A project log for LR1110 module - Tiny LoRa & WiFi/GNSS positioning

Leveraging the LR1110 to create the smallest geolocation+LoRaWAN combined module for use in tracking.

SensorsSensors 04/27/2020 at 16:400 Comments

I got started on this project a week ago when I found details of the LR1110.

This is what Semtech say about it:

After reading this I started to get excited about the potential... Imagine having a tiny device that can remotely give you meter-accurate location and run on battery for a year or more! This could be used for tracking anything including vehicles and bikes, livestock, pets, valuables, etc.

Allowing myself to get carried away I started reading into the datasheet and reference designs. I decided fairly early that I'd like to make a module with this part, to scratch my itch for hardware design, support a few of my own personal projects, but also make the part much easier to incorporate for anyone else who was interested. 

With that in mind I had a few key requirements:

  1. Tiny: If it can be tiny, why shouldn't it be? My original goal was 24mm x 18mm.
  2. Easy to solder: It needs to be able to be soldered without reflow. No hidden pads underneath!
  3. Multi-region: One module to support CN/EU/NA/AU regions

As an extra point, I wanted to avoid including any antennae on this module. To try to fit 3 different antennae or one multi-band antenna on the module would make it fairly large, and on top of that, module antennae are usually pretty difficult to optimise and crap as a result. It provides much more flexibility to allow the user to choose their own antenna setup; this can be as simple as 3 separate SMA connectors for external antennae or as complex as a custom multi-band PCB trace antenna.

The end goal for this project is to have a few modules built that I can tinker with and test for my own projects, and perhaps also make a batch available to the community if there is significant interest!