SparkFun expLoRaBLE Hookup Guide

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Introduction

The SparkFun LoRa Thing Plus – expLoRaBLE is a feather form-factor development board with the NM180100 system in package (SiP), from Northern Mechatronics. The NM180100 SiP includes a Semtex SX1262 LoRa module paired with the Apollo3 MCU, which is used in the SparkFun Artemis module. This provides the board with compatibility in the Arduino IDE, through our Apollo3 Arduino core. The Semtex SX1262 is a long range, low power RF tranceiver introduces LoRaWAN capabilities to the board. Additionally, both the BLE and LoRa capabilities of the expLoRaBLE allow it to operate as a Bluetooth enabled LoRa node.

SparkFun LoRa Thing Plus - expLoRaBLE

SparkFun LoRa Thing Plus - expLoRaBLE

WRL-17506
$49.95

Required Materials

To get started, users will need a few items. Now some users may have a few of these items, feel free to modify your cart accordingly.

SparkFun LoRa Thing Plus - expLoRaBLE

SparkFun LoRa Thing Plus - expLoRaBLE

WRL-17506
$49.95
Wide Band 4G LTE Internal LoRa Antenna

Wide Band 4G LTE Internal LoRa Antenna

WRL-17841
$1.95
USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

CAB-14743
$4.95
2

Click the buttons above to toggle the additional materials based on the options you
wish to use. Feel free to modify the items in your cart to fit your needs.


Li-Po Battery

For mobile applications, users will want to pick up a single-cell LiPo battery from our catalog. Below, are a few available options:

Lithium Ion Battery - 400mAh

Lithium Ion Battery - 400mAh

PRT-13851
$4.95
9
Lithium Ion Battery - 2Ah

Lithium Ion Battery - 2Ah

PRT-13855
$12.95
7
Lithium Ion Battery - 1Ah

Lithium Ion Battery - 1Ah

PRT-13813
$9.95
7
Lithium Ion Battery - 110mAh

Lithium Ion Battery - 110mAh

PRT-13853
$4.95
2

Jumper Modification

To modify the jumpers, users will need soldering equipment and/or a knife.

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

TOL-09325
$8.95
7
Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen  - 10mL

Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen - 10mL

TOL-14579
$7.95
3
Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

TOL-14228
$44.95
1
Hobby Knife

Hobby Knife

TOL-09200
$2.95
2

Qwiic Example

If you would like to follow along with the examples below to interact with the physical world, you will also need the following items:

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

PRT-14427
$1.50
SparkFun Qwiic 12 Bit ADC - 4 Channel (ADS1015)

SparkFun Qwiic 12 Bit ADC - 4 Channel (ADS1015)

DEV-15334
$10.50
Magnetic Screwdriver Set (20 Piece)

Magnetic Screwdriver Set (20 Piece)

TOL-15003
$6.95
1

Headers & Accessories

Headers are great for development purposes, letting users swap parts with just a set of jumper wires. If you would like to add headers to your board, check out some of the options for the Thing Plus or Feather form factor boards:

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

PRT-00116
$1.50
20
SparkFun Beginner Tool Kit

SparkFun Beginner Tool Kit

TOL-14681
$57.95
Photon Header - 12 Pin Female

Photon Header - 12 Pin Female

PRT-14321
$0.50
Feather Stackable Header Kit

Feather Stackable Header Kit

PRT-15187
$1.50
Header - 8-pin Female (PTH, 0.1")

Header - 8-pin Female (PTH, 0.1")

PRT-11895
$0.50

Below is a sample selection of our other headers and soldering tools in our catalog. For a full selection of our available Headers or Soldering Tools, click on the associated link.

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

PRT-00116
$1.50
20
Arduino Stackable Header Kit - R3

Arduino Stackable Header Kit - R3

PRT-11417
$1.50
12
Raspberry Pi Pico Headers Kit

Raspberry Pi Pico Headers Kit

PRT-17907
$1.25
Raspberry Pi GPIO Tall Header - 2x20

Raspberry Pi GPIO Tall Header - 2x20

PRT-14017
$1.95
Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat

Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat

TOL-14672
$9.95
7
Soldering Iron - 60W (Adjustable Temperature)

Soldering Iron - 60W (Adjustable Temperature)

TOL-14456
$14.95
11
Weller WE1010 Soldering Station

Weller WE1010 Soldering Station

TOL-14734
$129.00
4
Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.020") Special Blend

Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.020") Special Blend

TOL-10242
$29.95
12

JTAG Functionality

Users interested in JTAG applications (i.e. programming and debugging the RP2040) will need an Arm® Programmer and need to solder on a JTAG header. We recommend these programmers from our catalog:

J-Link EDU Base Programmer

J-Link EDU Base Programmer

PGM-15346
$60.00
1
J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

PGM-15345
$18.00
1
J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

PGM-15347
$378.00
Header - 2x5 Pin (Male, 1.27mm)

Header - 2x5 Pin (Male, 1.27mm)

PRT-15362
$1.50

JTAG Functionality

Users interested in modifying or updating the firmware on the Apollo3 will need an Arm® Programmer and need to solder on a JTAG header. We recommend these programmers from our catalog:

J-Link EDU Base Programmer

J-Link EDU Base Programmer

PGM-15346
$60.00
1
J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

PGM-15345
$18.00
1
J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

PGM-15347
$378.00
Header - 2x5 Pin (Male, 1.27mm)

Header - 2x5 Pin (Male, 1.27mm)

PRT-15362
$1.50

Antennas

Below, is a selection of a few LoRA antenna options from the antenna product category.

