Gen 2 cellular migration

This document has information on migrating designs based on the Gen 2 cellular devices (Electron, E Series) to Gen 3 cellular devices (Boron, B Series SoM, Tracker SoM). There are not pin-compatible replacements to make this migration, and there are some necessary hardware tradeoffs and design changes that may be required for some features. However, there are also several advantages of migrating to the latest generation of cellular devices.

Gen 2 overview

Electron

Electron

The Electron is a 2nd-generation device designed to easily plug into a solderless breadboard, or can be installed in a socket on your own circuit board.

Peripherals and GPIO - Electron

PinPin Name     HW Pin
3TXTIM1_CH2Serial1 (TX)PA9
4RXTIM1_CH3Serial1 (RX)PA10
5WKPADC0TIM5_CH1PA0
6DACADC4DAC1PA4
7A5ADC7SPI (MOSI)TIM3_CH2PA7
8A4ADC6SPI (MISO)TIM3_CH1PA6
9A3ADC5SPI (SCK)DAC2PA5
10A2ADC12SPI (SS)PC2
11A1ADC13PC3
12A0ADC15PC5
13B5ADC11PC1
14B4ADC10PC0
15B3ADC9TIM3_CH4PB1
16B2ADC8TIM3_CH3PB0
17B1TIM8_CH1PC6
18B0TIM8_CH3PC8
19C0USART5_RXPD2
20C1SPI2 (MOSI)USART5_TXPC12
21C2SPI2 (MISO)USART4_RXPC11
22C3SPI2 (SCK)USART4_TXPC10
23C4Wire1 (SDA)TIM4_CH4PB9
24C5Wire1 (SCL)TIM4_CH3PB8
25D0Wire (SDA)TIM4_CH2PB7
26D1Wire (SCL)TIM4_CH1PB6
27D2SPI1 (MOSI)TIM3_CH2I2S3_SDPB5
28D3JTAG RSTSPI1 (MISO)TIM3_CH1PB4
29D4JTAG TDOSPI1 (SCK)I2S3_SCKPB3
30D5JTAG TDISPI1 (SS)I2S3_WSPA15
31D6JTAG TCKSWCLKPA14
32D7JTAG TMSSWDIOPA13
35RSTE8

  • Wire (D0 and D1) and Wire1 (C4 and D5) connect to the same I2C peripheral and only one can be used at a time.

SKUs - Electron

SKU Description Region Modem EtherSIM Lifecycle Replacement
ELC404TY Electron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 NRND-US
ELC314TY Electron 2G/3G (Global - U201) , Tray [x50] Global U201 Deprecated
ELC402EA Electron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 Deprecated ELC404EA
ELC402TY Electron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated ELC404TY
ASSET2GV2 Asset Tracker 2G Global G350 End of life
ASSET3G260V2 Asset Tracker 3G (Americas/Aus) Americas U260 End of life
ASSET3G270V2 Asset Tracker 3G (Eur/Asia/Afr) EMEAA U270 End of life
E260KIT Electron 2G/3G (Americas/Aus) Starter Kit, [x1] Americas U260 End of life ELC314TY
E260TRAY50 Electron 2G/3G (Americas/Aus), Tray [x50] Americas U260 End of life ELC314TY
E270KIT Electron 2G/3G (EMEA) Starter Kit, [x1] EMEAA U270 End of life ELC314TY
E270TRAY50 Electron 2G/3G (EMEA), Tray [x50] EMEAA U270 End of life ELC314TY
E350KIT Electron 2G Kit (Global) Global G350 End of life
E350TRAY50 Electron 2G (Global), Tray [x50] Global G350 End of life ELC314TY
SNSRKIT3G260 Electron 3G (Americas/Aus) Sensor Kit, [x1] Americas U260 End of life
SNSRKIT3G270 Electron 3G (Eur/Asia/Afr) Sensor Kit, [x1] EMEAA U270 End of life

E Series

E Series

The E Series module is a 2nd-generation cellular device that is reflow soldered to your custom base board. As the software is fully compatible between the Electron and E Series, you can easily move from prototyping to mass production with the same software.

Though the form-factor is different than the Electron, they are nearly identically electrically, and the same software binaries can be used on both the Electron and E Series.

Peripherals and GPIO - E Series

PinPin Name     HW Pin
13USBDATA+PA12
14USBDATA-PA11
16TXTIM1_CH2Serial1 (TX)PA9
17RXTIM1_CH3Serial1 (RX)PA10
19WKPADC0TIM5_CH1PA0
20DACADC4DAC1PA4
21A5ADC7SPI (MOSI)TIM3_CH2PA7
22A4ADC6SPI (MISO)TIM3_CH1PA6
23A3ADC5SPI (SCK)DAC2PA5
24A2ADC12SPI (SS)PC2
25A1ADC13PC3
26A0ADC15PC5
28B5ADC11PC1
29B4ADC10PC0
30B3ADC9TIM3_CH4PB1
31B2ADC8TIM3_CH3PB0
32B1TIM8_CH1PC6
33B0TIM8_CH3PC8
35D7JTAG TMSSWDIOPA13
36D6JTAG TCKSWCLKPA14
37D5JTAG TDISPI1 (SS)I2S3_WSPA15
38D4JTAG TDOSPI1 (SCK)I2S3_SDPB3
39D3JTAG RSTSPI1 (MISO)TIM3_CH1PB4
40D2SPI1 (MOSI)TIM3_CH2I2S3_SDPB5
41D1Wire (SCL)TIM4_CH1PB6
42D0Wire (SDA)TIM4_CH2PB7
44C5Wire1 (SCL)TIM4_CH3PB8
45C4Wire1 (SDA)TIM4_CH4PB9
46C3SPI2 (SCK)Serial4 TXPC10
47C2SPI2 (MISO)Serial4 RXPC11
48C1SPI2 (MOSI)Serial5_TXPC12
49C0Serial5_RXPD2
52RGBBTIM2_CH4Serial2 (RX)PA3
53RGBGTIM2_CH3Serial2 (TX)PA2
54RGBRTIM2_CH2PA1
55MODETIM3_CH2I2S3_MCKPC7
56RESETNRST

  • Wire (D0/D1) and Wire1 (C4/D5) connect to the same I2C peripheral and only one can be used at a time.

