LooUQ iotQc

The LooUQ iotQc CTA series devices provide advanced communications technologies and easy product integration.  The CTA-LTEM1 modem is an LTE CAT M1 cellular modem, designed to be embedded in IoT enabled products.  The modem is carrier certified with Verizon[1] and incorporates a FCC certified cellular module. With these certifications in place, your product does not require separate network carrier certification[2].  By embedding the modem in your product, you can accelerate the development process for your product and get it to market in less time with reduced risk and cost.


This guide covers the topics your will want to be familiar with to use the modem effectively and incorporate it in your project.


Getting Familiar with the CTA-LTEM1 Modem

The LooUQ iotQc CTA-LTEM1 modem is an advanced LTE Cat-M1 modem designed to address the unique requirements of IoT applications.  In addition to the LTE Cat-M1 communications capabilities the CTA-LTEM1 also has integrated GNSS (GPS in US) capabilities for mobile applications also benefiting from location determination capabilities, without requiring additional project hardware.


The CTA-LTEM1 modem is a complete LTE Cat-M1 modem implementation.  By selecting this advanced device, your project is ready to securely and reliably send and receive IoT data streams.  As you will see later in this document LooUQ has abstracted all of the details and intricacies of processing AT commands, allowing you to focus on the functionality that makes your application unique. 





                   




Power Requirements


Typical Power Consumption

Quiet30 mA
Transmitting125 - 155 mA
Special Events< 225 mA


The LTEM1 is designed to be powered by a 3.7-volt LiPo battery pack (typical 3.0v to 4.2v limits).  The typical power profile for LTE Cat M1 operation is described below in the Specifications | Power section.  LooUQ HA adapters are designed to meet the power requirements of the CTA-LTEM1.  For more details on the charger\battery pairing see the user guide for the specific HA (host adapter) board you are using in your project.

Description
Conditions
Typical
Input Voltage
Acceptable input voltage range
3.3V to 4.3V
Input Peak Current
Peak supply current during transmission slot
2A
Off State
Powered down leakage current
8µA
PSM
Power Saving Mode

Sleep State
DRX=1.28s @Real LTE Cat M1 Network
10mA
Standby State
DRX=1.28s @Real LTE Cat M1 Network
26mA
Active State
23dBm
18dBm
12dBm
0dBm

Data Transfer @Real Network
200mA
165mA
146mA
134mA

99mA




Important Battery Safety
  • Care should be taken to protect the battery pack from physical damage, overheating, or short-circuit. Protect the battery from physical risks in your design.
  • Battery charging circuits must be designed for 3.7-volt LiPo battery packages.  Never use a battery charger designed for NiCad or other type of battery powering the CTA.
  • The charger circuits on all LooUQ host adapters (HA boards) are designed for LiPo batteries and meet the battery safety and power requirements for all of the LooUQ CTA boards. 


Host Connectivity

LooUQ offers several host adapters (HA boards) to make connectivity between the modem and your product’s “host processor” a quick and seamless.  The LooUQ CTA and HA boards implement the iotQc Host Interface, which is described in the table below. The iotQc CTA-HA physical connection is implemented using a right-angled header along with the 2 snap-fit pins to secure the modem to the host adapter.   The header on the CTA is a 16-pin, 2-row, right-angled header with a pin-pitch of 2.00mm (0.079").  


The header provides the signal connections to\from the modem and the host system.  The table below describes the signals present on the Host Interface (HI). See the photo below for reference in determining pin #1 on the header.


Pin (from left)

Signal Name

Type

Description

1
5V
Power
Power supply in, supplies CTA and charges battery when supplied
2
GND
Power
System ground
3
MOSI
Signal-Out
SPI data out (from host to CTA)
4
MISO
Signal-In
SPI data in (from CTA to host)
5
~CS
Signal-In
SPI chip-select (inverted logic, GND=true)
6
CLK
Signal-In
SPI clock
7
~IRQ
Signal-Out
CTA IRQ (inverted logic, GND=true)
8
AuxTX
Signal-In
Auxiliary serial out (host to CTA, if CTA supported)
9
AuxRX
Signal-Out
Auxiliary serial in (CTA to host, if CTA supported)
10
PwrKey
Signal-In
Power on/off (pulse to toggle CTA power state)
11
Reset
Signal-In
Resets CTA
12
Sleep
Signal-In
Instructs CTA to enter sleep mode (if CTA supported)
13
Status
Signal-Out
Indicates that the CTA is on and operational
14
Conn
Signal-Out
Indicates that the CTA is connected
15
Event
Signal-Out
When toggled, signals that the CTA has a new event

~ prefixed items indicate that the signal is true when low (inverted logic).


