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Raspberry Pi Cellular IoT Application Shield – LTE-M & NB-IoT & eGPRS


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The ancient 2G cellular network is now dying. New and better LTE technologies are being used instead. LTE Cat M1/Cat NB1(NB-IoT) is the latest way of the machine to machine communication. This LTE shield for your Raspberry Pi lets you connect the Raspberry to this new cellular networks thanks to Quectel BG96 LTE module on it. It also provides the connection to eGPRS that is the enhanced version of classical GPRS.

Quectel BG96 is a series of LTE Cat M1/Cat NB1/EGPRS module offering a maximum data rate of 375Kbps downlink and 375Kbps uplink with worldwide coverage. The shield has built-in temperature, humidity, light sensors, 3-axis accelerometer, a relay and more. This LTE add-on for Raspberry Pi also supports GNSS(GPS, GLONASS etc) for the need of getting location, navigation, tracking, mapping and timing applications.



  1. Fully compatible with Raspberry Pi models that have the 40-pin GPIO header (4, 3, 2, B+, A+, Zero)
  3. Worldwide coverage with supported bands:
    • Cat M1/Cat NB1:
      • LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28
      • LTE TDD: B39 (For Cat M1 Only)
    • EGPRS: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  4. Embedded GNSS Functionality (GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou/Compass, Galileo, QZSS)
  5. 12-Bit 4 Channel ADC
  6. 3-axis Accelerometer
  7. Humidity and Temperature Sensors
  8. Ambient Light Sensor
  9. Isolated Optocoupler Inputs
  10. 1-Wire Sensors Interface
  11. 3GPP E-UTRA Release 13, 3GPP TS27.007, 3GPP TS 27.005 and Quectel Enhanced AT Commands over UART port to Raspberry Pi is available
  12. Efficient and low quiescent current regulator circuit can hold up to 3.6A
  13. Can be used standalone with PC/Laptop over micro USB, without stacking with Raspberry Pi
  14. Micro SIM Card socket can easily reachable on the upside of the shield.
  15. Working temperature range: -30°C to +80°C


Key Applications

  1. Smart farming sensor
  2. Smart cities sensor
  3. Smart home sensor
  4. Internet of Things (IoT) sensor
  5. Smart door lock
  6. Smart lightning
  7. Smart metering
  8. Bike sharing
  9. Smart parking
  10. Smart city
  11. Security and asset tracking
  12. Home appliances
  13. Agricultural and environmental monitoring


Technical Details

Connection Types

USB: If you don’t want to occupy UART port on the Raspberry Pi, just plug the shield via micro USB to Raspberry Pi. You can start to send and receive AT commands, transmit data, output GNSS NEMA, debug and upgrade firmware over the USB connection. It supports USB drivers for Windows, Linux, and Android. Details can be found at drivers section.

UART: The UART pins will be available to use, with 3.3V power domain, directly connected the UART port of Raspberry Pi. Can be used for data transmission and AT command communication with 115200bps baud rate. The default data frame format is 8N1 (8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit). This port does not provide GNSS data. The GNSS data can be gathered only over the USB.

Data Speeds

Cat M1:

Max. 375Kbps (Downlink), Max 375Kbps (Uplink)

Cat NB1:

Max. 32Kbps (DL), Max. 70Kbps (UL)


Max. 296Kbps (DL), Max. 236.8Kbps (UL)


Max. 107Kbps (DL), Max. 85.6Kbps (UL)


Point-to-point MO and MT

SMS Cell Broadcast

Text and PDU Mode

Enhanced Features

  • GNSS: GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou/Compass, Galileo, QZSS
  • Firmware Upgrade: via USB interface
  • DFOTA: Delta Firmware Upgrade Over the Air
  • Audio Record/Play
  • Processor: ARM A7 Processor, with 3MB Flash and 3MB RAM Available for Users


!! Warnings !!

  • For the best working condition, use at least a 2A adapter or power source.
  • We don’t recommend usage of long and low-quality micro USB cables between Cellular IoT Application Shield and Raspberry Pi. It causes data and power loss.
  • Do not apply higher voltages and currents than those specified absolute electrical value for sensor inputs and relay connections.






