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Posts Tagged ‘quectel’

SixFab Launches Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2 for $31.20

October 20th, 2017 16 comments

Development boards with 4G LTE are still quite expensive, at least compared to 2G or 3G solutions, with for example Wio LTE GPS Tracker board selling for around $100. So when I saw Sixfab introducing a 3G/4G shield for Raspberry Pi 3 for just $31.20 (pre-orders), I first thought it was an incredible deal.

But I soon realized I missed the “base” word in the name, as the shield just includes the SIM card slot, and mPCIe connector where you can connect Quectel’s UC20-G Mini PCle 3G module or EC25 Mini PCle 4G/LTE Module which adds respectively $59 or $89 to the price. That’s still an interesting HAT board, so let’s have a look.

Raspberry Pi 3 + 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield + Quectel EC25-E 4G Module

Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2 specifications:

  • Clip-in Mini PCIe socket for:
    • 4G/LTE Module (Quectel EC25) up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink data rates, GPS/GLONASS
    • 3G Module (Quectel UC20) up to 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink, GPS/GLONASS
  • Micro SIM card socket
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Compatible with 40-pin Raspberry Pi header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or external 5V source
  • Dimensions – 65 x 55 mm

The new version improves on the first model for the shield by reducing the area by 25%, removing the need for screws for the cellular module, using a micro SIM card socket on the top of the board, a more efficient power circuit, and removing the DC barrel jack.

While the board is mostly designed to be used with Raspberry Pi 3 board, it can also be used standalone with your computer, laptop, or another development board over the micro USB port. A blog post explains how to make a PPP Internet connection with the shield connected to RPi 3, and you can get supports in their forums.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Wio LTE GPS Tracker Board Comes with a 4G Modem, Supports Espruino Firmware (JavaScript Programming)

September 6th, 2017 8 comments

Seeed Studio launched Wio GPS tracker with a 2G GSM module a few months ago, and while it should work in some countries, others are phasing out 2G networks, and only support 3G or 4G. The company has now launched an update with Wio LTE board with the same form factor, and most of the same features except they replaced the 2G/Bluetooth/GNSS module with a 4G LTE/GNSS module, and Atmel SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller by an STMicro STM32 ARM Cortex-M4F MCU.

Wio LTE board specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F405RG ARM Cortex M4F MCU @ 168 MHz with 1MB flash, 192+4KB SRAM
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Connectivity via Quectel EC21-A (America) module
    • LTE Cat.1 modem:
      • FDD LTE: B2/B4/B12 WCDMA: B2/B4/B5
      • AT Command: 3GPP TS27.007 and enhanced AT Commands
      • Data – LTE-FDD Max 10Mbps(DL) Max 5Mbps (UL)
      • NanoSIM card
      • 2x u.FL antenna connectors
    • GNSS – GPS/BeiDou/GLONASS/Galileo/QZSS with 1x u.FL GNSS antenna connector
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio 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, LTE power button, MCU reset button
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 2-pin JST 1.0 header for battery
  • Dimensions – 54.7mm x 48.2mm

When I reviewed Wio GPS Tracker, the instructions provided to use with the Arduino IDE did not work very well. So let’s hope they will come up with a better and up-to-date getting started guide for Wio LTE board in their Wiki. Alternatively, the new board also supports Espruino for JavaScript programming for the I/Os, micro SD card, 4G, SMS, and GPS, and shown in Espruino Wio LTE page.

Seeed Studio is now taking pre-order for Wio LTE US Version for $97.50 plus shipping. Quectel also has other EC21 modules like EC21-E (EMEA, Korea, Thailand, India), EC21-AUT (Australia), and others, so I’d expect Seeed Studio to also launch variants of Wio LTE board that work in other countries.

OpenH PULSAR and QUASAR Boards Add 4G LTE Cat M1, or Cat 4/1 to Raspberry Pi Boards

May 31st, 2017 No comments

We’ve seen a bunch of IoT boards with 2G connectivity recently including Orange Pi 2G-IoT, Wio GPS, and Nadhat, but while in some countries 2G will still work for many years, those boards are already obsolete – or soon will be – in many other countries. However, finding low cost 3G / 4G  boards is more difficult, and while one solution is to use 3G or 4G USB dongles,  “OpenH – Open Hardware” – part of KLiP Industries – has designed two boards with 4G connectivity provided by Quectel modules.

OpenH PULSAR Board

PULSAR board is compatible with Arduino Zero and features the following specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel/Microchip SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU (the as the one used in Arduino Zero)
  • Connectivity
  • Security – Dedicated management CPU with crypto engine
  • Power Supply 10W digital power supply and battery charger with direct solar input
  • FCC and Carrier certified

The board can work in standalone mode, but if needed, a Raspberry Pi Zero can optionally be mounted to the board. PULSAR is designed for low-bandwidth projects up to 200 kbps, support OTA firmware updates, and can work with the cloud provider of your choice.

