Will a NRF24L01+PA+LNA help with my signal problems

  • Ok so I'm having signal problems with a temperature sensor I want to have outside .
    I have a Raspberry pi gateway with a standard nrf24 radio wires to the gpio's with openhab as the controller and I'm using Arduino pro mini 3.3v with 2 AA batteries for my sensors . When I placed it out side as soon as I close the back door it loses signal. Strangely when I bring it back inside it seems to crash my gateway and I have to restart the gateway and reset the sensor. The sensor is only about 10 metres away in a shed and I know the standard nrf24's are meant to be good for 60 metres clear line of site . Would a NRF24L01+PA+LNA attached to the gateway help improve this ?
    Are the 5v gpio pins on the Raspberry pi suitable for the NRF24L01+PA+LNA ?
    Also I take it that the NRF24L01+PA+LNA would drain the battery quickly on a battery powered sensor.

  • Mod

    @greymarvel using a pa+lna at the gateway should help, but it is impossible to tell without trying. The rfm69 radios generally have better range than nrf24.
    The gpio communication pins are OK for nrf24 but the nrf24 cannot be powered by the 5V PWR pins. See https://www.mysensors.org/build/raspberry#wiring for details.
    If you put pa+lna on the sensor, it will probably use more battery (but maybe not, since your current configuration will result in the sensor having to resend messages which also consumes power).
    Note: It might be sufficient to put pa+lna on the gateway, you might not need to put it on the sensor.

  • @mfalkvidd
    Thanks for the reply, I've just noticed the fine print ( If you are using the nrf24 PA/LNA version you need to use a 5V->3.3V regulator because the Raspberry Pi 3.3V can't supply enough power.

    Is this what it refers to here?

    out of interest how do I connect this inline from the 5v pin to radio 3.3v pin ? I notice that the link suggests 2 x 10 uF capacitors either side of the regulator . What I'm asking is how best to wire this up with the Raspberry pi pins, the radio , the capacitors and the regulator .

    thanks for you help .

  • Mod

    @greymarvel yes, the LD1117-3.3 will work fine.
    https://www.mysensors.org/build/connect_radio#connecting-a-voltage-regulator describes how to connect a voltage regulator.
    https://www.mysensors.org/build/connect_radio#connecting-a-decoupling-capacitor describes how to connect a capacitor.

  • @mfalkvidd thanks for all your help, I really should of read that page a lot more carefully and maybe i wouldnt of missed those two explanations .

  • Mod

    @greymarvel no worries. There is a lot of information to take in 🙂
    Don't be afraid to ask more if things are unclear.

  • @Greymarvel for a gateway I would suggest using a shielded version of the NRF24L01+PA+LNA as well as this supply adapter

    I was having world of issues with my setup until I did that.

  • @thucar
    yeah I read somewhere that unshielded the NRF24L01+ was awful . The socket adapter you linked what is the benefit of using it ? Is it meant to replace the regulator and make a better connection for the radio ?

  • I has an onboard voltage reg as well as caps. So you do not need to use any additional hardware.

  • @thucar
    that is brilliant I will be getting one of these anything to make life easier . Thanks for your help

  • @mfalkvidd I need your advice regarding the radio's on my Arduino nodes . I've wired the power for the radio to vcc on the Arduino which is boosted by a 3.3v step up booster .
    I have a decoupling capacitor between the vcc and Gnd of the radio but I think my limited range is because of the noise from the booster . If I wire the power of the radio directly to the battery the radio fails completely as seen in the serial monitor . What are my options ?
    Should I used one of the adapters recommended by @Thucar on all my battery sensors ?

  • Mod

    @greymarvel people here are using different solutions. My preferred way is to power the Arduino and the nrf24 directly by 2xAA, with a 4.7uF capacitor as close to the nrf24 as possible (between vcc and gnd). No step-up, no ldo.

    I like this solution because it involves very few components, which means less things that can go wrong and easier troubleshooting if something does go wrong.

  • @mfalkvidd
    is it possible for me to remove the booster if I've removed the regulator on the pro mini?
    How long do your sensors last without a booster ?
    Why do you think my radio's fail when I power them straight from the battery ? Cheap clones maybe ?

  • Mod

    @greymarvel said in Will a NRF24L01+PA+LNA help with my signal problems:

    is it possible for me to remove the booster if I've removed the regulator on the pro mini?

    Yes. See https://www.mysensors.org/build/battery for more information

    How long do your sensors last without a booster ?

    About 10 years

    Why do you think my radio's fail when I power them straight from the battery ? Cheap clones maybe ?

    It could be anything.

  • @mfalkvidd
    you sir are amazing , I soldered the 47uF capacitor practically on the radio and now I'm getting about 10 metres before I get Nack=0 messages . Hopefully with the addition of the NRF24L01+PA+LNA on the gateway I should be able to cover all of the property.

    Thank you so much again for your help .

  • @Greymarvel for me that 47uF cap is essential whenever I'm not using the full adapter I suggested for your gateway.

    I'm getting over 30 meters through two 35cm concrete walls and some trees with the following setup: Gateway with a shielded nRF24L01-PA-LNA (not DIY foil shielded, but proper shielded one) and the forementioned adapter.

    Solar + battery powered sensor with the basic nRF24L01 (PCB antenna) the only booster is that 47uF cap on the radio power pins.

  • Hi to @Greymarvel .Well i already seen this movie before. I bought diferent nrf24 nodes,amplifed ,not amplified,with or without capacitors. In fact i had worst redults with amp nodes. I just change to rfm69hw and w
    . No more low power/high power...etc. now i got my 4000m2 terrain covered (around 80m long).
    I didn't check max range but i never had lost a packet again. I was a very good increment on my network stability.
    That fake nrf24 chips are crazy and unstable and yes,all ebay cheap nodes are fake second i know.

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