LTE GNSS Breakout - SARA-R5 Hookup Guide

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Introduction

The SparkFun LTE GNSS Breakout - SARA-R5 provides a robust development tool for the SARA-R510M8S LTE-M / NB-IoT module from u-blox.

SparkFun LTE GNSS Breakout - SARA-R5

SparkFun LTE GNSS Breakout - SARA-R5

GPS-18031
$124.95

The u-blox SARA-R510M8S module is a secure cloud LTE Cat M1, LTE Cat NB2 solution based on u-blox's UBX-R5 cellular chipset with an integrated u-blox M8 GNSS receiver chip and separate GNSS antenna interface. This breakout routes all of the functional pins on the R510M8S module to user interfaces (USB or plated-through hole) so you can take full advantage of all of the features available on this impressive LTE/GNSS module.

The SARA-R5's UART interface can be configured into one of five variants, providing connectivity over one or two UARTs. A separate USB port provides access to the SARA's trace log for diagnostic purposes. This breakout provides access to all three serial interfaces (UART1, UART2 and SARA Diag) via separate USB-C connections. All eight 3.3V serial signals are available on a 0.1"-pitch breakout header.

The breakout ships with a Hologram SIM card. If you prefer to use your own SIM card, please check that your chosen service provider offers LTE-M / NB-IoT coverage for your area before purchasing.

Required Materials

In order to follow along with this tutorial you'll need the following items to use with the LTE GNSS Breakout - SARA-R5.

The primary interface for this breakout is over USB-C so you'll need at least one USB-C cable:

USB 2.0 Type-C Cable - 1 Meter

USB 2.0 Type-C Cable - 1 Meter

CAB-16905
$4.50
USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

CAB-14743
$4.95
3
Reversible USB A to C Cable - 0.8m

Reversible USB A to C Cable - 0.8m

CAB-15425
$4.95
1
Reversible USB A to C Cable - 2m

Reversible USB A to C Cable - 2m

CAB-15424
$7.95

For those who prefer to use the LTE GNSS Breakout with our u-blox SARA-R5 Arduino Library, you'll need an Arduino development board:

SparkFun Thing Plus - ESP32 WROOM

SparkFun Thing Plus - ESP32 WROOM

WRL-15663
$20.95
7
SparkFun RedBoard Turbo - SAMD21 Development Board

SparkFun RedBoard Turbo - SAMD21 Development Board

DEV-14812
$24.95
6
SparkFun Thing Plus - SAMD51

SparkFun Thing Plus - SAMD51

DEV-14713
$19.95
2
SparkFun RedBoard Artemis

SparkFun RedBoard Artemis

DEV-15444
$19.95
8
Note: The LTE GNSS Breakout runs at 3.3V logic and requires some hardware modifications to work with an Arduino and the u-blox SARA-R5 Library. Read on to the Hardware Assembly section for detailed instructions.

The breakout requires a pair of antennas, one for the LTE module and another for the GNSS receiver. The options below work with the LTE GNSS Breakout:

GNSS Multi-Band Magnetic Mount Antenna - 5m (SMA)

GNSS Multi-Band Magnetic Mount Antenna - 5m (SMA)

GPS-15192
$67.95
1
GPS/GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - 3m (SMA)

GPS/GNSS Magnetic Mount Antenna - 3m (SMA)

GPS-14986
$12.95
3
LTE Hinged External Antenna - 698MHz-2.7GHz, SMA Male

LTE Hinged External Antenna - 698MHz-2.7GHz, SMA Male

CEL-16432
$6.95
Note: The SMA connections are standard polarity: the connector on the LTE GNSS Breakout is female, the antenna connection needs to be standard male. Antennas with reverse-polarity connectors are not suitable for the LTE GNSS Breakout.

Suggested Reading

If you aren't familiar with the following concepts you may want to check out these tutorials before continuing.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Serial Communication

Asynchronous serial communication concepts: packets, signal levels, baud rates, UARTs and more!

Installing an Arduino Library

How do I install a custom Arduino library? It's easy! This tutorial will go over how to install an Arduino library using the Arduino Library Manager. For libraries not linked with the Arduino IDE, we will also go over manually installing an Arduino library.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.