Really hard to get full into TTN

I saw some videos on YouTube from Andreas Spiess, and found LoRa really interesting, so I ordered some gateway parts and some node parts to try it out.

The gateway from n-fuse was easy to set up and it was running the same day I recieved it. And I changed already the host the gateway is running on multiple times without any problems, be it Windows or Raspberry Pi or amd64-Linux.

BUT, setting up a node seems to be a real pain in the ***. Of course, I’m a newb to LoRa, so the learning curve was expected to be steep, BUT really that steep? For me it was easier to get a FPGA running and being usable than setting up a LoRa-Node.

Sure, I should have known that “LoRa” doesn’t mean it could connect to TTN, so my first attempt with E32-868T20D was a failure. Now I know it, but there should be more infos here, what to use and what not.

Now I’m trying to get a TTGO-T-Beam up and running, and nothing from TTN is hindering me, but the imcompatibilities of the Arduino libraries regarding “serial” and “pyserial” are driving me nuts.

All in all it is a very unpleasant experience to get into LoRa. And I know what an early adopter is, I’m vaping for more than 8 years and my first electric car I got 5 years ago.

There should be a step by step guide here, with a recommended list of CHEAP items to try out LoRa and TTN.

Have you checked the LABS section of the website? There are a number of options listed. For a basic setup you could start with this one.

BTW, you could check if there is a TTN (related) meetup happening in your part of the world and visit it to get advice from people with experience. We (TTN Groningen) have run several node building workshops to get people started over the years. (like this one)

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Your problems appear to be with third party products you have not sourced from TTN. I doubt that TTN would take up the responsibility to supply tutorials on how to configure a range of third party products, it would perhaps be reasonable to expect the suppliers of the third party parts to support them.

The same principle applies to third party software libraries, yes they can be confusing and may even have errors, but they are usually free, and TTN can do little to correct issues with them.

At best TTN can post links to tutorials and guides (for third party hardware and software) that volunteers have written, see @kersing’s post above for instance.

The volunteers that inhabit these forums will also often advise on issues with particular products or libraries.

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No, I didn’t notice, but now, thank you very much, I’m already reading …

If I had invented a network that works better the more people using it, I would be interested in helping people to get it up and running regardless of the source of their items.
My usecase doesnt require the use of others people gateways, but even if I’m not able to get my first node up and running, my gateway does run and submitted already 700 messages, that are not mine.
I also was able to set up but I opted for TTN because I see the benefit of collaboration.

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I don’t own one, but I would expect the TTN branded uno board to be the most beginner friendly platform. Your application runs on a different chip to the LoRaWAN stack so there is not much which can go wrong. