ubidots MQTT LoRa Field Gateway

Back in April I started working on an MQTT LoRa Field gateway which was going to support a selection of different Software as a service(SaaS) Internet of Things(IoT) platforms.

After a long pause in development I have a working ubidots client and have 3 proof of concept (PoC) integrations for Adafruit.IO, AskSensors, and Losant. I am also working on Azure IoT Hub, Azure IoT Central and MyDevice Cayenne clients. The first iteration is focused on Device to Cloud (D2C) messaging in the next iteration I will add Cloud to Device where viable(C2D).

My applications use a lightweight, easy to implemented protocol which is intended for hobbyist and educational use rather than commercial applications (I have been working on a more secure version as yet another side project)

I have a number of sample Arduino with Dragino LoRa Shield for Arduino, MakerFabs Maduino, Dragino LoRa Mini Dev, M2M Low power Node and Netduino with Elecrow LoRa RFM95 Shield etc. clients. These work with both my platform specific (Adafruit.IO, Azure IoT Central) gateways and protocol specific field gateways.

Ubidots dashboard

When the application is first started it creates a minimal configuration file which should be downloaded, the missing information filled out, then uploaded using the File explorer in the Windows device portal.

{
  "MQTTUserName": "Ubidots generated usname here",
  "MQTTPassword": "NotVerySecure",
  "MQTTClientID": "MQTTLoRaGateway",
  "MQTTServer": "industrial.api.ubidots.com",
  "Address": "LoRaIoT1",
  "Frequency": 915000000.0,
  "MessageHandlerAssembly": "Mqtt.IoTCore.FieldGateway.LoRa.Ubidots",
  "PlatformSpecificConfiguration": ""
}

The application logs debugging information to the Windows 10 IoT Core ETW logging Microsoft-Windows-Diagnostics-LoggingChannel

MQTT LoRa Field Gateway with ubidots plugin generated telemetry
ubidots device management
ubidot managment

The message handler uploads all values in an inbound messages in one MQTT message using the ubidots MQTT message format

async void IMessageHandler.Rfm9XOnReceive(object sender, Rfm9XDevice.OnDataReceivedEventArgs e)
{
	LoggingFields processReceiveLoggingFields = new LoggingFields();
	JObject telemetryDataPoint = new JObject();
	char[] sensorReadingSeparators = { ',' };
	char[] sensorIdAndValueSeparators = { ' ' };

	processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("PacketSNR", e.PacketSnr.ToString("F1"));
	processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("PacketRSSI", e.PacketRssi);
	processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("RSSI", e.Rssi);

	string addressBcdText = BitConverter.ToString(e.Address);
	processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("DeviceAddressLength", e.Address.Length);
	processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("DeviceAddressBCD", addressBcdText);

	string messageText;
	try
	{
		messageText = UTF8Encoding.UTF8.GetString(e.Data);
		processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("MessageText", messageText);
	}
	catch (Exception ex)
	{
		processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("Exception", ex.ToString());
		this.Logging.LogEvent("PayloadProcess failure converting payload to text", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Warning);
		return;
	}

	// Chop up the CSV text
	string[] sensorReadings = messageText.Split(sensorReadingSeparators, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);
	if (sensorReadings.Length < 1)
	{
		this.Logging.LogEvent("PayloadProcess payload contains no sensor readings", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Warning);
		return;
	}

	// Chop up each sensor read into an ID & value
	foreach (string sensorReading in sensorReadings)
	{
		string[] sensorIdAndValue = sensorReading.Split(sensorIdAndValueSeparators, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);
		// Check that there is an id & value
		if (sensorIdAndValue.Length != 2)
		{
			this.Logging.LogEvent("PayloadProcess payload invalid format", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Warning);
			return;
		}

		string sensorId = sensorIdAndValue[0];
		string value = sensorIdAndValue[1];

		telemetryDataPoint.Add(addressBcdText + sensorId, Convert.ToDouble(value));
	}
	processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("MQTTClientId", MqttClient.Options.ClientId);

	string stateTopic = string.Format(stateTopicFormat, MqttClient.Options.ClientId);

	try
	{
		var message = new MqttApplicationMessageBuilder()
			.WithTopic(stateTopic)
			.WithPayload(JsonConvert.SerializeObject(telemetryDataPoint))
			.WithAtLeastOnceQoS()
			.Build();
		Debug.WriteLine(" {0:HH:mm:ss} MQTT Client PublishAsync start", DateTime.UtcNow);
		await MqttClient.PublishAsync(message);
		Debug.WriteLine(" {0:HH:mm:ss} MQTT Client PublishAsync finish", DateTime.UtcNow);

		this.Logging.LogEvent("PublishAsync Ubidots payload", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Information);
	}
	catch (Exception ex)
	{
		processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("Exception", ex.ToString());
		this.Logging.LogEvent("PublishAsync Ubidots payload", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Error);
	}
}

The “automagic” provisioning of feeds does make setting up small scale systems easier, though I’m not certain how well it would scale.

Some of the fields weren’t obviously editable e.g.”ÄPI Label” in device configuration which I only discovered by clicking on them..

The limitations of the free account meant I couldn’t evaluate ubidots in much depth but what was available appeared to be robust and reliable (Nov 2019).

