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.

AdaFruit.IO 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.

AdaFruit.IO.LoRaScreenShot
While building this AdaFruit.IO LoRa field gateway, and sample clients I revisited my RFM9XLoRa-Net library a couple of times adding functionality and renaming constants to make it more consistent. I made many of the default values public so they could be used in the field gateway config file.
The bare minimum configuration is

{
“AdaFruitIOUserName”: “——“,
“AdaFruitIOApiKey”: “——“,
“AdaFruitIOGroupName”: “——”
“Address”: “——“,
“Frequency”: 915000000.0
}

So far battery life and wireless communications range for the Arduino clients is looking pretty good.

ArduinoUnoR3DraginoLoRa

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

Wireless field gateway Netduino client V2

This revised client is a Netduino V2Plus/V3 Ethernet/V3 Wifi device with a Silicon Labs SI7005 temperature & humidity sensor. These devices when used as sensor nodes can be battery powered and I use the Mac Address as the unique device identifier.

In this version of the protocol the message type & device identifier are nibbles packed into the first bye of the message. This saved a byte but limits the number of message types and device identifier length

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Copyright (c) 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.
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
using System;
using System.Net;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading;
using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Net.NetworkInformation;
using devMobile.NetMF.Sensor;
using Gralin.NETMF.Nordic;
using SecretLabs.NETMF.Hardware.Netduino;

namespace devMobile.IoT.FIeldGateway.Netduino.Client
{
   class Client
   {
      private const byte nRF24Channel = 10;
      private const NRFDataRate nRF24DataRate = NRFDataRate.DR250kbps;
      private readonly byte[] nRF24ClientAddress = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes("T&H01");
      private readonly byte[] nRF24BaseStationAddress = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes("Base1");
      private static byte[] deviceIdentifier;
      private readonly OutputPort led = new OutputPort(Pins.ONBOARD_LED, false);
      private readonly NRF24L01Plus radio;
      private readonly SiliconLabsSI7005 sensor = new SiliconLabsSI7005();

      public Client()
      {
         radio = new NRF24L01Plus();
      }

      public void Run()
      {
         // Configure the nRF24 hardware
         radio.OnDataReceived += OnReceive;
         radio.OnTransmitFailed += OnSendFailure;
         radio.OnTransmitSuccess += OnSendSuccess;

         radio.Initialize(SPI.SPI_module.SPI1, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D7, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D3, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D2);
         radio.Configure(nRF24ClientAddress, nRF24Channel, nRF24DataRate);
         radio.Enable();

         // Setup the device unique identifer, in this case the hardware MacAddress
         deviceIdentifier = NetworkInterface.GetAllNetworkInterfaces()[0].PhysicalAddress;
         Debug.Print(" Device Identifier : " + BytesToHexString(deviceIdentifier));

         Timer humidityAndtemperatureUpdates = new Timer(HumidityAndTemperatureTimerProc, null, 15000, 15000);

         Thread.Sleep(Timeout.Infinite);
      }

          private void HumidityAndTemperatureTimerProc(object state)
      {
         led.Write(true);

         double humidity = sensor.Humidity();
         double temperature = sensor.Temperature();

         Debug.Print("H:" + humidity.ToString("F1") + " T:" + temperature.ToString("F1"));
         string values = "T " + temperature.ToString("F1") + ",H " + humidity.ToString("F0");

         // Stuff the single byte header ( payload type nibble & deviceIdentifierLength nibble ) + deviceIdentifier into first byte of payload
         byte[] payload = new byte[ 1 + deviceIdentifier.Length + values.Length];
         payload[0] =  (byte)((1 <> 4];

            // Mask off the upper 4 bits to get the rest of it.
            hexString += hexChars[bytes[b] & 0x0F];
         }

         return hexString;
      }
   }
}

Bill of materials (prices as at March 2018)

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

 

Wireless field gateway Netduino client V1

This client is a Netduino V2Plus/V3 Ethernet/V3 Wifi device with a Silicon Labs SI7005 temperature & humidity sensor. These devices when used as sensor nodes can be battery powered and I use the Mac Address as the unique device identifier.