Pin Descriptions

Pin Number BCM Pin Pin Name Description
2 5V 5V PWR This pin is connected to the 5V power net.
3 GPIO 2 SDA I2C Serial Data
4 5V 5V PWR This pin is connected to the 5V power net.
5 GPIO 3 SCL I2C Serial Data
7 GPIO 4 1-WIRE Data line for communicate with 1-Wire sensors.
8 UART RX BG96 TX This pin functions as the serial data input to the module for UART communication.
10 UART TX BG96 RX This pin functions as the serial data output from the module for UART communication
11 GPIO 17 RELAY Relay control pin. When this pin is HIGH state, relay is operated.(Common and NO are connected.)
12 GPIO 18 IN-2 When the voltage in the range 3.3-12V(max 15V!) is applied from the IN-2 input, this pin goes to LOW state. Default state is HIGH(pulled-up).
13 GPIO 27 USER LED Active HIGH, to switch on the USER LED, the pin’s state should be HIGH.
18 GPIO 24 USER BUTTON This pin is pulled-up by default. When button is pressed, pin switches to LOW.
19 GPIO 10 IN-1 When the voltage in the range 3.3-12V(max 15V!) is applied from the IN-1 input, this pin goes to LOW state. Default state is HIGH(pulled-up).
23 GPIO 11 BG96 PWRKEY The module can be turned on by driving the pin BG96 PWRKEY to a HIGH-level voltage more than 500ms then pulling it down. You can apply the same process to power down to the module if it already powered up.
31 GPIO 6 BG96 APREADY AP_READY will detect the sleep state of the host (can be configured to HIGH level or LOW level detection). Please refer to AT+QCFG=“apready” command for details.
33 GPIO 13 BG96 RI When BG96 has URC to report, RI signal will wake up the host. Please refer to Chapter 3.14 for details about RI behavior from BG96 Datasheet.
37 GPIO 26 BG96 POWER ENABLE BG96 3.8V Power regulator control. Normally pulled-up, when this pin drove to LOW, BG96’s power will cut off.
38 GPIO 20 BG96 STATUS The STATUS pin is used to indicate the operation status of BG96 module. It will output HIGH level when the module is powered on.
6,9,14,25,30,34,39 GND GND This pins are connected to ground.


Electrical Characteristics of Pins

Pin Number BCM Pin Pin Name Description Min Typ. Max. Unit
2 5V 5V PWR Power Supply 4.8 5 5.25 V
3 GPIO 2 SDA I2C Data 3 3.3 3.6 V
4 5V 5V PWR Power Supply 4.8 5 5.25 V
5 GPIO 3 SCL I2C Clock 3 3.3 3.6 V
7 GPIO 4 1-WIRE 1-Wire data 3 3.3 3.6 V
8 UART RX BG96 TX UART 3 3.3 3.6 V
10 UART TX BG96 RX UART 3 3.3 3.6 V
11 GPIO 17 RELAY Output 3 3.3 3.6 V
12 GPIO 18 IN-2 Input 3 3.3 3.6 V
13 GPIO 27 USER LED Output 3 3.3 3.6 V
18 GPIO 24 USER BUTTON Input 3 3.3 3.6 V
19 GPIO 10 IN-1 Input 3 3.3 3.6 V
23 GPIO 11 BG96 PWRKEY Output 3 3.3 3.6 V
31 GPIO 6 BG96 APREADY Input 3 3.3 3.6 V
33 GPIO 13 BG96 RI Input 3 3.3 3.6 V
37 GPIO 26 BG96 POWER ENABLE Output 3 3.3 3.6 V
38 GPIO 20 BG96 STATUS Input 3 3.3 3.6 V






You can download the schematic of Raspberry Pi Cellular IoT Application Shield from this Github repository.


  • POWER (PWR): When the shield is powered up, this RED led turns on.
  • STATUS (STAT): While the module is powered up by driving PWRKEY(GPIO 11) to HIGH state or pushing the PWRKEY button, this RED led turns on.
  • USER (USER): The GREEN user led can be controlled by driving the GPIO 27 pin.
  • ENABLE(EN): This GREEN led shows the status of the power regulator of module is switched on or off. By default, the GPIO 26(ENABLE) pin is pulled up by hardware and the regulator juices the module. To shut down the regulator, this pin needs to be driven to LOW state.
  • NETLIGHT (NETL) : This BLUE led indicates the status of the module. When the connection is established and data is being transmitted/received, this led will blink at special intervals. Please find the following chart for details:
State Network Status
Flicker slowly (200ms ON/1800ms OFF) Network searching
Flicker slowly (1800ms ON/200ms OFF) Idle
Flicker quickly (125ms ON/125ms OFF) Data transfer is ongoing
Always high Voice calling



  • USER: This push button connected to GPIO24 and pulled up HIGH state by default. When you push the button, you will read LOW state from GPIO24.
  • PWRKEY: When BG96 is in power off mode, it can be turned on to normal mode by pushing the PWRKEY button for at least 500ms.
  • BOOT: Pushing this button can force the module to boot from USB port for firmware upgrade.


