Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2

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Adding ultra-fast cellular internet communication feature to your Raspberry Pi has never been... more
Product information "Raspberry Pi 3G-4G/LTE Base Shield V2"

Adding ultra-fast cellular internet communication feature to your Raspberry Pi has never been easier until you get this shield. This is a handy interface bridge between Mini PCIe 3G/4G/LTE modules and Raspberry Pi. You can easily insert a Mini PCIe module in this shield then start using cellular internet with your Raspberry Pi. Both UART and USB communication with modules is available.

It can be used as an LTE modem or dongle. If you’re looking for a Raspberry Pi LTE HAT for applications like Raspberry Pi video streaming or high-speed data transferring, this Sixfab Base Shield is here to help. Making a remote controllable LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot, high-speed GPS tracking, VoIP, more and more use case is possible with his add-on board.

Depends on your region and data rate need, you can choose an LTE module from a variety of options are available in the market from different cellular module vendors. The full list of the compatible modules mentioned below. For a global 3G coverage, we suggest Quectel UC20 3G Module, and for high-speed LTE connection, we suggest Quectel EC25 LTE Module, are available at Sixfab right now.

Features

  1. Fully compatible with Raspberry Pi models that have the 40-pin GPIO header (4, 3, 2, B+, A+, Zero)
  2. Easy-to-use, simple setup, plug-and-play
  3. Clip-in Mini PCIe socket compatible with worldwide LTE, UMTS/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE coverage with regional or global modules which work with different frequencies&carriers
  4. With the 4G/LTE Module(e.g Quectel EC25) you can reach 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink data rates. And the 3G Module( e.g Quectel UC20) delivers the maximum data rate of 14.4Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink.
  5. Micro SIM Card socket can easily reachable on the upside of the shield.
  6. Can be used standalone with PC/Laptop over micro USB, without stacking with Raspberry Pi.
  7. The shield can be powered from an external 5V source by exposed power pins, directly from Raspberry Pi 5V GPIO headers or over micro USB. A specially designed 90-degree right angle micro USB cable is included to package as a gift by default.
  8. Efficient and low quiescent current regulator circuit can hold up to 3.6A
  9. Optional Send/Receive commands over Raspberry Pi UART port is available
  10. Taking the module into the Airplane Mode, resetting module or RI and DTR functions can be done over GPIO pins.
  11. The modules(EC25&UC20) have built-in GNSS(GPS/GLONASS) receiver for your location-based applications.
  12. Working temperature range: -40°C ~ 80°C 

Key Applications

  1. Video/Music Streaming
  2. Large Data Downloads and Uploads
  3. LTE Dongle/Router
  4. Mobile Internet Hotspot
  5. High-speed GPS Tracking
  6. Real-time Environmental Monitoring
  7. Smart City & Agriculture Applications
  8. Smart Parking
  9. Security & Asset tracking

Header Options

Alt text

  1. Long Header: If you plan to attach another Raspberry Pi HAT or add-on board on top of the Base Shield, you will definitely need this variation. Also, using GPIOs with jumper cables is possible with these male headers.
  2. Short Header: Are you going to use Base Shield only, will not add another Raspberry Pi HAT or shield on top of it? Or you’ve already attached a board with a long header on Raspberry Pi and you’re planning to plug the Base Shield on top? This header option is suitable for you.
  3. Without Header: If just the plugging Base Shield via micro USB cable to Raspberry Pi is enough for you, or you’ve already attached a bulky shield on Pi, doesn’t need UART communication, this slim, headerless shield works greatly. For knowing what you missing without headers, take a look at the Pinout Diagram of the shield, these pins will be unconnected.

Technical Details

Connection Types

USB: Most of Mini PCIe modules have USB driver for Android, Linux, and Windows operating systems. The Base Shield that loaded with a module like Quectel EC25 LTE, can be attached to a minicomputer(especially Raspberry Pi), mobile phone or laptop with USB then works as a 3G/4G USB Dongle Modem. Drivers for modules, please visit the module product pages.

UART: If you insert one of the Quectel Mini PCIe modules, the UART pins will be available to use, with 3.3V power domain, directly connected the UART port of Raspberry Pi. But the maximum data rate will be lower than USB. It’ll be around 900 Kbit/s Downlink and Uplink (UART)

Compatible Mini PCIe Modules

  • Quectel:
    • EC25 Mini PCIe 4G IoT Module
    • EC21 Mini PCIe 4G IoT Module
    • EC20 Mini PCIe 4G IoT Module
    • UC20 Mini PCIe 3G IoT Module
  • Quectel*
    • LTE-EP06
  • Sierra*
    • AirPrime MC Series
  • Telit*
    • LM960, LE910V2, HE910, LE910Cx, and more
  • Huawei*
    • ME909s-120, ME909s-821, and more
  • Simcom*
    • SIM7100,  SIM7230, and more
  • ZTE*
    • ZM8620, and more
  • U-Blox*
    • MPCI-L2 Series

