My experiences with MySensors



  • Hello Community,

    currently i removed all MySensors devices. I am very sad about this. But i couldn't establish a reliable connection to the gateway and the sensors.
    I was very frustrated about the preferred radio "NRF24L01+". I read every article about this sensor and how to improve range and connection.
    Didn't get any good results with this radio. I also read that this kind of radios have a very bad range and only work within 2-3 meters.
    So i can't understand why these radios are the preferred radios for mysensors, this makes this project really unrealiable.

    Currently, i switched to Zigbee devices from Aqara with a Conbee USB Stick from dresden electronics.
    The Aqara Sensors and button devices fulfill all my requirements and have a very good connection and the battery usage of the devices is awesome.
    Bought some of the sensors 16 month ago, and have a battery level of 80/90 % !!!
    All other Zigbee devices like bulbs and LED-Stripes works to with conbee. As the central gateway i use pimatic (pimatic.org)

    But if you need custom sensors and actors for a Maker Project MySensors is a good thing, but if you new to this project, i advise you to use any other communication method than NRF24L01+. This radios are total crap.

    sincerely,
    Felix


  • Contest Winner

    @felix-haverkamp I'm sorry to hear that Felix. In my own experience MySensors works fine with the NRF24L01+ sensors. I have full range throughout my entire house. For my it wasn't a frustrating experience. I followed the instructions and it worked in most cases directly. Good to hear that you have found something that suits your needs.



  • Be aware that most of the cheap NRF boards from China are counterfeit. If you have those in an environment with a lot of WiFi you wonโ€™t get any range at all. And all โ€œmodificationsโ€ to improve range posted on YouTube are not any improvement.
    You need to buy real NRF modules with external antenna.
    Just my two cents.



  • You are right. Mysensors based on NRF is dead. I started my adventure with home automation based on mysensors but gradually I replaced all my sensor with Wemos. Now everything work fine. Sorry mysensors...



  • @rodaman if you have bought real NRF modules you have been satisfied.
    Or if you have bought RFM 433, 833 or 915 MHz radios you had been more that pleased.
    Not MySensors fault.


  • Admin

    As others say, cheap clones of the nrf24 is probably the issue here..

    I'm using mysensors with nrf24 throughout the house. Some sensors have been in operation for more than 4 years now, with the same set of 2xAA batteries! And they are still happily reporting temperature / humidity. I admit, that I do not have many sensors around, as I only have 15 or so units deployed (mix of both sensor-only and actuators)



  • @rodaman
    Although fully agree with @mickecarlsson and @tbowmo (I have been lucky with really cheap nrf24L01+ modules I think) and have a similar experience as @TheoL (MySensors works fine with nr24L01+ modules) I can state that mySensors is very much alive.

    However, I'm interested in your Wemos setup.
    I've got some questions from which I'm sure you can give me the right quidance:
    I guess it used some bandwith in your Wifi network? can I use it similar as mySensors topology or even with mySensors libraries?
    Can it be used with batteries (sleep modes and so on) for a long time?

    thank you in advance for your values answers,

    BR, Boozz



  • Well, unfortunately I cannot agree with the stories of success.

    It's ok that a tool works for someone, but it can't be so weak that things like radio clones, track shapes or cap variations renders something unusable. And still did not mention interference or houses construction materials. All things that should be tested. WiFi/mobile interference should not be a problem, everyone has em.

    Just only think that if Chinese manufacturers are making these clones in that volumes, and they are sold, it's because they took a look at the original and made a product profile with what specs are acceptable for the expected application and clones are the result. I mean that perhaps mysensors expected to much from them.

    I guess everyone already knows that I only had problems trying to use mysensors, and now I have a defeating gw problem while using original radios all around. I have nrf52s in the box for testing but I'm so defeated, that I have no strength to try them.
    I've ordered parts for making a good ole rj45 gw, but I'm already working in a custom base sketch for moving to esp+mqtt.
    My influx data is full of "holes"

    Now I'm thinking in the fact that my gw started to make this more or less after the installation of a Google home and a echo Dot, for testing. It already seems paranoia.


  • Hardware Contributor

    Just my "little" two cents on this because I don't think it's MySensors fault only..afaik MySensors started with rf24, but got compatible with better radios years ago!

    it can't be so weak that things like radio clones, track shapes or cap variations renders something unusable. And still did not mention interference or houses construction materials. All things that should be tested.

    when you learn RF and electronics you'll discover what's the purpose of decoupling and buffering power. Same about the shape of the board, gnd plane size, enclosure, parts close to antenna et, will affect antenna frequency like shifting it, and decrease sensitivity (noise).

