A 2.4GHz RF Comms Shield that's easy to use..?

duncan · 5 · 3084

duncan

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I have recently been using the modules from RFDigital and they are incredibly easy. They use the phrase "Wireless Pipe" and it really is like that.

The base-unit is an SMD module of 15mm (0.600 Inch)square, 3.5mm (0.125 Inch) in height so it looks as if it would fit on your board profile. As it is a 3.3V module it would obviously require a regulator for the supply rail and level-shifting in addition to the module itself, but that should also fit easily..

It comes in 2 'flavours' - in-built chip antenna (RFD21733) and external antenna (RFD21735) both of which operate in the 2.4GHz band. The RFD21733 (probably the most usable for your range of products) is CE, IC and FCC APPROVED.

I think that a board using these would be a good addition to your range.

It was originally intended that I would be writing application notes for for RFDigital, for these and their "Wireless Inventors Shield", all of which would be  using the Arduino (which is why I have samples) but that never happened for various reasons. I therefore have a set of outline application notes to support the product if you wish to pursue the idea. Looking at your range, there seem to be several units that would dovetail with RF very neatly to further expand application notes.

It would be nice to see this materialise as a product and, obviously, I'd like to receive "free stuff" (who wouldn't) but my main reason for suggesting it is that there are one heck of a lot of people who believe that efficient RF Comms with Arduino must involve an X-bee, with all its complications, and that is simply not the case.

These are easy to use, can operate in UART mode (use standard Hardware Serial - RxD0/TxD1 - or Software Serial) or three-channel Switched Logic mode with selectable output durations of 20mS or 500mS and can operate in broadcast or network configuration (with a "learn" mode). Most importantly, they work - very simply and efficiently...

I should say that I no longer have any connection with RFDigital, I just believe it's a great product that deserves a wider user base within the Aduino community and I think it would marry well with the Tiny range.

Duncan Amos


tomcUT

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any kind of very low-cost 2.4 GHz communication shield would be awesome.  It would be the best if it also supports some kind of mesh network, whether that is built in to hardware or done in software.  I would presume that low-cost would likely be implemented via software.

As an alternative, I know that Atmel has a line of RF products.  Both integrated with the micro controller and separate.  Those products from Atmel can also be used with a Zigbee stack or lower level more basic stacks too.

Regardless of how it's done, a low cost 2.4GHz mesh solution is what I am looking for, because we can always build a gateway for that mesh network.

-Tom C.


duncan

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Hi

Mesh Networks should be possible with a software solution (beyond me I suspect) but there are problems that relate to the amount of RF signal traffic that is permitted under legislation and a complex multi-mesh network might well fall foul of that limitation.

Depending on your intended application, it may well be that formal legislation wouldn't be an issue for you, but I'm just playing Devil's advocate...

Duncan


tomcUT

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Considering all the things you can do in the 2.4GHz range and all the non-licensed equipment available, I'm guessing legislation isn't a problem.  I know there are rules about how strong signals are but the amount of low level signals shouldn't be a problem.

I'm thinking something along the lines of a zigbee or z-wave like mesh network.  Low transmission rate to communicate with some custom controls.

The benefits of having a mesh network which would allow the extension of a low rf level network, as well as multiple communication paths would be ideal for what I'm after, which will be something similar to zigbee or zwave, for custom controls/sensors.

If it's zigbee or zwave, that would be fine (great actually).  I think the biggest concern for some might be the cost of the licensing.



 

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