MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board Hookup Guide

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Contributors: El Duderino, PaulZC
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Introduction

The MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board provides you with a toolkit to monitor and track the location of your assets. Do you want to know where your assets are at all times? Or maybe you just want an update if an asset is moved? If so, this is the product for you!

SparkFun MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board

SparkFun MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board

DEV-17272
$149.95

Built around the u-blox SARA-R510M8S module, the MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board offers Secure Cloud LTE-M and NB-IoT data communication for multi-regional use and has an integrated u-blox M8 GNSS receiver for accurate positioning information.

Want to be able to communicate directly with the SARA-R5 over USB-C, without needing a Processor Board? Or, want to upgrade the SARA firmware? The included Asset Tracker Update Tool lets you do just that. The Asset Tracker requires a Nano SIM for LTE-M / NB-IoT connectivity. You can use the included Hologram eUICC SIM card or choose one from your preferred service provider if you prefer.

The Asset Tracker will work with any of our MicroMod Processor Boards, but because the asset tracker offers so many features and can be configured in different ways, some processor boards may be a better choice for your application than others. Please see “Choosing a Processor Board” below for more details.

The SARA-R5 supports many different forms of data communication from full TCP/IP sockets and packet switched data, through HTTP Get/Put/Post, FTP (the SARA has a built-in file system), Ping, to good old SMS text messaging!

The Asset Tracker has an integrated ICM-20948 Inertial Measurement Unit for 9-Degree Of Freedom orientation and movement detection. Want to send a message if your asset is moved? The asset tracker can do that! It also has a built-in digital microphone and so can send an alert as soon as a noise is detected too. Want to add a light sensor? The Qwiic connector will let you do that.

Want to use the Asset Tracker to log data during a journey or shipping? It has a built-in micro-SD card socket for data logging. Power options include both USB-C and LiPo battery (with built-in charging and battery fuel gauge), but you can provide power via a breakout pin too.

We’ve provided a full set of examples to get you up and running quickly and our SARA-R5 Arduino Library does all of the heavy lifting for you.

Required Materials

In addition to the MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board, you’ll need a processor board to get started. Depending on which features of the SARA-R5 you want to use, some of our processor boards may be a better choice for your application. Please see “Choosing a Processor Board” below for more details.

SparkFun MicroMod ESP32 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod ESP32 Processor

WRL-16781
$16.95
SparkFun MicroMod SAMD51 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod SAMD51 Processor

DEV-16791
$18.95
SparkFun MicroMod nRF52840 Processor

SparkFun MicroMod nRF52840 Processor

WRL-16984
$19.95
SparkFun MicroMod Artemis Processor

SparkFun MicroMod Artemis Processor

DEV-16401
$14.95

You'll also need a USB-C cable to connect the Carrier to your computer and if you want to add some Qwiic breakouts to your MicroMod project you'll want at least one Qwiic cable to connect it all together. Below are some options for both of those cables:

SparkFun Qwiic Cable Kit

SparkFun Qwiic Cable Kit

KIT-15081
$7.95
12
Flexible Qwiic Cable - 100mm

Flexible Qwiic Cable - 100mm

PRT-17259
$1.50
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 - 2m

Reversible USB A to C Cable - 2m

CAB-15424
$7.95

You can power the Asset Tracker via USB-C but for portable applications you'll need a single-cell LiPo battery too. Here are some examples:

Lithium Ion Battery - 1Ah

Lithium Ion Battery - 1Ah

PRT-13813
$9.95
7
Lithium Ion Battery - 2Ah

Lithium Ion Battery - 2Ah

PRT-13855
$12.95
7
Lithium Ion Battery - 6Ah

Lithium Ion Battery - 6Ah

PRT-13856
$29.95
7

You'll also need LTE and GNSS antennas. There are many to choose from, but here are some recommendations:

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 Asset Tracker is female, the antenna connection needs to be standard male. Antennas with reverse-polarity connectors are not suitable for the Asset Tracker.

Recommended Tools

You will need a screw driver to tighten the screw between the processor board and carrier board.

SparkFun Mini Screwdriver

SparkFun Mini Screwdriver

TOL-09146
$0.95
3

Suggested Reading

If you are not familiar with the MicroMod ecosystem, we recommend reading here for an overview. We recommend reading here for an overview if you decide to take advantage of the Qwiic connector.

MicroMod Logo Qwiic Connect System
MicroMod EcosystemQwiic Connect System

Finally, if you aren't familiar with the following concepts you may want to check out a few of these tutorials before continuing.

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.

Getting Started with MicroMod

Dive into the world of MicroMod - a compact interface to connect a microcontroller to various peripherals via the M.2 Connector!