Reducing the power consumption, improving reliability etc. will be covered in future posts

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// Copyright (c) 2017, 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.
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
using System;
using System.Net;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading;
using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Net.NetworkInformation;
using devMobile.NetMF.Sensor;
using Gralin.NETMF.Nordic;
using SecretLabs.NETMF.Hardware.Netduino;

namespace devMobile.IoT.FIeldGateway.Netduino.Client
{
   class Client
   {
      private const byte nRF24Channel = 10;
      private const NRFDataRate nRF24DataRate = NRFDataRate.DR250kbps;
      private readonly byte[] nRF24ClientAddress = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes("TandH");
      private readonly byte[] nRF24BaseStationAddress = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes("Base1");
      private static byte[] deviceIdentifier;
      private readonly OutputPort led = new OutputPort(Pins.ONBOARD_LED, false);
      private readonly NRF24L01Plus radio;
      private readonly SiliconLabsSI7005 sensor = new SiliconLabsSI7005();

      public Client()
      {
         radio = new NRF24L01Plus();
      }

      public void Run()
      {
         // Configure the nRF24 hardware
         radio.OnDataReceived += OnReceive;
         radio.OnTransmitFailed += OnSendFailure;
         radio.OnTransmitSuccess += OnSendSuccess;

         radio.Initialize(SPI.SPI_module.SPI1, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D7, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D3, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D2);
         radio.Configure(nRF24ClientAddress, nRF24Channel, nRF24DataRate);
         radio.Enable();

         // Setup the device unique identifer, in this case the hardware MacAddress
         deviceIdentifier = NetworkInterface.GetAllNetworkInterfaces()[0].PhysicalAddress;
         Debug.Print(" Device Identifier : " + BytesToHexString(deviceIdentifier));

         Timer humidityAndtemperatureUpdates = new Timer(HumidityAndTemperatureTimerProc, null, 15000, 15000);

         Thread.Sleep(Timeout.Infinite);
      }

      private void HumidityAndTemperatureTimerProc(object state)
      {
         led.Write(true);

         double humidity = sensor.Humidity();
         double temperature = sensor.Temperature();

         Debug.Print("H:" + humidity.ToString("F1") + " T:" + temperature.ToString("F1"));
         string values = "T " + temperature.ToString("F1") + ",H " + humidity.ToString("F0");

         // Stuff the 2 byte header ( payload type & deviceIdentifierLength ) + deviceIdentifier into payload
         byte[] payload = new byte[1 + 1 + deviceIdentifier.Length + values.Length];
         payload[0] = 1;
         payload[1] = (byte)deviceIdentifier.Length;
         Array.Copy(deviceIdentifier, 0, payload, 2, deviceIdentifier.Length);

         Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes( values, 0, values.Length, payload, 8 ) ;

         radio.SendTo(nRF24BaseStationAddress, payload );
      }

      private void OnSendSuccess()
      {
         led.Write(false);

         Debug.Print("Send Success!");
      }

      private void OnSendFailure()
      {
         Debug.Print("Send failed!");
      }

      private void OnReceive(byte[] data)
      {
         led.Write(!led.Read());

         string message = new String(Encoding.UTF8.GetChars(data));

         Debug.Print("Receive " + message); ;
      }

      private static string BytesToHexString(byte[] bytes)
      {
         string hexString = string.Empty;

         // Create a character array for hexidecimal conversion.
         const string hexChars = "0123456789ABCDEF";

         // Loop through the bytes.
         for (byte b = 0; b < bytes.Length; b++)          {             if (b > 0)
               hexString += "-";

            // Grab the top 4 bits and append the hex equivalent to the return string.
            hexString += hexChars[bytes[b] >> 4];

            // Mask off the upper 4 bits to get the rest of it.
            hexString += hexChars[bytes[b] & 0x0F];
         }

         return hexString;
      }
   }

.Net Micro framework Deployment Tool output

WindowsIoTCentralNetduinoClient

Raspberry PI UWP application output

Interrupt Triggered: FallingEdge
11:40:46 Address 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D Length 6 Payload T 25.2,H 90 Length 11
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-T Value 25.2
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-H Value 90
Interrupt Triggered: RisingEdge
Interrupt Triggered: FallingEdge
11:41:01 Address 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D Length 6 Payload T 25.3,H 91 Length 11
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-T Value 25.3
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-H Value 91
Interrupt Triggered: RisingEdge
Interrupt Triggered: FallingEdge
11:41:16 Address 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D Length 6 Payload T 25.3,H 90 Length 11
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-T Value 25.3
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-H Value 90
Interrupt Triggered: RisingEdge
Interrupt Triggered: FallingEdge
11:41:31 Address 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D Length 6 Payload T 25.3,H 90 Length 11
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-T Value 25.3
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-H Value 90
Interrupt Triggered: RisingEdge
Interrupt Triggered: FallingEdge
11:41:46 Address 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D Length 6 Payload T 25.3,H 90 Length 11
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-T Value 25.3
 Sensor 5C-86-4A-00-E4-1D-H Value 90
Interrupt Triggered: RisingEdge

Bill of materials (prices as at Jan 2018)