibration command, please set tinyLiDAR to Continuous, High Accuracy mode by issuing
the commands “MC” and “PH”. See example code in Appendix A for details.
ST recommends to use a distance of 100mm to a white target. Therefore, place a white target 100mm away
from tinyLiDAR before running this calibration.
Must specify calibration distance in mm.
The new offset correction distance will be placed in non-volatile memory and used for all subsequent
operations. This calibration takes about 10 seconds to run and the LED will flash slowly during the calibration.
You can reset to our factory defaults by executing the “RESET” command.

So let’s go ahead by placing the board at 10 cm from a white box (OK mine was not exactly white), run MC and PH commands (although it does not look necessary),  before running running CD without parameter to do the actual calibration:

Let’s go back to single step operation (ms) and tinyLIDAR preset (pt), and try the measurements again

  • 5cm:

  • 10cm:

It’s getting better, although the first two steps always seen to be stuck to some previous measurements. I’ve been told it may be due to some buffer in the serial terminal.

Trying some longer distances:

  • 20cm:

  • 30cm:

It’s basically doing the job. If you need more accuracy, longer range, or faster measurements, you can change the mode:

  • PL: long range mode (up to 2m, 33ms)
  • PS: high speed mode (up to 1.2m, 20ms)
  • PH: high accuracy mode (up to 1.2m, 200ms)
  • PT: tinyLiDAR mode (up to 2m, 18ms)

One interesting feature, especially if you run on batteries, is the autonomous mode where the board is configured to automatically check the distance range every X second, and trigger a pulse when within range, without having to send I2C commands from the host, except the initial one. In the Arduino GUI terminal, you can for example run:

From there, you won’t show anything in the Arduino terminal, so you can either monitor the autonomous pin – as shown in the diagram below – with the host board or a multimeter…

… or instead you may consider soldering GND and serial TX pins on tinyLIDAR board, and access the read-only console use a USB to TTL debug board as shown below.

The terminal needs to be set to 115200 7N1 without flow control, and you’ll should an output similar to the one below when you run the A command above:

Just to be extra clear, at this stage I have two serial terminal in my computer:

  • /dev/ttyACM0 connected to Arduino where I can input commands
  • /dev/ttyUSB0 connected directly to tinyLIDAR where I can see debug output (read-only)

If you want to integrate it into your own program, you’ll have to send commands as shown by the Arduino sketch to read distance:

The code above is for Arduino Uno, so if you use Arduino MEGA or Leonardo you’ll need to change the PORT to PORTD, and SCL and SDA to pin 0 and 1 respectively.

TinyLIDAR on Raspberry Pi 2/3

Arduino is cool, but if your project is better suited to Raspberry Pi board, you can also connect tinyLIDAR to the I2C port of Raspberry Pi 2/3, or any other Raspberry Pi boards. The instructions are explained in details on Instructables, also explaining some of the shortcomings of I2C on Raspberry Pi board (lack of clock stretching support, pull up resistors installed). The steps are very details, even suitable to people having never used a Raspberry Pi, so here I’ll go faster focusing on settings specific to tinyLIDAR use.

First you need to scratch the I2C PCB trace on tinyLIDAR with a cutter to disconnect the pull-up resistors since it’s already done on the Raspberry Pi board. Now we can connect tinyLIDAR to the I2C pins, as well as 3.3V and GND.

I used the same Raspbian Stretch Lite image with SSH enabled (/boot/ssh file present) as I did for ANAVI Light pHAT. Now we need to install pigpio in Raspberry Pi as follows:

You’ll also need o run raspi-config to enable I2C.

The next step is optional, but I still recommend it as at the beginning I had trouble finding tinyLIDAR. That’s the step to detect tinyLIDAR I2C address:

We can see 0x10 I2C address is detected, and that’s our tinyLIDAR board. If you don’t have any addresses detected, re-check your connections.

Now that we have confident the hardware is OK, we can install “RPI TinyLIDAR Terminal GUI”:

and launch it with:


From there, it’s the same as in the Arduino terminal GUI, for example read and query commands:

Again the RPi terminal GUI is just for evaluation, but you can study the Python in order to integrate support for tinyLIDAR into your own Python application.

That’s all for this getting started guide.

The crowdfunding campaign is now over, but you can buy TinyLIDAR board directly on MicroElectronic Design website for $24.95.  You’ll also find the bracket board for $4.95 and a pack of 100 mounting screws on that page. Further details may also be found on the product page.

