I thought I would share my story so far to get my early mistakes off my chest!
I am a recently retired school teacher who has always had an interest in electronics. Over the year I have made several purchases from aliexpress.com with the aim of actually making something but never got round to it. Recently I came across an article in HackSpace about Lora and decided I would try to set up a datalogging system for my allotment (about 500m from my house).
My first mistake was not to do sufficient reading in advance, but knowing that anything I bought would take a month to arrive I jumped straight in and bought some items from Aliexpress. The article contained a reference to The Things Gateway which was a bit more expensive thanwhat I was willing to spend at the time but at least it introduced me to TTN.
My first purchase was two Elecrow RFM69 Shield for Arduino RFM69HCW Radio Module Electronic DIY Fans Student Maker Project DIY Kit (£8.50 each). It looked distinctly like the shield I saw on ttn. It wasn’t until after they arrived that I noticed that the chip was RFM69HCW and discovered this was Packet Radio (not Lora).
Mistake 1 - Check what you are buying!
My next purchase was two E32-868T20D Lora Long Range UART SX1276 868mhz 100mW SMA Antenna IoT uhf Wireless Transceiver Transmitter Receiver Modules (£4.29 each). This had the key word Lora in it so I thought I was on safe ground. It wasn’t until they arrived that I read that while they were indeed Lora, they could only talk to each other and wouldn’t work with a gateway which was now becoming my preferred option.
Mistake 2 - Lora is not LoraWan
Purchase 3 was 2pcs of TTGO LORA32 868/915Mhz SX1276 ESP32 Oled-display Bluetooth WIFI Lora development board (£20.71). I was sure these would do and they were cheaper thanother similar TTGO LORA32 boards were. It wasn’t until after they arrived that I discovered that there were a number of versions of this board. I had purchased v1 and from what I read it would appear that improvements had been made and v2.1 was considered better.
Mistake 3 - Cheapest isn’t always a good idea
I have now bought the following with the intention of getting them to work with a RAK7243 Pilot Gateway). Hopefully I have got all the mistakes out of my system!
2Pcs 3.7V 2000mAh 103450 Lipo Polymer Lithium Rechargeable Battery for MP3 GPS Navigator DVD Recorder Headset e-book Camera (£2.16 each) - to go with the TTGO boards
4 GTF 3.7V 2800mah 14500 Battery Li-ion Rechargeable Battery LED Flashlight Portable Devices Tools Lighting Tools battery (£0.80 each) - to go with the module below
2 RoLa SX1278 Radio Node v1.0/v2.0 433MHz/868MHz/915MHz ATmega328P RFM98 2.4G Wireless Spread Spectrum Module Antenna for Arduino (£9.93 each)
An updated TTGO board - LoRa32 V2.1 ESP32 OLED 0.96 inch SD Card Bluetooth WIFI wireless module SMA (£14.86 each)
RFM95 RFM95W RFM96W RFM98W wireless transceiver module HopeRF ORIGINAL FCC / ROHS / ETSI / REACH Certificated (￡ 3.75 each)
RFM95 or SX1276 LoRa Module PCB Breakout Board (£3.50 each from M2M Shop)
I fell better now I have written it all down and hopefully it might help someone else.