nRF24 Windows 10 IoT Core Hardware

Taking my own advice I decided to purchase a couple of Raspberry Pi to NRF24L01 shields from Ceech a vendor on Tindie.

The nRF24L01 libraries for my .Net Micro framework and WIndows 10 IoT Core devices use an interrupt driver approach rather than polling status registers to see what is going on.

Like most Raspberry PI shields intended to be used with a *nix based operating system the interrupt pin was not connected to a General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pin.

NRF24PiPlateModification

My first step was to add a jumper wire from the pin 8 on the nRF24L01 to GPIO pin 17 on Raspberry PI connector.

I then downloaded the techfooninja Radios.RF24 library for Windows IoT core and update the configuration to suit my modifcations. In the TestApp the modifications were limited to changing the interrupt pin from GPI 4 to GPO 17

private const byte IRQ_PIN = 4;

private const byte IRQ_PIN = 17;

I used a socket for the nRF24L01 device so I can trial different devices, for a production system I would solder the device to the shield to improve reliability.

RPiWithnRF24Plate

I then ran the my test application software in a stress test rig overnight to check for any reliability issues. The 5 x netduino devices were sending messages every 500mSec

RPIStressTester

nRF24L01 Raspberry PI Gateway Hardware

For those who came to my MS Ignite AU Intelligent Cloud booth session

Building Wireless Field Gateways

Connecting wireless sensor nodes to the cloud is not the mission it used to be, because the Azure team (and many OS projects) have developed tooling which can help hobbyist and professional developers build solutions. How could you build a home scale robust, reliable and secure solution with off the shelf kit without blowing the budget?

Sparkfun nRF24L01 module &Adafruit perma proto hat

NRF24L01 Raspberry PI DIY Gateway Hardware

BoM (all prices as at Feb 2016)

You will also need some short lengths of wire and a soldering iron.

For those who want an “off the shelf” solution (still requires a minor modification for interrupt support) I have used the Raspberry Pi to NRF24l01+ Shield USD9.90

2015-09-25t072754-447z-20150925_091942-855x570_q85_pad_rcrop

Instructions for modifications and software to follow.

Microsoft Sync Framework timezones

Over the last few months I have been working with the Microsoft Sync Framework and the time zone issues have been a problem.

New Zealand has a 12hr standard time or 13 hr daylight savings time offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and at a glance our customer data could look ok if treated as either local or UTC.

After some experimentation I found that it was due to Windows Communication Foundation(WCF) serialisation issues (The proposed solutions looks like it might have some limitations, especially across daylight savings time transitions).

For the initial synchronisation DateTime values in the database were unchanged, but for any later incremental synchronisations the DateTime values were adjusted to the timezone of the server (Our Azure Cloud Services are UTC timezone, though I don’t understand why Microsoft by default has them set to US locale with MM/DD/YY date formats)

In our scenario having all of the DateTime values in the cloud local looked like a reasonable option and this article provided some useful insights.

In the end I found that setting the DateSetDateTime  for every DateTime column in each DataTable in the synchronisation DataSet to unspecified in the ProcessChangeBatch (our code was based on the samples) method meant that no adjustment was applied to the incremental updates

public override void ProcessChangeBatch(ConflictResolutionPolicy resolutionPolicy, ChangeBatch sourceChanges, object changeDataRetriever, SyncCallbacks syncCallbacks, SyncSessionStatistics sessionStatistics)
{
try
{
DbSyncContext context = changeDataRetriever as DbSyncContext;

if (context != null)
{
foreach (DataTable table in context.DataSet.Tables)
{
foreach (DataColumn column in table.Columns)
{
// Switching from UnspecifiedLocal to Unspecified is allowed even after the DataSet has rows.
if ((column.DataType == typeof(DateTime)) && (column.DateTimeMode == DataSetDateTime.UnspecifiedLocal))
{
column.DateTimeMode = DataSetDateTime.Unspecified;
}
}
}
...

Hope this helps someone else