RockBLOCKS come in three different versions - the RockBLOCK 9602, RockBLOCK 9603 and RockBLOCK Plus.
Although similar in functionality, each product has slightly different hardware for different applications.
Iridium Modem Model
Small Form Factor
Waterproof / Rugged
RockBLOCK 9603 is designed to host the Iridium 9603N module, and is as small as is practically possible. The minimum size is defined by the ground plane required for the 25mm patch antenna. It is powered by 5V DC and has a UART interface.
This latest version has an on-board patch antenna, and an SMA connector for an external antenna. The unit is configured to use either the patch or external antenna at assembly time, using a small RF link. It is possible for a competent end user to switch between the patch and external antenna - see Switching RockBLOCK 9603 antenna mode for more information on how to do so.
The original version of RockBLOCK was based on the Iridium 9602 module. This module was superseded by the 9603N, which is significantly smaller and functionally equivalent. Rock Seven still manufactures the RockBLOCK 9602 to support existing applications, but it is strongly recommended that new projects use the RockBLOCK 9603.
RockBLOCK Plus is a completely encapsulated design, and it is at least IP68 (submersible for extended periods) and designed to be installed externally - just don't expect it to send messages from under water! It is powered by a 9-30V DC supply (designed for powering directly from a vehicle battery) and has an RS-232 level serial interface.
You might notice that the Iridium Edge product is rather similar to RockBLOCK Plus!
In case you're wondering, RockBLOCK Plus came first. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...
Updated over 3 years ago