Best platform (currently) for running RFM69HW?


  • Hero Member

    As noted in the v1.5 release announcement, v1.5 supports a new radio, RFM69HW.

    Aside from higher cost than using an Arduino Mini Pro, is there any reason not to use either the Anarduino Miniwireless or the Moteino? I'm under the impression that the RFM69HW can be flush mounted by directly soldering it to pads on those boards which were designed for exactly that purpose (and, for extra cost, you can buy the boards with the RFM69HW already soldered on and presumably tested as well).

    For those unfamiliar, here's the RFM69HW:
    rfm69hw100.png

    http://www.anarduino.com/details.jsp?pid=137

    What other platforms, if any, are there? Here's the only two I know about, but there may be others:
    miniWireless69.jpg
    http://www.anarduino.com/miniwireless/

    moteino.jpg
    https://lowpowerlab.com/shop/moteino-r4



  • Bump? Very interested here too. I think all the fake NRF modules are scaring me off there.


  • Hero Member

    There's a lot of positive to say about using subGHz transceivers and the RFM69* in particular for low bandwidth sensor networks.

    I wouldn't go there just because of the fake nRF24L01+ chips out there - I suspect most of the working systems using MySensors in fact are using clones with success. There is just a possibility of getting a bad batch, with a poorly functioning clone that doesn't work well enough. And we're working on how to test for that - either by testing the module (registers, power usage) or just by doing packet loss tests.

    Some of the variants may actually work better than the genuine nRF24L01+ chips, for some purposes.

    I'm still attracted to the nRF24L01+ style transceivers because I also use them for applications that do need the higher bandwidth and/or longer transmissions. There are stricter limitations on 433/868/915 MHz than on 2.4 GHz, in part because the lower bands have less total bandwidth to share, and in part because they carry further (ie: cause interference at longer range). But for a sensor net only, with occasional short bursts of a small amount of data, the RFM69 and other subGHz transceivers could be ideal.


    I think the Moteino and Anarduino platforms look very good (I only have the latter and have not gotten around to testing them). The other option that comes to mind is the JeeNode, which originally used the RFM12b but has been upgraded to work with the RFM69CW.

    Also, if you haven't checked out Jee Labs, do - his blog posts over the years have been an invaluable source of information on low power sensors nodes and related electronics. http://jeelabs.org - you can find links from there to the JeeNode store as well. In the US they are sold by Modern Devices.


  • Hero Member

    I looked into the JeeLabs forum recently, and it's practically deserted. Too bad, because in general I likel the direction jcw is headed. At the moment it appears that he himself isn't on that forum either, so questions aren't getting answered.

    Broadly speaking, there seems to be a bit more life on the moteino and anarduino forums.



  • I set up a moteino dallas temperature sensor and a moteino serial gateway. They worked right away with MySensors 1.5 and Domoticz running on a raspberry pi. I also set up an RFM69HW on a nano and used that as the gateway. Worked fine also. I don't have much experience with them yet, but the moteino sure was easy since the radio is built in. (you can get it without the radio, but not sure what the point of that would be).


  • Hero Member

    For me it's primarily a cost driven decision. I can get a Pro Mini and an NRF24L01+ for a total price, including shipping to Canada, for less than $3US in total. The cheapest RFM69 module is $3.90 + $6.55 shipping and then the cost of a Pro Mini. A Moteino equipped with a RFM69 is almost $20, not including shipping. At some point I may experiment with different RF modules, but so far the NRF clones/fakes have been working fine for me with coverage throughout the 3 levels in my house and in our yard.

    Cheers
    Al


  • Hero Member

    For both those sets of reasons, I really do admire francois's hybrid approach:
    http://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1723/which-is-better-rfm69-or-nrf24l01/3

    I suppose once you figure out precisely the right wire lengths, it would be fairly easy to quickly solder up a batch of units like francois did. You'd have a scrapy looking "moteino" at 1/3 the cost, but it would also be more compact than the NRF24 solution (and I'm guessing the range would be better too).

    @Sparkman, what do your NRF24 mysensor nodes look like? Are they similar in form to what francois is showing in his comparison?


  • Hero Member

    @NeverDie said:

    I looked into the JeeLabs forum recently, and it's practically deserted. Too bad, because in general I likel the direction jcw is headed. At the moment it appears that he himself isn't on that forum either, so questions aren't getting answered.

    Broadly speaking, there seems to be a bit more life on the moteino and anarduino forums.

    Yeah, it was once a more active community, but may have been bypassed by newer competitors - including MySensors.

    However what I was recommending - in general, not specifically for this topic - was his blog, since 2008. He has covered many topics of interest to people designing wireless sensor networks and low power nodes. I used to check in at least weekly. It used to be notes on whatever he was investigating at the time; while it still has some of that flavor it nowadays is more tutorial in structure, like a book in progress [which it is], which is fine too.

    End of sidetrack.


  • Hero Member

    @Sparkman said:

    For me it's primarily a cost driven decision. I can get a Pro Mini and an NRF24L01+ for a total price, including shipping to Canada, for less than $3US in total. The cheapest RFM69 module is $3.90 + $6.55 shipping and then the cost of a Pro Mini. A Moteino equipped with a RFM69 is almost $20, not including shipping. At some point I may experiment with different RF modules, but so far the NRF clones/fakes have been working fine for me with coverage throughout the 3 levels in my house and in our yard.

    Cheers
    Al

    I didn't realize that shipping for the RFM69* is so expensive to Canada. He advertises them both at the anarduino website and on eBay, if one of those is cheaper for you.

    Your point is well taken. Note that anarduino has been promising stripped down versions without the RTC and large external flash (but with the radio) which might close the gap somewhat. Updating the website with new products seems to be low priority tho...


  • Hero Member

    @NeverDie said:

    @Sparkman, what do your NRF24 mysensor nodes look like? Are they similar in form to what francois is showing in his comparison?

    I really don't have a standard form factor at this point in time as I've been experimenting with different boards and sensor types. I'm mainly using it to fill in "gaps" in my existing HA system which includes z-wave, X-10 RF, RFXCom with Oregon Scientific sensors, etc. Some of what I've been playing with includes:

    • Sprinkler Controller (Arduino Mega with NRF24L01+ PA/LNA)
    • Secret Knock Sensor Pirate Chest (Arduino Nano with NRF24L01+)
    • Low voltage light control (Mini RBoard with NRF24L01+)
    • Lightning Sensor (Arduino Nano with NRF24L01+)
    • Weight Sensor (Arduino Pro Mini with NRF24L01+)
    • Weather Radio (Arduino Uno with NRF24L01+)
    • Geiger Counter (Custom Arduino with NRF24L01+ PA/LNA)
    • Thermometer/Humidty (Sensebender with NRF24L01+)

    The first 3 are in their cases and considered "complete" although I have a list of mods I want to do for all 3 :-) The others are either on breadboard or "caseless" at this point, but I'm actively looking for cases for each to complete them. Going forward I will be using mainly Pro Mini's and will only use other Arduino's if required for specific reasons. Most of the ones that are on breadboard will use a Pro Mini when they go into a case. I'll likely end up using the Mys1.1 boards to make them into a tidy package.

    Cheers
    Al


  • Hero Member

    @Zeph said:

    I didn't realize that shipping for the RFM69* is so expensive to Canada. He advertises them both at the anarduino website and on eBay, if one of those is cheaper for you.

    Your point is well taken. Note that anarduino has been promising stripped down versions without the RTC and large external flash (but with the radio) which might close the gap somewhat. Updating the website with new products seems to be low priority tho...

    Thanks for the info. A single module from the Anarduino site is $10.60 for shipping, two modules is $14.65, etc. From eBay it's $6.55 for any number of the same modules, so that's a far better deal. In general, a lot sellers from the US used to ship First Class Mail to Canada, but most will now only send Priority Mail. I believe they have done that because First Class only has a pseudo-tracking system without proof of delivery and if packages got lost (which was a very rare occurrence with my experience), then there was no recourse.

    Cheers
    Al


  • Hero Member

    If you want more than one kind of module, you can ask the eBay seller to combine shipping.


  • Hero Member

    @Sparkman said:

    @NeverDie said:

    @Sparkman, what do your NRF24 mysensor nodes look like? Are they similar in form to what francois is showing in his comparison?

