BEEP base V3: hive measurement system with nRF52840 / HX711 / LoRa / I2C / Audio ADC

With the Beep foundation we developed a (soon to be) open source PCB together with the low power and LoRa hardware specialists at Ideetron. The PCB has a lot of features that might interest you if you would like to have an affordable ultra low power bee hive measurement system.


The Beep PCB v3 has the following features:

  • Nordic nRF 52840 64 MHz ARM® Cortex™-M4 processor (with Bluetooth 5 and Zigbee on board)
  • LoRa RFM95 868 MHz (EU) add-on
  • I2C screw terminal (BME280 supported out of the box)
  • 1Wire screw terminal for multiple temperature sensors (1 to 5x DS18b20 supported out of the box)
  • HX711 weight amp on board with 7 port screw terminal (incl. shield to GND)
  • High quality audio ADC (92 dBA SNR) with Auto Gain Control (max 96 kHz sampling rate)
  • 3.5mm jack mic input 4 pins
  • Reed (magnet) switch to enable Bleutooth for configuration
  • Tilt switch for detecting movement and powering down if tilted 90 degrees
  • Buzzer for Bluetooth/Tilt/Reed switch interaction user feedback
  • 64 Mb Flash memory
  • Unique hardware key IC
  • Wireless LoRa configuration via Beep configuration app with Bluetooth
  • Firmware updates over the air via Bluetooth
  • All screw terminal inputs protected
  • 4 mounting busses for 83x58x33mm standard waterproof plastic casing
  • Size: 75x50x23mm incl. components
  • Ultra low power 3V regulator, 4.5μA in sleep
  • Much more than a year of battery life when transmitting LoRa data each 15 minutes!

BTW: we will launch a Kickstarter campaign for the Beep measurement system v3 at the 9th of November 2019, in which you can also order this PCB as a separate pledge :slight_smile: Check for more info.


Oh no, so many nice nice things but then you go and use a s**ty HopeRF module for LoRa.


11 posts were merged into an existing topic: Experiences with RFM9x and SX127x based SPI LoRa modules

Thanks for all RF module speculations, please move them to the topic where they belong.

With regard to our choice of LoRa RF module: All HopeRF modules are tested before leaving the factory, Ideetron already made a lot of products containing it and never had problems with them. Ultra low power in standby, and sending messages at all spreading factors. Also certification has already been done with these modules, so nothing to worry about. For the purpose of sending LoRa messages, they work perfectly in the context of this PCB. And if you would like another module, it is easily swappable.

Please discuss the proposed features of this super nice PCB here :slight_smile:


Will the firmware be open source?

Yes! :+1:


And from today, the Kickstarter crowdfunding is on-line for 30 days!

One of the pledges is the PCB only, or PCB in a waterproof box + temperature sensor and mic.


success with your kickstarter … product looks good :sunglasses:

Hope this is true, so many projects say they will release the code as open source but never do

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We also shared our model 2, all drawings and sources and the app, check Have confidence (and a little patience :-))


@jezd Here are the drawings of the frame and PCB:


Firmware and hardware both have a folder on their github page

This is great to find. I hope your project is continuing well.

I got started with LoRa specifically to monitor bee-hives! I am using the Heltec Lora-32 modules with HX711 and a temperature / humidity sensor. Already deployed a few along with some Things Network gateways.

Your web-app is far beyond anything I have time or patience to make. Could you tell me if it would be acceptable and possible to send my sensor data in to the app - for example where can I look for the Lora payload protocol?

I expect I will change to your hardware as well once it’s available, but for now it would be really nice to have the data collection and visualisation working nicely for the local beekeepers.

Thanks! I hope this wasn’t too off-topic.

@evs01 Thanks for your comment.
You can become a member of our Slack community, please send me a PM with you email. There you can find the API specs for using the BEEP API and BEEP app with your own data. You can check out our for the TTN payload protocols that we currently use.

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I now have a wAP LR8 kit running at house with the Mikrotik External antenna.
I have now in my suburban area with houses and woods a reach of about 700 meters to my BEEP hivescales that have an internal antenna (lose wire)
The antenna is now at 5-5.5 meters height (on the top of my bungalow)

What are my options to have a better reach? and how much of an improvement should i see?

Is there an option to change the SF to a higher value?
What would i typically gain in range by setting the antenna on a 8meter pylon (now it is at 5.5 meters)
and how much would i gain by going to 15 meters?
Or in a 20 meter tree?

Is there another (legal) antenna that would improve range? any examples?

If you have ADR enabled, LoRaWAN will optimize the link by changing SF to the best data rate.
Downside of Beep hive scales is that the antenna is low to the ground.
The best way is to increase the antenna height at the bee hives by putting the node on a pole of 2 meters and extend the wiring to the scale.

Generally if you double the antenna height you double the RSSI (,transmitters%20that%20are%20not%20closeby.)
If you do that at both ends you double twice.
One other effect is that you suffer from obstruction by buildings and trees. Make sure you stay above those at the gateway side.

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Indeed; I’ve also seen bad performance with someone else’s installation on a roof terrace, which had a hard time joining on SF12, 850 meters away from a gateway at a good location. (Line of sight obstructed halfway by a big church, but a test node would happily use SF9, inside.) And despite ADR it would not move away from SF12 after many uplinks.

This also makes changing the batteries much easier, without the need to first move away the hive to even get to the base’s enclosure.

Internally, on the bottom side of the PCB, the BEEP base V3 uses an uFL SMT connector, to which one could attach a pigtail for an external antenna connector. That needs one to remove the wiring and PCB though. And even an external antenna, horizontally below the hive, seems not quite optimal. So an external connector would probably need some extension cabling for the antenna anyway. I’ve not actually tried any of this.

Moving the base’s enclosure itself seems like a smart alternative!

Hi Arjan, I am not sure if this is the correct topic, While I greatly appreciate the feedback from pe1mew (Remko), I 'll try first to mitigate the issues at the gateway side. At least I now have a great understanding of the effect of heightening the antenna, going to 10 meters should double my reach, going to 15 meters should triple my current reach, I understand ofcourse that this is in an ideal situation, not counting the probably 200+ other parameters that might have an effect, both + and -

i will try this weekend somewhere to cut the wire from the beep box and put it on a 3 meter high pole, and see what the effect is.

KR, Joost

Note that, by default, a BEEP base is registered to BEEP’s global TTN application. To add it to your own TTN application, I assume you set up your own AppEUI and AppKey in the device and added payload formatters and the HTTP integration as per BEEP’s instructions.

Aside: by default the base has ADR enabled. This does not work well for non-stationary devices, so may not work well when using it with TTN Mapper for testing. I don’t know if you can disable that.

Also, transmitting its total packet size of 59 bytes every 1 minute won’t adhere to TTN’s Fair Access Policy. On SF12BW125 thee 59 bytes only allow for one transmission every 2 hours. But even on the best data rate, SF7BW125, you’d be limited to one message every 6 minutes. For testing, this is not a problem though.

@arjanvanb , thank you.

  1. you assumed wrong, I did not do that as I am a Noob, and did not find this info myself. I only read an article/blog on thethingsnetwork on how to connect to ttnmapper. How can I connect back to the global BEEP TTN application afterwards? I assume if I let it connect to my own application to use the ttnmapper, the connection to the BEEP’s global application will be lost.

  2. ADR -> I didn’t see an option for this anywhere, but then again, I could be looking in the wrong places.

  3. Sorry, I didn’t know about the fair Acces Policy. I can see that using ADR , it is mostly using SF7 ATM . after testing, and even in between testing rounds I will set it back to a 15 minute interval then. np.