SKUs - E Series

SKU Description Region Modem EtherSIM Lifecycle Replacement
E404XTRAY50 E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm, EtherSIM), Tray [x50] NORAM R510 In development
E314KIT E Series 2G/3G (Global - E314) Evaluation Kit, [x1] Global U201 NRND-US
E314MOD1 E Series 2G/3G (Global - E314), [x1] Global U201 NRND-US
E404KIT E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm) Evaluation Kit, [x1] NORAM R410 NRND-US
E404MOD1 E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 NRND-US
E310TRAY50 E Series 2G/3G (Global - E310), Tray [x50] Global U201 Deprecated
E314TRAY50 E Series 2G/3G (Global - E314), Tray [x50] Global U201 Deprecated
E402TRAY50 E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated E404TRAY50
E404TRAY50 E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated
E310KIT E Series 2G/3G (Global - E310) Evaluation Kit, [x1] Global U201 End of life E314KIT
E310MOD1 E Series 2G/3G (Global - E310), [x1] Global U201 End of life E314MOD1
E313EA E Series 2G/3G (Global - E313), [x1] Global U201 End of life
E313TRAY50 E Series 2G/3G (Global - E313), Tray [x50] Global U201 End of life
E402KIT E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm) Evaluation Kit, [x1] NORAM R410 End of life E404KIT
E402MOD1 E Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 End of life E404MOD1

Feature Comparison - Gen 2

Feature Electron E Series Module Base Board
U.FL Antenna Connector  
MFF2 SMD Particle SIM    
Nano 4FF SIM card connector    
USB Connector   Optional
Status LED   Optional
Reset and Mode Buttons   Optional
Battery Connector   Optional
PMIC and Fuel Gauge

Antennas - Gen 2

There are antenna differences between some Gen 2 and Gen 3 models, and a different antenna may be required.

Antenna SKU Details Links
Taoglas Cellular Flex Antenna 2G/3G/LTE 5dBi, [x1] ANT-FLXU Boron and Electron/E Series LTE M1 Datasheet | Retail Store
Taoglas Cellular Flex Antenna 2G/3G/LTE 5dBi, [x50] ANT-FLXU-50 Boron and Electron/E Series LTE M1 Datasheet
Taoglas Cellular PCB Antenna 2G/3G 2.4dBi, [x1] ANTELEC Electron and E Series 2G/3G Datasheet | Retail Store
Taoglas Cellular PCB Antenna 2G/3G 2.4dBi, [x50] ANTELEC50 Electron and E Series 2G/3G Datasheet
Tracker One Cellular Antenna Tracker One Datasheet
  • The Electron 2G/3G cellular antenna (ANTELEC) should not be used with LTE (Cat 1 or Cat M1) devices. Not only is it not certified, but is not compatible with all of the necessary bands for use with LTE.

Gen 3 overview

Boron

Boron

The Boron is the 3rd-generation cellular device in a prototyping form factor. It has pins on the bottom that can plug into a solderless breadboard, and is compatible with the Adafruit Feather form-factor to easily add accessories like sensors and displays. You can also plug it into a socket on a custom circuit board.

Country Compatibility - Boron

  • The Boron 2G/3G Global (BRN314) can be used world-wide, however it is not recommended for the United States. In December 2022, all 2G/3G cellular operators will have shut down their 2G and 3G cellular networks and this device will no longer be able to connect.
  • The Boron LTE Cat M1 (BRN404) is only recommended for use in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Peripherals and GPIO - Boron

PinPin Name     HW Pin
1RSTP0.18
3MODEP0.11
5A0ADC0PWM2P0.3
6A1ADC1PWM2P0.4
7A2ADC2PWM2P0.28
8A3ADC3PWM2P0.29
9A4ADC4PWM3P0.30
10A5ADC5SPI (SS)PWM3P0.31
11SCKSPI (SCK)P1.15
12MOSISPI (MOSI)P1.13
13MISOSPI (MISO)P1.14
14RXSerial1 RXP0.08
15TXSerial1 TXP0.06
16D0Wire (SDA)P0.26
17D1Wire (SCL)P0.27
18D2SPI1 (SCK)PWM3Serial1 RTSP1.01
19D3SPI1 (MOSI)PWM3Serial1 CTSP1.02
20D4SPI1 (MISO)PWM1P1.08
21D5PWM1P1.10
22D6PWM1P1.11
23D7PWM0P1.12
24D8PWM1P1.03

SKUs - Boron

SKU Description Region Modem EtherSIM Lifecycle Replacement
BRN404 Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 GA
BRN404KIT Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Starter Kit [x1] NORAM R410 GA
BRN404X Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R510 In development
BRN404XKIT Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm) Starter Kit, [x1] NORAM R510 In development
BRN404XTRAY50 Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R510 In development
BRN402 Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 NRND BRN404
BRN402KIT Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Starter Kit [x1] NORAM R410 NRND BRN404KIT
BRN314KIT Boron 2G/3G (Global) Starter Kit, [x1] Global U201 NRND-US
BRN310TRAY50 Boron 2G/3G (Global), Tray [x50] Global U201 Deprecated BRN314TRAY50
BRN314TRAY50 Boron 2G/3G (Global), Tray [x50] Global U201 Deprecated
BRN402TRAY50 Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated BRN404TRAY50
BRN404TRAY50 Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated
BRN310KIT Boron 2G/3G (Global) Starter Kit, [x1] Global U201 End of life BRN314KIT
BRN402-AQKT Boron LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm) Air Quality Monitor Kit, [x1] NORAM R410 End of life

B Series SoM

B Series

The B Series SoM (system-on-a-module) is similar to the Boron in that it is a 3rd-generation cellular device. It plugs into an M.2 NGFF connector on your custom circuit board and is intended for mass production use.

