I’ve built a simple water meter monitoring using 2 Pycom Lopy boards : the 1st one counts the pulses from the water meter and sends them over (raw) lora, the 2nd one listens for the messages from the 1st one and forwards them on MQTT (wifi). Home assistant is used to manage and display the water consumption.
I used lora because I had the boards hands and wanted a quick PoC of my project.
Now, I’m wondering : should I stick with my simple local gateway and simple protocol, or should I upgrade my project to TTN?
At first sight, my project is 100% local, and I might not need to whole TTN infrastructure, but on the other sight, this project might be a good opportunity to join the TTN project.
What are your opinions about this?
The main benefits of joining TTN, in my opinion, are:
- Be able to use off-the-shelf LoRaWAN nodes
- Let other people within range benefit from you gateway
- For use cases with moving sensors: benefit from the coverage provided by the TTN community
You would have to buy/build a LoRaWAN gateway though.
I think it can be a very good way to learn about TTN and make your project a lot more universal.
To receive data from TTN there are a lot of possibities, you can perhaps use one of the integrations.
You can also listen on the MQTT stream. I’ve written applications in Python and in Java for that, it’s not super hard.
A couple things to keep in mind:
- There is no guarantee that all packets arrive, so if you send already accumulated counter values (instead of ‘ticks’ that are accumulated in a backend for example), it should be OK. In that case its not a big deal if you miss a packet once in a while.
- The fair-use-policy of TTN is a lot more strict than the legal limits, for example not simply 1% duty cycle, but 30 seconds uplink time from the node per day, for example.
But you are part way there as you are familiar with the Pycom range and they do a low cost gateway.
The main reason is you can share your tech skills with others in your area if you have a gateway - no end of good could come of it
Sounds like a project we build (sorry german):
Are they offering source code for that gateway yet? There have been bad experiences with closed source gateways not quite working well enough in the real world. It is temptingly cheap hardware, but probably not a good purchase until there’s maintainable software for it.
Thanks for your answers! I can see the value of integrating TTN in my project : learn, extend the network and universal!
Do you think this kind of project would be interesting or useful to other people? Or do you know any other similar project in home monitoring/automation ?
Upgrade to TTN?? Funny you ask that because I would have thought most people start with TTN then “upgrade” to TTN Enterprise.
This is what we did. We started with TTN as they have so much support, knowledge base and a dedicated community around them. So much to learn. We then upgraded to TTN Enterprise and run our LoRaWAN networks on our own V3 stack instance.
We too offer water metering solutions which are based on low cost off the shelf rugged and reliable LoRaWAN devices. Also most water meter manufacturers now these days supply embedded LoRaWAN within their product.