$2 USB “18650 Battery Shield” Powers Arduino, ESP32, and Other Low Power Boards with a 18650 Battery

January 29th, 2018 10 comments

If you’re looking for battery power for one of your projects, you may consider a “18650 battery shield” – going for just above $2 on Aliexpress or eBay  – for powering Arduino boards, Espressif ESP8266 or ESP32 boards, or any board that can be powered by 5V up to 2A via USB or headers, or by 3V up to 1A via headers.

Specifications listed on eBay/Aliexpress:

  • Power Input – 5 to 8V via micro USB port up to 0.5A charging
  • Power Output
    • 5V via Type A USB port
    • 3V up to 1A via 3x 2-pin header
    • 5V up to 2A via 3x 2-pin headers
  • Misc – 1 switch control USB output, LED for charging status (green = full, red = charging)
  • Battery protection (Over-charge or Over-discharge)
  • Dimensions – 9.8 x 2.9 cm

You’ll need to add your own 18650 battery, and be careful about polarity while installing it, since putting it in the wrong direction would destroy the charging chip. Some sellers also stuff “Raspberry Pi” keyword in the product title, and they often do this for search engine optimization (SEO), but at least some people have shown it to work with a Raspberry Pi board too. It’s unclear whether it can act as a basic UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) without status. Has anybody tried?

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

$6 Maker UNO Arduino UNO Clone Comes with Micro USB Power, I/O LEDs, and a Buzzer

January 24th, 2018 4 comments

Arduino UNO is one of the older Arduino boards, but also one of the most popular, and there are already many clones, which you can buy for as low as $3 shipped. But Malaysian based Cytron Technologies has decided to make their own Arduino UNO Compatible board, designed specially for students to learn coding and microcontroller, that brings some tweaks to the original design.

First, they’ve done away with the power jack, and instead went with a more convenient micro USB port for power. They also added an LED for each digital I/O, so students can easily see I/O activity, and finally included a piezo buzzer to play sounds or melodies, as well as a push button.

Maker UNO specifications with differences highlighted in bold:

  • MCU – Microchip Atmel ATMega328P AVR micro-controller @ 16 MHz with 32KB flash, 2KB SRAM, 1KB EEPROM
  • I/Os
    • 14x digital I/Os including 6x PWM
    • 6x 10-bit analog inputs
    • 1x UART, 1x I2C, 1x SPI
    • 2x external interrupts
    • DC current per I/O: 20 mA
    • LED for pin 2 to pin 13
  • USB to Serial – CH340G (instead of ATmega16U2)
  • Programming – 6-pin ISP header
  • Misc – Reset button, Push button (pin 2), piezo buzzer (pin 8) with selector switch
  • Power Supply – 5V input via micro USB port; board operating voltage: 5V
  • Max DC Current
    • 5V – Depends on USB source (Original Arduino UNO: 1A)
    • 3.3V – 500 mA (Original Arduino UNO: 50 mA)

Since the board is compatible with Arduino UNO, you could just get started by downloading the official Arduino IDE on Arduino website, but the company has also written a bilingual guide (English, Malay) to help people get started with the board.

Maker UNO is sold for $6.00 on Tindie, but shipping adds $11.50 and up, so you’d have to buy a few to keep the unit price below $10. Alternatively, if you are based in Malaysia, Cytron Technologies sells it directly on their website for 26.5 MYR ($6.8 US) including local taxes with shipping free if you spend more than 100 MYR, or pick the board up in Penang. They also do oversea shipping, but it’s quite expensive since they only use DHL or Fedex.

$1 RDA5981 WiFi IoT Arm Cortex-M4 SoC is Designed for Smart Home Devices, Smart Speakers

January 11th, 2018 10 comments

RDA Microelectronics processors are found in a few cheap smart and not-so-smart phones, as well as the even cheaper Orange Pi i96 board. But the company does not only design cellular chips, but their portfolio also includes solutions for the Internet of Things and TV & radio tuners.

RDA5981 is a WiFi IoT chip specifically designed for smart home & audio application, such as smart speakers, and it’s found in devices running Baidu DuerOS, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The company explains it can be widely used in televisions, set-top boxes, smart appliances, wireless monitors, and other products.

