Upgraded LoRaWAN Node

The upgrade of my LoRaWAN Node is finally here!

The LoRaWAN Node is a compact, universal and affordable LoRaWAN Node with a powerful Arduino compatible Atmel Atmega1284P microcontroller. The dimensions are only 41 x 26 mm!

The new “TvB LoRaWAN Node Rev.2b” with RN2483A

The node supports the most popular LoRa transceivers like the RN2483/RN2903 and RFM95W variants.

It has the same features as the previous version but is’t more user friendly. Some other small changes were made to make for easier manufacturing.

Features:

Microcontroller
  • Atmel Atmega1284P-AU (Arduino compatible)
Size
  • 41 x 26 mm
Operating voltage
  • 3.3V (fixed LDO regulator)
I/O pins
  • 24 available pins (Digital I/O, Analog input, PWM, UART, SPI & I2C)
Flash memory
  • 128 KB (4x more than Arduino Uno)
SRAM
  • 16 KB (8x more than Arduino Uno)
EEPROM
  • 4 KB (4x more than Arduino Uno)
Clock
  • 8 MHz
Power
  • Max 6V DC input
  • Single cell 3.7V LiPo battery
Charging
  • (Solar) Charge controller for single cell Li-Ion & LiPo batteries with orange charging LED (up to 500mA charge current with max. 6V input)
LED
  • Dimmable RGB LED + blue LED
Supported LoRaWAN transceivers
  • HopeRF RFM9X
  • Microchip RN2483 / RN2903 (High-band only)
Antenna
  • U.FL and/or SMA connector, or a simple copper wire as antenna
Programming
  • 5 pin programming header for USB to Serial converter (individual jumper cables required!)
Extra
  • Default JST 2.0 battery connector
  • Build-in voltage divider for measuring battery state
  • Onboard reset switch
  • Breadboard compatible headers
  • Arduino library with starters examples
  • Low power sleep functions available (35uA in deep sleep)

Details about the previous version can be found here in this earlier post.

LoRa transceiver

As described above the hardware supports 2 different wireless LoRa modules. Yes! That means you can pick the one you like most!

U.FL or SMA antenna

Breadboard compatible

Pinout

 

Interested in the hardware?

I’m now on Tindie!

I sell on Tindie

Check out the Tindie page of the TvB LoRaWAN Node

Tindie is ideal for small orders, please note that using Tindie is not “free” for me. If you’re interested in more than a couple of boards don’t hesitate to contact me for more info, better pricing & direct orders!

What’s included?

The hardware includes extra headers, SMA antenna connector, Arduino library, starters examples & support. Please note: You will need some soldering experience & a soldering iron with a round tip <= 1 mm.

Only shipping within Europe!

The “BeeMonitor” project

Beekeeping is a time consuming hobby, it’s not so easy as it sounds. Making sure the bees are healthy takes a lot of knowledge and experience.

Adding sensors to a beehive helps the beekeeper to monitor the hive and take action when things are not as expected.

Therefor I decided to make my own “BeeMonitor”. Starting with the electronics, connecting our hives to the internet!

The BeeMonitor with sensors

The technical side:

The BeeMonitor is a “battery powered wireless datalogger”. It’s a compact controller with user-changeable dipswitches, RGB led, buzzer, “plug & play” RJ12 connectors designed for different sensors combinations and is capable to carry 2 different wireless modules, a RFM69W for use in a private network or the RFM95W to connect to an LPWAN IoT network (LoRaWAN) on sub-gigahertz radio bands. Powered by 2 AAA battery’s, operating on 3V the”BeeMonitor” only consumes 35nA in sleep the making the battery’s last for years! Great, isn’t it?

Transmitted messages are received by a gateway, processed and stored in a database. Data can be shown on a website and even in online “live” graphs depending on the needs.

BeeMonitor with custom front

For example, some temperature & humidity data from one of our beehives:

Battery life:

The prototype has been up & running, collecting data for about 2 months now. So far the battery voltage has dropped from 3.17V to 3.12V without any (low power) software optimisation. Even without the battery will keep the BeeMonitor up & running for a very long time, all the way down to 1.9V. That’s when the voltage reaches the minimum operation voltage for some of the hardware.

Power consumption:

Measuring one wake-up cycle (about 2 seconds) gives a clear overview of the power consumption of the hardware. A short description of how things work here (reference: 1 mV = 1 mA):

  • 0 s: External input, interrupt or timer waking up a part of the hardware (50 nA)
  • 250 ms: Power enabled to other hardware (1.8 mA)
  • 320 ms: Microcontroller startup, bootloader (3.5 mA)
  • 1.7 s: Microcontroller running program, reading sensors, processing
  • 1.82 s: Sending message (50 mA)
  • 1.83 s: Waiting for ACK from gateway (18 mA)
  • 1.85 s: Blink green led (4 mA)
  • 2 s: Powerdown (35 nA)

This graph makes clear I need to optimize the bootloader, because it takes 1.38 s! Thats way to long for battery powered hardware.

Future plans:

There are some improvements needed such as an optimized bootloader, optimized software for better battery life, ..

September 2017: The prototype has been upgraded, read more about the plans & upgrades here.