Category "analysis"

Hacking the TTI Indoor Gateway

Four years ago The Things Network (TTN) kind of revolutionized the IoT world with their effort to reduce hardware and software costs to implement a commons LoRaWAN network. Their bet was backed on Kickstarter by almost a thousand people with almost 300k€ to help create a low-cost LRaWan gateway (and a platform and end devices too). The gateway took it’s time to become a reality (kickstarter-effect) but by the time it was released the project had already impacted other players in the industry and low cost DIY gateways were a reality....

Analyze your antennas using an AAI N1201SA

Following up with the series of affordable RF tools I started with the RF Power Monitor 8000, maybe the N1201SA by Accuracy Agilty (sic?) Instrument (AAI) is one of the most exciting devices around. The device is sold as “RF Vector Impedanze Analyzer” and, although it’s not a full VNA (Vector Network Analyzer), it gives you enough information to profile your antennas and, according to some reviews, it’s so accurate it can compete with professional equipment....

Grove AI Hat, edge computing in your hands

The industry has been talking about edge computing for some time now. The idea is to distribute the data storage and intelligence in locations closer to where they are needed and only use external services when absolutely necessary. Centralized cloud services have a series of drawbacks for the IIoT world, being maybe latency and security the bigger ones. Some (a lot of?) companies do not want their data to go outside their facilities and critical systems cannot rely on Internet connection....

RF power monitoring tools on the cheap

Recently we at @ttncat had to prepare a crash course on LoRa, LoRaWAN and The Things Network for a professional school in Barcelona. It was a 15 hours course that covered from the very basics to some more advanced topics on RF like link budget, attenuation or impedance matching. It was fun to go back to my years at college and revisit and update some of those topics. And at the same time it was a great opportunity to upgrade my toolbox....

WhiteCat ESP32 N1

I do not do reviews usually, but I sometimes do exceptions. In this case, it’s worth doing it, due to 4 main reasons: It’s a software & hardware open source project It’s local (local to me, that’s it) It’s led by two good friends It’s related to LoRa and The Things Network It’s awesome! OK, they were actually 5 reasons, but the last one just slipped in....

Sonoff S31, a world apart

It’s not that other Sonoff products are not “serious” business, but there are a number of design changes in the Sonoff S31 that make this new product a world apart. For the functional point of view it looks like a S20 with POW-powers, but they have redesigned the product completely. The result is very very interesting. Revamped case, more compact and sturdy Redesigned PCB, actually 2 different PCBs for main and control Different power monitor chip: the CSE7766 (same as in the new POW R2) replaces the HLW8012 The only drawback: it’s only compatible with plug types A & B, tat is central and north-america and few other countries....

Arduino MKR WAN 1300

I’ve been testing quite a few LoRaWan nodes lately for TheThingsNetwork.cat, some based on HopeRF RFM95W (over AVR, ESP8266, ESP32,…) others using Microchip’s RN2483 (an old friend of mine). I have a RAK811 waiting in the INBOX but the last one I’ve been playing with has been the new Arduino MKRWAN 1300 (so new there is no product page yet) and I liked it, quite a lot. The device is one of the MKR series Arduino is pushing forward....

PCB fabs

A few years ago (not many) I used to burn copper plates using acetic acid, a.k.a. vinegar. I was somewhat concerned about using stronger acids so it was OK to use another acid, even if it was soooo sloooow. If you were patient you could get to have decent boards using 50mil traces (or even thinner). But it required keeping a good temperature on the copper bath and regulating the ratio vinegar/hydrogen peroxide continuously, adding a little salt from time to time to speed things up....

Yet another WiFi light bulb

Eight months ago I reviewed and hacked the AiLight WiFi light bulb by AiThinker. By the time there was a number of people doing the same because of a key reason: it sports an ESP8266 microcontroller and it is based on the OpenLight by Noduino, that had already provided open source code for the LED driver inside, the MY9291. Let time pass and I was doing the same with the Sonoff B1 light bulb by Itead Studio....

Sonoff B1, lights and shades

Six months ago I was reviewing the AiThinker AiLight, a great looking light bulb with an embedded ESP8266EX microcontroller, driven by a MY9291 LED driver. Just before summer IteadStudio released it’s Sonoff B1 [Itead.cc] light bulb, heavily inspired (probably same manufacturer) by the AiLight, at least on the design. Now that IteadStudio has become popular between the home automation community you can also find the Sonoff B1 on global marketplaces like Ebay or Aliexpress for around 13€....