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Raspberry Pi 3G and GPS Shield, with SIM5218 Module US$264.60

Raspberry Pi 3G and GPS Shield, with SIM5218 Module

The 3D Shield for Raspberry Pi enables connection to high-speed WCDMA and HSPA cellular networks. It makes possible the creation of the next level of worldwide interactivity projects in the new Internet of Things era.

The Shield consists of two components: A 3G+GPS Shield and the Raspberry Pi to Arduino Connection Bridge that contains an Arduino-style socket into which the 3G+GPS Shield will connect.

The picture shows the shield on the bridge plugged into a Raspberry Pi and with antennas connected for illustration only. The Raspberry Pi board and the antennas are not included.

You can use the free arduPi library which allows you to use your Raspberry Pi with the same code used on an Arduino. To do so, the library implements conversion functions so that you can control all the I/O interfaces (I2C, SPI, UART, analog, digital) on the Raspberry Pi the same way as on an Arduino. See the user manual for details.

Important: Make sure the shield's ARD/RPi jumper is in the RPi position.

The module features an internal GPS that enables indoor and outdoor geolocation, combining standard NMEA frames with mobile cell ID triangulation using both assisted-mobile (A-GPS) and mobile-based (S-GPS) modes.

You can also use this board as a standard 3G modem at full speed (~7.2Mbps download, ~5.5Mbps upload) by connecting it via its mini-USB socket to your laptop (Linux, Windows, MacOS).

Antennas are not included. The SIM5218 device on this shield has three U.FL connectors two for 3G mobile (one is just for a backup antenna), and one for GPS. Antennas and adapters can be selected from the options at the bottom of this page.

The module is designed to work with internet servers directly (without having to go through the Raspberry Pi), internally implementing several application layer protocols which make it easier to send the information to the cloud. This means you will control the action from the main program running on the RPi, though the data may flow from the 3G module to the SD card, or from the video camera to the 3G module, without a UART bottleneck. You can make HTTP and HTTPS (secure mode) navigation, downloading and uploading content to a web server. Likewise, FTP and FTPS (secure mode) protocols are available, which is useful when your application requires handling files. You can even send and receive email directly from RPi using the SMTP and POP3 clients implemented internally.

With the SD Card socket, you can handle a complete FAT16 file system and store up to 32GB of information. This is especially useful as the 3G module can work at full speed (~7.2Mbps download, ~5.5Mbps upload) when working with the SD files directly without need of the RPi for data or file management.

3G/GPS Raspberry Pi Shield Features

Electrical Features

The 3G module used is the SIM5218E from SIMCom. The power supply of SIM5218 is from a single voltage source of VBAT=3.4V-4.2V. In some cases, the ripple in a transmit burst may cause voltage drops when current consumption rises to typical peaks of 2A. Therefore, the power supply must be able to provide sufficient current up to 2A. The maximum ratings are VBAT=4.4V and 3A peak. The maximum value of voltage for digital or analogy pins is 2.8V.

Radio Features

The SIM5218E is a quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band UMTS/HSPA engine that works on frequencies of GSM 850 MHz, EGSM 900 MHz, DCS 1800 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, and WCDMA 2100/1900/900 MHz.

Output power:

  • UMTS 900/1900/2100: 0.25W
  • GSM850/GSM900: 2W
  • DCS1800/PCS1900: 1W
NOTE: When flight mode is activated, RF functions are disabled. The mode can be changed by moving a jumper.

In the U.S., this shield has been tested only on the AT&T network, which supports GSM and 3G protocols. Other carriers may work too; they just have not been tested.

Other Features

  • Compatible with WCDMA and HSPA 3G networks
  • USIM interface: support SIM cards: 3V & 1.8V
  • High-speed USB interface for modem
  • Three audio channels include two microphone inputs and three audio outputs
  • Camera interface is provided in FPC connector and 2mm-pitch holes
  • I2C interface is provided
  • 8-bit ADC input with an input voltage range between 2.65V and GND
  • 2.8V LDO power output
  • 4-bit microSD card interface (file system up to 32GB)
  • Three modes of GPS (standalone, S-GPS and A-GPS)
  • Talk directly to web servers via HTTP/HTTPS
  • TCP and UDP sockets
  • FTP and FTPS for managing files
  • POP3 and SMTP for e-mail

This module will not work without antennas. Unless you already have matching GPS and GSM antennas, be sure to add suitable antennas and SMA-to-U.FL connector adapter cables from the Optional Recommended Products list at the bottom of this page.

Get this shield with Audio/Video accessories

You may want to order the A/V Kit Version which features this shield plus a 2GB microSD card, an electret microphone, a VGA CMOS camera, 65 M/F jumper wires of varying length, a 2W/8Ω speaker, hands-free headphones/microphone, a mini-USB cable, and an internal speaker.

3G/GPS Raspberry Pi Shield Resources

Optional Recommended Products for this Item
GSM UMTS Antenna with SMA connector & U.FL adapter+ US$19.00
SMA-to-U.FL Adapter Cable, 102mm+ US$4.95
GPS Antenna with 5m Cable & SMA Male Connector, Magnetic Mount+ US$12.95
Quad-band Cellular Duck Antenna, SMA+ US$7.95
Quad-band Cellular 9" Antenna SMA+ US$9.95
Quad-band Wired Cellular Antenna, SMA Connector+ US$11.95
White Earphones with 3.5mm Stereo Connector+ US$5.00
Portable Self-Powered Speaker, 3.5mm Plug, Li-Ion Battery+ US$14.99

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 22 February, 2013.


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