Adafruit.IO MQTT LoRa Field Gateway

Back in April I started working on an MQTT LoRa Field gateway which was going to support a selection of different Software as a service(SaaS) Internet of Things(IoT) platforms.

After a long pause in development I have a working AdaFruit.IO client and have 3 proof of concept (PoC) integrations for AskSensors, Losant and Ubidots. I am also working on Azure IoT Hub, Azure IoT Central and MyDevice Cayenne clients. The first iteration is focused on Device to Cloud (D2C) messaging in the next iteration I will add Cloud to Device where viable(C2D).

My applications use a lightweight, easy to implemented protocol which is intended for hobbyist and educational use rather than commercial applications (I have been working on a more secure version as yet another side project)

I have a number of sample Arduino with Dragino LoRa Shield for Arduino, MakerFabs Maduino, Dragino LoRa Mini Dev, M2M Low power Node and Netduino with Elecrow LoRa RFM95 Shield etc. clients. These work with both my platform specific (Adafruit.IO, Azure IoT Central) gateways and protocol specific field gateways.

Maduino client dashboard

When the application is first started it creates a minimal configuration file which should be downloaded, the missing information filled out, then uploaded using the File explorer in the Windows device portal.

{
  "MQTTUserName": "AdaFruitIO user",
  "MQTTPassword": "AIO Key",
  "MQTTClientID": "MQTTLoRaGateway",
  "MQTTServer": "io.adafruit.com",
  "Address": "LoRaIoT1",
  "Frequency": 915000000.0,
  "MessageHandlerAssembly": "Mqtt.IoTCore.FieldGateway.LoRa.Adafruit",
  "PlatformSpecificConfiguration": "mqttloragateway"
}

The application logs debugging information to the Windows 10 IoT Core ETW logging Microsoft-Windows-Diagnostics-LoggingChannel

MQTT LoRa Gateway with Adafruit.IO plug-in

The SaaS platform specific interface has gained an additional parameter for platform specific configuration.

namespace devMobile.Mqtt.IoTCore.FieldGateway
{
	using System;
	using Windows.Foundation.Diagnostics;

	using devMobile.IoT.Rfm9x;
	using MQTTnet;
	using MQTTnet.Client;

	public interface IMessageHandler
	{
		void Initialise(LoggingChannel logging, IMqttClient mqttClient, Rfm9XDevice rfm9XDevice,string platformSpecificConfiguration);

		void Rfm9XOnReceive(object sender, Rfm9XDevice.OnDataReceivedEventArgs e);

		void MqttApplicationMessageReceived(object sender, MqttApplicationMessageReceivedEventArgs e);

		void Rfm9xOnTransmit(object sender, Rfm9XDevice.OnDataTransmitedEventArgs e);
	}
}

This is used for the AdaFruit.IO GroupName so Adafruit.IO feed values are not all in a single group.

public class MessageHandler : IMessageHandler
	{
		private LoggingChannel Logging { get; set; }
		private IMqttClient MqttClient { get; set; }
		private Rfm9XDevice Rfm9XDevice { get; set; }
      private string PlatformSpecificConfiguration { get; set; }


      void IMessageHandler.Initialise(LoggingChannel logging, IMqttClient mqttClient, Rfm9XDevice rfm9XDevice, string platformSpecificConfiguration)
		{
			LoggingFields processInitialiseLoggingFields = new LoggingFields();

			this.Logging = logging;
			this.MqttClient = mqttClient;
			this.Rfm9XDevice = rfm9XDevice;
			this.PlatformSpecificConfiguration = platformSpecificConfiguration;
		}

		async void IMessageHandler.Rfm9XOnReceive(object sender, Rfm9XDevice.OnDataReceivedEventArgs e)
		{
			LoggingFields processReceiveLoggingFields = new LoggingFields();

			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("PacketSNR", e.PacketSnr.ToString("F1"));
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("PacketRSSI", e.PacketRssi);
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("RSSI", e.Rssi);

			string addressBcdText = BitConverter.ToString(e.Address);
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("DeviceAddressLength", e.Address.Length);
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("DeviceAddressBCD", addressBcdText);

			string payloadBcdText = BitConverter.ToString(e.Data);
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("PayloadLength", e.Data.Length);
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("DeviceAddressBCD", payloadBcdText);

			this.Logging.LogEvent("Rfm9XOnReceive", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Information);
		}

		void IMessageHandler.MqttApplicationMessageReceived(object sender, MqttApplicationMessageReceivedEventArgs e)
		{
			LoggingFields processReceiveLoggingFields = new LoggingFields();

			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("ClientId", e.ClientId);
#if DEBUG
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("Payload", e.ApplicationMessage.ConvertPayloadToString());
#endif
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("QualityOfServiceLevel", e.ApplicationMessage.QualityOfServiceLevel.ToString());
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddBoolean("Retain", e.ApplicationMessage.Retain);
			processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("Topic", e.ApplicationMessage.Topic);

			this.Logging.LogEvent("MqttApplicationMessageReceived topic not processed", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Error);
		}

		void IMessageHandler.Rfm9xOnTransmit(object sender, Rfm9XDevice.OnDataTransmitedEventArgs e)
		{
			this.Logging.LogMessage("Rfm9xOnTransmit", LoggingLevel.Information);
		}
	}
Adafruit.IO Group for a single field gateway
Group Setup

