Ebyte nRF24 module comparison (2020)



  • Hi All,

    Being hit by various problems with noname nRF24 radio modules, I have decided that I try to find a more trustworthy source for my radios.

    Ebyte (cdebyte) seems to:

    • produce relatively affordable modules
    • uses original Nordic chips
    • has official store on Ebay and Aliexpress
    • has a proper English website with product pages, specs and manuals
    • Mysensors forums also seems to be positive around their products (from the limited number of forum entries found around their nrf24 products)

    However, they have a fair amount of module types and I am unsure which one can be used for what roles in a Mysensors project (so I speculate here and I await your opinion and experience).

    Range at 250 kbps data rate, prices from the official ebay/aliexpress store:

    E01-ML01S
    0.1 km range, PCB antenna, 0dBm, 1 mW power, non-shielded
    through hole/SMD
    $3.89 / 1pcs
    $1.08 / 10pcs
    role: node with short distance to gateway/repeater

    E01-ML01D (red)
    0.1 km range, PCB antenna, 0dBm, 1 mW power, non-shielded
    soldered pins/DIP
    $3.31
    role: node with short distance to gateway/repeater

    E01-ML01IPX
    0.2 km range, IPEX antenna connector, 0dBm, 1 mW power, non-shielded
    through hole/SMD
    $3.89
    role: node with short distance to gateway/repeater
    notes: can have external antenna but still, 0dBm

    E01-ML01DP4
    1.8 km range, PCB antenna, 20dBm, 100 mW power, non-shielded
    soldered pins/DIP
    $3.69
    role: node with long(er) distance to gateway/repeater

    E01-2G4M13S
    0.8 km range
    PCB antenna, 13dBm, 20mW max power, advertised as PA+LNA, shielded
    through-hole/SMD
    $4.50
    role: node with long distance to gateway/repeater

    E01-ML01SP2
    1.8 km range
    both PCB antenna and IPEX antenna connector, 20dBm, 100mW max power, PA+LNA, non-shielded
    through-hole/SMD
    $3.9 / 1pcs
    $1.97 / 10pcs
    role: node with long(er) distance to gateway/repeater
    role: gateway/repeater

    E01-ML01SP4
    2 km range
    IPEX antenna connector, 20dBm, 100mW max power, shielded
    through-hole/SMD
    $3.89 / 1pcs
    $1.97 / 10pcs
    role: gateway/repeater
    role: node with long distance to gateway/repeater

    E01-ML01DP5
    2.5 km range
    SMA-k antenna connector, 20 dBm, 100mW max power, shielded
    soldered pins/DIP
    $3.89
    role: gateway/repeater
    role: node with long distance to gateway/repeater

    E01-2G4M27D
    5 km range
    SMA-k antenna connector, 27 dBm, 500mW max power shielded
    soldered pins/DIP
    $5.89
    role: gateway/repeater
    role: node with long distance to gateway/repeater


    If you have any experience with the above modules in any role in your network, please let me/us know.



  • @sola I use E01-ML01SP4 as a radio for a RPi gateway. Everything works so far, I am using i-pex pigtail to connect antenna outside of metal distribution box where gateway is placed. Haven't check the distance or hard radio conditions, so can't say my experience is very useful as a reference 🙂



  • @monte
    Thanks, good to know.
    I am considering the E01-ML01SP2 (the little brother) as a workhorse since it is relatively cheap, has both PCB and external antenna and can do 100mW. I would mostly try to use it without the external antenna and would populate the IPEX only in problematic cases.


  • Mod

    @sola I use E01-ML01D for sensor nodes (especially on battery powered nodes as it uses an smd crystal) and E01-ML01DP5 for gateway/wall powered nodes.


  • Hardware Contributor

    @sola said in Ebyte nRF24 module comparison (2020):

    E01-ML01SP2

    PCB Antenna will not give you good results with PA.
    You should use one with PCB Antenna for the gateway, and use "standard" modules for nodes. If you can't reach your PA/LNA gateway with those, then probably it's better to switch to a more long distance technology than NRF24.

    I use the same setup than @monte, same module with external antenna outside the enclosure, and I have put the gateway strategically in my appartment, relatively close to the middle, and I can get signal from the few nodes with cheap nrf24 modules I use at the moment. There's not a long distance, but thick concrete walls (high rise building) so the signal has to turn around them and cross doors. And a lot (>10) of wifi networks but most of them have low signal so probably don't interfere with the NRF24 signals.


  • Hero Member

    @sola EBYTE seems to imply that they use temperature controlled crystal oscillators on their higher end modules. I don't know how beneficial that is or isn't in practice, but maybe it's a worthwhile improvement. It certainly couldn't hurt.



  • @Nca78 I am planning to use a couple of repeater nodes to connect far-placed nodes to the gateway (on 250kbps).
    Do you think nrf24 is bad for this?



  • I had seemingly unending problems getting sensors to be reliable and about gave up until i switched to ebyte modules.

    Since redesigning boards to use their slightly different pinout and moving to their modules I haven't had any issues. A complete turnaround from what i was experiencing before - highly recommended.