  • B Series SoM First Board is a simple SoM base board powered by USB only, no battery support.

  • AN001 Basic SoM Design is a simple SoM base board. Like a Boron it can be powered by LiPo battery, USB, or an external DC supply. It includes: RGB LED, bq24195 PMIC, MAX17043 Fuel Gauge, USB Connector, LiPo Connector (JST-PH), and M.2 SoM Connector.

Even though the B Series SoM is more difficult to prototype with than the Boron, the B Series module is designed for enterprise deployment and production at scale. The larger width of the module allows for a wider selection of cellular modems, which is why there's LTE Cat 1 (with 2G/3G fallback) for the B Series SoM but not for the Boron. The Quectel EG91-E modem is physically too wide to fit in the Boron (Adafruit feather) form-factor.

Country Compatibility - B Series SoM

  • The B Series SoM LTE Cat M1 (B404) is only recommended for use in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
  • The B Series LTE Cat 1 with 2G/3G fallback (B524) is only recommended in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • The B Series SoM B524 only supports EMEAA cellular frequencies and thus it cannot connect in most locations in the Americas. It does not work at all in the United States.

Peripherals and GPIO - B Series SoM

PinPin NameSoM     HW Pin
17NFC1SOM3P0.9
19NFC2SOM4P0.10
20D1SCLWire (SCL)P0.27
22D0SDAWire (SDA)P0.26
23A0ADC0ADC1PWM2P0.3
32MODEMODEP0.11
33A1ADC1ADC2PWM2P0.4
35A2ADC2ADC4P0.28
36TXTXSerial1 TXP0.06
37A3ADC3ADC5P0.29
38RXRXSerial1 RXP0.08
40D3RESERVEDWire1 (SCL)SPI1 (MOSI)Serial1 CTSP1.01
41A4RESERVEDADC6P0.30
42D2RESERVEDWire1 (SDA)SPI1 (SCK)Serial1 RTSP1.02
43A5RESERVEDADC7P0.31
45A6RESERVEDADC3PWM2P0.5
47A7RESERVEDADC0PWM2P0.2
48D8CSSPI (SS)P1.03
50MISOMISOSPI (MISO)P1.14
52MOSIMOSISPI (MOSI)P1.13
54SCKSCKSPI (SCK)P1.15
61RGBRREDPWM0P0.13
62D22GPIO0P0.24
63RGBGGREENPWM0P0.14
64D23GPIO1P1.09
65RGBBBLUEPWM0P0.15
66D4PWM0SPI1 (MISO)PWM1P1.08
68D5PWM1PWM1P1.10
70D6PWM2PWM1P1.11
72D7PWM3PWM0P1.12

SKUs - B Series SoM

SKU Description Region Modem EtherSIM Lifecycle Replacement
B404MEA B Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 GA
B524MEA B Series LTE CAT-1/3G/2G (EMEAA) [x1] EMEAA EG91-E GA
B524MTY B Series LTE CAT-1/3G/2G (EMEAA), Tray [x50] EMEAA EG91-E GA
B404XMEA B Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R510 In development
B404XMTY B Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R510 In development
B402MEA B Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM R410 NRND B404MEA
B523MEA B Series LTE CAT-1/3G/2G (Europe) [x1] EMEAA EG91-E NRND B524MEA
B402MTY B Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated B404MTY
B404MTY B Series LTE CAT-M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM R410 Deprecated
B523MTY B Series LTE CAT-1/3G/2G (Europe), Tray [x50] EMEAA EG91-E Deprecated B524MTY
  • EMEAA: Selected countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including Australia and New Zealand. See the cellular carrier list for more information.

Tracker SoM

SoM

The Asset Tracker SoM is a castellated SoM designed to be used with the Tracker One or reflow soldered to your own base board. It has features including:

  • Gen 3 hardware platform (nRF52840 MCU)
  • Quectel cellular modem
  • GNSS (GPS)
  • IMU (accelerometer)
  • Real-time clock
  • Hardware watchdog
  • Wi-Fi (geolocation only, no Wi-Fi network support)

In addition to using the Tracker One assembled module, the following application note can help with creating your first board that uses the bare Tracker SoM module.

Country Compatibility - Tracker SoM

  • The Tracker SoM LTE Cat M1 (T404) is only recommended for use in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
  • The Tracker LTE Cat 1 with 2G/3G fallback (T524) is only recommended in selected countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including Australia and New Zealand. See the cellular carrier list for more information.
  • The Tracker SoM T524 only supports EMEAA cellular frequencies and thus it cannot connect in most locations in the Americas. It does not work at all in the United States.

Peripherals and GPIO - Tracker SoM

PinPin Name    HW Pin
26NFC1P0.9
27NFC2P0.10
28RGB_BLUEPWM3P1.03
29RGB_GREENPWM3P1.05
30RGB_REDPWM3P1.06
32MODEP1.13
33RESETP0.8
38A7ADC3PWM1P0.5
39A6ADC2SPI (SCK)PWM1P0.4
40A5ADC5SPI (MISO)PWM1P0.29
41A4ADC7SPI (MOSI)PWM1P0.29
55A0ADC1Wire (SDA)PWM0P0.03
56A1ADC0Wire (SCL)PWM0P0.02
57A2ADC4PWM0Serial1 CTSP0.28
58A3ADC6PWM0Serial1 RTSP0.30
71RXWire3 (SDA)PWM2Serial1 RXP0.8
72TXWire3 (SCL)PWM2Serial1 TXP0.06

  • Analog and digital pins (A0 and D0 for example) are the same physical pin on the Tracker SoM.
  • Wire (D0/D1) and Wire3 (TX/RX) connect to the same I2C peripheral and only one can be used at a time. This feature is mainly because TX/RX are exposed on the M8 connector on the Tracker One, and this allows the port to be switched between I2C and UART serial modes.