    I really don't have a standard form factor at this point in time as I've been experimenting with different boards and sensor types. I'm mainly using it to fill in "gaps" in my existing HA system which includes z-wave, X-10 RF, RFXCom with Oregon Scientific sensors, etc. Some of what I've been playing with includes:

    • Sprinkler Controller (Arduino Mega with NRF24L01+ PA/LNA)
    • Secret Knock Sensor Pirate Chest (Arduino Nano with NRF24L01+)
    • Low voltage light control (Mini RBoard with NRF24L01+)
    • Lightning Sensor (Arduino Nano with NRF24L01+)
    • Weight Sensor (Arduino Pro Mini with NRF24L01+)
    • Weather Radio (Arduino Uno with NRF24L01+)
    • Geiger Counter (Custom Arduino with NRF24L01+ PA/LNA)
    • Thermometer/Humidty (Sensebender with NRF24L01+)

    The first 3 are in their cases and considered "complete" although I have a list of mods I want to do for all 3 :-) The others are either on breadboard or "caseless" at this point, but I'm actively looking for cases for each to complete them. Going forward I will be using mainly Pro Mini's and will only use other Arduino's if required for specific reasons. Most of the ones that are on breadboard will use a Pro Mini when they go into a case. I'll likely end up using the Mys1.1 boards to make them into a tidy package.

    Cheers
    Al

    I wonder if Francois's approach needs a board too. It looks good as though it may be good to go as it already is.


  • Hero Member

    @Sparkman said:

    For me it's primarily a cost driven decision. I can get a Pro Mini and an NRF24L01+ for a total price, including shipping to Canada, for less than $3US in total. The cheapest RFM69 module is $3.90 + $6.55 shipping and then the cost of a Pro Mini. A Moteino equipped with a RFM69 is almost $20, not including shipping. At some point I may experiment with different RF modules, but so far the NRF clones/fakes have been working fine for me with coverage throughout the 3 levels in my house and in our yard.

    Cheers
    Al

    Al,

    I notice you can buy some of the RFM69x modules on Ali Express for little less, and with free shipping to Canada. Example: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/FSK-module-RFM69W-13dBm-RF-transceiver-module-433-868-915MHZ-can-be-selected/2010765917.html


  • Hero Member

    Good news! It looks as though the RFM69CW format can be easily soldered to many different kinds of inexpensive, mass produced arduino prototyping boards, such as:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/171193450673?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Caveat emptor, as I haven't tried it yet.

    From the look of it, the RFM69CW has 14 "pins" and should line up rather than the 16 pins of the RFM69W. I wonder what was sacrificed by going down to 14 pins from 16?

    Anyhow, this makes the hookup far more economic than if a custom board were required, at least for regular form factor arduinos.


  • Hero Member

    @NeverDie said:

    I notice you can buy some of the RFM69x modules on Ali Express for little less, and with free shipping to Canada. Example: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/FSK-module-RFM69W-13dBm-RF-transceiver-module-433-868-915MHZ-can-be-selected/2010765917.html

    Great, thanks for the link. Will order some to play around with.

    Cheers
    Al


  • Hero Member

    Also, I'm noticing that an inexpensive adapter board like this:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/171242679113

    could be used to solder the pins of the RFM69x, and it would also fit over every pin on an Arduino Pro Mini, so you could possibly do some optimizing as to how the RFM69 pins map to the pro mini pins, if you know what I mean.



  • @NeverDie are you sure RFM69 pin pitch matches these adapters ?


  • Hardware Contributor

    @NeverDie : hi. look at here if you want http://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1419/sensor-board-with-booster-and-supervisor. it is not updated yet. I will do soon. I am waiting for my second batch as I had some mistakes. I have to wait two weeks to receive; I can't wait!

    you will be able to solder what you need. dc booster can provide constant voltage even if battery is low. it will be possible to solder just some parts, it depends what you will need. I have made a version with nrf_smd+rfm69 footprints too.
    I think I will like it. Maybe others...
    It is opensource so you will be able too build it.
    Note: on overview this is not the pro mini I use (I have not the good 3d model). I use these http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/feUvNFufi

    Too bad I didn't see the MYSXConnector before. Next time I will take care :wink:


  • Hero Member

    @scalz said:

    @NeverDie : hi. look at here if you want http://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1419/sensor-board-with-booster-and-supervisor. it is not updated yet. I will do soon. I am waiting for my second batch as I had some mistakes. I have to wait two weeks to receive; I can't wait!

    you will be able to solder what you need. dc booster can provide constant voltage even if battery is low. it will be possible to solder just some parts, it depends what you will need. I have made a version with nrf_smd+rfm69 footprints too.
    I think I will like it. Maybe others...
    It is opensource so you will be able too build it.
    Note: on overview this is not the pro mini I use (I have not the good 3d model). I use these http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/feUvNFufi

    Too bad I didn't see the MYSXConnector before. Next time I will take care :wink:

    Looks interesting. I don't see the RFM69x on it though. Is that on the other side?


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