The message handler uploads all values in an inbound messages in one MQTT message using the AdaFruit.IO Group Feed format.

      async void IMessageHandler.Rfm9XOnReceive(object sender, Rfm9XDevice.OnDataReceivedEventArgs e)
      {
         LoggingFields processReceiveLoggingFields = new LoggingFields();
         char[] sensorReadingSeparators = { ',' };
         char[] sensorIdAndValueSeparators = { ' ' };

         processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("PacketSNR", e.PacketSnr.ToString("F1"));
         processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("PacketRSSI", e.PacketRssi);
         processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("RSSI", e.Rssi);

         string addressBcdText = BitConverter.ToString(e.Address);
         processReceiveLoggingFields.AddInt32("DeviceAddressLength", e.Address.Length);
         processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("DeviceAddressBCD", addressBcdText);

         string messageText;
         try
         {
            messageText = UTF8Encoding.UTF8.GetString(e.Data);
            processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("MessageText", messageText);
         }
         catch (Exception ex)
         {
            processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("Exception", ex.ToString());
            this.Logging.LogEvent("PayloadProcess failure converting payload to text", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Warning);
            return;
         }

         // Chop up the CSV text
         string[] sensorReadings = messageText.Split(sensorReadingSeparators, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);
         if (sensorReadings.Length < 1)
         {
            this.Logging.LogEvent("PayloadProcess payload contains no sensor readings", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Warning);
            return;
         }

         JObject payloadJObject = new JObject();

         JObject feeds = new JObject();

         // Chop up each sensor read into an ID & value
         foreach (string sensorReading in sensorReadings)
         {
            string[] sensorIdAndValue = sensorReading.Split(sensorIdAndValueSeparators, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries);

            // Check that there is an id & value
            if (sensorIdAndValue.Length != 2)
            {
               this.Logging.LogEvent("PayloadProcess payload invalid format", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Warning);
               return;
            }

            string sensorId = string.Concat(addressBcdText, sensorIdAndValue[0]);
            string value = sensorIdAndValue[1];

            feeds.Add(sensorId.ToLower(), value);
         }
         payloadJObject.Add("feeds", feeds);

         string topic = $"{MqttClient.Options.Credentials.Username}/groups/{PlatformSpecificConfiguration}";

         try
         {
            var message = new MqttApplicationMessageBuilder()
               .WithTopic(topic)
               .WithPayload(JsonConvert.SerializeObject(payloadJObject))
               .WithAtLeastOnceQoS()
               .Build();
            Debug.WriteLine(" {0:HH:mm:ss} MQTT Client PublishAsync start", DateTime.UtcNow);
            await MqttClient.PublishAsync(message);
            Debug.WriteLine(" {0:HH:mm:ss} MQTT Client PublishAsync finish", DateTime.UtcNow);

            this.Logging.LogEvent("PublishAsync Adafruit payload", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Information);
         }
         catch (Exception ex)
         {
            processReceiveLoggingFields.AddString("Exception", ex.ToString());
            this.Logging.LogEvent("PublishAsync Adafruit payload", processReceiveLoggingFields, LoggingLevel.Error);
         }
      }

The casing of User names (Must match exactly) and Group/Feed names (must be lower case) tripped me up yet again. The “automagic” provisioning of feeds does make setting up small scale systems easier, though I’m not certain how well it would scale.

Adafruit MQTT Cloud to Device Messaging

After getting MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) Device to Cloud (D2C) messaging working for AdaFruit.IO I have also got Cloud to Device (C2D) messaging working as well.

The MQTT broker, username, API key, client ID, optional group name (to keep MQTT aligned with REST API terminology), command topic and feed name are command line options.

The Adafruit IO MQTT documentation suggests an approach for naming topics which allows a bit more structure for feed (D2C and C2D) names than the REST API (which only does D2C).

class Program
{
	private static IMqttClient mqttClient = null;
	private static IMqttClientOptions mqttOptions = null;
	private static string server;
	private static string username;
	private static string password;
	private static string clientId;
	private static string commandTopic;
	private static string groupname;
	private static string feedname;

	static void Main(string[] args)
	{
		MqttFactory factory = new MqttFactory();
		mqttClient = factory.CreateMqttClient();

		if ((args.Length != 6) && (args.Length != 7))
		{
			Console.WriteLine("[MQTT Server] [UserName] [Password] [ClientID] [CommandTopic] [GroupName] [FeedName]");
			Console.WriteLine("[MQTT Server] [UserName] [Password] [ClientID] [CommandTopic] [FeedName]");
			Console.WriteLine("Press <enter> to exit");
			Console.ReadLine();
			return;
		}

		server = args[0];
		username = args[1];
		password = args[2];
		clientId = args[3];
		commandTopic = args[4];
		if (args.Length == 6)
		{
			feedname = args[5].ToLower();
			Console.WriteLine($"MQTT Server:{server} Username:{username} ClientID:{clientId} CommandTopic:{commandTopic} Feedname:{feedname}");
		}

		if (args.Length == 7)
		{
			groupname = args[5].ToLower();
			feedname = args[6].ToLower();
			Console.WriteLine($"MQTT Server:{server} Username:{username} ClientID:{clientId} CommandTopic:{commandTopic} Groupname:{groupname} Feedname:{feedname}");
		}

		mqttOptions = new MqttClientOptionsBuilder()
			.WithTcpServer(server)
			.WithCredentials(username, password)
			.WithClientId(clientId)
			.WithTls()
			.Build();

		mqttClient.Disconnected += MqttClient_Disconnected;
		mqttClient.ConnectAsync(mqttOptions).Wait();
		mqttClient.ApplicationMessageReceived += MqttClient_ApplicationMessageReceived;