Important Note(*): Please check the following Quectel Mini PCIe pinout(EC20,EC21,EC25,UC20) diagram and the Base Shield connected pin table for full compatibility.  The other Mini PCIe modules from different vendors can be used with the Base shield. Generally, these modules’ USB, power supply, status led and SIM Card pins match with Base Shield Pinout, they can be used via USB connection without struggling but it does not mean full compatibility, some features may not work. The AT Command Interface cannot be used without UART connection. Please, consider USB connection needs special drivers for each operating system.

source: Quectel

Sixfab Base Shield Mini PCIe PinoutQuectel  EC20,EC21,EC25,UC20Quectel  LTE-EP06Sierra Telit Huawei Simcom ZTE U-Blox
Pin[8] USIM VDD OK OK OK
Pin[10] USIMDATA OK OK OK
Pin[11] UART_RX OK NOT CONNECTED NOT  CONNECTED
Pin[12] USIMCLK OK OK OK
Pin[13] UART_TX OK NOT CONNECTED NOT  CONNECTED
Pin[14] USIMRST OK OK OK
Pin[17] RI OK NOT CONNECTED NOT  CONNECTED
Pin[20] W_DISABLE OK OK OK
Pin[22] PERST OK OK OK
Pin[31] DTR OK NOT CONNECTED NOT  CONNECTED
Pin[36] USB_DM OK OK OK
Pin[38] USB_DP OK OK OK
Pin[42] LED_WWAN OK OK OK

Compatible Boards

  1. Raspberry Pi 3, 2, B+, A+, Zero
  2. Asus Tinker Board
  3. Rock 64*
  4. Orange Pi*
  5. Samsung ARTIK’s Eagleye board*
  6. Latte Panda

Note 1The modules’ default drivers may not work with all these mini computers. There may need some Kernel work to implement the drivers. We’re working on Quectel Modules’ drivers to make them ready for each mini computer in the list. Please take a look at our support section for details.

Note 2: These compatibility list created by assuming you’ve connected the Base Shield to the device via USB. UART communication can be work with every device in the list easily which have 3.3V level UART port.

Warnings

  • For the best working condition, power the Raspberry Pi with a minimum 2 Amps 5V adapter while using the Base Shield attached.
  • We don’t recommend the usage of long and low-quality micro USB cables between Base Shield and Raspberry Pi. It causes data and power loss. Thus, the cable included the package works greatly.

Electrical

Pinout

 

Pin Descriptions

Pin NumberPin NameDescription
2 5V PWR This pin is connected to the 5V power net.
4 5V PWR This pin is connected to the 5V power net.
8 PCI RX This pin functions as the serial data input to the module
for UART communication.
10 PCI TX This pin functions as the serial data output from the
module for UART communication
31 RI This pin is Ring indicator functions as the indication for
receiving call or SMS, can be calibrated to HIGH or LOW
using the AT commands.
33 DTR When the module is in sleep mode, DTR pin allows to
wake up the module up by pulling it to LOW.
35 W_DISABLE This pin is used to turn Airplane Mode on the module, by
pulling it HIGH.
37 PERST The pin is used to hardware reset the module, by pulling
it HIGH.
6,9,14,25,30,34,39 GND These pins are connected to ground.

Electrical Characteristics of Pins

Pin NumberDescriptionMin.Typ.Max.Unit
5V PWR Power Supply 4.8 5.0 5.25 V
PCI RX, PCI TX IO 3.0 3.3 3.6 V
RI IO 3.0 3.3 3.6 V
DTR IO 3.0 3.3 3.6 V
W_DISABLE IO 3.0 3.3 3.6 V
PERST IO 3.0 3.3 3.6 V

Layout

 

Schematic

You can download the schematic of Base Shield from this Github repository.

LEDs

  • PWR LED: When the module is powered up, this RED led turns on.
  • SGNL LED: This BLUE led indicates the status of the connection. When the connection is established and data is being transmitted/received, this led will blink at special intervals. Otherwise, if there is no connection, the led will remain off. 

Mechanical

Dimensions

3D Design Files

You can download the 3D design files(STEP, IGES) of Base Shield from this Github repository.

Weight

Header TypeWithout Mini PCIe ModuleWith Mini PCIe ModuleUnit
Without Header 18.3 28.4 gr
With Short Header 21.6 31.7 gr
With Long Header 25.1 35.2 gr

Package Includes

  • 1x Sixfab 3G/4G-LTE Base Shield for Raspberry Pi
  • 1x 90-degree Right Angle Micro USB Cable

!NOTE: The 3G/4G-LTE Mini PCIe modules are not included.

Tutorials

 

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