Elecrow Lora RFM95 IOT Board for RPI

For the example code so far I had been using the Dragino LoRa GPS HAT for Raspberry PI which after looking at the schematic (to figure out how the chip select line was connected) worked pretty well.

I had also purchased a Lora RFM95 IOT Board for RPI from Elecrow and was keen to get that working for applications which don’t require Global Positioning System (GPS) support.

The RFM95 chip select line is connected to pin 26 (GPIO7), the reset line to pin 15(GPIO22) and the interrupt line (RFM96 DIO0) to pin 22(GPIO25).

Lora RFM95 IOT Board for RPI V1.0

The shield had a Light Emitting Diode (LED) connected to General Purpose Input Output (GPIO) 23 so the first step was to get that to flash.

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Copyright (c) July 2018, devMobile Software
//
// Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
// you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
// You may obtain a copy of the License at
//
//     http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
//
// Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
// distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
// WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
// See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
// limitations under the License.
//
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
namespace devMobile.IoT.Rfm9x.ElecrowLed
{
	using System;
	using System.Threading;
	using Windows.ApplicationModel.Background;
	using Windows.Devices.Gpio;

	public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
	{
		public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
		{
			GpioController gpioController = GpioController.GetDefault();
			GpioPin yellowLedPin = gpioController.OpenPin(23);
			yellowLedPin.SetDriveMode(GpioPinDriveMode.Output);

			while (true)
			{
				if (yellowLedPin.Read() == GpioPinValue.High)
				{
					yellowLedPin.Write(GpioPinValue.Low);
				}
				else
				{
					yellowLedPin.Write(GpioPinValue.High);
				}
				Thread.Sleep(500);
			}
		}
	}
}

To confirm I could access the RMF95 registers over the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) I read the RegVersion register.

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Copyright (c) July 2018, devMobile Software
//
// Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
// you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
// You may obtain a copy of the License at
//
//     http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
//
// Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
// distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
// WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
// See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
// limitations under the License.
//
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
namespace devMobile.IoT.Rfm9x.ElecrowSPI
{
	using System;
	using System.Diagnostics;
	using System.Threading;
	using Windows.ApplicationModel.Background;
	using Windows.Devices.Spi;

	public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
    {
		public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
		{
			SpiController spiController = SpiController.GetDefaultAsync().AsTask().GetAwaiter().GetResult();
			var settings = new SpiConnectionSettings(1)	// GPIO7 Elecrow shield
			{
				ClockFrequency = 500000,
				Mode = SpiMode.Mode0,	// From SemTech docs pg 80 CPOL=0, CPHA=0
			};

			SpiDevice Device = spiController.GetDevice(settings);

			while (true)
			{
				byte[] writeBuffer = new byte[] { 0x42 }; // RegVersion
				byte[] readBuffer = new byte[1];

				Device.TransferSequential(writeBuffer, readBuffer);

				byte registerValue = readBuffer[0];
				Debug.WriteLine("Register 0x{0:x2} - Value 0X{1:x2} - Bits {2}", 0x42, registerValue, Convert.ToString(registerValue, 2).PadLeft(8, '0'));

				Thread.Sleep(10000);
			}
		}
	}
}

The debug output confirmed I was reading the right value from the RegVer register

Register 0x42 - Value 0X12 - Bits 00010010
Register 0x42 - Value 0X12 - Bits 00010010
Register 0x42 - Value 0X12 - Bits 00010010
Register 0x42 - Value 0X12 - Bits 00010010

I’m going to unsolder the coil antenna and replace it with a short SMA Extension drop cable so I can connect an external antenna.

ElecrowLoRaShield

 

nRF24 Windows 10 IoT Core Background Task

First step is to build a basic Windows 10 IoT Core background task which can receive and display messages sent from a variety of devices across an nRF24L01 wireless link.

If you create a new “Windows IoT Core” “Background Application” project then copy this code into StartupTasks.cs the namespace has to be changed in the C# file, project properties\library\Default namespace and “Package.appxmanifest”\declarations\Entry Point.