SKUs - Tracker SoM

SKU Description Region Modem EtherSIM Lifecycle Replacement
ONE404MEA Tracker One LTE M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM BG96-MC GA
ONE524MEA Tracker One LTE CAT1/3G/2G (EMEAA), [x1] EMEAA EG91-EX GA
T404MEA Tracker SoM LTE M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM BG96-MC GA
T404MKIT Tracker SoM LTE M1 (NorAm) Evaluation Kit, [x1] NORAM BG96-MC GA
T524MEA Tracker SoM LTE CAT1/3G/2G (EMEAA), [x1] EMEAA EG91-EX GA
T524MKIT Tracker SoM LTE CAT1/3G/2G (EMEAA) Evaluation Kit, [x1] EMEAA EG91-EX GA
ONE402MEA Tracker One LTE M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM BG96-MC NRND ONE404MEA
ONE523MEA Tracker One LTE CAT1/3G/2G (Europe), [x1] EMEAA EG91-EX NRND ONE524MEA
T402MEA Tracker SoM LTE M1 (NorAm), [x1] NORAM BG96-MC NRND T404MEA
T402MKIT Tracker SoM LTE M1 (NorAm) Evaluation Kit, [x1] NORAM BG96-MC NRND T404MKIT
T523MEA Tracker SoM LTE CAT1/3G/2G (Europe), [x1] EMEAA EG91-EX NRND T524MEA
T523MKIT Tracker SoM LTE CAT1/3G/2G (Europe) Evaluation Kit, [x1] EMEAA EG91-EX NRND T524MKIT
ONE402MTY Tracker One LTE M1 (NorAm), Bulk [x40] NORAM BG96-MC Deprecated ONE404MTY
ONE404MTY Tracker One LTE M1 (NorAm), Bulk [x40] NORAM BG96-MC Deprecated
ONE523MTY Tracker One CAT1/3G/2G (Europe), Bulk [x40] EMEAA EG91-EX Deprecated ONE524MTY
ONE524MTY Tracker One CAT1/3G/2G (EMEAA), Bulk [x40] EMEAA EG91-EX Deprecated
T402MTY Tracker SoM LTE M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM BG96-MC Deprecated T404MTY
T404MTY Tracker SoM LTE M1 (NorAm), Tray [x50] NORAM BG96-MC Deprecated
T523MTY Tracker SoM LTE CAT1/3G/2G (Europe), Tray [x50] EMEAA EG91-EX Deprecated T524MTY
T524MTY Tracker SoM LTE CAT1/3G/2G (EMEAA), Tray [x50] EMEAA EG91-EX Deprecated
  • EMEAA: Selected countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including Australia and New Zealand. See the cellular carrier list for more information.

Feature comparison - Gen 3

Feature Boron B Series SoM SoM Base Board Tracker SoM
U.FL Antenna Connector Optional
MFF2 SMD Particle SIM  
Nano 4FF SIM card connector      
USB Connector   Optional Optional
Status LED   Optional Optional
Reset and Mode Buttons   Optional Optional
Battery Connector   Optional Optional
PMIC and Fuel Gauge1   Optional

1The PMIC (power management IC) and fuel gauge are used with battery-powered applications. They're omitted from the SoM as they are not needed for externally powered solutions (grid or automotive power, for example). Additionally, you may want to use different models if you are making a solar-powered device, or using a different battery technology or multiple battery pack.

Antennas - Gen 3

Antenna SKU Details Links
Particle Cellular Flex Antenna 2G/3G/LTE 4.7dBi, [x1] ANTCW2EA Tracker, B Series, E Series Datasheet | Retail Store
Particle Cellular Flex Antenna 2G/3G/LTE 4.7dBi, [x50] ANTCW2TY Tracker, B Series, E Series Datasheet
Taoglas Cellular Flex Antenna 2G/3G/LTE 5dBi, [x1] ANT-FLXU Boron and Electron/E Series LTE M1 Datasheet | Retail Store
Taoglas Cellular Flex Antenna 2G/3G/LTE 5dBi, [x50] ANT-FLXU-50 Boron and Electron/E Series LTE M1 Datasheet

Software Differences

User firmware binary size

One major advantage of Gen 3 devices is that user firmware binaries in Device OS 3.1.0 and later can be up to 256 Kbytes, instead of 128 Kbytes in earlier version of Device OS and on Gen 2 devices. The larger firmware binary support will not be added to Gen 2 in the future, and will only be available on Gen 3 devices.

Flash file system

There is a flash file system (2 MB except on the Tracker which is 4 MB) for storing user data, on Gen 3 devices only.

Combined and resumable OTA

On Gen 3 devices, over-the-air (OTA) updates have two features that can improve the speed and reliability of OTA updates:

  • Combined OTA can combine Device OS and user firmware updates into a single binary that requires only one download and one reboot to install.
  • Resumable OTA allows an update to resume from the point it stopped, instead of starting over from the beginning if interrupted.

Hardware differences

MCU

The microcontroller is different in Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 devices:

Measure Gen 2 Gen 3
MCU STM32F205 nRF52840
Manufacturer ST Microelectronics Nordic Semiconductor
Processor ARM Cortex M3 ARM Cortex M4F
Speed 120 MHz 64 MHz
RAM 128 KB 256 KB
Flash (MCU) 1 MB 1 MB
Flash (external)   4 MB1
Hardware floating point  
  • 18 MB on the Tracker SoM. Most of this space is reserved by the system and only a portion if it is available to user applications as a flash file system.
  • Not all RAM is available to user applications. The Device OS firmware uses a portion of it.

BLE (Bluetooth LE)

  • Bluetooth LE (BLE 5.0) is supported on Gen 3 devices but not Gen 2.

NFC Tag

  • NFC tag mode is supported on Gen 3 devices but not Gen 2.

GPIO

There are fewer available GPIO pins on Gen 3 devices. If you need a large number of GPIO pins, an external GPIO expander connected by I2C or SPI is a good option.

The MCP23008 is an 8-port GPIO expander that connects to I2C and works well with Gen 3 devices. You can connect up to 8 of them to a single I2C interface. the MCP23017 has 16-ports, and you can also connect 8 of them, for a total of 128 GPIO ports.

The application note AN013 Tracker GPIO shows how you can add additional GPIO to your Tracker One using the external M8 connector. It includes both 3.3V and 5V design options, as well. The techniques work on other Gen 3 devices as well.

5V tolerance

The other difference in the GPIO between Gen 2 and Gen 3 is with 5V tolerance. While both devices are 3.3V devices and only will drive 3.3V, the I/O pins on Gen 2 devices (with the exception of A3 and A6) are 5V tolerant. This allows a Gen 2 device to connect to some 5V peripherals directly.

You must not connect 5V peripherals to a Gen 3 device. This includes GPIO, ports (serial, I2C, SPI), and ADC.

Interfacing with 5V peripherals can be done with a level shifter, a MOSFET, or a 5V GPIO expander.

Serial (UART)

There are more UART ports on the Gen 2 devices than Gen 3. If you need more hardware serial ports, the best option is to use the SC16IS740 or its relatives like the SC16IS750. These devices connect by I2C or SPI, and you can add multiple ports this way.

Serial Baud Rates

Baud Rate Gen 2 Gen 3
1200
2400
4800
9600
19200
28800  
38400
57600
76800  
115200
230400
250000  
460800  
921600  
1000000  

Serial configurations

Constant Description Gen 2 Gen 3
SERIAL_8N1 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit (default)
SERIAL_8N2 8 data bits, no parity, 2 stop bits  
SERIAL_8E1 8 data bits, even parity, 1 stop bit
SERIAL_8E2 8 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits  
SERIAL_8O1 8 data bits, odd parity, 1 stop bit  
SERIAL_8O2 8 data bits, odd parity, 2 stop bits  
SERIAL_9N1 9 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit  
SERIAL_9N2 9 data bits, no parity, 2 stop bits  
SERIAL_7O1 7 data bits, odd parity, 1 stop bit  
SERIAL_7O2 7 data bits, odd parity, 1 stop bit  
SERIAL_7E1 7 data bits, even parity, 1 stop bit  
SERIAL_7E2 7 data bits, even parity, 1 stop bit  
LIN_MASTER_13B 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit, LIN Master mode with 13-bit break generation  
LIN_SLAVE_10B 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit, LIN Slave mode with 10-bit break detection  
LIN_SLAVE_11B 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit, LIN Slave mode with 11-bit break detection  
  • Using an I2C or SPI UART like the SC16IS750 is also a good way to add support for other bit length, parity, and stop bit options on Gen 3 devices.

PWM (pulse width modulation)

PWM - Gen 2

On Gen 2 devices, the PWM frequency is from 1 Hz to analogWriteMaxFrequency(pin) (default is 500 Hz).

On the Electron and E Series, this function works on pins D0, D1, D2, D3, A4, A5, WKP, RX, TX, B0, B1, B2, B3, C4, and C5 with a caveat: PWM timer peripheral is duplicated on two pins (A5/D2) and (A4/D3) for 7 total independent PWM outputs. For example: PWM may be used on A5 while D2 is used as a GPIO, or D2 as a PWM while A5 is used as an analog input. However A5 and D2 cannot be used as independently controlled PWM outputs at the same time.

The PWM frequency must be the same for pins in the same timer group.

On the Electron and E Series, the timer groups are D0/D1/C4/C5, D2/D3/A4/A5/B2/B3, WKP, RX/TX, B0/B1.

PWM - Gen 3

On Gen 3 devices, the PWM frequency is from 5 Hz to analogWriteMaxFrequency(pin) (default is 500 Hz).

On Gen 3 Feather devices (Boron), pins A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, and D8 can be used for PWM. Pins are assigned a PWM group. Each group must share the same frequency and resolution, but individual pins in the group can have a different duty cycle.

  • Group 3: Pins D2, D3, A4, and A5.
  • Group 2: Pins A0, A1, A2, and A3.
  • Group 1: Pins D4, D5, D6, and D8.
  • Group 0: Pin D7 and the RGB LED. This must use the default resolution of 8 bits (0-255) and frequency of 500 Hz.

On the Boron SoM, pins D4, D5, D7, A0, A1, A6, and A7 can be used for PWM. Pins are assigned a PWM group. Each group must share the same frequency and resolution, but individual pins in the group can have a different duty cycle.

  • Group 2: Pins A0, A1, A6, and A7.
  • Group 1: Pins D4, D5, and D6.
  • Group 0: Pin D7 and the RGB LED. This must use the default resolution of 8 bits (0-255) and frequency of 500 Hz.

On the Tracker SoM, pins D0 - D9 can be used for PWM. Note that pins A0 - A7 are the same physical pin as D0 - D7. D8 is shared with TX (Serial1) and D9 is shared with RX (Serial1). When used for PWM, pins are assigned a PWM group. Each group must share the same frequency and resolution, but individual pins in the group can have a different duty cycle.

