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IoTFi 2G/4G development board incorporates Raspberry Pi RP2040 and ESP32 MCUs

Jun 10, 2022 — by Giorgio Mendoza 3,755 views

The IoTFi is a development board designed for embedded applications that require 2G or 4G support. The device combines the RP2040 chip to handle user applications and the ESP32 for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2G model starts at ~$47 and the 4G variant ships for $114. The IoTFi was recently launched on Kickstarter and it has already achieved its funding goal.

As previously mentioned, the RP2040 consists of two Arm Cortex-M0+ processors (up to 133MHz) and the ESP32-C3-32S that features a 32-bit RISC-V single-core processor (up to 160MHz). The ESP32-C3-32S also supports Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n (up to 150Mbps, 1T1R mode data). The datasheet for the  ESP32-C3-32S mentions that the chip supports BLE 5.0 (125Kbps – 2Mbps), however, the Kickstarter page states that the IotFi board has inbuilt Bluetooth 2.0.

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IoTFi front interfaces
(click image to enlarge)

According to the product description, “cellular connectivity is driven by a SIMCom SIM868E or SIM7600G module depending on the model chosen.” The 2G models offers a reduced speed of 85.6Kbps, while the 4G can handle 10Mb/s down and 5Mb/s up.

The SIM868 supports GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou satellite navigation (GNSS). Unlike the SIM868, the SIM868 supports GNSS as well as multiband LTE/GNS. Both chips come in a LCC+LGA package and both are produced by SimCom Wireless.


IoTFi rear interfaces
(click image to enlarge)

Other features include a 1.14” LCD, an IPEX/U.FL antenna connectors, an accelerometer module, a 3.5mm audio jack and a type-C connector used for data transferring and power delivery.

 
IoTFi demo
(click images to enlarge)

The IoTFi supports popular embedded programming languages such as C/C++, Python and Arduino. The Kickstarter page mentions there will be a Github repository and a Wiki for documentation, although it doesn’t seem to be available as of publication date.

Specifications listed for the IoTFi include:

  • Processor System:
    • RP2040 – Dual Cortex M0+ processor (up to 133 MHz)
    • ESP-C3-32S – 32-bit RISC-V single-core processor (up to 160MHz)
      • 400 KB SRAM,384 KB ROM,8KB RTC SRAM
  • Memory/Storage
    • RP2040
      • 264 kB SRAM
    • ESP-C3-32S 
      • 400 KB SRAM,384 KB ROM,8KB RTC SRAM
  • Display:
    • 1.14 inch LCD (135 x 240 pixels) 
  • Connectivity:
    • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 2.0 through ESP32 SoC
    • 2G using SIM868 module
    • 4G using SIM7600G module 
  • USB:
    • 1x USB type-C
  • Other Features:
    • 1x SD slot
    • 1x micro Sim slot
    • 1x GSM antenna
    • 1x GPS antenna
    • 1x accelerometer
    • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Dimensions:
    • 80 x 60 mm (2G variant)
    • 100 x 70 mm (4G variant)

 Further information

The IoTFi is available on Kickstarter. The 2G variant costs around ~$47 and the 4G variant costs around $114. Boards are expected to ship around August 2022. The developer is offering more deals depending on quantity orders. For more info refer to Arushi’s Kickstarter project

 

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One response to “IoTFi 2G/4G development board incorporates Raspberry Pi RP2040 and ESP32 MCUs”

  1. SmOeL says:

    Nice board, great idea for this combo of modules.
    Too bad that in the layout no RF guidelines are followed. The ESP32 antenna (module should be placed at the board edge and kept away from copper traces and planes). The RF traces from the SMA/UFL’s should be impedance controlled routed, this seems not to be incorporated (GND plane too close to RF-trace for example.

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