MicroMod Update Tool Hookup Guide
Introducing the SparkFun MicroMod Update Tool! This simple little board allows you to interact directly with the SARA-R5 LTE-M / NB-IoT module on the MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board via the module's UART.
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!
Built around the u-blox SARA-R510M8S module, the asset tracker 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. 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 Update Tool is not a full MicroMod Processor Board, it is much simpler than that. It has a CH340C USB-Serial converter on it which gives you full access to all eight pins of the SARA-R5's UART interface via the Asset Tracker’s USB-C connector. Think of it as a bridge from USB to serial.
Why is this a good idea? Well, for a start - as the name suggests - it is an ideal way to upgrade the SARA-R5’s firmware should you need to. The Update Tool also makes it simple to communicate directly with the SARA using u-blox’s sophisticated m-center cellular evaluation software. If you’re familiar with u-center, u-blox’s GNSS evaluation software, you’ll know how excellent their software is. m-center is every bit as good.
The Update Tool features eight pairs of Plated Through Hole connections for the UART signals. You can use these to connect directly to the SARA UART using 3.3V signals if you want to. The split pads on the rear of the Tool can be opened to isolate the CH340C completely; the pins nearest the M.2 will link straight to the SARA UART.
In order to follow along with this tutorial, you'll want to have the following items.
The Asset Tracker Firmware Update Tool, as the name suggests, is designed to work with the MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board. The Update Tool along with a Hologram eUICC SIM Card are included with the Asset Tracker:
You'll also need a USB-C cable to connect the Carrier to your computer. Below are some options for USB cables:
If you want to manipulate the UART connections on the Update Tool we recommend soldering a set of headers to your board. Below are a few options:
If you wish to use the Update Tool to interact directly with the SARA-R5 module on your Asset Tracker and do not have these items already, you may also need LTE and GNSS antennas:
If you aren't familiar with the MicroMod ecosystem, we recommend reading here for an overview:
We also recommend reading through the following tutorials if you are not familiar with the concepts covered in them: