Total noob!

  • I'm a complete noobie to this and trying to get my head around the hardware required and confused myself! I've following the Getting Started guide and I get that each sensor "unit" needs the sensor itself connected to an arduino and a radio unit (NRF24L01). These connect to a gateway which in turn connects to a controller. I was planning to use an old laptop as the controller (which has windows 7 on it currently - but could wipe and install ubantu).

    I'm not understanding the gateway segment. I have an Arduino Uno with an ethernet shield already. Can I attach another NRF24L01 to that and use it as the gateway?

  • Mod

    Welcome to the MySensors community @stkilda !

    Yes, you can use the Uno as gateway. Just follow one of the instructions at (which one depends on which ethernet module you have).

    Uno is comparable to Pro Mini in most aspects, except that is it physically bigger and not suited for battery power.

  • Thanks. I did also just find the very helpful video on building a gateway.

    Does the hardware running the controller need to be always on? Which I guess makes a raspberry pi a lower power option compared to the laptop but does the raspberry pi have limitations for any heavy lifting or is the controller software fairly lightweight?

  • @stkilda It really depends on how much "control" you want. I run mosquitto broker, node-red (for handling lots of MQTT messages and for internet API calls), and for my controller I use Domoticz. All of this on my raspberry pi 2 B. I have around 1% CPU usage and ~25% RAM usage. There is not a lot of cross-traffic on my system (meaning I only send data to Domoticz from nodes and not the other way around). This works just fine. You can do the same on your laptop given any OS you want to use - your install and config will of course be different. Yes, you need to have your controller on all the time.

    Domoticz is the easiest to get up and running. All you need is an ethernet/serial gateway and off you go. I use the MQTT gateway and Domoticz requires its own MQTT topic (lame) but that is easy to setup on node-red (I just rebroadcast my MQTT gateway messages on a the Domoticz topic).

  • @wergeld thanks. While I do have a pi, it's currently managing my fish tank - so I will probably set things up on the laptop and if it works out will transfer things to another pi later on.

    What brought me to here was a desire to set up two light pulse meter sensors. One on my import meter the other on my solar generating meter.

    Currently I have a commercial hall effect display - but its pretty basic and it doesn't show direction, meaning if it shows 1Kwh - I have no idea if this is importing or exporting. I figure to show the direction with led initially (if its a net export import will be zero and export will be flashing). Anyway - thats my initial plan. if this works then I can think about pulse rate, Watts and then turning things on when exporting enough power.

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