  • Hardware Contributor

    @sola said in Ebyte nRF24 module comparison (2020):

    @Nca78 I am planning to use a couple of repeater nodes to connect far-placed nodes to the gateway (on 250kbps).
    Do you think nrf24 is bad for this?

    If you haven't invested too much in NRF24 stuff yet then think twice about the RFM options, they have a much better range.


  • Hero Member

    @waspie said in Ebyte nRF24 module comparison (2020):

    I had seemingly unending problems getting sensors to be reliable and about gave up until i switched to ebyte modules.

    Since redesigning boards to use their slightly different pinout and moving to their modules I haven't had any issues. A complete turnaround from what i was experiencing before - highly recommended.

    Exactly which modules did you switch to?



  • This one in particular for my SMD needs
    http://www.ebyte.com/en/product-view-news.aspx?id=111

    I haven't used any of the larger, non-SMD versions but i would expect to have similar success.

    I had 2 or 3 different SMD versions from no-name vendors (not blobs, at least) that had various issues communicating. These issues included not communicating at all to garbled characters and loads of NACKS.

    The pinout is slightly different so I had to make a small change to my board design but other than that everything else was the same. The ebyte modules have (for me) worked first time, every time.


  • Hero Member

    @waspie Interesting. At $1.08 each for 10 units, those a cheaper than the clones used to be. I haven't checked lately, but they might even be cheaper than most of the clones even now.

    Myself, I'd probably go for higher power and try to run at 2mbps. I'm pretty sure that even with the higher power, it would be more energy efficient because the tx time would be less--unless you're already running at 2mbps.



  • @NeverDie
    where did you find them for $1.08??

    I didn't tune speed at all so they should be running at 2mbps and I've had no issue.


  • Hero Member

    @waspie The OP said "$1.08 / 10pcs". I presume that means you get 10 for $10.80. i.e. $1.08 each if a quantity 10 purchase.

    I haven't gone looking myself. Maybe the OP can comment as to where he found that pricing, but I'd guess he found it on Aliexpress.



  • @NeverDie @waspie
    I just found them on cdebytes eBay store for 10.87USD for ten units (1.08USD each) with free shipping. They are currently on sale with 20% off.

    Also, LCSC sells them for 1.38USD a piece, but they only have 5 units at stock right now.



  • so i far from these modules i purchased and tried E01-ML01S, E01-ML01SP2, E01-ML01SP4. i wouldnt use E01-ML01S even if they give it for free unless you need it for 2-3 meters range of communication. E01-ML01SP4 is good but requires and external antenna also had many issues with the antenna like transmits when you touch it and it loses connection when you let it go. this particular problem was completely random in the same setup on the second board you may not ecounter this issue. to solve it you may need to twist and position the antenna in a very particular way and then it works. im tired of these issues so my fav is E01-ML01SP2 works just as good and the antenna is integrated so you can eliminate all the antenna related issues. looking at the E01-ML01DP4 it looks the same as E01-ML01SP2 so it would perform similarly.



  • @orhanyor have you added a capacitor between VCC and GND?



  • @monte yep, theres a filter cap on my voltage regulator which is picked specifically because of its very low noise performance and the modules have filter caps as well not only 1 but 3. oh also worth mentioning, i designed nrf24 modules with pa lna to compare the performance and used fancy baluns and RF filter components with proper sma antenna and to be honest performance difference was unsignificant for much more work and more costly. balun is .80 , band pass filter is .70 original nrf24 chip is 3 and pa module is 2 crystal, connector other passive components all add up to around 7-8 dollars which gives similar performance to E01-ML01SP2 at only 2 dollars.

    edit: as for the issues with E01-ML01SP4 i know its a grounding issue but its very hard to pin point the cause. i pulled my hair out many times :)) i just blame the tiny ipex connector or just the bad antenna.. somewhere along the line grounding was the issue but none of these antenna related issues happened with my own nrf24 design or the E01-ML01SP2 so its definitely either connector or antenna issue. good old solid as a rock SMA connector is the best if it is not available i would go with pcb trace or ceramic antenna.



  • @orhanyor okay, I just was confused why you've got such poor results. I personally have better luck with i.pex connectors.



  • @monte especially those no name aliexpress modules just run away when you see them at least i would :)) ebyte is the only cost effective sane solution for nrf24s rest is garbage imo.



  • I have ordered a set of E01-ML01S and intend to test them against my gateway.

    @orhanyor: I would definitely expect the E01-ML01S to do better than a couple of meters. That is the range of the shittiest noname nrf24 clones (when they work at all).



  • A lot of my NRF24 problems were solved when I used a sheet of metal for a groundplane on the +PA+LNA module I use on my gateway.

    Will definitely try some Ebyte modules when its time to buy some more.



  • @sola they can do the job depending on your environment. in my experience if theres an obstacle like if your module is in a box if modules are not in line of sight pa lna solves the signal issues. otherwise those without pa are ok too. one fatal mistake is to put some metal or lean the antenna back against a ground plane. oh man that totally kills the signal 🙂 its a newbie mistake but its worth mentioning.



  • @orhanyor A piece of aluminium fixed my problem (Well 99% better). The sensors I have report in every 2 minutes and I get an error alert if they do not. Without the sheet in place it is just non stop communication errors. there is a thread I posted all about it.


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