/*

Copyright ® 2017 December devMobile Software, All Rights Reserved

THIS CODE AND INFORMATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY
KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE
IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND/OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
PURPOSE.

http://www.devmobile.co.nz

*/
using System;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Text;
using Radios.RF24;
using Windows.ApplicationModel.Background;

namespace devmobile.IoTCore.nRF24BackgroundTask
{
    public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
    {
      private const byte ChipEnablePin = 25;
      private const byte ChipSelectPin = 0;
      private const byte nRF24InterruptPin = 17;
      private const string BaseStationAddress = "Base1";
      private const byte nRF24Channel = 10;
      private RF24 Radio = new RF24();
      private BackgroundTaskDeferral deferral;

      public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
        {
         Radio.OnDataReceived += Radio_OnDataReceived;
         Radio.OnTransmitFailed += Radio_OnTransmitFailed;
         Radio.OnTransmitSuccess += Radio_OnTransmitSuccess;

         Radio.Initialize(ChipEnablePin, ChipSelectPin, nRF24InterruptPin);
         Radio.Address = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(BaseStationAddress);
         Radio.Channel = nRF24Channel;
         Radio.PowerLevel = PowerLevel.High;
         Radio.DataRate = DataRate.DR250Kbps;
         Radio.IsEnabled = true;

         Debug.WriteLine("Address: " + Encoding.UTF8.GetString(Radio.Address));
         Debug.WriteLine("PA: " + Radio.PowerLevel);
         Debug.WriteLine("IsAutoAcknowledge: " + Radio.IsAutoAcknowledge);
         Debug.WriteLine("Channel: " + Radio.Channel);
         Debug.WriteLine("DataRate: " + Radio.DataRate);
         Debug.WriteLine("IsDynamicAcknowledge: " + Radio.IsDyanmicAcknowledge);
         Debug.WriteLine("IsDynamicPayload: " + Radio.IsDynamicPayload);
         Debug.WriteLine("IsEnabled: " + Radio.IsEnabled);
         Debug.WriteLine("Frequency: " + Radio.Frequency);
         Debug.WriteLine("IsInitialized: " + Radio.IsInitialized);
         Debug.WriteLine("IsPowered: " + Radio.IsPowered);

         deferral = taskInstance.GetDeferral();

         Debug.WriteLine("Run completed");
      }

      private void Radio_OnDataReceived(byte[] data)
      {
         // Display as Unicode
         string unicodeText = Encoding.UTF8.GetString(data);
         Debug.WriteLine("Unicode - Payload Length {0} Unicode Length {1} Unicode text {2}", data.Length, unicodeText.Length, unicodeText);

         // display as hex
         Debug.WriteLine("Hex - Length {0} Payload {1}", data.Length, BitConverter.ToString(data));
      }

      private void Radio_OnTransmitSuccess()
      {
         Debug.WriteLine("Transmit Succeeded!");
      }

      private void Radio_OnTransmitFailed()
      {
         Debug.WriteLine("Transmit Failed!");
      }
   }
}

This was displayed in the output window of Visual Studio

Address: Base1
PA: 15
IsAutoAcknowledge: True
Channel: 10
DataRate: DR250Kbps
IsDynamicAcknowledge: False
IsDynamicPayload: True
IsEnabled: True
Frequency: 2410
IsInitialized: True
IsPowered: True
Run completed

Interrupt Triggered: FallingEdge
Unicode – Payload Length 19 Unicode Length 19 Unicode text T  23.8,H  73,V 3.26
Hex – Length 19 Payload 54-20-32-33-2E-38-2C-48-20-20-37-33-2C-56-20-33-2E-32-36
Interrupt Triggered: RisingEdge

Note the odd formatting of the Temperature and humidity values which is due to the way dtostrf function in the Atmel AVR library works.

Also noticed the techfooninja nRF24 library has configurable output power level which I will try to retrofit onto the Gralin NetMF library.

