AWS IoT ExpressLink SARA-R5 Starter Kit

Revision to V2 in progress - ETA Feb 2023 We are working on an updated Sarter Kit to support the new SARA-R510AWS module from Ublox. Stay tuned for more launch informaion expected early 2023!

The AWS IoT ExpressLink SARA-R5 Starter Kit provides all you need to connect a device to AWS IoT Core over a cellular LTE-M network. The SARA-R5 module on the board supports the AWS IoT ExpressLink AT command set, which aims to make the app developer’s life easy.

Built around AWS IoT ExpressLink, the Starter Kit offers AWS IoT Core access with a pre-activated SIM card for global use already inserted in the slot. The kit includes a SARA-R5 module mounted on a SparkFun MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board into which a SparkFun MicroMod processor board can be inserted, allowing the module to be used with many different microprocessors. An ESP32 Processor Board is included in the kit allowing to run examples or demo applications.

The Asset Tracker Carrier Board has an integrated ICM-20948 Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for Nine Degree-Of-Freedom orientation and movement detection. Want to send a message if your asset is moved? The Asset Tracker can do that! The board also has a built-in digital microphone and so can send an alert as soon as a noise is detected too.

The SparkFun Asset Tracker Carrier Board has a built-in micro-SD card socket for data logging as well as a SIM card port with an already inserted pre-activated SIM card with 250MB of global data as well as an LTE antenna. Power options include both USB-C and LiPo battery (with built-in charging and battery fuel gauge), but you can provide power via a breakout pin too.

You can find AWS IoT ExpressLink examples on GitHub to run on the MicroMod processor.

The Asset Tracker will work with any of our MicroMod Processor Boards, but because it offers so many features and can be configured in different ways, some Processor Boards may be a better choice for your application than others. Please see our Hookup Guide for further details. To run through the Getting Started guide the kit also includes a MicroMod Update Tool.

Note - Please read before purchasing! The SARA-R5 module in the AWS IoT ExpressLink SARA-R5 Starter Kit only accepts AWS IoT ExpressLink AT commands. The regular u-blox SARA-R5 AT commands are not supported.

Note: Our partner, u-blox, will continue to enhance the firmware for this product. To support this effort, SparkFun will provide u-blox the contact information for customers who purchase this kit to contact you for firmware feedback.

The u-blox SARA-R510AWS module with the included SIM card provides LTE-M data communication for multi-regional use. Please check that your service provider offers LTE-M coverage for your area before purchasing.
  • 1x MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier board
  • 1x MicroMod Update Tool
  • 1x ESP32 processor board
  • 1x u-blox Thingstream eUICC SIM Card
  • 1x LTE antenna
  • u-blox SARA-R510-AWS module for secure multi-regional AWS IoT Core access
    • Please check that your service provider offers LTE-M coverage for your area before purchasing
    • 1x MicroMod Update Tool included to communicate directly with the u-blox SARA-R510AWS module.
  • Nano SIM socket
  • ICM-20948 Inertial Measurement Unit for 9-Degree Of Freedom orientation and movement detection
    • “Wake On Motion” is supported
    • The IMU is located in the center of the board for easy frame-of-reference
  • Digital microphone (SPH0641) for noise detection
  • micro-SD socket for data logging
  • Can be powered by one of our rechargeable LiPo batteries
    • Includes both a LiPo battery charger (MCP73831) and a battery fuel gauge (MAX17048)
  • Separate, robust SMA connections for LTE and GNSS antennas
    • Switchable 3.3V power for an active GNSS antenna
  • USB-C connectivity
  • Qwiic (I2C) connector
  • LED indicators for:
    • Power (VIN and 3.3V)
    • SARA-R5 on
    • Network indicator
    • GNSS timing pulse (1PPS)
  • 3.3V breakout pins for:
    • SARA on
    • Network indicator
    • GNSS timing pulse (1PPS)
    • I2C bus
    • SPI bus
    • D0, D1, A0, A1 PWM0, PWM1
    • SARA I2C
  • RTC backup battery

AWS IoT ExpressLink SARA-R5 Starter Kit Product Help and Resources

MicroMod Update Tool Hookup Guide

February 25, 2021

Follow this guide to learn how to use the MicroMod Update Tool to interact directly with the UART on the MicroMod Asset Tracker's SARA-R5. Using this board you can talk directly to the module using u-blox's m-center software as well as update the firmware using EasyFlash.

MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board Hookup Guide

February 25, 2021

Get started with the SparkFun MicroMod Asset Tracker Carrier Board following this Hookup Guide. The Asset Tracker uses the u-blox SARA-R510M8S LTE-M / NB-IoT module to provide a host of data communication options.

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

4 Programming

Skill Level: Experienced - You will require a firm understanding of programming, the programming toolchain, and may have to make decisions on programming software or language. You may need to decipher a proprietary or specialized communication protocol. A logic analyzer might be necessary.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5

Based on 2 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Good but with limitations

Knowing what it is capable of, it is a nice board. But there are limitations that you MUST know beforehand:

  1. There is no GPS/GNSS! The non-ExpressLink board does have it, but this one does not. Sparkfun did not change the board arrangement or name, which is extremely misleading. Without GPS, how is this an "asset tracker"?
  2. No on/off button ability. Once a battery is attached, it is on until it runs out.
  3. No exposed UART from the MicroMod, only I2C and SPI.
  4. Having trouble trying to start the modem chip from code, still have to hold down the SARA button for a few seconds. It should be possible though.
  5. Flashing new Arduino code is troublesome. Even when putting it in download mode, it does not work. I have to put it download mode right after compiling finished and it is trying to connect to the ESP32.

0 of 1 found this helpful:


It was arrived in time, unfortunately it did not work. The Sim card should be activated according to AWS IoT ExpressLink SARA-R5 Starter Kit, but I am not able to register to any network operator. I also try to run the arduino example code to test its function with the Sparkfun ESP32 MicroMod, it failed most of the examples neither. So I have to ask for a return or a replacement. When I receive the replacement and will have done the tests, I will try to update this review.