Conexio Stratus: a tiny nRF9160 based IoT Prototyping platform

Conexio Technologies, Inc has launched Conexio Stratus a power embedded hardware for easy and quick prototyping your new IoT idea.

It is centered around Nordic Semiconductor’s latest IoT SoC nRF9160 which has ARM Cortex M33 Low Power Core.

Small size of the board makes it suitable for its use in existing projects/products. It can be used in projects to add IoT connectivity.

With onboard temperature humidity sensor it can used for cold chain monitoring.

With LTE/NBIoT and GPS onboard it becomes especially used for implementing personal trackers, fleet management, asset tracking solutions.

With onboard accelerometer and support for ML makes the endless possibilities.

Conexio Stratus has support for platforms like Edge ImpulseMemfault, and Golioth, leveraging machine learning (ML) to provide seamless Over-the-Air (OTA) updates to your devices.

ML capabilities are extremely helpful in implementing predictive maintenance in scenarios where uninterrupted operation is particularly important, such as in smart factories.

For easy data visualization and dashboard creation, Conexio Stratus also connects to Datacake, a low-code IoT platform that requires no programming.

Conexio Stratus: a tiny nRF9160 based IoT Prototyping platform 1
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Features

nRF9160 ARM Cortex M33 Microcontroller

  • 1 MB Flash, 256 kB RAM
  • ARM® TrustZone®, ARM® Cryptocell 310
  • Up to 4x SPI, I²C, and UART with Easy DMA
  • I²S, 4x PWM, 12 bit SADC, 2x RTC
  • PPI (Programmable peripheral interconnect) interface

Modem

  • Transceiver and baseband
  • 3GPP LTE release 13 Category M1 and NB1 compliant
  • 3GPP release 14 NB2 compliant
  • GPS receiver (GPS L1 C/A supported) – Active antenna only.
  • RF Transceiver for global coverage supporting bands:
  • Cat-M1: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B8, B12, B13, B14, B17, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26, B28, B66
  • Cat-NB1/NB2: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B8, B12, B13, B17, B18, B20, B25, B26, B28, B66
  • Supports 4FF Nano SIM
  • Pre-programmed MCUBoot bootloader

Cellular & GPS Antenna connections

  • 1 x U.FL for LTE-M/NB-IoT with matching network
  • 1 x U.FL for active GPS antenna

Micro USB

  • USB-to-Serial interface (using FT234XD)
  • DFU
  • application firmware programming and debugging
  • and LiPo battery charging

Onboard sensors

  • Latest SHT4x temperature and humidity sensor from Sensirion
    • Measurement Range: 0-100% RH, -40 to 125 Degree C
    • Operating Voltage 1.08V to 3.6V
    • 0.6uA current consumption @ 1Hz sampling speed
    • Idle current 80nA 🙂
  • ST Microelectronics LIS2DH MEMS digital output motion sensor: ultra-low-power high-performance 3-axis Femto accelerometer
    • Operating Voltage: 1.71 – 3.6V
    • 2uA current consumption (1Hz ODR), 0.5uA in power down mode

Energy harvester IC

  • AEM10941 solar energy harvester from E-peas Semiconductors
    • Vin: 50 mV to 5 V
    • Cold start: 3 μW @ 380 mV
    • Power input: 3 μW to 550 mW
  • Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)
  • Supports battery types Li-ion and NiMH
  • Max solar panels: up to 7 solar cells simultaneously

High efficiency Power supply (TPS63031)

  • 3.3 V Buck-Boost converter up to 0.9 A of current draw
  • Operating range 2.8 to 5.5 V
  • External LiPo battery connection (2 Pin JST type)
  • Charge rate set to 300 mA with yellow LED indication
  • Maximum output current: 800 mA
  • Current consumption in low-power-mode: < 5 μA
  • SPDT slide switch for turning ON/OFF the power to the Stratus board
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Debugger & Programmer

  • Supports J-Link and CMSIS-DAP based programmers
  • 10-pin 0.05″ (1.27 mm) pin connector

Interfaces / GPIO

  • 2x headers on the sides of the board (0.1″ / 2.54mm pitch)
  • 26 user-programmable GPIOs
  • 2 x push buttons (1 Reset, 1 User programmable P0.12)
  • 1 x Green LED connected to D7 (P0.03)

Compact Size

  • 50.8 mm x 22.86 mm (2.0″ x 0.9″)
  • Weight: ~5 grams.

Conexio Stratus Board Pinout

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Conexio Stratus Shield

Shield helps extend the features for easy testing and evaluation

  • 1x MikroE mikroBUS connector: makes it compatible with 800+ shield available in the market.
  • 2x SparkFun Qwiic connector: allows easy access to over 100+ Qwiic I2C based breakout boards
  • 1x Grove I²C connector: a modular, standardized connector-prototyping system by Seeed Studio
  • 1x 2-pin JST connector for direct solar-panel input
  • 1x user-programmable LED

VS Code Plugin Software

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Conexio Studio is a tool that allows you to create and debug Conexio Stratus + Zephyr RTOS projects in Visual Studio Code.

To make application and project development fast and fun—for low-level application designers and novice IoT developers alike—the Conexio team has developed an extension for Visual Studio Code.

Using Conexio Studio, one can build, compile, and deploy code to Conexio Stratus with minimal effort.

Create projects with nRF Connect SDK and Zephyr RTOS with built-in templates created by the Conexio team.

Open Source Hardware, Document and Support

Schematic and PCB Design files are not yet available but the company has mentioned that they will publish all the files on GitHub once the crowdsupply campaign is completed.

Some of the details and files are already available:Board schematics

They have also provided Conexio Discord channel for discussions.

How to buy and the cost?

Crowdsupply compaign is running and Early Bird! Conexio Stratus board is available for 139$ only(12$ worldwide shipping). Conexio Stratus Shield is available for 19$.

To use the board easily you might want to add Conexio Stratus Accessories, 1 x LTE Flex antenna 1 x active GPS antenna 1 x Micro USB cable 1 x 10 pin IDC SWD cable for external debugging and programming, this will cost you 39$.

I am very excited to try the board as soon as I am able to have one.

I hope you found this project interesting.


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Read my other articles on embedded systems design.


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