Blues Notecarrier® Datasheet
Companion development boards for easy prototyping and deployment.
While this product is still supported, it is no longer available for purchase from the Blues store. We recommend the Notecarrier-F as an updated, equivalent alternative.
Notecarriers are available in several form-factors to facilitate rapid prototyping. Depending upon the variant, a Notecarrier may be designed with direct host integration, size optimization, integrated cellular/Wi-Fi and GNSS antennas, or even to be soldered directly into a solution for low-volume production.
Notecarriers are designed to bridge the gap between prototype and production for the Notecard. The Notecard is designed to be socketed directly onto the circuit board using an edge connector socket, along with a customer's MCU, sensors, and controls. While such a model provides a highly modular configuration for the final product, it can make prototyping unnecessarily difficult.
Notecarriers offer breakout connections for the Notecard, as well as circuitry to provide power management, protection and signal amplification.
- Simple. Provides breadboard compatible pins or solderable mask for direct connections.
- Compatible. Level shifters ensure compatibility with 3.3V or 5V equipment.
- Convenient. Powered by a micro-USB connector (requires 2A supply).
- GPS Ready. Models are either active GPS compatible, or feature a built-in antenna to enable GNSS connectivity.
Notecarrier-AF (Antenna + Adafruit Feather Socket)
Notecarrier-AF (CARR-AF) is designed for drop-in development with any Adafruit Feather or compatible microcontroller. It includes two female pin headers (12-pin and 16-pin) for directly plugging in a Feather compatible board. It also includes Grove and Qwiic/Stemma QT I2C ports for attaching external peripherals to your project.
- Adafruit Feather compatible header socket.
- Breadboard compatible Notecarrier-AF 13-pin header.
- Breadboard compatible 24-pin Adafruit Feather breakout header.
- Notecard edge connector socket and mounting screw receptacle.
- Micro-USB port to power Notecarrier and provide a USB Serial command interface to Notecard.
- Onboard cellular/Wi-Fi and active GPS antennas.
- External Nano-SIM slot for additional carrier connectivity.
- 2 Seeed Studio Grove I2C ports for attaching external peripherals to your project.
- JST PH connector for a LiPo battery.
- JST PH connector for a solar panel.
- JST SH 3.3V I2C port (Adafruit STEMMA QT and Sparkfun QWiic compatible).
- Battery slide switch to disconnect battery when not in use.
- Momentary button connected to Feather
- LiPo charging circuit.
- PCB Dimensions: 102mm x 76mm
- Center of Mounting Holes: 94mm x 67mm
|Notecard ||Y||Module enable|
|Notecard ||N||Notecard communication|
|Notecard ||N||Notecard communication|
BAT pin is not connected directly to
VBAT pin on the Notecarrier AF pin out.
It is supplied by the onboard 3v3 voltage regulator. See
for more detailed information.
All Notecarriers can be powered by connecting directly to the Micro-USB port. However, most installations will not have USB power available, so several alternate power options are provided by the various Notecarrier models:
attaching a LiPo battery.
The LiPo battery must be a single-cell 3.7V battery with a 2-pin JST PH connector.
attaching a solar cell (must be accompanied by LiPo).
The solar charging circuit is designed for use with a 4.5-7V solar panel.
applying 2.5-5.5VDC to the
Commonly provided via DC power supply or non-rechargeable battery.
It is NOT recommended to use the JST connector, on your Feather compatible
device, to supply power to the Notecarrier-AF. Instead it is recommended to
utilize the JST connector, labeled
BATTERY, on the Notecarrier-AF.
Doing so will provide the following advantages:
- Reverse voltage protection.
- Defer to
Typical USB ports may only be capable of supplying 500 mA of current, which might not be enough to power Notecard during a cellular connection to a GSM network (which can spike to 2A). In this situation, you're advised to supplement power to your Notecarrier with an external source (e.g. a LiPo battery).
GPS (GNSS) Antenna Requirements
All Notecarrier models are designed to support active GPS, and several Notecarrier models provide built-in antennas ready to be connected to a Cellular Notecard using the included U.FL cables.
Active GPS Onboard Antenna
The Notecarrier-A models feature built-in, active GPS antennas and are designed with a sufficient buffer to isolate the antenna and minimize interference with the other electronics. Notecarrier-A models do NOT support external GPS antennas.
Notecarrier-AF 13-Pin Header
|AUX1||IN/OUT||API-selectable modes of operation|
|AUX2||IN/OUT||API-selectable modes of operation|
|AUX3||IN/OUT||API-selectable modes of operation|
|AUX4||IN/OUT||API-selectable modes of operation|
|ATTN||OUT||Configurable interrupt signal|
|VUSB||IN/OUT||Access to VUSB pin of the USB jack|
|VBAT||IN/OUT||Access to battery voltage|
|<3V3||OUT||Access to 3.3V supply voltage|
|<VMAIN||OUT||Access to either VUSB or VBAT, whichever is available|
Adafruit Feather 24-Pin Breakout Header
|SDA||IN/OUT||I2C bus data|
|SCL||IN/OUT||I2C bus clock|
|5||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 5|
|6||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 6|
|9||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 9|
|10||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 10|
|11||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 11|
|12||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 12|
|13||IN/OUT||Digital I/O pin 13|
|B0||IN||Button pin 0|
|TX||OUT||UART serial transmit|
|RX||IN||UART serial receive|
|MISO||IN||SPI Main In Secondary Out|
|MOSI||OUT||SPI Main Out Secondary In|
|A5||IN||Analog input pin 5|
|A4||IN||Analog input pin 4|
|A3||IN||Analog input pin 3|
|A2||IN||Analog input pin 2|
|A1||IN||Analog input pin 1|
|A0||IN||Analog input pin 0|
|AREF||IN||Analog REFerence voltage (max input voltage)|
|Solar JST Charging Range**||3.94||7.18||V|
*See the individual Notecard and Feather board datasheets for more details.
**For detailed information regarding the solar charging circuit calculations and behavior, please refer to the Blues Notecarrier-A Series Solar JST Input application note.
Absolute Maximum Ratings
|Solar JST Voltage||0||18.18||V|
|Solar JST Input Current||-||1250||mA|
Actual values may vary based on local conditions such as atmospheric conditions and distance to the cell tower.
Open source hardware designs for all Notecarriers are maintained in the note-hardware GitHub repository.
Terms and Conditions
Visit Blues Hardware Terms & Conditions.
|Ray Ozzie||2019-2020||Document drafted|
|John Wiedey||2020||Various improvements|
|Sean Taylor||2020||Various improvements|
|Zachary J. Fields||01 OCT 2020||Updated information and translated to markdown|
|Brandon Satrom||04 JAN 2021||Added link to design resources|
|Greg Wolff||13 JAN 2021||Added BAT pin information to Notecarrier AF datasheet|
|Brandon Satrom||07 APR 2022||Added Notecarrier-A information|
|Zachary J. Fields||20 JUL 2022||Added Notecarrier-F information|
|Zachary J. Fields||24 OCT 2022||Added Notecarrier-B v2 information|
|Rob Lauer||28 OCT 2022||Added versioning for Notecarrier-B v1/v2|
|TJ VanToll||05 JAN 2023||Added Notecard Outboard Firmware Update information|
|Rob Lauer||28 FEB 2023||Re-labeling Notecarrier-B as "Basic"|
|Rob Lauer||01 MAR 2023||Added PCB/Mounting Hole Dimensions|
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