3-axis 12-bit/8-bit Digital Accelerometer | MMA8452Q

  • The MMA8452Q is a smart, low-power, three-axis, capacitive, micromachine accelerometer with 12 bits of resolution. It has user selectable full scales of ±2 g/±4 g/±8 g with high-pass filtered data as well as non-filtered data available real-time.
  • The accelerometer connected to Raspberry Pi via I2C. The I2C address is 0x1C.
  • MMA8452Q’s interrupt pins are not connected.


12-Bit 4-Channel Analog-to-digital Converter | ADS1015

  • The ADS1015 is precision, low-power, 12-bit, analog-to-digital converter.
  • Raspberry Pi can not measure analog inputs because it does not have internal ADC. However, with this external ADC, the ADS1015, you can read analog values with your Raspberry Pi.
  • The ADC connected to Raspberry Pi via I2C. The I2C address is 0x49.


Ambient Light Sensor | ALS-PT19

  • It’s a phototransistor close responsively to the human eye spectrum, light to current.
  • It’s connected to ADC (ADS1015), because of it has analog output and Raspberry Pi can not read it directly.
  • The sensor connected to AIN3 pin of ADS1015.


Temperature and Humidity Sensor | HDC1080

  • The HDC1080 is a digital humidity sensor with integrated temperature sensor that provides excellent measurement accuracy at very low power.
  • Relative Humidity Accuracy ±2% (typical)
  • Temperature Accuracy ±0.2°C (typical)
  • The HDC1080 connected to Raspberry Pi via I2C. The I2C address is 0x40.
  • The heat that produced by when R.Pi heats up may cause the sensor to display a few higher degrees than the ambient temperature.



  • The relay for controlling high voltage and current.
  • Relay control pin is GPIO17. When this pin is HIGH, relay is switched and connected C and NO pins. When GPIO17 is LOW state or unused, it connects C and NC pins.

WARNING! : This small form factor relay and traces can handle up to 60W or 3.5 Amps. Pushing the limits will produce heat and definately harm the circuits and shield. Recommended maximum contact ratings:

  • 12V DC – 3.5A
  • 24V DC – 2.5A
  • 120V AC – 0.5A
  • 220V AC – 0.25A


Isolated Inputs

  • Two isolated by optocouplers inputs available on the shield. Recommended max. GPIO voltage level of Raspberry Pi is 3.3V. Reading higher than 3.3V voltage inputs are harmful for your Pi and will definitely destroy the circuits.
  • Upper limit of this inputs is 15V, between 3.3V and 15V is readable. GPIO pins are normally pulled up, when a voltage applied to isolated inputs, GPIO pins goes LOW state.
  • The input’s (sensor, switch etc) ground must be connected to optocoupler’s G input to complete isolated circuit.


GNSS and Debug(DBG) UART Inputs

GNSS: This header pins directly connected to BG96 GNSS output. They are not connected to UART port of Raspberry Pi. You should connect to BG96 via USB to receive GNSS data. Thinking that these pins might be needed somehow, so we’ve taken them out as headers.

Debug (DBG): This DEBUG UART port belongs BG96 and used for embedded firmware debugging of module and log output.

External I2C Header

When you need to add an external I2C thing, you can use these I2C connectors. 3.3V VCC and GND pins provided too. It has pull-up resistors.

1-Wire Header

There are lots of sensors which have 1-Wire connection standard (DS18B20 etc.) in the market. 1-Wire connector has VCC, DATA and GND pins. With this pins you can connect easily a 1-wire sensor. Data pin directly connected to GPIO4 and has a 4.7K pull-up resistor.




3D Design Files

You can download the 3D design files(STEP, IGES) of the Sixfab Cellular IoT Application Shield for Raspberry Pi from this Github repository.

Package Includes

  • 1x Sixfab Cellular IoT Application Shield for Raspberry Pi
  • 1x LTE – GNSS Dual u.FL Antenna – 100mm
  • 1x 90-degree Right Angle Micro USB Cable
  • 1x Mini Flat Head Screwdriver for Connection Terminals