  • Group 3: RGB LED
  • Group 2: D8 (TX), D9 (RX)
  • Group 1: D4, D5, D6, D7
  • Group 1: D0, D1, D2, D3

It is also possible to add an external PWM driver such as the PCA9685 which adds 16 outputs via I2C. You can add 62 of these to a single I2C bus for 992 PWM outputs! The Adafruit_PWMServoDriver library supports this chip on all Particle devices.

Interrupts

Interrupts - Gen 2

Not supported on the Electron/E series (you can't use attachInterrupt on these pins):

  • D0, A5 (shared with MODE button)
  • D7 (shared with BATT_INT_PC13)
  • C1 (shared with RXD_UC)
  • C2 (shared with RI_UC)

No restrictions on the Electron/E Series (all of these can be used at the same time):

  • D5, D6

Shared on the Electron/E Series (only one pin for each bullet item can be used at the same time):

  • D1, A4, B1
  • D2, A0, A3
  • D3, DAC
  • D4, A1
  • A2, C0
  • A7 (WKP), B2, B4
  • B0, C5
  • B3, B5
  • C3, TX
  • C4, RX

Interrupts - Gen 3

There is a limit of 8 pins with interrupt handlers, however the selection of pins is not restricted.

DAC

  • Gen 2 devices have two DAC (digital-to-analog converter), on pins A3 and A6.

  • Gen 3 devices do not have built-in DAC, however they can easily be added by I2C or SPI.

I2C

  • On Gen 2, Wire (D0/D1) and Wire1 (C4/D5) connect to the same I2C peripheral and only one can be used at a time.
  • On the Boron, there is only one available I2C interface (D0/D1).
  • On the B Series SoM, there are two available independent I2C interfaces (D0/D1 and D2/D3).
  • On the Tracker SoM, Wire (D0/D1) and Wire3 (TX/RX) connect to the same I2C peripheral and only one can be used at a time. This feature is mainly because TX/RX are exposed on the M8 connector on the Tracker One, and this allows the port to be switched between I2C and UART serial modes.

SPI

  • Gen 2 devices have two SPI ports.
  • The Boron and B Series SoM have two SPI ports.
  • The Tracker SoM only has one available SPI port.
  • In most cases, you can share a single SPI bus with many peripherals.

CAN Bus

  • Gen 3 devices do not support CAN on the MCU.
  • The Tracker SoM includes CAN via a MCP25625 CAN interface with integrated transceiver.
  • Both the MCP2515 and MCP25625 work with the library used on the Tracker and can be used to add CAN to other Gen 3 devices.

Sleep Modes

  • In general, Gen 3 devices use less power in all modes.
  • In HIBERNATE mode, the RTC (real time clock) does not run on Gen 3 devices, so you cannot wake by time from HIBERNATE mode (formerly known as SLEEP_MODE_DEEP).
  • However, you can wake by time from ULTRA_LOW_POWER mode, and it uses less power than the Gen 2 HIBERNATE mode.
  • On Gen 2 devices, you can only wake from HIBERNATE with a rising signal on WKP (A7). Gen 3 devices can wake from HIBERNATE on any pin, rising or falling.
  • On Gen 2 (STM32F205) devices, if you try to go into HIBERNATE mode with WKP already high, the device will go into sleep and will not wake up by time or pin change, essentially rendering it unable to wake until reset manually. This problem does not occur on Gen 3 devices.

RTC (Real-time clock)

  • The E Series module has the ability to use an external lithium coin cell or supercap to power the RTC when the MCU is unpowered. This feature is difficult to access on the Electron (requires removing a resistor on the module) and does not exist on Gen 3 devices.
  • The RTC on Gen 3 devices is not really a real-time clock. It's basically just a counter, and some advanced wakeup features are not possible on Gen 3 devices. These features were not enabled by Device OS on Gen 2 devices, either, so this is generally not an issue.
  • On Gen 3 devices, in HIBERNATE sleep mode the RTC does not run, so it is not possible to wake by time, and the system clock will not be set until you connect to the cloud again. ULTRA_LOW_POWER is recommended instead.
  • The Tracker SoM has a separate real-time clock and watchdog (AM1805) chip allowing it to wake from HIBERNATE based on time.

SWD/JTAG

  • Gen 2 devices support SWD on D6 and D7, and full JTAG on D3, D4, D5, D6, and D7.
  • Gen 3 devices only support SWD, and do so via a dedicated debug connector.
  • The Boron has the debug connector on top of the module.
  • The B Series SoM has SWD on pads on the bottom of the SoM. The evaluation board connects to these with pogo pins and breaks out to the same 2x5 connector that is on the Boron.

JTAG pin warning - Gen 2

On Gen 2 devices, beware when using pins D3, D5, D6, and D7 as OUTPUT controlling external devices. After reset, these pins will be briefly taken over for JTAG/SWD, before being restored to the default high-impedance INPUT state during boot.

  • D3, D5, and D7 are pulled high with a pull-up
  • D6 is pulled low with a pull-down
  • D4 is left floating

The brief change in state (especially when connected to a MOSFET that can be triggered by the pull-up or pull-down) may cause issues when using these pins in certain circuits. Using STARTUP will not prevent this!

This is not an issue with Gen 3 devices that have dedicated SWD pins.

If you are relying on this behavior for external circuits, you should instead use a hardware pull-up or pull-down on Gen 3 devices. The pins default to high-impedance state, and this means they will stay in this state when in the bootloader, DFU mode, and safe mode.

PMIC and Fuel Gauge

The Electron, E Series, Boron, and Tracker SoM all include the PMIC (bq24195) and battery fuel gauge (MAX17043) on the module itself.

On the B Series SoM, the PMIC and fuel gauge are optional. For example, if you are powering by an external power supply and not using a battery, you can omit the components entirely.

USB differences

  • Gen 2 devices can emulate a USB mouse or keyboard over the USB port. This feature is not available on Gen 3.
  • Gen 2 devices can support two separate USB serial emulation streams over the USB port. Gen 3 devices only support the normal Serial interface.