		// Adafruit.IO format for topics which are called feeds
		string topic = string.Empty;

		if (args.Length == 6)
		{
			topic = $"{username}/feeds/{feedname}";				
		}

		if (args.Length == 7)
		{
			topic = $"{username}/feeds/{groupname}.{feedname}";
		}

		mqttClient.SubscribeAsync(commandTopic, MQTTnet.Protocol.MqttQualityOfServiceLevel.AtLeastOnce).GetAwaiter().GetResult();

		while (true)
		{
			string value = "22." + DateTime.UtcNow.Millisecond.ToString();
			Console.WriteLine($"Topic:{topic} Value:{value}");

			var message = new MqttApplicationMessageBuilder()
				.WithTopic(topic)
				.WithPayload(value)
				.WithQualityOfServiceLevel(MQTTnet.Protocol.MqttQualityOfServiceLevel.AtLeastOnce)
			.WithExactlyOnceQoS()
			.WithRetainFlag()
			.Build();

			Console.WriteLine("PublishAsync start");
			mqttClient.PublishAsync(message).Wait();
			Console.WriteLine("PublishAsync finish");

			Thread.Sleep(30100);
		}
	}

	private static void MqttClient_ApplicationMessageReceived(object sender, MqttApplicationMessageReceivedEventArgs e)
	{
		Console.WriteLine($"ClientId:{e.ClientId} Topic:{e.ApplicationMessage.Topic} Payload:{e.ApplicationMessage.ConvertPayloadToString()}");
	}

	private static async void MqttClient_Disconnected(object sender, MqttClientDisconnectedEventArgs e)
	{
		Debug.WriteLine("Disconnected");
		await Task.Delay(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5));

		try
		{
			await mqttClient.ConnectAsync(mqttOptions);
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			Debug.WriteLine("Reconnect failed {0}", ex.Message);
		}
	}
}

I configured a slider on the dashboard for my home called “setpoint” (yet again I was tripped up “automatically” camel casing the name because I’m a C# developer) which my MQTT client subscribed to.

AdaFruit.IO Home monitoring dashboard
setpoint feed configuration

After figuring out the format of the command topic I found that when the slider was moved the MQTT client subscription event fired reliably.

AdaFruit Client showing the setpoint value change notifications

Overall the process went pretty well, though the manual configuration of the subscriptions to AdaFruit.IO feeds could become a bit of a problem at scale.

Ask Sensors with MQTTnet

After a 6 month pause I’m back working on my Message Queue Telemetry Transport(MQTT) LoRa gateway.

As I’m testing my Message Queue Telemetry Transport(MQTT) LoRa gateway I’m building a proof of concept(PoC) .Net core console application for each IoT platform I would like to support.

This PoC was to confirm that I could connect to the Ask Sensors MQTT API then format topics and payloads correctly.

Console test application

The MQTT broker, username, password, and client ID are command line options.

class Program
{
	private static IMqttClient mqttClient = null;
	private static IMqttClientOptions mqttOptions = null;
	private static string server;
	private static string username;
	private static string apiKey;
	private static string clientID;

	static void Main(string[] args)
	{
		MqttFactory factory = new MqttFactory();
		mqttClient = factory.CreateMqttClient();
		bool heatPumpOn = false;

		if (args.Length != 4)
		{
			Console.WriteLine("[MQTT Server] [UserName] [APIKey] [ClientID]");
			Console.WriteLine("Press <enter> to exit");
			Console.ReadLine();
			return;
		}

		server = args[0];
		username = args[1];
		apiKey = args[2];
		clientID = args[3];

		Console.WriteLine($"MQTT Server:{server} Username:{username} ClientID:{clientID}");

		mqttOptions = new MqttClientOptionsBuilder()
			.WithTcpServer(server)
			.WithCredentials(username, "")
			.WithClientId(clientID)
			//.WithTls() // This is a bit of a worry
			.Build();

		mqttClient.ApplicationMessageReceived += MqttClient_ApplicationMessageReceived;
		mqttClient.Disconnected += MqttClient_Disconnected;
		mqttClient.ConnectAsync(mqttOptions).Wait();

		// AskSensors formatted client state update topic
		string stateTopic = $"{username}/{apiKey}";

		while (true)
		{
			string payloadText;
			double temperature = 22.0 + (DateTime.UtcNow.Millisecond / 1000.0);
			double humidity = 50 + (DateTime.UtcNow.Millisecond / 100.0);
			double speed = 10 + (DateTime.UtcNow.Millisecond / 100.0);
			Console.WriteLine($"Topic:{stateTopic} Temperature:{temperature:0.00} Humidity:{humidity:0} HeatPumpOn:{heatPumpOn}");

