Azure IoT Hubs LoRa Windows 10 IoT Core Field Gateway

This project is now live on github.com, 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 clients uploaded in the next couple of days.

AzureIOTHubExplorerScreenGrab20180912

The bare minimum configuration is

{
  "AzureIoTHubDeviceConnectionString": "HostName=qwertyuiop.azure-devices.net;DeviceId=LoRaGateway;SharedAccessKey=1234567890qwertyuiop987654321qwertyuiop1234g=",
  "AzureIoTHubTransportType": "Amqp",
  "SensorIDIsDeviceIDSensorID": true,
  "Address": "LoRaIoT1",
  "Frequency": 915000000.0
}

So far battery life and wireless communications range for the Arduino clients is looking pretty good. CRC presence checking and validation is turned so have a look at one of the sample clients.

ArduinoUnoR3DraginoLoRa
It took a bit longer than expected as upgrading to the latest version (v1.18.0 as at 12 Sep 2018) of Microsoft.Azure.Devices.Client (from 1.6.3) broke my field gateway with timeouts and exceptions.

I’ll be doing some more testing over the next couple of weeks so it is a work in progress.

Azure Meetup-Budget tank of 91 IoT

The premise of my Azure Meetup presentation was could you build an interesting project on a rainy weekend afternoon with a constrained budget (tank of 91 octane petrol) and minimal soldering .

Budget

Our family car is a VW Passat V6 4Motion which has a 62 Litre tank. The driver usually doesn’t usually stop to fill up until the fuel light has been on for a bit which helped.

PetrolReceipt

Based on the most recent receipt the budget was NZD132.

Where possible I purchased parts locally (the tech equivalent of food miles) or on special.

My bill of materials (prices as at 2018-06) was on budget.

The devDuino V2.2 and nRF24L01 module were USD26.20 approx. NZD37.50 (including freight) from elecrow.

Tradeoffs

I powered my Raspberry PI with a spare cellphone charger (make sure it can supply enough current to reliably power the device).

The devDuino V2.has an ATSHA204A which provides a guaranteed unique 72-bit serial number (makes it harder to screw up provisioning devices in the field).

I use a 32G MicroSD rather than a 16G MicroSD card as I have had issued with 16G cards getting corrupted by more recent upgrades (possibly running out of space?)

The Raspberry PI shield requires a simple modification to enable interrupt driven operation.

My sample devDuino V2.2 client uses an external temperature and humidity sensor, modifying this code to use the onboard temperature sensor an MCP9700 will be covered in another post.

The devDuino V2 is a little bit cheaper USD15.99 NZD37.31, has the same onboard temperature sensor as the V2.2 but no unique serial number chip.

The devDuino V4.0 has an onboard HTU21D temperature + humidity sensor but no unique serial number and the batteries are expensive.

The code and deployment instructions for the nRF24L01 field gateway applications for AdaFruit.IO and Azure IoT Hub/Azure IoT Central are available on hackster.IO.

RPiWithnRF24Plate

AdaFruit.IO has free and USD10.00/month options which work well for many hobbyist projects.

AdaFruitIO

Azure Meetup Christchurch notes

For the people who came to my Azure meetup session this evening

Sources of sensors and development boards

http://www.adafruit.com
http://www.elecrow.com (watering kits)
http://www.ingenuitymicro.com (NZ based dev boards)
http://www.netduino.com (.NetMF development boards)
http://www.makerfabs.com
http://www.seeedstudio.com
http://www.tindie.com

nRF24Shields for RPI devices
http://www.tindie.com/products/ceech/new-raspberry-pi-to-nrf24l01-shield/

nRF24Shields for *duino devices in AU
embeddedcoolness.com

Raspberry PI Source in CHC
http://www.wavetech.co.nz

RFM69 & LoRa Modules
http://www.wisen.com.au

local sensor and device resellers quick turnaround
http://www.mindkits.co.nz
http://www.nicegear.co.nz

http://www.diyelectricskateboard.com

The watch development platform
http://www.hexiwear.com

http://www.gowifi.co.nz (Antennas & other wireless kit based in Rangiora)

my projects
http://www.hackster.io/KiwiBryn
io.adafruit.com/BrynHLewis/dashboards/home-environment

Azure IoT Hub nRF24L01 Windows 10 IoT Core Field Gateway

This project is now live on Hackster.IO and github.com with sample *duino, Devduino and Netduino clients. While building the AdaFruit.IO field gateway, Azure IOT Hub field gateways and sample clients I changed the structure of the message payload and spent a bit of time removing non-core functionality and code.

The diagnostics logging code was refactored several times and after reading this reference on docs.Microsoft.com I settled on the published approach.

I considered using the built in Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application data class but this would have made configuration in the field hard for most of the targeted users school students & IT departments.

I have the application running at my house and it has proved pretty robust, last week I though it had crashed because the telemetry data stopped for about 20 minutes. I had a look at the Device portal and it was because Windows 10 IoT core had downloaded some updates, applied them and then rebooted automatically (as configured).

I put a socket on the Raspberry PI nRF24L01 Shield rather than soldering the module to the board so that I could compare the performance of the Low and High power modules. The antenna end of the high power module tends to droop so I put a small piece of plastic foam underneath to prop them up.

I had code to generate an empty JSON configuration but I removed that as it added complexity compared to putting a sample in the github repository.

I considered using a binary format (the nRF24L01 max message length is 32 bytes) but the code required to make it sufficiently flexible rapidly got out of hand and as most of my devices didn’t have a lot of sensors (battery/solar powered *duinos) and it wasn’t a major hassle to send another message so I removed it.

I need to tidy up the project and remove the unused Visual Assets and have a look at the automated update support.

Wireless field gateway protocol V2

I have now built a couple of nRF2L01P field gateways (for AdaFriut.IO & Azure IoT Hubs) which run as a background tasks on Windows 10 IoT Core on RaspberyPI). I have also written several clients which run on Arduino, devDuino, Netduino, and Seeeduino devices.

I have tried to keep the protocol simple (telemetry only) to deploy and it will be used in high school student projects in the next couple of weeks.

To make the payload smaller the first byte of the message now specifies the message type in the top nibble and the length of the device unique identifier in the bottom nibble.

0 = Echo

The message is displayed by the field gateway as text & hexadecimal.

1 = Device identifier + Comma separated values (CSV) payload

[0] – Set to 0001, XXXX   Device identifier length

[1]..[1+Device identifier length] – Unique device identifier bytes e.g. Mac address

[1+Device identifier length+1 ]..[31] – CSV payload e.g.  SensorID value, SensorID value