Next, several simple Arduino, devDuino V2.2, Seeeduino V4.2 and Netduino 2/3 clients (plus possibly some others)

nRF24 Windows 10 IoT Core reboot

My first live deployment of the nRF24L01 Windows 10 IoT Core field gateway is now scheduled for mid Q1 2018 so time for a reboot. After digging out my Raspbery PI 2/3 devices and the nRF24L01+ shield (with modifications detailed here) I have a basic plan with some milestones.

My aim is to be able to wirelessly acquire data from several dozen Arduino, devduino, seeeduino, and Netduino devices, Then, using a field gateway on a Raspberry PI running Windows 10 IoT Core upload it to Microsoft IoT Central

First bit of code – Bleepy a simple background application to test the piezo beeper on the RPI NRF24 Shield

namespace devmobile.IoTCore.Bleepy
{
   public sealed class StartupTask : IBackgroundTask
   {
      private BackgroundTaskDeferral deferral;
      private const int ledPinNumber = 4;
      private GpioPin ledGpioPin;
      private ThreadPoolTimer timer;

      public void Run(IBackgroundTaskInstance taskInstance)
      {
         var gpioController = GpioController.GetDefault();
         if (gpioController == null)
         {
            Debug.WriteLine("GpioController.GetDefault failed");
            return;
         }

         ledGpioPin = gpioController.OpenPin(ledPinNumber);
         if (ledGpioPin == null)
         {
            Debug.WriteLine("gpioController.OpenPin failed");
            return;
         }

         ledGpioPin.SetDriveMode(GpioPinDriveMode.Output);

         this.timer = ThreadPoolTimer.CreatePeriodicTimer(Timer_Tick, TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(500));

         deferral = taskInstance.GetDeferral();

         Debug.WriteLine("Rum completed");
      }

      private void Timer_Tick(ThreadPoolTimer timer)
      {
         GpioPinValue currentPinValue = ledGpioPin.Read();

         if (currentPinValue == GpioPinValue.High)
         {
            ledGpioPin.Write(GpioPinValue.Low);
         }
         else
         {
            ledGpioPin.Write(GpioPinValue.High);
         }
      }
   }
}

Note the blob of blu tack over the piezo beeper to mute noise
nRF24ShieldMuted

Electric Longboard devDuino V2 Controller

I really wanted to get the longboard working so I had a look at buying Wiiceiver from AustinDavid.com.

The source code is available on Github and I had a spare devicter devDuino Sensor Node V2 sitting on my desk. With some modification (changing pins numbers and removing all references to the second LED) I got the wiiceiver code running on my devDuino.

The Electronic Speed Controller(ESC) and the plastic lunch box (containing the batteries and devDuino) are attached to the deck with 3M Command adhesive strips. The first set of command adhesive strips I tried were for hanging pictures and had a Velcro quick release system. This approach was a failure and the ESC & electronics box fell off after 10-15 minutes use. The Velcro backing tape was getting pulled in the wrong direction so was unable to hold the weight of the electronics when vibration levels increased. I tried them because a “quick release” capability would be handy but I have gone back to using conventional 3M Command adhesive strips and these are working well.

devDuino V2 and ESC on longboard

devDuino based controller interfaced with ESC and wireless WiiChuk

Initial rides went well, though I need to recalibrate the acceleration and braking ramp up/down settings to suit my hardware and riding style.

Bill of Materials for this project (Prices as at Feb 2015)

  • Single Motor Mechanical Electric Longboard Kit USD223
  • Turnigy Aerodrive SK3-6364-245kv Brushless Outrunner Motor USD70.68
  • HobbyKing 150A High Performance Brushless Car ESC USD68.99
  • ZIPPY Flightmax 5000mAh battery X 2 USD31.99 each
  • HXT4mm Battery Harness 14AWG for 2 Packs in Series USD2.43
  • HXT 4mm Gold Connector with Protector (10pcs/set)
  • devDuino Sensor Node V2 USD15.99
  • Grove Nunchuck adaptor USD2.90
  • Grove Branch Cable for Servo USD4.90
  • Wireless Nunchuck NZD25.00
  • Moose 9.5×42 Longboard Flush Mount Deck Green Stain NZD57

WARNING – Disconnect the power supply pin on the Grove Branch Cable for Servos as the ESC will supply sufficient current to make the batteries on the devDuino go pop. Wrap some tape around the other servo connector so it can’t cause a short circuit.

