CC1101/CC110L modules outdoors losing range over time



  • Hello,
    New to the forum and have this problem;
    I am using this kind of radio modules with an on-board RF stage, activated with a PAC pin;
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/CC1101-CC110L-wireless-module-medium-power-600-800-meters/1576224501.html
    http://www.electrodragon.com/product/cc1101-433m-wireless-module-variable-designs/

    Using one of them in my cold (corrugated sheet metal) garage to measure temp/humidity/groundtemp and controlling a block heater relay.

    After around a year, they start losing range, first one lasted almost two years and now I had one last 1.5 years. Would not contact indoor unit with garage door closed. Replaced module and it works.

    Module is in an enclosure but antenna sticking out, sealed as good as possible with Blu-tak and hot glue. For the new node I will 3D print an enclosure that fits both module and antenna, in clear PLA for best RF performance.

    I sometimes suspected the SMA antenna connector, cleaned multiple times and sometimes that helped but on this latest module I had the antenna soldered so that is not a cause.

    Could it be humidity creeping into caps/resistors and then cracking them in subzero temperature?

    Sometimes I suspect the AS169 RF switches that direct the signal to/from RF stage.

    Could it be salt depositing on the board? I live 500meters from the Gulf of Bothnia and 200meters from a salted motorway. Should I try to clean the old, either with distilled water or alcohol?



  • And to add, it is controlled by an Atmega328, Arduino and PanStamp driver, https://github.com/raimue/arduino/blob/master/libraries/panstamp/cc1101.cpp .

    I have a similar module indoors that lasted many years.
    Also have a CC110x module without RF stage in my basement storage and that is able to send even if the garage node is acting up so it is not the indoor base station module having problems.



  • @janerik I'm not sure what you mean by "a CC110x module without RF stage", as the CC110x is the RF part (for panstamps as well as other systems). Do you only use the driver or do you use panstamp HW as well ? Do you use SWAP ? I've been using panstamps with SWAP for more than 5 years now, indor but in a humid environment (pool), and I didn't notice this. My DHT22 sensor (on "sensor" board, going 6 month with a single AA cell !) stopped measuring humidity a few months ago, but the board (and the temp part) is still working without any hiccup.


 

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