Interface Cable RP-SMA to U.FL

Interface Cable RP-SMA to U.FL

WRL-00662
$4.95
1
Pycom LoRa and Sigfox Antenna Kit - 915MHz

Pycom LoRa and Sigfox Antenna Kit - 915MHz

WRL-14676
$11.95
915MHz LoRa Antenna RP-SMA - 1/4 Wave 2dBi

915MHz LoRa Antenna RP-SMA - 1/4 Wave 2dBi

WRL-14875
$8.95
915MHz LoRa Antenna RP-SMA - 1/2 Wave 2dBi

915MHz LoRa Antenna RP-SMA - 1/2 Wave 2dBi

WRL-14876
$7.95
Wide Band 4G LTE Internal LoRa Antenna

Wide Band 4G LTE Internal LoRa Antenna

WRL-17841
$1.95
LoRa Fiberglass Antenna Type N - 5.8dBi (860-930MHz)

LoRa Fiberglass Antenna Type N - 5.8dBi (860-930MHz)

WRL-15597
$49.95
Interface Cable N to RP-SMA Cable - 1m

Interface Cable N to RP-SMA Cable - 1m

CAB-14911
$7.95
(*A diplexer is used to combine the BLE and LoRa signals to a single U.FL connection. Only the Wide Band 4G LTE Internal FPC Antenna is recommended for use as a combination LoRa and BLE antenna.)

LoRa Gateways

Below, is a selection of a few LoRA gateway options from the LoRa product category.

LoRa Raspberry Pi 4 Gateway with Enclosure

LoRa Raspberry Pi 4 Gateway with Enclosure

WRL-16447
$199.95
2
LoRa Raspberry Pi Gateway with Enclosure

LoRa Raspberry Pi Gateway with Enclosure

WRL-15336
$199.95
1
Nebra Indoor HNT Hotspot Miner (915MHz)

Nebra Indoor HNT Hotspot Miner (915MHz)

WRL-17843
$349.95
Nebra Outdoor HNT Hotspot Miner (915MHz)

Nebra Outdoor HNT Hotspot Miner (915MHz)

WRL-17844
$488.95
SparkFun LoRa Gateway - 1-Channel (ESP32)

SparkFun LoRa Gateway - 1-Channel (ESP32)

WRL-15006
$34.95
3
Interface Cable RP-SMA to U.FL

Interface Cable RP-SMA to U.FL

WRL-00662
$4.95
1
915MHz LoRa Antenna RP-SMA - 1/4 Wave 2dBi

915MHz LoRa Antenna RP-SMA - 1/4 Wave 2dBi

WRL-14875
$8.95

Suggested Reading

As a more professionally oriented product, we will skip over the more fundamental tutorials (i.e. Ohm's Law and What is Electricity?). However, below are a few tutorials that may help users familiarize themselves with various aspects of the board.

Serial Communication

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

I2C

An introduction to I2C, one of the main embedded communications protocols in use today.

Bluetooth Basics

An overview of the Bluetooth wireless technology.

Logic Levels

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

Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI)

SPI is commonly used to connect microcontrollers to peripherals such as sensors, shift registers, and SD cards.

ARM Programming

How to program SAMD21 or SAMD51 boards (or other ARM processors).

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.

Three Quick Tips About Using U.FL

Quick tips regarding how to connect, protect, and disconnect U.FL connectors.

LoRaWAN with ProRF and The Things Network

Learn how to make a LoRaWAN node for your next long range IoT project and connect it to the internet with The Things Network!

Artemis Development with Arduino

Get our powerful Artemis based boards (Artemis Nano, BlackBoard Artemis, and BlackBoard Artemis ATP) blinking in less than 5 minutes using the SparkFun Artemis Arduino Core!

Pulse Width Modulation

An introduction to the concept of Pulse Width Modulation.

Analog vs. Digital

This tutorial covers the concept of analog and digital signals, as they relate to electronics.

Installing Board Definitions in the Arduino IDE

How do I install a custom Arduino board/core? It's easy! This tutorial will go over how to install an Arduino board definition using the Arduino Board Manager. We will also go over manually installing third-party cores, such as the board definitions required for many of the SparkFun development boards.

Artemis Development with the Arduino IDE

This is an in-depth guide on developing in the Arduino IDE for the Artemis module and any Artemis microcontroller development board. Inside, users will find setup instructions and simple examples from blinking an LED and taking ADC measurements; to more complex features like BLE and I2C.

Installing Arduino IDE

A step-by-step guide to installing and testing the Arduino software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Qwiic Connect System

One of the new, advanced features of the board is that it takes advantage of the Qwiic connect system. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the Logic Levels and I2C tutorials. Click on the banner above to learn more about Qwiic products.