Which TTGO Beam to purchase? (Or better alternative)

It seems like TTGO has a lot of devices for getting started with Lora.
I found their official AliExpress store, but they have three different TTGO-Beam versions. Which is the “proper” one to go for? There is one with Neo-M8N GPS.

Please see the three different devices they offer. I can’t figure out what’s different with them. The one with OLED included is cheaper for some reason.

Frequency is the most important. You can order a display later, it is not soldered on the t-beam, so there is no difference in my eyes - just take care about the frequency you need to have.

LoRaWAN Frequencies Overview

All my TTGOs have Neo6, not Neo8, and i read a report which says that the Neo chip is counterfeit and thus does not support UBX ublox protocol.

There is indeed a degree of counterfeiting of the Neo6. Sometimes this manifests itself as the GPS not accepting configuration commands, see that myself.

I saw that one has external antenna wire, which might be useful for putting it in a case. That’s the one that also has M8N.

A bit surprised to see that it’s hard to find a dev board for a reasonable price without counterfeit parts though…

I like the T-Beam with the battery holder.

Are there any other alternatives, potentially with other Li-Po possibilities and SAFE charging?

Which frequency makes most sense of 433MHz and 868MHz?

If you are in Europe I would buy 868, If you want to use other gateways.
You maybe should study some Wikipedia articles about lorawan and TTN.

OK. I’ve heard 433MHz offers better signals through vegetation, but 868 MHz does seem to be the most popular frequency.

433MHz is not supported by TTN. Check the frequencies overview Borroz linked to some messages ago.

Higher frequencies in general dont go so far.

Believe me, you will get a Neo6, not 8

I thought M8N was better? Under the reviews, people have posted photos of it with M8N

In Fall of 2018 I’ve asked LilyGO representative to solve that issue with sourcing of ‘fake’ GNSS modules for T-Beam boards.
Every SoftRF firmware since 1.0-RC5 has WebUI status indicator of Ublox GEN number detected (U6, U7, U8). It indicates just ‘NMEA’ when ‘fake’ (AT6558-based) module is detected.
This feature was created to help LilyGO with sourcing of good modules for manufacturing of every new T-Beam batch.

I have not read negative reports from SoftRF Prime MkII users since then.
Moreover, when I’ve explicitly asked LilyGo in Spring’19 about status of that issue, they’ve replied me with:

We have not used the previous module since we last talked about this problem.
Now we are getting the goods directly with the original UBLOX agent.

A sort of confirmation that they use authentic Ublox modules is this GitHub Pull Request from one of SoftRF contributors: https://github.com/lyusupov/SoftRF/pull/59
The firmware revision of NEO-8 reported in this PR had never seen in counterfeit G8 modules.

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Interesting! Thank you.
So these units are actually made for planes?

Had this problem today. Two gps modules, both perfect labelled “U-Blox” counterfeits turned out not to accept UBX commands. But chinese “CASIC” protocol…

No, certainly not (that would imply certain quality standards with corresponding support).
The T-Beams are generic ESP32 LoRa devices with a GPS.
Their use depends on the firmware that is/can be installed.
(And yes, it probably sells better with interesting firmware installed.)

Hello all,

Do you know if it’s possible to upgrade Neo M8N firmware to v3.01 on these boards? And where to find a firmware to be able to directly configure the GPS module with USB serial commands?

It comes with 3.01 already: https://github.com/lyusupov/SoftRF/pull/59 in flash (“EXT CORE …”)

An Arduino sketch like this one below does typically help:

#define SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V05_RX       12
#define SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V05_TX       15
#define SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V08_RX       34
#define SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V08_TX       12

void setup()
//    Serial1.begin(9600, SERIAL_8N1, SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V05_RX, SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V05_TX);
    Serial1.begin(9600, SERIAL_8N1, SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V08_RX, SOC_GPIO_PIN_TBEAM_V08_TX);

    /* put AXP192 init code for V08+ here */

void loop()
  while (Serial.available() > 0) {
  while (Serial1.available() > 0) {


Unfortunately, that’s a big problem with LilyGO (TTGO) products:

Regarding “(Or better alternative)”:
That depends on your requirements and definition of “better”.

The major Chinese ESP32 LoRa development board providers are Heltec Automation (Heltec) and LilyGO (TTGO).
My experience with Heltec over the last 1.5 years is that they provide better documentation and better software support than LilyGO does for their TTGO boards.

Since recenty Heltec has a GPS LoRa board in their product range:
Heltec CubeCell GPS-6502 (HTCC-AB02S)

It is not based on ESP32 but on ASR6502 which is a SiP (system in package) that combines an ARM microcontroller with the newer Semtech SX1262 LoRa tranceiver.
Heltec provides Arduino development support for the CubeCell products.
Compared with T-Beam it does not have WiFi and BT, has U.FL/I-Pex instead of SMA antenna connector and does not have a battery holder but does support powering with Li-ion (and charging) and supports connecting a solar panel. The GPS module on the CubeCell is not from U-Blox.

I’m not aware what the deep sleep currents for T-Beam v1.0 and the new T-Beam v1.1 are, but the CubeCell GPS-6502 has a documented deep sleep current of 50 uA.
Depending on your requirements it might be worthwhile to give this board a try.

You may also check the Heltec CubeCell topic.