Cellular Differences

Carriers

Country Carrier Gen 2 BRN314 B524/T524 LTE Cat M1
Afghanistan MTN      
Afghanistan Roshan      
Albania ALBtelecom    
Albania Telekom    
Albania Vodafone    
Algeria Mobilis  
Algeria Ooredoo    
Anguilla Flow    
Antigua and Barbuda Flow    
Argentina Claro      
Argentina Movistar    
Argentina Personal      
Armenia Beeline      
Armenia Ucom      
Aruba Setar  
Australia Optus  
Australia Telstra  
Australia Vodafone    
Austria 3 (Drei)  
Austria A1  
Austria T-Mobile  
Azerbaijan Azercell      
Azerbaijan Bakcell    
Azerbaijan NAR Mobile      
Bahamas Aliv    
Bahamas BTC Bahamas    
Bahrain Batelco      
Bahrain Zain    
Bangladesh Bangalink    
Bangladesh GrameenPhone  
Barbados Flow    
Belarus A1  
Belarus MTS      
Belgium Base  
Belgium Mobistar      
Belgium Orange    
Belgium Proximus  
Bermuda CellOne      
Bolivia NuevaTel    
Bolivia Tigo      
Bosnia and Herzegovina BH Telecom  
Bosnia and Herzegovina HT Eronet    
Botswana BeMobile    
Brazil Vivo      
Brunei DST    
Bulgaria A1  
Bulgaria Telenor  
Bulgaria Vivacom  
Burkina Faso Orange    
Cabo Verde CVMóvel    
Cabo Verde Unitel T+      
Cambodia Metfone    
Cameroon MTN      
Canada Bell Mobility NRND  
Canada Rogers Wireless NRND  
Canada Sasktel   NRND    
Canada Telus NRND  
Canada Videotron   NRND    
Cayman Islands Flow    
Chad Airtel    
Chile Claro    
Chile Entel    
Chile Movistar  
China China Mobile      
China China Unicom      
Colombia Movistar    
Colombia Tigo      
Congo (Brazzaville) Airtel    
Congo (Brazzaville) MTN      
Congo (Kinshasa) Airtel    
Costa Rica Movistar    
Côte d'Ivoire MTN  
Croatia Croatian Telecom      
Croatia Hrvatski Telekom    
Croatia Tele2  
Croatia VIPnet      
Curaçao Digicel      
Curaçao UTS      
Cyprus Cytamobile-Vodafone  
Cyprus MTN    
Cyprus PrimeTel  
Czechia O2  
Czechia T-Mobile  
Czechia Vodafone  
Denmark 3 (Tre)  
Denmark TDC    
Denmark Telenor  
Denmark Telia  
Dominica Flow    
Dominican Republic Altice Dominicana      
Dominican Republic Claro    
Dominican Republic Viva    
Ecuador Claro      
Ecuador Movistar      
Ecuador Otecel      
Egypt Etisalat    
Egypt Orange  
El Salvador Claro      
El Salvador Telefonica    
Estonia Elisa    
Estonia Tele2  
Estonia Telia  
eSwatini MTN  
Ethiopia Ethio Telecom    
Faroe Islands Faroese Telecom    
Faroe Islands Vodafone    
Finland DNA  
Finland Elisa    
Finland Telia  
France Bouygues  
France Free Mobile    
France Orange  
France SFR  
French Guiana Digicel    
Gabon Airtel  
Georgia Beeline    
Georgia Geocell      
Germany O2  
Germany Telekom  
Germany Vodafone  
Ghana AirtelTigo    
Ghana MTN    
Ghana Vodafone  
Gibraltar Gibtel  
Greece Cosmote  
Greece Vodafone  
Greece Wind  
Greenland Tele      
Grenada Flow    
Guadeloupe Orange    
Guatemala Claro    
Guatemala Movistar      
Guinea MTN    
Guinea-Bissau MTN  
Guyana Digicel  
Haiti Digicel  
Honduras Claro    
Honduras Tigo    
Hong Kong CMHK  
Hong Kong CSL    
Hong Kong SmarTone  
Hungary Magyar Telekom  
Hungary Telenor  
Hungary Vodafone  
Iceland Nova  
Iceland Siminn  
Iceland Vodafone  
Indonesia Indosat    
Indonesia Telkomsel  
Indonesia XL Axiata    
Ireland 3 (Tre)  
Ireland Meteor    
Ireland O2    
Ireland Vodafone  
Israel Cellcom      
Israel Hot Mobile  
Israel Orange    
Israel Partner      
Israel Pelephone    
Italy TIM  
Italy Vodafone  
Italy Wind  
Jamaica Digicel    
Jamaica Flow    
Japan NTT DoCoMo    
Japan Softbank      
Jersey Airtel-Vodafone      
Jersey Jersey Telecom      
Jordan Zain    
Kazakhstan Beeline  
Kazakhstan K-Cell    
Kenya Airtel  
Kuwait Viva    
Kuwait Wataniya      
Kuwait Zain  
Kyrgyzstan Beeline      
Latvia Bite    
Latvia LMT  
Latvia Tele2  
Liechtenstein Mobilkom  
Liechtenstein Orange    
Lithuania Bite    
Lithuania Omnitel  
Lithuania Tele2  
Luxembourg Orange  
Luxembourg POST  
Luxembourg Tango  
Macao CTM      
Madagascar Airtel    
Malawi Airtel    
Malaysia Celcom  
Malaysia DiGi  
Malaysia Maxis    
Malta Go Mobile  
Malta Vodafone  
Mexico AT&T NRND  
Mexico Movistar NRND    
Mexico Telcel   NRND    
Moldova Moldcell    
Moldova Orange  
Mongolia Mobicom    
Mongolia Unitel  
Montenegro Mtel  
Montenegro T-Mobile  
Montenegro Telenor    
Montserrat Flow      
Morocco Inwi    
Morocco Medi Telecom      
Mozambique Vodacom  
Myanmar MPT    
Myanmar Telenor    
Namibia Telecom Namibia    
Netherlands KPN  
Netherlands T-Mobile  
Netherlands Vodafone  
New Zealand 2degrees  
New Zealand Spark  
New Zealand Vodafone  
Nicaragua Movistar    
Niger Celtel      
Nigeria 9mobile    
Nigeria Airtel    
Nigeria Celtel Nigeria      
Nigeria Etisalat      
Nigeria Glo    
Nigeria MTN  
North Macedonia T-Mobile      
North Macedonia Vip operator      
Norway Network Norway      
Norway TDC    
Norway Telenor  
Norway Telia  
Oman Omantel      
Oman Ooredoo  
Pakistan Mobilink  
Pakistan Telenor    
Pakistan Ufone    
Pakistan Warid    
Palestine Jawwal    
Panama Digicel      
Panama Movistar    
Papua New Guinea bmobile    
Paraguay Claro      
Paraguay Personal      
Paraguay Tigo      
Paraguay Vox      
Peru Claro      
Peru Entel      
Peru Movistar    
Philippines Globe    
Philippines Smart    
Poland Era      
Poland Orange  
Poland Play  
Poland Plus    
Poland T-Mobile    
Portugal NOS  
Portugal TMN  
Portugal Vodafone  
Puerto Rico Claro    
Qatar Ooredoo  
Qatar Vodafone  
Réunion SFR      
Romania DigiMobil    
Romania Orange  
Romania Telekom Romania    
Romania Vodafone  
Russia Beeline      
Russia MTS      
Rwanda Airtel    
Rwanda MTN  
Saint Kitts and Nevis Flow    
Saint Lucia Flow    
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Flow    
Saudi Arabia Al Jawal      
Saudi Arabia Mobily    
Saudi Arabia STC    
Saudi Arabia Zain  
Serbia Telenor  
Serbia VIP  
Seychelles Airtel    
Singapore SingTel      
Singapore StarHub      
Sint Maarten TelCell    
Slovakia O2  
Slovakia Orange  
Slovakia T-Mobile      
Slovakia Telekom    
Slovenia A1    
Slovenia Mobitel  
Slovenia SI Mobil      
South Africa Cell C    
South Africa MTN  
South Africa Vodacom  
South Korea KT  
South Korea LG U+      
South Korea SK Telecom  
South Sudan MTN    
Spain Orange    
Spain Telefonica  
Spain Vodafone    
Spain Yoigo    
Sri Lanka Dialog  
Sri Lanka Mobitel    
Suriname Digicel      
Suriname Telesur    
Sweden 3 (Tre)  
Sweden Tele2  
Sweden Telenor  
Sweden Telia    
Switzerland Salt  
Switzerland Sunrise  
Switzerland Swisscom    
Taiwan Chunghwa    
Taiwan FarEasTone    
Taiwan T Star  
Taiwan Taiwan Mobile  
Tajikistan Beeline      
Tajikistan Tcell      
Tanzania Airtel  
Tanzania Vodacom      
Thailand AIS    
Thailand DTAC  
Thailand True Move  
Trinidad and Tobago Digicel    
Trinidad and Tobago TSTT    
Tunisia Orange Tunisie  
Tunisia Tunisie Telecom    
Turks and Caicos Islands Flow      
Uganda Africell    
Uganda Airtel    
Uganda MTN  
Ukraine Kyivstar    
Ukraine Life      
Ukraine MTS      
United Arab Emirates du      
United Arab Emirates Etisalat      
United Kingdom 3  
United Kingdom EE    
United Kingdom Manx    
United Kingdom O2  
United Kingdom Sure    
United Kingdom Vodafone  
United States Alaska Wireless   NRND    
United States AT&T    
United States T-Mobile (USA) NRND    
United States Union Telephone   NRND    
Uruguay Antel      
Uruguay Claro      
Uruguay Movistar    
Uzbekistan Beeline      
Venezuela Movistar    
Vietnam MobiFone    
Vietnam Viettel  
Vietnam Vinaphone  
Virgin Islands (British) CCT      
Virgin Islands (British) Flow    
Yemen MTN Yemen      
Zambia Airtel    