			// First JSON attempt didn't work
			payloadText = @"{""Humidity"":55}";

            // Second attempt worked
            payloadText = $"module1=22";

            // Third attempt with "real" values injected
            payloadText = $"module1={temperature}&m2={humidity}";

            var message = new MqttApplicationMessageBuilder()
					.WithTopic(stateTopic)
					.WithPayload(payloadText)
					.WithQualityOfServiceLevel(global::MQTTnet.Protocol.MqttQualityOfServiceLevel.AtLeastOnce)
				   .WithExactlyOnceQoS()
				   //.WithAtLeastOnceQoS()
				   //.WithRetainFlag()
				   .Build();

				Console.WriteLine("PublishAsync start");
				mqttClient.PublishAsync(message).Wait();
				Console.WriteLine("PublishAsync finish");

				Thread.Sleep(30100);
			}
		}

	private static async void MqttClient_Disconnected(object sender, MqttClientDisconnectedEventArgs e)
	{
		Debug.WriteLine("Disconnected");
		await Task.Delay(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(5));

		try
		{
			await mqttClient.ConnectAsync(mqttOptions);
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			Debug.WriteLine("Reconnect failed {0}", ex.Message);
		}
	}

The Ask Sensors screen designer has 8 different types of Graph (line, bar, scatter, gauge, table, binary. digital, map)

Ask sensors dashboard configuration was fairly simple, though sequential numbering of inputs (modules) might require some mapping code.

Overall the initial configuration went smoothly after I figured out the payload format (not JSON), though the functionality (of a free subscription) did appear to be quite limited.

Since I first started building my MQTT gateway there have been several breaking updates to the MQTTNet API which so I will have to refresh all the applications in my solution.

Maduino LoRa Air Temperature and Soil Moisture

This is a demo MakerFabs Maduino LoRa Radio 868MHz client (based on Maduino LoRa 868MHz example) that uploads telemetry data to my Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry PI AdaFruit.IO and Azure IoT Hub field gateways.

The code is available on github

Sample hardware
Azure IoT Central data visualisation

The Maduino device in the picture is a custom version with an onboard Microchip ATSHA204 crypto and authentication chip (currently only use for the unique 72 bit serial number) and a voltage divider connected to the analog pin A6 to monitor the battery voltage.

There are compile time options ATSHA204 & BATTERY_VOLTAGE_MONITOR which can be used to selectively enable this functionality.

I use the Arduino lowpower library to aggressively sleep the device between measurements

// Adjust the delay so period is close to desired sec as possible, first do 8sec chunks. 
  int delayCounter = SensorUploadDelay / 8 ;
  for( int i = 0 ; i < delayCounter ; i++ )
  {
     LowPower.powerDown(SLEEP_8S, ADC_OFF, BOD_OFF);  
  }
  
  // Then to 4 sec chunk
  delayCounter =  ( SensorUploadDelay % 8 ) / 4;
  for( int i = 0 ; i < delayCounter ; i++ )
  {
     LowPower.powerDown(SLEEP_4S, ADC_OFF, BOD_OFF);  
  }

  // Then to 2 sec chunk
  delayCounter =  ( SensorUploadDelay % 4 ) / 2 ;
  for( int i = 0 ; i < delayCounter ; i++ )
  {
     LowPower.powerDown(SLEEP_2S, ADC_OFF, BOD_OFF);  
  }

  // Then to 1 sec chunk
  delayCounter =  ( SensorUploadDelay % 2 ) ;
  for( int i = 0 ; i < delayCounter ; i++ )
  {
     LowPower.powerDown(SLEEP_1S, ADC_OFF, BOD_OFF);  
  }
}

I use a spare digital PIN for powering the soil moisture probe so it can be powered down when not in use. I have included a short delay after powering up the device to allow the reading to settle.

  // Turn on soil mosture sensor, take reading then turn off to save power
  digitalWrite(SoilMoistureSensorEnablePin, HIGH);
  delay(SoilMoistureSensorEnableDelay);
  int soilMoistureADCValue = analogRead(SoilMoistureSensorPin);
  digitalWrite(SoilMoistureSensorEnablePin, LOW);
  int soilMoisture = map(soilMoistureADCValue,SoilMoistureSensorMinimum,SoilMoistureSensorMaximum, SoilMoistureValueMinimum, SoilMoistureValueMaximum); 
  PayloadAdd( "s", soilMoisture, false);

Bill of materials (Prices Nov 2019)

  • Maduino LoRa Radion (868MHz) 18.90
  • SHT20 I2C Temperature & Humidity Sensor (Waterproof Probe) USD22.50
  • Pinotech SoilWatch 10 – Soil moisture sensor USD23
  • Elecrow 1 Watt solar panel with wires USD3.80
  • 500 mAh LI-Ion battery

The software could easily be modified to support additional sensors.

Re-reading the SX1231 datasheet

While trying to debug a deadlock in my RFM69 library I noticed in the logging that I was getting a receive interrupt while putting bytes in the FIFO for transmission.

