Development boards enable cellular connectivity for Raspberry Pi and Arduino

July 18, 2014 // By Julien Happich
RS Components is now taking orders for the SparqEE development boards, designed to enable easy cellular connectivity and Internet access for projects based on the Raspberry Pi and Arduino platforms.

A total of seven new SparqEE boards are available to order exclusively from RS, including the CELLv1.0 – a tiny cellular development board that implements a 2G+3G chipset to provide wireless worldwide. This means that the CELLv1.0 module will use 3G primarily and only revert to 2G when 3G is not available. In addition, the CELLv1.0 measures only 36x42x7mm, making it the smallest cellular module currently available on the market.

Each SparqEE Cellv1.0 cellular board will be shipped from RS with a global 3G SIM card that delivers worldwide coverage. Users will then be able to login to a website and use their credit card to buy data or set up a direct debit for on-going data usage. The increase in range permitted by celular communications enables a number of potential applications for developers and is ideal for 'small data' projects that need to operate over very long distances, even potentially to another country or continent.

Suitable projects are likely to be sensor-based low-bandwidth-data projects that will send low amounts of data over the Internet. To enable easy compatibility, as part of the new range, the ShieldRv1.0 and ShieldAv1.0 are shields or adapters that connect the CELLv1.0 respectively to Raspberry PI and Arduino boards without any additional wiring. In addition, breakouts are provided for the four remaining SparqEE boards should users prefer to connect any of these boards directly to the shield.

The four additional boards are the: GPSv1.0 receiver board, which implements an Antenova M10478 GPS module based on the SiRFstarIV 9333 GPS chipset; the POWERv1.0 board, which converts an unregulated power supply to the +5V and +3.3V supply rails required by most embedded development systems; the RELAYv1.0 board, which provides a wide input range relay for driving high-current and high-voltage peripherals; and finally the ACCELv1.0 board, which provides a wide-input-range Analog Devices ADXL345 three-axis accelerometer.