RAK WisBlock – a kind of industrial Arduino

RAK is a company specialized in IoT hardware, particularly in the LoRaWan domain. They are well known for their LoRaWan concentrators working with raspberryPi.

Since a couple of month they have launched a new family of device, the Wisblock. This is a kind of Arduino solution with a MCU part (running a NRF chip with a LoRa transceiver) and different sensors you can connect to it to make an IoT device. That’s a really simplified way to see the solution as in fact the architecture is really different.

At first, the solution is based on a motherboard where you can plug different type of modules. You can have multiple additional sensors both side of the motherboard. We are also going to see that the way all of this is connected is industrial and can be use for prototypes, medium scale field deployment and finished product. That’s the main difference with a classical Arduino board.

The unit price of a solution with a GPS, MCU, Accelerometer is about $50, nothing really expensive for prototyping, a bit too high for a field experimentation, really high for an end product but apparently you can negotiate that price when you have a certain volume.

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LoRaWan solar gateway monitoring

In a previous post, I’ve been introduce my home made LoRaWan solar powered outdoor gateway. I’ve been investigating on the minimal hardware to make it running and reach some interesting result in my garden ;). Now it’s time to deploy the gateway on the field (basically on a roof top) and this means I’ll not be able to continue to learn what how it evolves over time.

For this reason, I’ve made a small project to monitor the main elements I want to track about this gateway:

  • Battery Voltage
  • Battery in & out power
  • 5V powering availability
  • Temperature

For this I’ve selected a simple and LoRaWan all-included Arduino platform I already detailed in a previous post: the LoRa Radio Node. Let’s detail this project now available on github.

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Contact less connected thermometer

I’ve recently made a post on how to make a pandemic alarming system based on low cost connected thermometers. This post was more about the organization model and business model than the technological solution and implementation. So I also wanted to continue to investigate the connected thermometer solution, mainly for the fun. As I’ve been sponsored by digitspace.com for some free hardware, it has been the opportunity for testing contact-less thermometers module.

The design I’m going to propose in this post will not apply to the low-cost connected thermometers as the technology I’m going to use is far more expensive to the one I proposed in my previous post.

That said, this design can be useful for companies, public site or free access thermometer booth anyone would like to design at low cost.

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UnaMKR, Ardunio Sigfox devkit

We previously discovered the UnaMKR devkit. This devkit has two boards. The module board with the radio module and the sensors. It is the one I talked about in my previous post. The Arduino board is the second one. By programming this Arduino MKR Zero you can create custom program to use sensors and radio module to experiment Sigfox. The big advantage is a single board where ever you are located as it supports all the Sigfox zones.

During this second step, we are going to see how we can use the devkit to make a simple sensor measuring and reporting.

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UnaMKR, the Sigfox Monarch experience

Unabiz has recently released the first Sigfox Monarch certified devkit. It is based on a LiteOn WSG309S module. The LiteOn module contains a St-Microelectronics based solution including a BlueNRG / S2LP in it.

In addition, the module board also have different sensors: temperature, humidity, pressure, air quality, accelerometer, magnetometer, light sensor, magnetic switch (reed switch).

You are able to use the module board as a standalone circuit. You directly program the LiteOn module. Or you can use the standard AT interface of the module and connect an Arduino MKR Zero board to use it.

In this post, we are going to see how to use the kit to test Sigfox Monarch solution.

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First steps with LoRa Radio Node (Arduino)

The LoRa Radio Node is an AVR Arduino board with a RFM95 LoRa module. This all-in-one LoRa module allows to have a LoRaWan device for a reasonable price around 15€. You need to add a battery (like a LS14500 3,7V battery) on the battery holder for a 4€ extra cost to make it mobile. LiPo option are also available using the power connector. Even if the connectors are looking like grove, they are not compatible so you will have to make your own wiring to connect extensions.

This post is reviewing how to getting started with this board to fire your first LoRaWan frame over The Things Network.

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HopeRF RFM95 and arduino a low cost LoRaWan solution

The HopeRF RFM95w module proposes to access LoRa at low cost. Its unitary price is around 4€ on shop like aliexpress. A version with a shield is also existing. Its name is Lora1276-C1 from niceRF. These different transceivers are using Semtech SX1276 chip. It makes this kind of chip interesting for regional low cost LoRaWAN design in association with a MCU. Here we are going to use it with an Arduino platform.

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STM32 and Arduino, working with a custom board

Arduino is supporting STM32 platform and after following the installation steps, you can easily work with the st-microelectronics development kit.

In the real life you need to create a specific setup once your prototype is transformed into a custom board. This setup redefines the pin mapping, the target MCU and needs to refine the firmware transfer method as you will use and external STLINK programmer.

In this post we are going to see the different step for doing this.

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