OpenH QUASAR Raspberry Pi HAT Board

If your project needs more bandwidth, you can use QUASAR boards instead on a Raspberry Pi 2/3 board:

  • Connectivity
  • Expansion connectors
  • Security – Dedicated management CPU with crypto engine
  • Power Supply – 25W digital power supply and battery charger with direct solar input
  • FCC and Carrier certified

You’ll get up to 150 Mbps bandwidth using LTE Cat 4 module, and just like the other board is can support OTA firmware update, and popular cloud services like Amazon Web Service (AWS) IoT, Azure IoT Hub, IBM BlueMix, Google Cloud for IoT, ThingSpeak, etc…

Installation and IP67 Enclosure

OpenH explains Bluetooth and NFC are for installation and maintenance, and they appears to have a mobile to access the serial console, authorize access, reboot the board, check GPS coordinates…. over Bluetooth, as shown above using QUASAR board.

Click to Enlarge

Many such long range IoT projects are designed to be placed outdoor, so the company also offer Rubicon IP67 weatherproof enclosure that works with both 4G boards, as well as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, BeagleBone, etc.. and is high enough for one or more add-ons board thanks to a selection of shallow or deep covers. The photo above shows the case with a Raspberry Pi board (left) and Beaglebone Black + PRUDAQ cape (right).

The downside is that the board are not available yet, pricing is unknown, and documentation is very limited right now. If you are interested, you can register your email on openh.io website by clicking on Pre-order Now button. Rubicon IP67 enclosure is available now for $35 plus shipping.

Quectel SC20 Smart LTE Modules with WiFi, BLE and GPS Run Android 5.1

December 15th, 2016 1 comment

Google may just have released Android Things operating systems for IoT applications, but its big brother – Android – has already gotten into some other IoT systems such as Quectel SC20 module powered by a Qualcomm processor and supporting LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth LE, and GNSS functions.

quectel-sc20Quectel SC20 comes in different flavors to cater for various markets, but all module share most of the same specifications:

  • SoC – Unnamed Qualcomm processor
  • System Memory – TBD
  • Storage – 8GB flash
  • Cellular Connectivity – FDD LTE, TDD LTE, TD-SCDMA, EVDO/DCMA, WCDMA, and GSM; antenna: MIMO 2×2, supports Rx-diversity
  • Other Wireless Connectivity
    • WiFi – 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n (SC20-CE/-W); Dual band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (SC20-E/-A/-AU/-J)
    • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR/3.0/4.1 LE
    • GNSS – GPS, GLONASS, and BeiDou
  • Interfaces
    • LCD – 4x lanes MIPI-DSI, 1.5Gbps each, HD (720p) @ 60fps
    • Camera – MIPI-CSI, up to 1.5Gbps per lane, supports two cameras
      • 2-lane MIPI_CSI for rear camera, up to 8MP
      • 1-lane MIPI_CSI for front camera, up to 2MP
    • Touch Panel Capacitive-screen
    • USB 2.0 Device High Speed, 480Mbps
    • 2x USIM 1.8V/3V
    • 25x GPIO, 3x I2C, 2x high-speed UARTs
    • SDIO – 1x SDIO 3.0, 4bit SDIO
    • PWRKEY
    • 4 pads for antennas: main, diversity, GNSS, Wi-Fi/BT
    • 3x ADC (BAT_SNS, BAT_THERM, ADC)
  • Audio – MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC, AMR-NB, – WB, G.711, WMA 9/10 Pro
  • Video
    • Encode – 30fps 720p (H.264), 30fps WVGA (MPEG-4/VP8)
    • Decode – 30fps 720p (H.264/MPEG-4/VP8/H.265 DivX4/5/6), 30fps WVGA (H.263)
  • Dimensions – 40.5 x 40.5 x 2.8mm
  • Weight – ~9.6 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -40°C ~ +85°C
  • Compliance – CCC/CE/FCC/GCF/PTCRB/AT&T/ACMA RCM/Verizon (Many still work-in-progress)

I first found about the module, as SinoVoip showcased some pictures of their next BPI-SC20 board using Quectel SC20-CE, but they did not provide other details.

banana-pi-bpi-sc20Nevertheless it was easy enough to find Quectel SC20 product page listing all the specs above, plus details about LTE, WCDMA, etc… bands, Rx/Tx power levels, and more. Six models of the module will be available: SC20-W with WiFi and BLE only, as well as country or zone specific variants: SC20-CE, SC20-J,  SC20-AU, SC20-A, and SC20-E with different supported cellular bands and standards.

The company is also said to have an evaluation board with a display and two cameras, with the processor used part of – or similar to – Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 series.