Nordic or HopeRF radio


  • Hardware Contributor

    Hi all,

    what are peoples experiences. On a longer timescale, is the recommended radio the HopeRF one, or could it be Nordic as well? Because of the lower frequency of the HopeRF radios, range/penetration could better, compared to 2.4GHz, but are there any tests that prove this?
    What is the general opinion about radio selection?

    BR Jonas


  • Mod

    @jbjalling Hoperf have lots of radios, including 2.4GHz variants. But I guess you mean the sub-GHz ones (example rfm69hw) vs the NRF24L01+.

    As with all choices, it is about compromises.

    • The nrf is cheaper and it is more popular than rfm69.
    • Therefore, you will find much more information on this forum (and internet in general) about how to use and troubleshoot nrf.
    • The MySensors code for nrf is also better tested, since more people are using it.
    • Much of the hardware published on the forum is meant for nrf radios, but an adapter is available.
    • I think the Raspberry Pi direct io gateway only works with nrf, and maybe the mysbootloader as well. Edit: rpi gw now has support for rfm
    • There is a nice sniffer for nrf

    In theory, the rfm69 technology seems to have the upper hand:

    • It has support for measuring signal strength, which can be used to automatically adjust sending power to get better range when needed and better battery life when the signal strength is good enough.
    • hardware encryption. Not that encryption will hide what you do and when, but it is a nice feature.
    • The lower frequency generally means better range.

    See also
    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1723/which-is-better-rfm69-or-nrf24l01/
    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1918/what-radio-to-use-nrf24l01-rfm69-rfm73/
    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1664/which-are-the-best-nrf24l01-modules/


  • Hardware Contributor

    Thank you very much. I think that I will order a couple of sub-GHz modules to do some testing with, but stay with the nRF modules for now - as you say, they are cheap.

    BR Jonas


  • Mod

    Great! It would be great if you can report your experience with the sub-ghz modules when you've tried them. I haven't tried them myself yet.


  • Hardware Contributor

    @mfalkvidd Yes, sure!


  • Hero Member

    @mfalkvidd said:

    @jbjalling Hoperf have lots of radios, including 2.4GHz variants. But I guess you mean the sub-GHz ones (example rfm69hw) vs the NRF24L01+.

    As with all choices, it is about compromises.

    • The nrf is cheaper and it is more popular than rfm69.
    • Therefore, you will find much more information on this forum (and internet in general) about how to use and troubleshoot nrf.
    • The MySensors code for nrf is also better tested, since more people are using it.
    • Much of the hardware published on the forum is meant for nrf radios, but an adapter is available.
    • I think the Raspberry Pi direct io gateway only works with nrf, and maybe the mysbootloader as well.
    • There is a nice sniffer for nrf

    In theory, the rfm69 technology seems to have the upper hand:

    • It has support for measuring signal strength, which can be used to automatically adjust sending power to get better range when needed and better battery life when the signal strength is good enough.
    • hardware encryption. Not that encryption will hide what you do and when, but it is a nice feature.
    • The lower frequency generally means better range.

    See also
    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1723/which-is-better-rfm69-or-nrf24l01/
    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1918/what-radio-to-use-nrf24l01-rfm69-rfm73/
    https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/1664/which-are-the-best-nrf24l01-modules/

    The RFM69HW can go as high as 17-20db on Tx power, and that certainly helps it get longer range. Most NRF24L01+ modules are nowhere near that high.

    Some factors in favor of the NRF24L01+:

    • typically lower cost for the module itself

    • the SMD modules are very compact, so the footprint is small.

    • Much higher bitrate supported: 2mbps versus at most 300kbps for the RFM69.

    • automatic ACKs and re-transmits.

    Comparing the two, the main downside to the NRF24L01 is its more limited range. On the other hand, there are amplified versions. Then again, it seems YMMV as to how good those are, and their documentation seems non-existent.