Register 0x49 - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
Register 0x4a - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
Register 0x4b - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
Register 0x4c - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
Register 0x4d - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
...
22:58:47.192 Received To 0X22 a 33 byte message hello world RFM69-915-02 10-58-47 CRC Ok True
The thread 0x6a8 has exited with code 0 (0x0).
22:58:48.334 Send-hello world RFM69-915-01 10-58-48
22:58:48.351 Send-Done
22:58:48.388 Received To 0X22 a 33 byte message hello world RFM69-915-02 10-58-52 CRC Ok True
22:58:48.462 Transmit-Done
The thread 0xde4 has exited with code 0 (0x0).
22:58:53.427 Send-hello world RFM69-915-01 10-58-53
22:58:53.445 Send-Done
22:58:53.556 Transmit-Done
22:58:57.382 Received To 0X22 a 33 byte message hello world RFM69-915-02 10-58-57 CRC Ok True
The thread 0x17c has exited with code 0 (0x0).

After re-reading the RFM69CW/RFM69HCW module datasheet (based on the Semtech SX1231/SX1231H) I realised my code for loading the FIFO could be more efficient.

SX1231 Register map FIFO

Based on the timing diagram I could remove the loop which loads bytes in the FIFO for transmission.

The changes in my RFM69 library weren’t huge but I think they are also applicable to the RFM9X LoRa library as well

public void SendMessage(byte address, byte[] messageBytes)
{
#region Guard conditions
#endregion

	lock (Rfm9XRegFifoLock)
	{
		SetMode(RegOpModeMode.StandBy);

		if (PacketFormat == RegPacketConfig1PacketFormat.VariableLength)
		{
			RegisterManager.WriteByte((byte)Registers.RegFifo, (byte)(messageBytes.Length + 1)); // Additional byte for address 
		}

		RegisterManager.WriteByte((byte)Registers.RegFifo, address);

		foreach (byte b in messageBytes)
		{
				this.RegisterManager.WriteByte((byte)Registers.RegFifo, b);
		}

		SetMode(RegOpModeMode.Transmit);
	}
}

After modifications

public void SendMessage(byte address, byte[] messageBytes)
{
#region Guard conditions
...
#endregion

	SetDioPinMapping(dio0Mapping: Dio0Mapping.TransmitPacketSent);

	lock (Rfm9XRegFifoLock)
	{
		SetMode(RegOpModeMode.StandBy);

		if (PacketFormat == RegPacketConfig1PacketFormat.VariableLength)
		{
			RegisterManager.WriteByte((byte)Registers.RegFifo, (byte)(messageBytes.Length + 1)); // Additional byte for address 
		}

		RegisterManager.WriteByte((byte)Registers.RegFifo, address);

		this.RegisterManager.Write((byte)Registers.RegFifo, messageBytes);
	}
	SetMode(RegOpModeMode.Transmit);
}

After stress testing with several client devices this appears to have reduced the scope of a receive interrupt to occur while a packet was being loaded into the FIFO for transmission. I now need to dig deeper into the timing around entering different operational modes and selectively enabling event interrupts.

iwanders/plainRFM69 revisited

After problems with interleaved interrupt handling in my Windows 10 IoT Core client I figured the AutoMode used by the plainRFM69 library might be worth investigation. My first Arduino client was based on the plainRFM69 library but had Interoperability issues.

For this attempt I also started with the minimal sample and modified the code to send and receive text messages.

/*
    Copyright (c) 2014, Ivor Wanders, Bryn Lewis 2019
    MIT License, see the LICENSE.md file in the root folder.
*/

#include <SPI.h>
#include <plainRFM69.h>

// slave select pin.
#define SLAVE_SELECT_PIN 10

// connected to the reset pin of the RFM69.
#define RESET_PIN 9

// tie this pin down on the receiver.
#define SENDER_DETECT_PIN A0

const uint8_t tx_buffer[] = "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTURWXYZ1234567890";
//const uint8_t tx_buffer[] = "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz1234567890";
uint8_t rx_buffer[sizeof(tx_buffer)] = "";

plainRFM69 rfm = plainRFM69(SLAVE_SELECT_PIN);


void sender() {

  uint32_t start_time = millis();

  uint32_t counter = 1; // the counter which we are going to send.

  while (true) {
    rfm.poll(); // run poll as often as possible.

    if (!rfm.canSend()) {
      continue; // sending is not possible, already sending.
    }

    if ((millis() - start_time) > 1000) { // every 500 ms.
      start_time = millis();

      // be a little bit verbose.
      Serial.print("Send:"); Serial.println(counter);

      // send the number of bytes equal to that set with setPacketLength.
      // read those bytes from memory where counter starts.
      rfm.sendVariable(tx_buffer, counter);

      counter++; // increase the counter.

      if ( counter > strlen(tx_buffer))
      {
        counter = 1;
      }
    }
  }
}

void receiver() {
  uint32_t counter = 0; // to count the messages.

  while (true) {

    rfm.poll(); // poll as often as possible.

    while (rfm.available())
    {
      uint8_t len = rfm.read(rx_buffer); // read the packet into the new_counter.

      // print verbose output.
      Serial.print("Packet Len:");
      Serial.print( len );
      Serial.print(" : ");
      Serial.println((char*)rx_buffer);
    }
  }
}

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(9600);
  SPI.begin();

  bareRFM69::reset(RESET_PIN); // sent the RFM69 a hard-reset.

