#45-1~3, H2: LTE (4G) Modem

tibbit_h2_orange+blue

Function: LTE (4G) modem

Form factor: H2

Category: Input/output module

Special needs: ---

Power requirements: 5V/500mA average, peak current consumption reaches 2A

Mates with: ---

See also: #47

tibbit_45label-45_1  

Details

This Tibbit comes in the H2 hybrid form factor and is based on the SIM7500 LTE CAT-1 family of modems manufactured by SIMCom. As the Tibbit does not have an internal/onboard antenna, an external antenna is required for it to operate. The module features an SMA connector on the front for use with a standard external LTE antenna, which is an available option when ordering the Tibbit.

The modem has standard TX, RX, RTS, and CTS signals, as well as several additional control lines. Lines A through H are 3.3V compatible.

Control lines

This Tibbit has four control lines:

  • -SDWN (shutdown): When LOW, turns off the Tibbit's power regulators. When the line is switched to HIGH, the power regulators are enabled, but the modem remains off.

  • PWRKEY (power key): A LOW-to-HIGH transition on this line toggles the power on and off; it turns the modem on if it was off, or off if it was on. Toggling the module on requires keeping a HIGH state of signal (after a transition from LOW) for about 500ms. Turning the module off requires keeping a HIGH state for about 2.5 seconds. The two following figures illustrate the process of turning the modem on and off.

tibbit_45_power_on

Turning the modem on

tibbit_45_power_off

Turning the modem off

  • STATUS: This line is LOW when the modem is off and HIGH when it is on. This line can be used to check the current power state of the modem. It takes at least 22 seconds for the STATUS line to reach HIGH after the modem is powered on, after which the module can begin operating. There are two methods of determining whether the modem is on or off: by sending an AT command and checking for a response or querying the STATUS line's state. Note that the line's state is undetermined when the modem is shut down (i.e., the -SDWN line is LOW).

  • RESET: Bringing this line HIGH for about one second resets the modem. There is no need to reset the modem after turning on its power.

Before establishing a connection, the modem should be initialized. First, pull the -SDWN line HIGH to power the module. After the STATUS line goes HIGH, the modem is ready to communicate using AT commands via a standard UART with flow control. At this point, you can decide whether to allow the system to establish a PPP connection automatically or to remain in AT command mode (see the Library section below).

SIM card slot

The card holder of Tibbit #45 accepts a 4G LTE micro-SIM card and features a “close-and-slide” locking mechanism. The card holder is located on the bottom of the Tibbit, meaning that insertion or removal of the SIM card requires opening the Tibbo Project Box enclosure and removing the Tibbit from the Tibbo Project PCB (TPP). We chose this relatively inaccessible location for the SIM card to reduce the chances of theft — accessing the card holder requires quite a bit of time and work, making it impossible to remove the card surreptitiously.

LEDs

There is one red and one green LED. The red LED is connected to the TX line, while the green LED is linked to the RX line. The remaining lines are not equipped with LEDs due to the internal board’s space constraints.

Power considerations

At full LTE bandwidth, Tibbit #45 consumes an average current of 500mA, with peak current consumption of about 2A. While these current “spikes” are so narrow that they can’t be seen on a regular multimeter, they occur regularly when the modem is operating. The modem's power supply was designed with sufficient capacitors to absorb these spikes, but we recommend using an adequate power source to prevent unexpected reboots or unstable operation.

The modem consumes approximately 22mA when idle and sips about 1.6mA when in sleep mode. Note that the idle and sleep modes are not available when the Tibbit is in the automatic PPP connection mode.

State

Consumption

Average

500mA

Peak

2A

Idle

About 22mA

Sleep

About 1.6mA

The Tibbo Project System (TPS) platform offers several power supply Tibbits theoretically capable of providing sufficient current. However, only Tibbit #25 (when powered by a 24V or higher voltage source) currently has enough capacity to power not only the modem, but also the TPP board and other Tibbits you might use in your project.

The TPS Online Configurator can help you decide which parts to use in conjunction with Tibbit #45. The Online Configurator lists the Tibbit as consuming 500mA of current, which we found to be a good approximation of the current burden it places on a power source, but does not take into account the current spikes or that the Tibbit often operates with lower power consumption.

Operating temperature

In testing, this Tibbit operated normally in the industrial temperature range (-40°C to 85°C). However, SIMCom recommends an operating temperature range for the modem of between -30°C and 80°C and warns of reduced performance when approaching either extreme of the industrial temperature range.

In addition to the temperature constraints on the module, there are also limitations for off-the-shelf SIM cards. While regular consumer SIM cards are certified to operate in a temperature range of -25°C to 85°C, industrial/automotive SIM cards can operate at between -40°C and 85°C, with some capable of operating at temperatures of up to 105°C. In internal testing, some consumer SIM cards deformed at low temperatures and became nonfunctional.

We highly recommend that you assess your application's projected environmental conditions and choose an appropriate SIM card.

Library Support

The CELL software library (see the TIDE, TiOS, Tibbo BASIC, and Tibbo C Manual) unlocks the full capabilities of this Tibbit and can be easily included in your project through Cody, our project setup wizard. Cody examines your TPS configuration to create sample code that you can use as the foundation for your project.

The CELL library handles modem initialization, PPP connection establishment and PPP data communications.

Tibbit variations

This Tibbit is supplied in three regional variants as detailed in the table below:

Feature/Variant

Tibbit #45-1

Tibbit #45-2

Tibbit #45-3

Internal Modem Model1

SIM7500SA

SIM7500E

SIM7500A

GSM Support

NO

YES: 900/1800MHz

NO

WCDMA Support

YES: B1/B5

YES: B1/B8

YES: B2/B5

LTE Support

YES: B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B28

YES: B1/B3/B7/B8/B20

YES: B2/B4/B12

1.While SIMCom identifies a few specific countries or regions for each variant of the SIM7500 family of modems, we have omitted them because they are not fully inclusive lists. What is important is that you select the version most compatible with the bands in use in your region (and compliant with your local regulations).