  • Hardware Contributor

    I agree on some points too πŸ™‚
    I would add about rfm69:

    • rfm69 (not the high power one) has better range than basic nrf.
    • you can use listenmode (not in mysensors yet) which means waking up your deep sleep node by interrupt. And that's a very nice feature.
    • I think (perhaps I'm wrong) a little bit better noise immune against some switching regulator...even it does not hurt to filter things a bit..
    • etc

    Some downside of rfm69:

    • footprint a little bit bigger but you will never have a 1x1cm node lol
    • price...but less clones..
    • antenna not integrated. too bad

  • Hero Member

    @scalz

    I mainly should have emphasized the compactness rather than the footprint of the SMD (since it's small and includes a PCB antenna), as compared to the RFM69, which has a comparable footprint to the SMD but which still needs an antenna.



  • @scalz

    you can use listenmode (not in mysensors yet) which means waking up your deep sleep node by interrupt. And that's a very nice feature.

    Do you know, when it works in mysensors?? Its very interesting!


  • Hardware Contributor

    @cablesky
    yep I have it working in mysensors dev πŸ˜‰ locally, not released, i just need to look at an howto PR (pull request to mysensors lib). not done yet..
    i will give news here https://forum.mysensors.org/topic/3483/rfm69-and-atc/23 when the PR will be ok.


  • Hero Member

    ListenMode is one of the things that originally attracted me to the RFM69. However, it's not as big a deal as I had originally thought. With an atmega328p you can approximate it quite easily on almost any radio.



  • I see this topic is about 2 years old.

    I'm wondering about improvements in the mentioned CONs of the RFM69.
    Security is a concern for myself, so I'm testing the NRFs with signing (that don't allow encription).

    Eventhough I'm a big fan of mysensors for over 3 years or so, I believe this is the year that I'm going to really implement it on my house!

    Aspects that I care are security, reliability (ack's & retransmits), and range.
    For instance, footprint isn't a concern for me.

    So my question is: Should I re-use the good-old NRFs I have lying around, or should I invest now in the RFM69's and therefore have an improved future-proofness?

    What would be the plan of mysensors initiative in the future? To focus on the RFM69's ?

    The listenmode feature seems great... Have it been included in mysensors already?

    Thanks,


  • Contest Winner

    @joaoabs encryption is available for all radios, in hardware and if not supported, in software.
    But if you want something future proof, go for nrf52.



  • Is the pin 2 interrupt working for nRF? That too would be nice in places.


  • Mod



  • @joaoabs I have both nrf24l01+ and rfm69w
    My recommendation is rfm69w. Yes a bit more expensive but the amount of time I spent troubleshooting nrf clones could have been used elsewhere. Rfm69w just works out of the box in 98%. No clones and that means you won’t have strange NACKs and do not have to call for a shaman to make it work 🀣


  • Mod

    @alexsh1 and don't forget signal RSSI values


  • Contest Winner

    I know this might be considered off topic, but if you want future proofing, make sure you run on a platform with more memory than atmega328p. As for what radio to use, there is nothing in the roadmap that hints at any existing radio being dropped from the supported list. That said, nrf24 does carry a bunch of issues with it with respect to counterfeit chips.



  • I recently started with MySensors. I chose the RFM69W radio over the nrf24 due to posts complaining about range issues with the nrf24. That said I can tell I can tell you the range of my RFM69W is excellent. From my basement (concrete foundation) to the other side of my neighbors house ~75 meters with no issues.

    The only drawback I see is the voltage limit of 3.3Vdc. This precludes using some batteries without a regulator.

    I also found the external antenna could be a + or -. Currently I'm using a coil / spring type antenna mounted on the board.


  • Mod

    If you use LiFePO4 batteries you don't need any regulator



  • @gohan

    Thank you for the comment. Somehow I was under the impression the NRF24 would accept a 5V for power. However now I see only the inputs are 5V tolerant.



  • @johnrob Be careful. nRF24 radios are easy to blow if you feed them 5V for power.


 

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