There is also a micro-USB connector on the CTA that allows you to communicate with the BG96 LTE module directly, bypassing the SPI-to-UART logic implemented on the CTA board.  To communicate with USB to the CTA you will need to have compatible USB drivers installed on your workstation. You can obtain the USB drivers for Windows here.  There is also a utility available to allow you to send commands easily called QCOM which is available here.

To use the USB interface for communicating with the LTE module directly you will have to select the AT virtual port on the USB interface.  This is most easily determined by using the Windows Device Manager utility and expanding the list of Ports (see below).


Attaching the CTA-LTEM1 to a Host Adapter

To attach your CTA board to any of the LooUQ HA boards complete these steps. There is also a short video showing the HA-CTA connection process available on YouTube).

  • With the CTA face up, carefully slip it onto the right-angled header until the pins of the nylon snap-fit supports align with the CTA-LTEM1’s 2 mounting holes (see image).
  • Push down to snap the supports into the CTA mounting holes.


To remove the CTA from the Host Adapter, carefully pull up on the modem board at the top (between the 2 snap-fit pins) until the modem is slightly above them.  Next, slide the modem board off from the host interface header.


Software

LooUQ has developed an open-source driver library to make integration between your device IoT application and the CTA-LTEM1 as seamless as possible.  The full source code can be viewed and downloaded from the LooUQ GitHub site.


Full-details on the CTA-LTEM1 driver software suite are available in another Answers Center document dedicated to the software.


Getting Online

To enable rapid access to network carrier communications and the online services this communication enables, LooUQ has partnered with Verizon to provide data plans of varying capacities.  By bundling LooUQ data-service plans with your CTA-LTEM1 modem, you can focus on  your project, not setting up and account and configuring device profiles.  The CTA-LTEM1 comes completed with a Verizon M2M (machine-to-machine) compatible USIM, regardless of whether you purchase your data service plan through LooUQ or you manage it directly in your own Verizon Enterprise account.


You can purchase the CTA-LTEM1 bundled or un-bundled with the following options...

  • Purchase the CTA-LTEM1 bundled with the LooUQ iotQi application enablement platform and Verizon data-service plan.  This allows you the most rapid IoT development path, delivering your IoT data directly to enterprise APIs and cloud storage.
  • Purchase the CTA-LTEM1 bundled with the LooUQ managed data-service plan. This allows you to focus on your IoT application without the requirement to provision and manage options for your plans, just determine the required bandwidth capacity and hit the road running.
  • Purchase the CTA-LTEM1 stand-alone.  If you already have an existing Verizon Enterprise account and are comfortable updating your profile and adding devices, this option allows you acquire the CTA-LTEM1 (including USIM) and manage everything yourself.


LTE Module Tools and Documentation

The CTA-LTEM1 uses a Quectel BG96 module for LTE and GNSS signal processing. While we recommend that you utilize our advanced driver software to integrate the modem with your IoT device application, there maybe times you want to learn more about the BG96 or want to implement AT commands yourself.  For those occasions there are some resources we can offer.


You can access the support files for the Quectel BG96 after your register with Quectel.  Access to the Quectel BG96 support files are available here.


Specifications

Physical

For Power Specifications please see the Power Requirements section above.

  • 45mm x 40mm x 9.15mm PCB
  • 48mm x 40mm, including interface header
  • Temperature Range: -40°C ~ +85°C
  • 13.5 grams (0.48 ounces) with SIM installed
  • All dimensions on diagram below are in mm
  • Top components: in blue, bottom components: in gray
  • Clearance: 
    • Top: 3.1mm (C6, C10), 2.3mm (module)
    • Bottom: 4.9mm (CTA-HA header), 2.75mm (USB), 2.25mm (SIM holder)


Operation and Storage Temperatures

  • Operation Temperature Range -35°C to 75°C, typical 25°C
  • Storage Temperature Range -40°C to 90°C


Host Communications

  • Logic Level: 3.3-volts


Wireless Communications

  • LTE Cat M1, LTE Band 13, 700 MHz
  • Maximum Power: 23dBm
  • Sensitivity: -107dBm @Cat M1, 1.4MHz Bandwidth, CE