    Manufacturers of end device passes certification to prove their device are RF "green" and calibrated. Even when you change the external antenna on a device, and don't buy the same original one, you may lose CE/FCC, because there are chance it detuned a bit RF, more or less.

    These are things that a beginner would not imagine when picking a rf module, arduino, some dupont cables and playing.. So there can be variations in users nodes which can weaken link quality (Pity when the radio is only 0dB max). Far from reference design concept. Not easily coverable by MySensors team.

    Don't trust me?? Just read, manufacturers datasheet, application notes, check with good RF tools or even watch some youtube videos.

    Just only think that if Chinese manufacturers are making these clones in that volumes, and they are sold, it's because they took a look at the original and made a product profile with what specs are acceptable for the expected application and clones are the result. I mean that perhaps mysensors expected to much from them.

    those who clones and sell volumes, why do you think they care if people continue to buy because it's cheap. they just simply sell. And when you get a problem, they show you the github from someone else who could help..

    WiFi/mobile interference should not be a problem, everyone has em.

    No sense, not scientific. Coexistence of multiple protocols in one RF band isn't magic. What happens when people in same room all talk at same time, and some louder?? You can catch louder people and rest is just a mess. Sort of jamming, you could even pick esp8266/32 for short range jamming 2.4gz, never tried..but in this, the stronger wins.

    See this pic, especially for those who would like to use different products on same band..
    (source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Spectra-of-multiple-wireless-technologies-in-the-24-GHz-ISM-band-The-colors-indicate_fig4_326598630)
    0_1569924731726_Capture.PNG

    why not adding MySensors protocol in this 2.4ghz recipe?? Just pray that the freq of your node is not shifted/detuned too much.. I hope too you choosed the right freq for your network.

    • Which protocols is either fixed freq, or freq hoping based??
    • What if there more or less powerful repeaters for these ?

    The only way would be to run protocols concurrently (with time slots). Not possible when there are separate gw for each protocols, it just get messy in air, lost packets, etc.
    Was it like this 10-15 years ago in homes, I don't think so.

    I hope I don't look old at repeating but finally, I think this problem is mostly about user choices..and I understand it maybe doesn't solve all problems.



  • @scalz Regarding WiFi I'm not saying that mysensors should overcome the problems of crowded or noisy environments. I'm just saying that if that's the war field, it should have slided to another one.

    I spent more than 4 years on those problems. I'm physician and software architect/analyst, and my father was ham radio fanatic. Not boasting, only saying that I have a minimum knowledge. I created a nice environment with only one WiFi device, good ubiquity equipment, with nodes without boards or ground planning issues, studying the band and choosing channels and still had nightmares.

    Yesterday I learned how to easily hang a node by sending a message to it. That shouldn't be possible.

    I'm not saying that this is crap or that this doesn't worth playing with it. Only think that it needs some love on the low level even if it has to move to slightly powerful devices. Or adding capabilities on powerful architectures while still supporting the good old ino.

    Perhaps combined with a custom nrf52 development board or something to make easier burn and solder them. Make an nrf52 mysensors starter kit, and convert sensebender to it.

    Sorry, as you said I don't have the knowledge to make long run boards to contribute with them.


  • Hero Member

    I think the problem is less about the radio and more about the transmit power. Even for official Nordic nRF24l01+ chips, without an external power amplifier, the maximum transmit power is just 0db. For a lot of people, that just won't be enough, which will inevitably lead to disappointment. Compare that to other radios which offer 20dbm tx power, and it's night and day difference in range, coverage, and satisfaction.

    For beginners who want to use the nRF24L01 design, I humbly suggest that mysensors change its website to guide them to using modules with an external power amplifier and LNA, such as:

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32757594224.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.250b696etKb9Ty&algo_pvid=0848ed36-ecf2-4f48-b3f4-37147cbad5dc&algo_expid=0848ed36-ecf2-4f48-b3f4-37147cbad5dc-3&btsid=f941d6b5-6827-4810-b113-797cf378bdfb&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_53

    or similar. There are also much smaller modules with trace antennas and pa + LNA on them, and even so the cost remains low. If someone doesn't need the full Tx power, they can always scale back.

    I think a big reason why people like the hoperf rfm69hw modules is simply that they provide 20dbm Tx power. So, you can switch to that or another radio, or you can simply amplify the type you've got. For comparison, an ESP8266 has a maximum 20.5dbm Tx power, which is set as it's default tx power. So, for the guy who moved everything over to wemos, maybe that's why you like it better.

    Of course, there are differences in receive sensitivity, and that's obviously equally important, and even preferable. And datarate and coding schemes can be other large factors too. Still, if the max Tx power is capped at 0dbm, you're pretty limited in most cases as to your range and coverage and, in my view, a bit crippled for most things other than very short range.



  • @neverdie said in My experiences with MySensors:

    I think a big reason why people like the hoperf rfm69hw modules is simply that they provide 20dbm Tx power. So, you can switch to that or another radio, or you can simply amplify the type you've got.

    Too simplistic. It is not just about power but also the behaviour of different frequencies and how noisy the RF band is. 2.4GHz is not noisy for some but is for others, add in fakes and you have a nightmare. Your suggestion reminds me of a texan ham who used to claim he was turning his LF beam when he was slowly screwing up his linear.. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I deliberately went with 433MHz rfm69s because of range and structural penetration, I'm in the sticks so the Wifi band is relatively quiet, no regrets, no fakes (yet), just MySensors doing it's stuff... ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Hero Member

    @zboblamont said in My experiences with MySensors:

    @neverdie said in My experiences with MySensors:

    I think a big reason why people like the hoperf rfm69hw modules is simply that they provide 20dbm Tx power. So, you can switch to that or another radio, or you can simply amplify the type you've got.

    Too simplistic. It is not just about power but also the behaviour of different frequencies and how noisy the RF band is. 2.4GHz is not noisy for some but is for others, add in fakes and you have a nightmare. Your suggestion reminds me of a texan ham who used to claim he was turning his LF beam when he was slowly screwing up his linear.. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I deliberately went with 433MHz rfm69s because of range and structural penetration, I'm in the sticks so the Wifi band is relatively quiet, no regrets, no fakes (yet), just MySensors doing it's stuff... ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think you're missing the point. How many people using, for example, primarily rfm69 are capping the Tx power on all their modules to 0dbm or less? I'd wager the answer is very, very few, if any.


  • Hero Member

    Of course, if it were just for me to decide, I'd recommend all beginners start with LoRa, because if you can't find a way to be happy with the LoRa radio module (which, incidently, can also do everything an rfm69 module can do), you probably can't be happy with anything.

    Is LoRa even supported by mysensors as yet? It's been a long while since I last checked.



  • @neverdie You're not related to my erstwhile Ham contact are you? ๐Ÿ˜‚
    I believe you missed the point that it is not purely a power issue, TX/RX is a combo of frequency, noise, and pre-amp/antenna gain, environment, etc, etc..
    I've no idea what the default setting is for my 433MHz RFM69s, perhaps when I update the system and the nodes I might be able to advise. They are standard devices not the high power version, all using 2dB whips, none have failed to communicate to date. I do have an HW version, it's still in it's antistatic bag...
    I can track my wifi signal outside the house to about 5m, my Nodes are well beyond that. I could add gain to the wireless router to try matching the performance but the question remains why?


  • Hero Member

    @zboblamont
    The problem is that, assuming FCC compliance, the allowed uses for the 433Mhz band in the USA are pretty limiting for narrowband communications.


  • Admin

    @neverdie said in My experiences with MySensors:

    Is LoRa even supported by mysensors as yet? It's been a long while since I last checked.

    Yes, we support RFM95 radios and various LoRa settings: https://www.mysensors.org/apidocs-beta/group__RFM95SettingGrpPub.html



  • @neverdie No knowledge of FCC 433MHz restrictions, in the EU it is limited also, from vague memory on %age TX and probably ERP as it is a shared band. But you would need to be pumping a shedload of data for these constraints to take effect, and crucially it suffers none of the frequency crowding issues or penetration constraints of 2.4GHz.



  • I started out with NRF 2.4 MHz radios for my 8 nodes MySensors and Domoticz. As I also install WiFi networks for customers and have access to our equipment at work I did a measurement at home because I could not get a reliable network.
    First measurement revealed that my DECT wireless phone occupied the same channel that was the default for the NRF radios. And that my neighbors run their WiFi occupying all other channels. Equipment used was Ekahau.
    I tried to tweak the channels but no avail.
    So, I bought new radios, RFM833, and that was the end of my troubles. For two year now my eight nodes have not skipped a beat. I measure temperature, humidity, light (lux), UV and radioactivity.

    And all my WiFi at home is at 5GHz as the 2.4 was exhausted.
    I have about 40 NRF radios in a box with no use for them.