RDA5981A Block Diagram

RDA5981 A/B/C processor specifications:

  • CPU – Arm Cortex-M4 @ up to 160 MHz with integrated MPU and mbed uvisor
  • System Memory  – Up to 448 KB SRAM for network stack and application, external PSRAM interface
  • Storage – Up to 32Mbit SPI flash
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi
      • 2.4 Ghz 802.11b/g/n WiFi up to 150 Mbps with 20/40 MHz bandwidth
      • WPA, WPA2, WEP, TKIP,CCMP security
      • STA, softAP, P2P, STA+softAp, STA+P2P modes
      • A-MPDU, A-MSDU, HT-BA
    • TCP/IP stack with SSL (TLS?)
  • Host Interfaces – SPI / UART (AT command set) / USB2.0
  • Peripherals – GPIO, 2x UART, 2x I2S, 1x I2C, 8x PWM, 4x SPI, 1x SDMMC, 1x USB2, 2x ADC
  • Security – Hardware crypto accelerator AES/RSA, true random number generator (TRNG), and CRC accelerator
  • Misc – Watchdog, 16×16 bits eFuse configuration
  • Package – 5×5mm2 QFN package, 0.4mm pitch QFN-40

The company provides support for FreeRTOS and mbedOS5.1 for the chip. You could get a very basic datasheet from the company’s product page, but if you don’t want to leave your contact details, there’s even more information on Electrodragon Wiki.

The features looks interesting and could become a competitor to Realtek RTL8710AF or even Espressif ESP8266, especially Electrodragon sells their RDA5981X1 WiFi module based on RDA5981A for just $1.92 plus shipping.

Specifications for the module:

  • SoC – RDA5981A with 8Mbit internal flash, 288+160 KB RAM
  • 24 castellated pin exposing
    • Up to 16 free GPIOs
    • 2x UART up to 4Mbit, 3x ADC, 1x USB, 1x I2C, I2S in, I2S out, 1x SPI, up to 4x PWM, etc… (Pins are multiplex with up to 6 different function per pin)
    • VCC (3.0 to 3.5V), GND
    • Reset
  • Dimensions – 17.60 x 15.50 mm

The module also comes with a red breakout board (with 2.54mm pitch) included in the price. The company says RDA5981A IC itself sells for around $1 with price obviously depending on quantity.They also mention the SoC still have bugs without expanding. The board can be programming with AT commands or using mBed as explained in the Wiki linked above.

RDA5981A “Arduino” Development Board

There’s also an RDA5981 board with Arduino header, which I could only find on Taobao for under $50. Somebody also setup a new Github account with more information, and beside the RDA5981A/B/C models listed in the datasheet,  there seems to be an RDA5981AM chip as well. All RDA5981 variants are shown to be suitable for smart home, but RDA5981C can also be used for smart speakers and WiFi toys, maybe because it comes with 32 Mbit SPI flash? We’ll have to see how things evolve, and whether the solution will gain traction.

Via Olimex

Arduino & Grove Compatible StitchKit Mixes Fashion & Technology (Crowdfunding)

December 16th, 2017 No comments

I don’t really get fashion. For example, I don’t understand why somebody would spend $100 on a pair of “Jean-Patrick Coultier” trousers, while you could get pretty much the same for about $20. My clothes just need to keep me warm and comfortable. And now I can see people starting to attach blinking lights to their clothes. Heresy!!!

But others have a different opinions, and people interested in fashion, may not be interested in electronics, but still want those shiny things on their clothes. StitchKit is an Arduino compatible board that can also take Seeed Studio Grove module designed for those kids, teachers, designers, and cosplayers who want to easily add LEDs and other electronics to clothes or other wearable pieces without having to dig into the technical details.

The system works around MakeFashion board powered by an Arduino compatible Microchip / Atmel ATMega32U4 AVR micro-controller with two rows of 6 pin headers, and holes to lock the wires to modules. The board will be powered through a USB type C port (photos look like micro USB), usually via a power bank for this type of application. You can then connect Grove module like RGB LED strip, and other sensor modules. It’s unclear whether they use the Arduino IDE for programming, or a simple-to-use visual programming tools, but sample code is coming soon, and instructions are included in the various kits. The next step is to fit the electronics under or on your clothes, and you could end up with results as shown below.

The project has launched on Kickstarter with a funding goal of $10,000 CAD, and nearly $8,000 CAD raised so far with 42 days to go. Rewards start with $49 CAD ($38 US) FashionTech Starter kit including MakeFashion board, a full color LED pixel string, Grove button and connector, plastic case, a USB type C cable, and instructions. You could go up to $199 CAD (~$155 US) for the FashionTech Creator kit with everything from the Start kit plus a one meter sewable RGB LED strip, RGB LED halo rings, 5 meter waterproof RGB LED strip with 300 LEDs, more Grove modules (Vibration, Light sensor, Loudness sensors…), 50cm long Grove cables, and more. Bundles for educations and collectors are also offered. Rewards are expected to ship in April 2018. More details nay also be found on StitchKit.io website.

 

 

RAK Wireless Introduces LoRa + BLE Module, LoRa GPS Tracker, and NB-IoT/eMTC Arduino Shield

December 9th, 2017 1 comment

We’ve previously covered several products from RAK Wireless, including RAK WisCam Arduino compatible Linux camera, RAK CREATOR Pro Ameba RTL8711AM WiFi IoT board, and WisCore modular development kit for application leveraging voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa.

