XPLR-IOT-1 quick start

Introduction

The XPLR-IOT-1 explorer development platform provides developers with a single device to enable evaluation of the different u-blox product centers: short range, cellular, positioning, and services. A rechargeable battery allows portable operation.

The NORA-B106 module is the main CPU with two Arm Cortex M33 cores and provides Bluetooth LE. UARTs connect each of the other technologies – NINA-W156 for Wi-Fi, SARA-R510S for cellular, and MAX-M10S for GNSS. Internet access over cellular or Wi-Fi connect to Thingstream’s MQTT broker. An NFC antenna provides NFC tag capability.

A USB connection provides UART connections to each of the modules. USB is also connected directly to the NORA-B1 and SARA-R5. For quick verification or configuration of the modules, the respective evaluation applications – s-center, c-center, and u-center – may be used when NORA-B1 is not active.

XPLR-IOT-1 includes sensors for pressure, temperature, humidity, movement, and ambient light. A Qwiic® connect system allows connection of other I2C devices.

The pre-loaded firmware establishes internet connectivity, activates the sensors, and sends the sensor data over MQTT messages through Thingstream. Data can then be formatted and sent to a dashboard based on Node-RED.

Cellular connectivity designed and tested for use in North America. Operation in other regions pending local M1 coverage.

Getting started

Front panel

The following interfaces and sensors are available on the front panel:

  • RGB LED - shows various status information

  • Ambient light sensor

  • Two user buttons

USB connection

A USB connection to a host PC is used for charging the internal battery and for interacting with and configuring XPLR-IOT-1 over a command line interface. A future update will also include provisioning through a mobile app.

  • Be sure to fully charge the battery, especially on the first use.

Before plugging in XPLR-IOT-1 the first time, install the USB-UART device drivers.

  • Download the device drivers.

  • Unzip the file to a convenient location.

  • Run the installer for your operating system.

  • Connect XPLR-IOT-1 to a host PC using a USB A to micro-B cable.

  • Turn on XPLR-IOT-1. Four virtual COM ports (VCP) will enumerate.

  • Open Device Manager to view the installed ports.

COM ports are assigned according to the Interface number:

  • NORA-B106 is assigned to Interface 0 with a default baud rate of 115,200 bps.

  • SARA-R510S is assigned to Interface 1 with a default baud rate of 115,200 bps.

  • NINA-W156 is assigned to Interface 2 with a default baud rate of 115,200 bps.

  • MAX-M10S is assigned to Interface 3 with a default baud rate of 9,600 bps.

COM port assignments differ among host PCs. Using the image to the right as an example, NORA-B106 on interface 0 is assigned to COM8.


Initial configuration

Before XPLR-IOT-1 can send messages to Thingstream, Wi-Fi and cellular configurations must be established, and appropriate things created on the Thingstream platform.

A redemption code is provided on the rear cover of XPLR-IOT-1. When the code is redeemed, the following actions are taken:

  • Create the cellular thing matching the eSIM ID of XPLR-IOT-1

  • Create an IP thing to use with Wi-Fi connections

  • Create an "XPLR-IOT-1 - Dashboard" thing used to direct incoming messages to the default flow

  • Create a default flow that is used to parse the MQTT data from both cellular and Wi-Fi things, then either send an email with the data, or forward data for use with a locally hosted Node-RED dashboard.

Claim redemption code

To claim the redemption code, perform the following steps:

    • Log into your Thingstream account

    • In the left menu, select "Dashboard", then click "Communication Services"

    • Click "Things"

    • Click on "Add Thing" in the upper right

    • Click on the "Use a code" tab

    • Click the "Redeem your thing" button

    • Enter the redemption code, then click the "Next" button

    • Confirm the devices are created for the XPLR-IOT-1:

      1. XPLR-IOT-1_xxxxxxx_Wi-Fi - This thing accepts MQTT Now messages over Wi-Fi

      2. XPLR-IOT-1 - Dashboard - This thing aggregates the Wi-Fi and cellular messages

      3. <CCID> - This thing accepts MQTT Anywhere messages over cellular networks

Cellular - MQTT Anywhere provisioning

  • At the Thingstream dashboard, display the details tab for the new cellular thing.

  • Open a terminal program, such as TeraTerm, and connect it to the NORA-B106 on Interface 0 at 115,200 bps.

  • Type 'help' into the terminal window to show available commands.

  • Enter the MQTT Anywhere thing "identity" at the command line:

modules MQTTSN save anywhere identity:xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Replace the "xxx" string with the identity noted on the cellular thing's credentials page.

Send data over the MQTT Anywhere service

At this point, XPLR-IOT-1 is ready to send messages to the Thingstream services platform. Just press and hold button 2 for three seconds, until the LED flashes green.

  • It may take several minutes to establish the first connection over the cellular network.

Each message will enter the default flow. Please refer to https://portal.thingstream.io/app/flows in your Thingstream account. This flow can generate an email for each event, capped at 10 emails / day.
To receive emails, add a tag to the thing:
email=on
To disable emails, change the tag to
email=off

The flow is also configured to send data to a Node-RED instance hosting an example dashboard.

Wi-Fi Provisioning


  • With the same terminal configuration as above, enter the Wi-Fi credentials at the terminal:

modules NINAW156 provision <SSID> <PASSWORD>

  • Replace <SSID> and <PASSWORD> with the actual Wi-Fi credentials for your network.

Wi-Fi - MQTT Now IP thing provisioning

  • Display the IP thing's credentials page.

  • Enter the IP thing credentials at the terminal:

modules MQTT save <CLIENT ID> <USERNAME> <PASSWORD>

  • Replace <CLIENT ID>, <USERNAME>, and <PASSWORD> with the credentials noted on the IP thing's credentials page.

Send data over the MQTT Now service

At this point, XPLR-IOT-1 is ready to send messages over Wi-Fi to the Thingstream services platform. Just press and hold button 1 for three seconds, until the LED flashes cyan.

As above, each message will enter the default flow. Please refer to https://portal.thingstream.io/app/flows in your Thingstream account. This flow can generate an email for each event, capped at 10 emails / day. The email function is enabled by default by means of a tag on the Thing
email=on
To disable emails, change the tag to
email=off

The flow is also configured to send data to a Node-RED instance hosting an example dashboard. If you would like to use that, check out the Node-RED dashboard guide.

Bluetooth LE

Bluetooth LE is enabled by default and implements the Nordic UART Service (NUS) as a Bluetooth peripheral. The name "XPLR-IOT-1" is advertised. Data received from the central via this Service are typed immediately in the UART console. Full operation of Bluetooth LE functionality is described here.

Near Field Communications (NFC)

NFC tag capability is enabled by default. XPLR-IOT-1 can be scanned by an NFC device (mobile phone/tablet/reader) by placing it close to the text "XPLR-IOT-1" on the top of the case. A webpage link to this quick start guide is sent by the scan.

Additional information

Further details for XPLR-IOT-1 can be found at these locations: