Everything for Electronics
Posted in: Nuts and Volts (August 2013)

SparqEE CELLv1.0: Cellular made easy (Arduino/Pi/+)

Here are some technical specifications for the kit:

  • Cellular Networks – WCDMA/HSDPA 2100/1900/900MHz, GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900MHz, 384Kbps, DL3.6Mbps HSDPA via ZTE modem
  • Protocols – Data (TCP/UDP), SMS ready
  • Serial interface – Serial (UART, From Cellular Board is 1.8V, From Jumper board is any voltage (ex. 3.3V, 5V))
  • USB – (power, USART, and modem)
  • Input Voltage – 3.7-5V (Jumper powered from included USB cable or header pins)
  • Power Consumption -  <5mA standby, <75mA average working (w/o services), <500mA average working, max 2.3A

You can pledge $79 on their kickstarter page for CELLv1.0 devkit, adding $10 if shipping outside the U.S, with delivery expected in November 2013. There are also other options you can get with developers’ points (DEV Points):

  • SparqEE_Addons_BoardsBreadboard and 80 jumper wires (1 pt)
  • Power board – 3.3V and 5V lines, rated 3A each (1 pt)
  • Relay board – 3.3V and 5V, rated 2A, 220VDC/250VAC (1 pt)
  • Accelerometer board – Based on Analog Devices ADXL34 3-axis accelerometer (1 pt)
  • GPS board – With integrated antenna (2 pt)
  • Arduino shield (1 pt)
  • Raspberry Pi shield (1 pt)

Important Facts:

  • The CELLv1.0 uses a 2G+3G chipset, which means it will use 3G primarily worldwide and only fall back to 2G if 3G is unavailable.
  • Question: Why are 2G (GSM/GPRS) devices less expensive?  Answer: some 2G only systems are less, BUT, here's the backstory: We chose to provide both 2G and 3G because AT&T is dropping their 2G service in 2017 (TMobile coverage is much more limited than AT&T and the CDMA technology Verizon and Sprint use isn't prevalent elsewhere in the world).  With the CELLv1.0 you get the best of both worlds - 2G, which is the most prevalent worldwide technology, while still providing full cellular coverage in the US using 3G. So if you want a device that works across the world for decades to come, go with the CELLv1.0!
  • The CELLv1.0 is the smallest module on the market, the least expensive 2/3G device out there, and the easiest to use!


The CELLv1.0 is an easy-to-use cellular development kit.  Add it to your Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or any other project you have to instantly add wireless communications capable of operating anywhere in the world!