SIM cards

There are two different kinds of SIM cards, depending on the device:

  • Nano (4FF) SIM card holder that accepts a physical SIM card
  • MFF2 embedded SMD SIM soldered to the device

The MFF2 embedded SIM card is best for harsh conditions as it's more robust than the plastic card and connector. It is not a programmed eSIM, however. It's basically the same as the Particle SIM card, except in an SMD form-factor. It cannot be reprogrammed to support other carriers.

The Boron has both a MFF2 Particle SIM soldered to the board and an empty nano SIM card holder that can be used for 3rd-party SIM cards.

Device Model Nano SIM Card MFF2 SMD SIM
Boron 2G/3G BRN314 BRN310
Boron LTE BRN404 BRN402
B Series B402 SoM (Cat M1) B404 B402  
B Series B523 SoM (Cat 1) B524 B523  
Tracker SoM (LTE Cat M1) T404 T402  
Tracker SoM (LTE Cat 1 and 2G/3G) T524 T523  
Electron 2G G350  
Electron 3G U260  
Electron 3G U270  
Electron Global ELC314  
Electron LTE (Cat M1) ELC404 ELC402  
E Series 2G/3G E314 E310  
E Series LTE (Cat M1) E404 E402  
  • Devices that do not have a nano SIM card socket (4FF) cannot be used with a 3rd-party SIM card.
  • 3rd-party SIM cards are not recommended for product deployments at scale.