AFAIK, the company had not released any new products since their RAK831 LoRa gateway module launched last summer, but they just contact me with the release of three new wireless products, namely RAK813 BLE + LoRa module, RAK811 LoRa tracker board, and WisLTE NB-IoT/eMTC/eGPRS Arduino shield.

RAK813 BLE + LoRa module & Development Board

Main features and specifications:

  • Connectivity
    • LoraWAN via Semtech SX127x (LoRa) chipset
      • Frequency Ranges
        • 433MHz, 470MHz
        • FCC Frequency range 902~928MHz
        • CE Frequency range 863~870MHz
        • MIC Frequency range 920~928MHz
        • KCC Frequency range 920~923MHz
      • Receiver Sensitivity: LoRa down to -146 dBm
      • TX Power – adjustable up to +14 dBm, max PA boost up to 20dbm
      • Range – Up to 15 km in rural area, up to 5 km in urban area
      • u.FL antenna connector
    • Bluetooth 5 via Nordic Semi nRF52832 SoC, u.FL antenna connector
  • 33 castellated holes with up to 13x GPIO, 1x UART, 1x I2C, 1x SPI, 3x ADC, SWD, GND, VDD (LoRa/BLE), and antenna pins
  • Power – 3.3V DC input; consumption down to 2uA in sleep mode
  • Dimensions – 27.20 x 23 x 1.7 mm

Bear in mind that while nRF52832 SoC support Bluetooth 5, it does not support long range mode. The module is expected to be used  for environment monitoring, parking systems, smart cities, asset / personnel positioning, smoke alarms, industrial monitoring and control, and other remote battery powered applications.

In order to get you started before you design your own baseboard, the company also provide WisLoRaB-RAK813 Arduino compatible board with external antenna connectors, micro USB port for power programming, and a reset button. Documentation now is limited as we can only download the hardware datasheets for the module and board.

The module is sold for $14.90 on Aliexpress, with only 868MHz and 915 MHz models available right now, and the development board goes for $19.90 plus shipping, again with the same frequency range models.

RAK811 LoRa Tracker Board

Specifications:

  • Connectivity – LoRaWAN Version V1.0.2 via RAK811 module based on STM32L151 MCU and Semtech SX1276 LoRa chip; SMA connector for antenna
  • Location – GPS/GLONASS via Ublox MAX-7Q GPS Module, u.FL antenna connector
  • Expansion – 2x 10-pin with I2C, GPIOs, SWD, GND, VCC (3.3V)
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for charging and debugging
  • Battery – Optional 2200mAh rechargeable battery good for 2 years (depending on use)
  • Dimensions – 54mm x 22mm x17mm with antenna connector
  • Temperature Range – -20°C ~ 60°C

There’s also a RAK811 SensorNodeBoard with the same features minus GPS.

Documentation looks pretty good here, as beside the datasheet, we can download the user manual, schematics, etc.., and source can be found in Github with CoIDE  or Keil5 tools supported..

RAK811 TrackerBoard is sold with LoRa and GPS antennas, a micro USB port, some jumper cables, jumpers, and battery for $29.99 plus shipping on Aliexpress with two models for 868 MHz or 915 MHz bands.

WisLTE NB-IoT/eMTC/eGPRS Arduino Shield

Specifications:

  • Wireless Module – Quectel BG96 with Cat.M1 (eMTC) / Cat LTE NB1 (NB-IoT) & EGPRS connectivity, GNSS support (GPS)
  • Antennas – 2x u.FL antenna connector for LTE and GNSS
  • SIM card slot on back of the board
  • Expansion
    • Arduino UNO compatible headers with UART, 1x I2C, 2x ADC, etc…
    • UART switch pin (blue header)
  • USB – micro USB port for power and debugging, 1x USB host port
  • Misc – Reset and power buttons, USB boot jumper, serial voltage selection (3.3V or 5V)

I had heard about BC95 NB-IoT module before, but I think it may be the first time I come across BG96 module, and beside adding EGPRS and Cat M1, is also adds GPS positioning, a USB interface, I2C, one extra UART interface, and one extra ADC interface. NB-IoT uplink and download data rate are also a little higher than in BC95.

The company provides a getting started guide while connected to a PC, and BG96 AT command sets documentation on their website, but AFAICT there’s no code in their Github account, like Arduino libraries to easily use the shield. I did find another user, probably a beta tester, that wrote an Android Things driver for WisLTE.

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If you are interested in the board, WisLTE is sold for $39.90 plus shipping on Aliexpress.