  //rfm.setRecommended(); // set recommended paramters in RFM69.
  rfm.setPacketType(true, false); // set the used packet type.

  rfm.setBufferSize(2);   // set the internal buffer size.
  rfm.setPacketLength(sizeof(rx_buffer)); // set the packet length.

  rfm.setFrequency((uint32_t)909560000); // set the frequency.

  rfm.setLNA(RFM69_LNA_IMP_200OHM, RFM69_LNA_GAIN_AGC_LOOP);

  // p71, 3 preamble bytes.
  rfm.setPreambleSize(16);

  // p71, 4 bytes sync of 0x01, only start listening when sync is matched.
  //uint8_t syncthing[] = {0xaa, 0x2d, 0xd4};
  uint8_t syncthing[] = {0xd4, 0x2d, 0xaa};
  rfm.setSyncConfig(true, false, sizeof(syncthing), 0);
  rfm.setSyncValue(&syncthing, sizeof(syncthing));

  rfm.dumpRegisters(Serial);

  // baudrate is default, 4800 bps now.

  rfm.receive();
  // set it to receiving mode.

  pinMode(SENDER_DETECT_PIN, INPUT_PULLUP);
  delay(5);
}

void loop() {
  if (digitalRead(SENDER_DETECT_PIN) == LOW) {
    Serial.println("Going Receiver!");
    receiver();
    // this function never returns and contains an infinite loop.
  } else {
    Serial.println("Going sender!");
    sender();
    // idem.
  }
}

I took the list register values and loaded them into a Excel spreadsheet alongside the values from my Windows 10 IoT Core application

17:35:03.044 -> 0x0: 0x0
17:35:03.078 -> 0x1: 0x4
17:35:03.078 -> 0x2: 0x0
17:35:03.078 -> 0x3: 0x1A
17:35:03.112 -> 0x4: 0xB
17:35:03.112 -> 0x5: 0x0
17:35:03.112 -> 0x6: 0x52
17:35:03.146 -> 0x7: 0xE3
17:35:03.146 -> 0x8: 0x63
17:35:03.146 -> 0x9: 0xD7
17:35:03.180 -> 0xA: 0x41
17:35:03.180 -> 0xB: 0x40
17:35:03.180 -> 0xC: 0x2
17:35:03.215 -> 0xD: 0x92
17:35:03.215 -> 0xE: 0xF5
17:35:03.249 -> 0xF: 0x20
17:35:03.249 -> 0x10: 0x24
17:35:03.249 -> 0x11: 0x9F
17:35:03.282 -> 0x12: 0x9
17:35:03.282 -> 0x13: 0x1A
17:35:03.282 -> 0x14: 0x40
17:35:03.317 -> 0x15: 0xB0
17:35:03.317 -> 0x16: 0x7B
17:35:03.317 -> 0x17: 0x9B
17:35:03.317 -> 0x18: 0x88
17:35:03.351 -> 0x19: 0x86
17:35:03.351 -> 0x1A: 0x8A
17:35:03.384 -> 0x1B: 0x40
17:35:03.384 -> 0x1C: 0x80
17:35:03.384 -> 0x1D: 0x6
17:35:03.418 -> 0x1E: 0x10
17:35:03.418 -> 0x1F: 0x0
17:35:03.452 -> 0x20: 0x0
17:35:03.452 -> 0x21: 0x0
17:35:03.452 -> 0x22: 0x0
17:35:03.487 -> 0x23: 0x2
17:35:03.487 -> 0x24: 0xFF
17:35:03.487 -> 0x25: 0x0
17:35:03.521 -> 0x26: 0x5
17:35:03.521 -> 0x27: 0x80
17:35:03.521 -> 0x28: 0x0
17:35:03.556 -> 0x29: 0xFF
17:35:03.556 -> 0x2A: 0x0
17:35:03.556 -> 0x2B: 0x0
17:35:03.556 -> 0x2C: 0x0
17:35:03.590 -> 0x2D: 0x10
17:35:03.590 -> 0x2E: 0x90
17:35:03.624 -> 0x2F: 0xAA
17:35:03.624 -> 0x30: 0x2D
17:35:03.624 -> 0x31: 0xD4
17:35:03.659 -> 0x32: 0x0
17:35:03.659 -> 0x33: 0x0
17:35:03.659 -> 0x34: 0x0
17:35:03.693 -> 0x35: 0x0
17:35:03.693 -> 0x36: 0x0
17:35:03.728 -> 0x37: 0xD0
17:35:03.728 -> 0x38: 0x25
17:35:03.728 -> 0x39: 0x0
17:35:03.761 -> 0x3A: 0x0
17:35:03.761 -> 0x3B: 0x0
17:35:03.761 -> 0x3C: 0x1
17:35:03.795 -> 0x3D: 0x0
17:35:03.795 -> Going sender!
17:35:04.725 -> Send:1

Arduino RFM69HCW Client in receive mode

First thing I noticed was the order of the three sync byes (Registers 0x2F, 0x30, 0x31) was reversed. I then modified the run method in the Windows 10 code so the registers settings on both devices matched. (I removed the PlainRFM69 SetRecommended call so as many of the default options as possible were used).