  • Admin

    Perhaps I should make a 433Mhz transmitter, with a 1kW (60dBm) pa on it (which is the limit of my ham license) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The problem with higher power output on the radio side, also consumes more power from the (battery) supply.. In case of battery operated sensors I'm always aiming for the lowest possible current draw, which is with non-lna devices.

    Luckily I live in the country side, so the 2g4 band is not that crowded, and so my nrf24 is good enough. I tried to use rfm69 as well, but never got the range above 50cm, so I ditched those radios again. And yes, I added decoupling capacitors etc. all over the thing..



  • @tbowmo You see, it's a lottery.
    I also live in the countryside, and also having problems.
    What about ble capabilities of the nrf52? Some claim that a Bluetooth network works.
    I really doubt it, it was the most affected band by the microwave, when I analyzed interference.

    Bs:

    • Adaptive signal power
    • Low level checksum error control and retry
    • Channel analysis and automatic selection
    • Double channel / twin radio gw ๐Ÿ˜“
    • Nrf52 ble advertising/handshake and then regular 2.4g transmission? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

  • Hardware Contributor

    @sergio-rius said in My experiences with MySensors:

    Bs:

    • Adaptive signal power
    • Low level checksum error control and retry
    • Channel analysis and automatic selection
    • Double channel / twin radio gw ๐Ÿ˜“
    • Nrf52 ble advertising/handshake and then regular 2.4g transmission? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

    duh, it looks like a subset of feature list we studied for gateways we designed (Janus, Halo) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Still,

    • Adaptive signal power
      Available for RFM modules only, csma as well. Whereas nrf24 has no true rssi feedback..
    • Low level checksum error control and retry
      Afaik it's available for rfm69, no ideas for nrf24 I don't remember
    • Channel analysis and automatic selection.
      We know this, actually it's not really hard to do. It doesn't protect against potential unfortunate jamming of course, or when 2.4ghz is crowded, but it's good start for a network.
    • Double channel / twin radio gw
      No dual channel on same band, or freq hoping planned for the moment afaik. For the moment, only local dualrf pocs
    • Nrf52 ble advertising/handshake and then regular 2.4g transmission?
      doable with non arduino environment only, so for the moment it's out of MySensors scope.

    BLE is using freq hoping if not wrong, so in theory it might be "more resistant" to interferences than non-freq hoping protocols (depends on their strategies for reliable packet delivery). Freq hoping may imply change on hw too, for precise timing etc

    that's why I'm saying old tech may get limited at some points, this implies clocks and mcus, radio etc.. By limited I mean, like a subset of features available for less powerful mcu etc. But it's too soon for saying, we miss time too..

    Always suprised when someone reports rfm69 poor range..sounds crazy to me, but I guess it was a problem with sw (like the old rfm69 lib, a good test is to use radioheadlib/lowpowerlab libs for checking link, then you know if it's sw or hw) or hw (like sometimes you can receive the wrong freq for a module etc). no idea, pity!


  • Banned

    This post is deleted!


  • That is just the point I had in my mind. I'm convinced that mysensors is a great project and the work done here is golden, really. But I would like to know why the documentation always seems to recommend hardware that when you fail to implement, at some point someone tells you that it was expected.
    That happened me again this week with the Ethernet gw. Following the documentation, hours and hours trying to make the module work, to share spi port, etc... and then someone tells me better getting a w5100. Then why is this board in the official docs? Let's take it out and put a warning.
    The docs are full of pinout pics of nrf24. But if you use the search (for hours) you get plenty of posts from vip telling... Better going with rfm69.
    I hope it's not the same with rfm69.



  • @rodaman: May I remind you of my questions:

    @rodaman
    ...
    However, I'm interested in your Wemos setup.
    I've got some questions from which I'm sure you can give me the right quidance:
    I guess it used some bandwith in your Wifi network? can I use it similar as mySensors topology or even with mySensors libraries?
    Can it be used with batteries (sleep modes and so on) for a long time?

    thank you in advance for your values answers,

    BR, Boozz

    Unfortunately no reaction from your side till today. In the meanwhile I've searched the internet for a ESP8266 or ESP32 mesh network as an alternative for the mySensors network. I cannot find a good working open source (read Arduino based) startpoint, so I'm wondering if you could direct me to a good starting point.

