Basically SNOC SFM10R1 aka BRKWS01 Sigfox devkit is an easy way to get start on low cost sigfox hardware thanks to the low cost module from wisol based on the low cost chip from On Semi Ax8052. Presented like this it looks like stack on a stack on a stack.
But in my point of view the solution is really more than this. As a maker I know how difficult it is to kickstart a Sigfox project : you have to deal with expensive devkit where you sometime need a Kbis, then you have to deal with sigfox to get an access and at ends if you want to transform you POC in a product you need to change you technologies for cheaper or simper solutions. (here I’m not pointing anyone but basically I had to made my own devkit to start on sigfox) Most of these problems have already been solved thanks to sigfox making account creation so simple for devkit and the arrival of devkit like snootlab, airboard or smart-everything. All these solutions are nice but provides a full stack solution MCU + communication for a price around $100. This is where the SNOC module is proposing an alternative : get an easy access to the sigfox network with a low cost solution you can plug to the MCU of your choice… Arduino, Rpi, Nucleo, Pic it’s up to you !
As previously said, the module is a simple modem chip you can’t program, just able to execute orders provided through a serial TTL line. You need to attach this board to an host MCU like an Arduino to use it.
With a price of < 20€HT it’s a good companion for a custom sigfox object for makers and if any case you would like later do mass production of your solution, the wisol chip itself only cost 2€ on volume. The <20€HT sounds attractive as it is provided with an antenna + antenna adapter (basically 5€) and 1 year of sigfox service (basically 14€ HT)
The board own a SIP connector where you can connect the antenna. A long ( 1/2 wave length) antenna is provided with an SMA adapter. This configuration sound nice to make big and dirty prototypes, it’s also the best possible radio solution but in most of the case you will look for changing this antenna with a smaller one in my point of view. So I assume it could be an option to select an antenna to get with the kit.
The board need to be connected to an host MCU, for this you need first to solder the connectors. You have all the needed one and more than needed. In my point of view there are too many GPIO available as in general you will use non of them. But what can more is always better. Basically if you only sold the one with power supply and RX/TX you will be ready for using it.
I personally have preferred to have a standard FTDI interface with the capability to solder a 5V->3,3V regulator as an option but you can tell me I’m wrong, has the solution works well like it is.
Once you have connected your serial line and power to your MCU, sending your first messages to SigFox is really easy. To register to sigfox you just have to follow the procedure described and then to fire you first message you have just to follow the Wisol way as described in this post.
As a conclusion, this kit was something missing for makers who want to design an object with sigfox for a low price and keeping freedom on MCU choice.
Thank you SNOC for giving me the ability to test your product. The product can be found on yadom.fr website.
Devkit summary :
Global note of the devkit : 4 (****) / 5 Public for SNOC devkit - beginner makers : * - average makers : ***** - advanced makers : ***** - educational : * - Pro : ** Prototyping capability of the product - ** Limited to Sigfox functions Quality of dev-kit - **** Basic but aligned with price Quality of the documentation - **** Capability to be integrated in a prototype - ***** Pros - Price - Size Could be better - Antenna choice - capability to be attached with screw - pin-out information on PCB bottom