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SparkFun, Digi International Launch XBee Tools for Cellular IoT Integration

Jan 12, 2024 — by Giorgio Mendoza 260 views

SparkFun has partnered with Digi International to launch a new line of development boards, merging the Digi XBee module with SparkFun’s Qwiic connect ecosystem. Additionally, they have introduced a comprehensive kit aimed at both hobbyists and professional developers for integrating cellular IoT technology into their projects.

The core components of the SparkFun Digi Xbee Kit are as follows:

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SparkFun Digi XBee Development Board: This is the core of the Digi XBee Kit, designed for prototyping with a variety of Digi XBee modules, including the Digi XBee 3 Low-Power LTE-M/NB-IoT and Digi XBee RR. This board is versatile, offering extensive access to XBee’s pins and supporting multiple cellular networks, along with GNSS capabilities. 

Key features include a Digi XBee 3 micro socket, configurable via XCTU or AT command, an AP63203 Buck converter for power efficiency, an FT231XS USB to UART bridge, a Qwiic connector for easy peripheral connection, and a 2-pin JST connector for LiPo batteries. Its ability to handle up to 6V supply voltage, coupled with 3 indicator LEDs, reset, and D0 buttons, make it a flexible and powerful tool for diverse IoT projects.


SparkFun Digi XBee Development Board
(click image to enlarge)

Digi XBee 3 Module Pre-programmed for NB-IoT: The pre-programmed Digi XBee 3 Module in the SparkFun Digi XBee Kit simplifies cellular IoT development with its ready-for-use NB-IoT configuration. This compact module offers both cellular and BLE connectivity and is certified for end-device carrier use, making it suitable for global IoT applications such as asset tracking and smart sensors. Its power-saving mode enhances battery life and deployment time, ideal for low-power scenarios.

Equipped with a Telit ME310G1-WW cellular chipset, the module provides versatile antenna options for cellular, Bluetooth, and GNSS, and operates across a wide temperature range. It features UART, SPI, and USB interfaces secured with Digi TrustFence technology, and supports embedded programming via MicroPython. 

The Digi XBee 3 Module also boasts extensive regulatory and carrier approvals, including certifications from the FCC, ISED, CE/RED, UKCA, and major carriers, with additional approvals pending in other regions.

 
Digi XBee 3 Module (left) & Hologram eUICC SIM Card (right)
(click images to enlarge)

Hologram eUICC SIM Card: The eUICC SIM Card combines traditional and modern cellular technologies for straightforward network activation and easy setup. It supports profile switching for dynamic carrier changes in the field, compatible with specific modules like the u-blox SARA-R4. 

For standard use, the eUICC SIM Card functions reliably with Hologram service. This Nano SIM (8.8mm x 12.3mm) is designed to withstand temperatures from -25°C to 85°C, ensuring durability with over 500,000 read/write cycles and a minimum of 25 years of data retention at 25°C.

Other components of the SparkFun Digi XBee Kit are the following: a SparkFun Humidity Sensor Breakout (SHTC3 with Qwiic), an LTE Wide Band Flex Antenna (600MHz – 6000MHz), a Molex Flexible GNSS Antenna (U.FL), a PCB Antenna (U.FL for 2.4GHz), a Flexible Qwiic Cable, and a USB 3.1 Cable (Type A to C).


SparkFun Digi XBee Kit
(click image to enlarge)

Further information

SparkFun Digi XBee Kit is listed for $129.95 from the SparkFun online store. These new SparkFun-Digi based kits can also be obtained individually, see the official product announcement for more information.

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