Thanks to Austin David for making the code for the Wiiciever open source, if anyone is interested in my code I can tidy it up and share.

/*
 * Pin IDs -- NOT LOCATIONS !!!
 * don't change these ever; see "pinLocation" below for
 * actual locations
 */
#define RED_LED_ID   0
//#define GREEN_LED_ID 1

#define ESC_PPM_ID   2
//#define ESC2_PPM_ID   6
#define ESC_GROUND 00     // hard-wired

//#define WII_POWER_ID 3
//#define WII_GROUND 00     // hard-wired

#define WII_SCL_ID   4
#define WII_SDA_ID   5

I made my devDuino look like a V3 wiiceiver

int pinLocation(int pinID) {
  int pinMap[7][3] = {
  // v1, v2, v3
    {8,   8,  9},  // RED_LED     any digital pin
    {7,   6,  8},  // GREEN_LED   any digital pin
    {10,  9,  3},  // ESC_PPM     PWM required
    {9,  11,  5},  // WII_POWER   any digital pin
    {19, 19, 19}, // WII_SCL     A5, don't change
    {18, 18, 18}, // WII_SDA     A4, don't change
    {0,  10, 0}, // ESC2_PPM    PWM required
  };

The rest of my changes were commenting out all references to the Green LED as the devDuino only has one onboard LED.

Energy Monitor Shield Sensor Box by Tardis

My initial way of connecting the current sensor for the Energy Monitor Shield was not really suitable for CodeClub. Carefully cutting the insulation with a craft knife and gently pulling out the phase wire could end really badly.

Image

I approached a local company Tardis Communications and they made Code Club these neat enclosures which ensure the students can’t come into contact with any live connections.

Image

Energy Monitor Shield Current Sensor

The energy monitor shield has three current sensor inputs (A0 thru A2) which have a voltage divider to provide a reference offset voltage for the analog inputs on the Netduino. The reference offset voltage with a 5V supply was 2.5V which meant on a 3.3V device the range of the sensors (1V for 30 Amps) would be compromised.

In a previous post I modified the shield by replacing a resistor but there appears to be an easier modification. While looking at the schematic and the shield I realised that cutting off the 5V pin and connecting the 3.3V pin and 5V pin together would make all the analog inputs use the 3.3V rail.

Energy Shield with modifications for 3.3V operation

Energy Shield with modifications for 3.3V operation

It would be good if the designers of the shield would consider putting a switch or jumpers on the device to allow 3V3 or 5V operation.

public class Program
{
public static void Main()
{
AnalogInput buttons = new AnalogInput(Cpu.AnalogChannel.ANALOG_0);

while (true)
{
Debug.Print(buttons.Read().ToString(“F2”));

Thread.Sleep(250);
}
}
}

Energy Monitor Shield Buttons

The two buttons on the energy monitor shield are connected to the analog input A3 via a voltage divider. The shield appears to be designed for 5V devices as the input for the voltage divider is connected to VCC which is 5V. Netduinos and some Arduinos are 3.3V devices and this approach won’t work on these devices.

public static void Main()
{
AnalogInput buttons = new AnalogInput(Cpu.AnalogChannel.ANALOG_3);


while (true)
{
Debug.Print(buttons.Read().ToString("F2"));
Thread.Sleep(250);
}
}

The return value of the AnalogOutput with no button pressed was 1.0, SW1 pressed 1.0 and with SW2 pressed 0.93.

To work around this issue I modified the shield so the input voltage to the voltage divider is 3.3V. With my modified shield the return value of the AnalogOutput with no button pressed was 0.87, SW1 pressed 0.83 and with SW2 pressed 0.67. [Edit-see next post with easier modification]

To change the input voltage of the voltage divider I removed R8(circled) and replaced it with a 1K resistor connected to 3.3V.

Energy Shield with Button modifications

Energy Shield with Button modifications