public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
{
	byte[] syncValues = { 0xAA, 0x2D, 0xD4 };
	byte[] aesKeyValues = { 0x0, 0x01, 0x02, 0x03, 0x04, 0x05, 0x06, 0x07, 0x08, 0x09, 0x0A, 0x0B, 0x0C, 0x0D, 0X0E, 0X0F };

	try
	{
		rfm69Device.Initialise(Rfm69HcwDevice.RegOpModeMode.StandBy
										,frequency: 909560000.0 
										,dio0Mapping: Rfm69HcwDevice.Dio0Mapping.ReceiveCrcOk
										,preambleSize: 16												
										,syncValues: syncValues
										,packetFormat: Rfm69HcwDevice.RegPacketConfig1PacketFormat.VariableLength
										,packetDcFree: Rfm69HcwDevice.RegPacketConfig1DcFree.Whitening
										,autoRestartRx: false
										//,addressNode: 0x22
										//,addressbroadcast: 0x99
										//,aesKey: aesKeyValues
										);

		rfm69Device.OnReceive += Rfm69Device_OnReceive;
		rfm69Device.OnTransmit += Rfm69Device_OnTransmit;

		rfm69Device.RegisterDump();
		rfm69Device.SetMode(Rfm69HcwDevice.RegOpModeMode.Receive);


		while (true)
		{
			if (true)
			{
				string message = $"hello world {Environment.MachineName} {DateTime.Now:hh-mm-ss}";

				byte[] messageBuffer = UTF8Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(message);

				Debug.WriteLine("{0:HH:mm:ss.fff} Send-{1}", DateTime.Now, message);
				//rfm69Device.SendMessage( 0x11, messageBuffer);
				rfm69Device.SendMessage(messageBuffer);

				Debug.WriteLine("{0:HH:mm:ss.fff} Send-Done", DateTime.Now);

				Task.Delay(5000).Wait();
			}
			else
			{
				Debug.Write(".");
				Task.Delay(1000).Wait();
			}
		}
	}
	catch (Exception ex)
	{
		Debug.WriteLine(ex.Message);
	}
}

I also found an error with the declaration of the RegPacketConfig1DcFree enumeration (Whitening = 0b0100000 vs. Whitening = 0b01000000) which wouldn’t have helped.

public enum RegPacketConfig1DcFree : byte
{
	None = 0b00000000,
	Manchester = 0b00100000,
	Whitening = 0b01000000,
	Reserved = 0b01100000,
}
const RegPacketConfig1DcFree RegPacketConfig1DcFreeDefault = RegPacketConfig1DcFree.None;

I could then reliably sent messages to and receive messages from my Arduino Nano Radio Shield RFM69/95 device

Register 0x4c - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
Register 0x4d - Value 0X00 - Bits 00000000
...
17:55:53.559 Received 1 byte message A CRC Ok True
.17:55:54.441 Received 2 byte message AB CRC Ok True
.17:55:55.444 Received 3 byte message ABC CRC Ok True
.17:55:56.447 Received 4 byte message ABCD CRC Ok True
.17:55:57.449 Received 5 byte message ABCDE CRC Ok True
.17:55:58.453 Received 6 byte message ABCDEF CRC Ok True
The thread 0x578 has exited with code 0 (0x0).
.17:55:59.622 Received 7 byte message ABCDEFG CRC Ok True
.17:56:00.457 Received 8 byte message ABCDEFGH CRC Ok True
.17:56:01.460 Received 9 byte message ABCDEFGHI CRC Ok True
.17:56:02.463 Received 10 byte message ABCDEFGHIJ CRC Ok True
..17:56:03.955 Received 11 byte message ABCDEFGHIJK CRC Ok True
17:56:04.583 Received 12 byte message ABCDEFGHIJKL CRC Ok True

I did some investigation into that the plainRMF69 code and found the ReadMultiple and WriteMuliple methods reverse the byte order

void bareRFM69::writeMultiple(uint8_t reg, void* data, uint8_t len){
    SPI.beginTransaction(SPISettings(10000000, MSBFIRST, SPI_MODE0));  // gain control of SPI bus
    this->chipSelect(true); // assert chip select
    SPI.transfer(RFM69_WRITE_REG_MASK | (reg & RFM69_READ_REG_MASK)); 
    uint8_t* r = reinterpret_cast<uint8_t*>(data);
    for (uint8_t i=0; i < len ; i++){
        SPI.transfer(r[len - i - 1]);
    }
    this->chipSelect(false);// deassert chip select
    SPI.endTransaction();    // release the SPI bus
}

void bareRFM69::readMultiple(uint8_t reg, void* data, uint8_t len){
    SPI.beginTransaction(SPISettings(10000000, MSBFIRST, SPI_MODE0));  // gain control of SPI bus
    this->chipSelect(true); // assert chip select
    
    SPI.transfer((reg % RFM69_READ_REG_MASK));
    uint8_t* r = reinterpret_cast<uint8_t*>(data);
    for (uint8_t i=0; i < len ; i++){
        r[len - i - 1] = SPI.transfer(0);
    }
    this->chipSelect(false);// deassert chip select
    SPI.endTransaction();    // release the SPI bus
}

I won’t be able to use interrupt AutoMode clients with the EasySensors shields as the DIO2 pin is not connected but on the AdaFruit RFM69HCW Radio Bonnet 433MHz or 915MHz it is connected to GPIO24.