    Thanks,

    Boozz


  • Admin

    @Sergio-Rius

    I've been away from the forum a couple of days.. But the W5100 is actually the one that is promoted around the site. It does however have a problem with sharing SPI port in some circumstances, as it doesn't let go of MISO (if I remember right).
    For ENC28J60, it does say that you might run into trouble with memory, as it does have a larger memory footprint.

    mysensors "store" : https://www.mysensors.org/store/ethernet
    build instructions: https://www.mysensors.org/build/ethernet_gateway



  • @tbowmo Thanks Thomas, I was trying to make an ENC28J60 module work with RF24 then RFM69, and I was getting crazy at it. Finally the module was a failed one. I'm so embarrased, as I was convinced I first tested the module on arrival, and I missed the point.
    I've already ordered a W5100, but it may take weeks. ๐Ÿ˜”


  • Admin

    @sergio-rius
    Just be aware that with W5100 you can probably not share the SPI bus, as there is a hardware limitation in the W5100 (depending on how the manufacturer has wired the chipselect lines)



  • @boozz
    I am not user "roadman", but I am using MySensors and ESP8266 ( Wemos) so hopefully I can answer some of your questions.

    I am using only one wifi access point (AP or router) in my home without problems.
    But you can use one AP for your computers and TV and etc. and other for your sensors.
    AP hw is cheap....

    My house is 8x12 meters and wifi AP is in 2nd floor about in center of house.
    It covers the entire house and very close ( 3m )out of house.
    Near this wifi AP is RFM69 MySensors gateway, which covers up to the edge of my property 60 meters away.
    ( may further )

    MySensors is goot for nodes a far away in my garden and for nodes with low energy consumption and fast reaction when wake up.
    When MySensors node is sleeping and then wake up, it immediately continues in program flow immediately from the place of "sleep" command.
    Wemos, when sleeping an wake ups, reboots and must connect to AP, which takes 8s to 2s when we do some tweakings.

    But Wemos is very user friendly.
    You can use some "ready use" solutions like ESPeasy or Tasmota and configure your node trough its web page.
    Configure means select which sensor connect to which pin, send value to which contrtoller etc.

    0_1572641373367_2019-11-01-214642_1920x1080_scrot.png

    Write some programs or scripts:
    0_1572641423282_2019-11-01-214720_1920x1080_scrot.png

    All without the need to compile a new program.

    And you can send to your controller what you want, not just what is implemented in MySensors.
    ( Using JSON API in my case with Domoticz )
    And your controller can send anything to your node.

    And for "MESH" topology.

    Arduino "painlessMesh" library for ESPs exists.
    But I think it is more easier to use more AP units - they are cheap ....



  • @kimot said in My experiences with MySensors:

    But you can use one AP for your computers and TV and etc. and other for your sensors.
    AP hw is cheap....

    Or you can get a VLAN compliant Wifi access point, do the things as should be and implement a separate VLAN for your IoT devices and services.
    If you buy, for example an ubiquity AP, you can configure as many SSIDs as you need, each one on it's own VLAN, and even you can specify that the IoT network should only be N-type increasing the range.
    By using only one access point you also reduce radio interferences. Radio appliances are not perfectly made and cheap ones tend to be noisy and get worse with the age.

    I'm not particulary an ubiquity fan, in fact I only have the ap_ac_pro one, but I'm so satisfied with it that I would recommend their switch+router solution. The web management is awesome.
    For my adventures I prefer having an ordinary 10gb d-link switch and a custom opnsense router.

    Range of the ap_ac_pro inside a 20m radius house with 25cms stone walls is just in the limit. Just one in the very center. A long range unit would cover anything, but mine is freaking fast. ๐Ÿ‘ป



  • @kimot said in My experiences with MySensors:

    MySensors is goot for nodes a far away in my garden and for nodes with low energy consumption and fast reaction when wake up.
    When MySensors node is sleeping and then wake up, it immediately continues in program flow immediately from the place of "sleep" command.
    Wemos, when sleeping an wake ups, reboots and must connect to AP, which takes 8s to 2s when we do some tweakings.

    Ok, so if I do not misinterpret your words, it's better / easier to use mySensors for the tasks as specified above and use WEMOS / 8266 for other tasks. Some pretty distinct way of where and how to use it.

    Thanks a lot for the info provided. I appreciate that. I will give this a try sooner or later for sure.
    Up to now my experience with mySensors is positive. Yes, now and then the radio's give me some troubles, but that's part of it. Still a very inexpensive way to collect data and switch on the lights in my garden house, dim some LED's all over the house and get alarmed once the ground-water reaches a level so I have to watch out my basement isn't flooded.

    Thanks

    Booz



  • @kimot said in My experiences with MySensors:

    And for "MESH" topology.
    Arduino "painlessMesh" library for ESPs exists

    WIll have a look at that too in the near future. Thanks for hinting me towards this.

    Boozz


 

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