Flyport GPRS/3G: your creations break free.

Posted by openPicus | On: Nov 28 2012
Today we announce that the openPicus Flyport family is growing again! We’re just testing our lastest modules: Flyport GPRS and Flyport 3G!

Flyport GPRS and 3G are mechanically identical with Flyport ethernet (2 connectors: J1 and J2). It’s the most advanced hardware design we made (the PCB is 4 layers) and the transceiver is a SAGEM HILO v2 (on Flyport GPRS) or HILO3G module (on Flyport 3G).
We decided to use Sagemcom hardware because they had a smart idea: GPRS and 3G module are exactly pin to pin compatible.
The core microcontroller is the same as for other Flyports (PIC24FJ256) and there’s no extra Flash memory since obviously there’s NO WEBSERVER on this module.
The PIC controls the transceiver just using UART using simple native AT commands from Sagem. The stack is hosted on the transceiver itself, so you have functions for sending SMS, connect to a server, call/receive and so on.
On J2 (pins 14-15-16) we also routed the Audio signals (microphone and speakers) coming from the Sagem module.
The most difficult part to choose was the power supply: as you may know the 3G modules have very fast impulsive current peaks and so the LDO we use on Flyport WiFi or Ethernet was not enought.
We decided to use the Microchip MCP1727, a supersmall Voltage regulator (see specifications here)
Sim card: the holder for a standard size Sim Card is on the bottom side (between J1 and J2). Take a look:
Antenna: this module comes only with a uFL connector, so you are free to choose your favourite antenna that suits your application (there are thousand on the market!). As you can see we added 2 small SMT fingers to connect the signal and ground signal from the transceiver to the uFL connector on the Flyport GPRS/3G.
DOCUMENTS (all of them must be considered as preliminary, we are still finishing tests!)
Application and release date
These new modules make finally Flyport suitable for a huge range of applications even where there’s no DSL or WIFI. Besides it’s pure technological meaning, it means much in terms of interaction and product design. You’re creations are now free to roam around the world!
We are working now to finish hardware testing and also stress testing in the climatic chamber. We’ll inform you on Facebook, Twitter and here on the Blog about the availability as soon as we’ll start manufacturing.
What’s openPicus now
Despite my long silence on this blog, many things have been happening lately and I finally have now the opportunity to give you some hot news. The project is growing fast, there’s an amazing community of people around us giving us great feedback everyday, thank you once again!
Here is the family! Technology at your fingertips :-)
We are working a lot on the WIKI, that’s gonna be the core of all the technical information about openPicus.
Also the porting of our framework for the new Wi-Fi G module from Microchip is going ahead and we hope to release Flyport Wi-Fi rev2 (with Flash memory also) in the first quarter of 2013.
Our family is growing: we have new developers (mainly for firmware and documentation that was our weak point) and we are also working on special versions and customizations for professional customers.
The Flyport GPRS/3G was something really missing and I hope you are excited to put your hands on it like we did when we received the first samples!
Hacks are growing as well, I really liked the Umbrella hack that had a great success last week, we made it on Make, Hackaday, Lifehacker and others!
We’ll continue to work hard to give you the best platform to go from prototypes to end product in the easiest way!
Let’s get in touch!

Claudio Carnevali, @akaclaudio

8 Comments

  1. Charudatt says:

    Great news , Great posting, nice to know the Blog lives.

    Congrats on the new roll-out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    great…one more step and yes, i’m excited to put my hands on it. I’m waiting the launch that hope to be soon.

    best regard.

  3. thanks for the support! we are working hard to release the product (with the new IDE) on January

  4. Charudatt says:

    WoW, looking forward to it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    always have my support, I feel great the work you are developing and how you are developing. I wish you a long life of your business.

  6. MarcOne says:

    I look forward to the availability of the new project … great job!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh I see: no additional memory – it’s a pitty, because I think with 3G a webserver could be run with acceptable performance. In addition add. memory for storing data and send it over periodically in a longer periode would be a great application.
    Never the less – I look forward to the availability.

  8. no there’s no external flash because the average performance on the 3G networks is not compatible with a stable webserver that must be always on. The problem is latency and this problem seems to be solved by LTE technology, but it’s still to early.
    For data storing we prefer to use the microSD card (that we are adding to each new Nest board) because lot of people needs big storage and the sd card is still the best price/performance solution at the moment.

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