LimeSDR Mini 2.0 – An open, full-duplex, USB stick software defined radio

LimeSDR Mini 2.0 is an upgraded, drop-in replacement for LimeSDR Mini, a hardware platform for developing and prototyping high-performance and logic-intensive digital and RF designs that use an FPGA coupled with Lime Microsystems’ LMS7002M RF transceiver.

Goodbye, LimeSDR Mini

Since we first introduced LimeSDR Mini nearly five years ago, we’ve shipped tens of thousands of units to engineers around the world for use in everything from satellite ground stations to digital television. Whether you’re a hobbyist using LimeSDR Mini to learn about software defined radio, or a company integrating hundreds of LimeSDR Minis into your commercial product, we’ve been thrilled at the breadth and depth of LimeSDR Mini applications you’ve come up with. Which is why it’s been especially difficult to watch all of this come to a grinding halt over the last year due to the global electronics and chip shortage.

Hello, LimeSDR Mini 2.0

Rather than wait indefinitely and hope the supply chain rewinds to a time we’re unlikely to see again soon, we went back to the drawing board. The result is LimeSDR Mini 2.0, a software defined radio with the same form factor as the original LimeSDR Mini, the same LMS7002 RF transceiver, but a new FPGA – the Lattice ECP5. Not only is the ECP5 more readily available than the Intel MAX10 FPGA used in the previous design, but it has an extensive set of open source tools and a great community of developers.

Comparisons

LimeSDR Mini 2.0 LimeSDR Mini LimeSDR HackRF One Ettus B200 Ettus B210 BladeRF x40 RTL-SDR
Frequency Range 10 MHz – 3.5 GHz 10 MHz – 3.5 GHz 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz 1 MHz – 6 GHz 70 MHz – 6 GHz 70 MHz – 6 GHz 300 MHz – 3.8 GHz 22 MHz – 2.2 GHz
RF Bandwidth 40 MHz 40 MHz 61.44 MHz 20 MHz 61.44 MHz 61.44 MHz 40 MHz 3.2 MHz
Sample Depth 12 bits 12 bits 12 bits 8 bits 12 bits 12 bits 12 bits 8 bits
Sample Rate 30.72 MSPS 30.72 MSPS 61.44 MSPS 20 MSPS 61.44 MSPS 61.44 MSPS 40 MSPS 3.2 MSPS
TX Channels 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 0
RX Channels 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1
Duplex Full Full Full Half Full Full Full N/A
Interface USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Programmable Logic Gates 44K 16K 40k 64 macrocell CPLD 75k 100k 40k (115k avail) N/A
Chipset LMS7002M LMS7002M LMS7002M MAX5864, MAX2837, RFFC5072 AD9364 AD9361 LMS6002M RTL2832U
Open Source Full Full Full Full Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware Schematic, Firmware No
Oscillator Precision ±1 ppm initial, ±4 ppm stable ±1 ppm initial, ±4 ppm stable ±1 ppm initial, ±4 ppm stable ±20 ppm ±2 ppm ±2 ppm ±1 ppm ?
Transmit Power max 10 dBm (depending on freq.) max 10 dBm (depending on freq.) max 10 dBm (depending on freq.) -10 dBm+ (15 dBm @ 2.4 GHz) 10 dBm+ 10 dBm+ 6 dBm N/A

Open Source

We pride ourselves on the openness of LimeSDR Mini 2.0. Before going to production, we will release the following source files:

  • Board schematics
  • Board layout
  • Manufacturing files (e.g., Gerbers, drill, and part placement files)
  • FPGA gateware
  • USB 3.0 firmware
  • Host software
  • Documentation
  • Toolchain configuration

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