Secondary ESP8266 gateway

  • I'm working on a beehive sensor set and I've ran into some serious range issues. The hive is not too far - maybe 30m from the house, but the signal has to go through the house diagonally, cutting across 2 thick concrete walls. I've been unable to get either the regular nrf24l01+ or the nrf24l01+ PA LNA versions to work. Tried the nrf24l01+ dipole antenna mod as well as an external 6DBi antenna on the PA LNA version.

    On a whim I decided to test ESP8266 wifi reception at the beehive - and lo and behold it works perfectly fine. I guess the wifi router is just that much more powerful.

    So I replaced the Pro mini and nrf24l01+ combo with a single ESP8266 and got a solid connection. However now I'm facing two problems/questions.

      1. I now have two gateways instead of one. While it's not really a big deal I was wondering if there was any way to combine the two? My primary gateway is a serialGW managed by MYSController
      1. The beehive sensor is a solar powered one. So I really do not like it being always active and connected to the wifi. I'm seeing UDP slave options in the settings but have yet to be able to make it work. However if a connection to MYSController is dropped, it will not be picked up again when the gateway comes back online.

    I guess what most suite my needs here would be a MQTT broker I could connect to and push the sensor updates, but unfortunately my controller does not do MQTT and I'm in no hurry trying to build a connector for that.

    Any ideas/suggestions welcome. Is there an aspect of MySensors I'm overlooking or not considering?

  • Mod

    every esp8266 gateway is pretty much stand alone, the controller will manage data to and from the 2 networks. Have you thought to put a repeater in between the beehive and the gateway you have? It is quite odd that you can't get the PA LNA to work, unless there are other problems we don't know.

  • I'm finding it odd as well that PA LNA also fails to connect from that distance. I only had these two - one on the gateway and the other now on the hive sensor. The rest are all regular pcb antenna versions. I've ordered 5 more PA LNA versions just to be sure it's not a faulty radio.

    That means another month of waiting for them to arrive though...

  • Mod

    Maybe you could make a repeater using the PA LNA radio on the side of the house facing the beehive and use a regular nrf24 on the beehive node and see if you get any improvement

  • That's worth a shot. Tricky to get power out there but definitely worth trying.

  • Guess we can mark this one down to iffy PA/LNA modules. After verifying that a repeater solves the problem, I replaced both, the gateway and beehive sensor radios out for regular nrf24l01's. At first I had a repeater as well in between the two, but after making sure the communication was there, I disconnected the repeater.

    And lo and behold - the communication still works fine. So now I modified the gateway radio by cutting the pcb antenna trace and soldering in a SMA connector. Now I have a high DBi wireless antenna attached to the gateway and no more reception issues.

  • Mod

    Good you have solved. Can you post a picture of the PA LNA modules you were using?

  • I was using these

    I'll see if wrapping them in tin foil helps any.

  • The tin foil wrap tip should definitely be mentioned on the radio page. That trick really works wonders. I used ventilation aluminum foil tape. The glue on it acts as insulation so no need to use food wrap. It's also thicker than regular food grade tin foil and it being a tape makes it super easy to use.

  • Mod

    that is why we normally suggest the shielded ones as they are a bit more expensive but they work better without mods. 🙂

  • Which shielded ones do you mean? I went and got all the radio gear from the MySensors Store page. Was looking for the best possible radios to use for the gateway and couple of my far-away sensors. The PA/LNA modules looked like the cream of the crop.

  • Mod

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