Which are the *best* NRF24L01+ modules?


  • Hero Member

    For instance, in this type any good?
    10pin.JPG

    It has 10 pins instead of 8, but the two extra pins are just redundant Ground and Vcc pins. Is there good reason for that, or is it pointless? The shape of the antenna is different as well.

    I already have a couple modules with the black epoxy blob on it that turns out to be, at best, an NRF24L01 (no plus), or possibly a clone. I know that because it won't do 250kbps using the exact same code that I can make this common module do 250kbps:
    common.jpg

    Amazingly, though, the epoxy blob module does a much better job than the common module (pictured directly above) at 1mbps and 2mbps, so maybe the common module is a flawed fake as well? BTW, I did read the thread on fakes, which was helpful.

    Anyhow, I want to know what the best module would be to buy. Anyone know or have an opinion?


  • Hero Member

    I just now photographed side-by-side the two types of modules that I have, You can click through to get an even better view of the details:

    nrf24.jpg

    The one on the left is what I'm referring to above as the "epoxy blob" module. The one on the right I purchased from Addicore in April 2014 through Amazon.

    I've sent over 10 million packets through a pair of the epoxy blob modules at 2mbps (well, at least according to the settings it was 2mbps), and with both modules sitting across from one another about 20 feet apart in the same room I had absolutely zero packet loss. In contrast to that, a pair of the Addicore modules, also set to 2mbps, appear to have packet losses no matter how far apart they are in the exact same room. On the other hand, the Addicore modules can do 250kbps, whereas the epoxy blob modules can't. Perhaps there are other differences also.

    Plainly, the epoxy blob module is missing a lot of the surface mount components visible on the Addicore module, which is surprising given that the epoxy blob module actually seems to perform better at the 1Mbps and 2Mbps data rates than the Addicore module!

    Hmmmm.... According to a post here, the 1242AF marking on the NRF24L01+ chip on the Addicore module in my photograph above indicates it to be a known counterfeit. That would certainly explain a lot!


  • Hero Member

    it looks like the blob-one is missing some SMD components. ;-)
    Are you able to measure the performance in long-distance (or maybe with walls in between)? The 250kbps should perform better --- in theory....


  • Hero Member

    @rvendrame said:

    it looks like the blob-one is missing some SMD components. ;-)
    Are you able to measure the performance in long-distance (or maybe with walls in between)? The 250kbps should perform better --- in theory....

    Yes, I've done that test already using a pair of Addicore modules. For that test setup, I got 30% packet loss at 250kbps, 87% packet loss at 1mbps, and 100% packet loss at 2mbps (not even a single packet got through). For the packets that did survive the round trip, the average round trip travel times (using an 8Mhz Arduino to echo it back) were 2.8ms for the 250kbps datarate and 3.5ms for the 1Mbps datarate. I'm not sure why the roundtrip time was less at the 250kbps datarate, unless ithe round trip times reflect a lot of retries that the modules are doing without my specifically directing it. The maximum number of retries would have been whatever the default is, because I never set it (though perhaps the Mirf library did so without me being aware of it).

    It was when I tried doing that test with a pair of blob modules that I realized they couldn't be using genuine NRF24L01+ chips, because they lacked the 250kbps capability..


  • Admin

    You should also compare the power consumption. From what I have read the genuine Nordic module has much better characteristics.


  • Hero Member


  • Hero Member

    I ordered 3 NRF24L01+ modules from an Itead distributor named EpicTinker. The units arrived each in their own individual box:

    boxes.jpg

    Inside the box was this:

    inside.jpg

    Inside the sealed packaging was this module:

    module.jpg

    Here's the back of the same module:

    back.jpg

    I ran a ping-pong test, as I had done with other modules, and at 1mbps in the same location, after sending 88,000 packets, the packet loss rate was 99.8%, and the average round trip time was 3.75ms.

    So, a worse rate of packet loss and average worse round-trip time than with the addicore's I described above.

    So, is it a bogus chip, or is the module layout bad, or....? Does the packaging match what others are receiving from itead directly?


  • Mod

    @NeverDie Probably the best indication of real vs. counterfeit is the laser marking on the IC:

    Nordic-NRF24L01P-cmp.jpg
    source

    One on the right is genuine.
    Especially the '+' sign is different on both markings -- it has a 'hole' in the center on the genuine one.

    Yours seems to be solid too...

    Possibly it would help if we start composing a list of all versions encountered 'in the wild', including register dumps and fotos and try to find a common identification for genuine/fake ones.


  • Hero Member

    Yes, module from EpicTinker looks relatively solid in the '+', and the dot is visibly hollow:

    zoom.jpg

    So, does that mean it's a fake?

    Also, I notice that in the two chips you compare side-by-side, the "1" font is definitely different.


  • Admin

    I've asked for a comment from Itead.


  • Hero Member

    Also, I notice that on your genuine board, the discrete component below the chip has the value 105 (or is it 501?), whereas on mine it says 01E. That's different. Is there such a thing as an 01E?


  • Hero Member

    @hek said:

    I've asked for a comment from Itead.

    Thanks! Please post when you hear back.


  • Mod

    @NeverDie 01E is one meg ohm (table) which is the same as 105.
    Sharp notice regarding the different 1 on both IC's! :+1:
    I cannot say that yours are genuine or not. That's why I suggest we join forces and start collecting data to discover some patterns to distinguish fakes from genuine!


  • Admin

    This is a genuine Nordic module. Not easy to see the hole in the cross.
    nordic.jpg

    Here is some misc module I bought from ebay:
    miccmodule.jpg

    Here is an amplified module of mine.
    ampmodule.jpg


  • Hero Member

    @hek said:

    This is a genuine Nordic module. Not easy to see the hole in the cross.
    nordic.jpg

    Here is some misc module I bought from ebay:
    miccmodule.jpg

    Here is an amplified module of mine.
    ampmodule.jpg

    Have you observed any difference in the performance of the three different modules that you have? The module in the middle photo has the "1" font discrepancy noted above.


  • Admin

    @NeverDie

    No, haven't done any scientific regression tests on them.


  • Hero Member

    @Yveaux said:

    That's why I suggest we join forces and start collecting data to discover some patterns to distinguish fakes from genuine!

    I 100% agree. That's why I'm posting as much info as I can. I hope others will do the same, as it is in our common interest.

    In my testing to date, at 1Mbps the blob modules vastly outperform the allegedly Itead modules. The question is: what can I attribute that to? I won't ever be buying anything more from Itead or any of its distributors until after this gets resolved.


  • Hero Member

    I just now opened up the third Itead module to see if it was any different. Lo and behold, it is:

    3rd.jpg
    closeup.jpg

    This may be the strangest chip yet. Rather than a dot above the N, it looks like a rectangle. In addition, there's some plastic nub of some kind above the R. Lastly, the "1" font seems more similar to the allegedly fake chip than the chip Hek thinks is genuine.

    So, I just now ran the ping-pong test on it, and it performs even worse than the allegedly Itead modules I photographed earlier. When ping-ponging with one of those, the percentage of lost packets is 99.92% out of 90,000 packets.

    I don't know what to make of all this, but it doesn't look good.


  • Admin

    The nub almost looks like a 3d variant of the Nordics logo. Have they done this to make it harder to copy/clone?

    Are you using the same type of chip on both ends? I imagine intercompability could be an issue when mixing different fake once or with genuine chip.


  • Hero Member

    @hek said:

    Are you using the same type of chip on both ends?

    No. I purchased three modules from EpicTinker, and only one was like that. The other two were the same as the post I made earlier today.


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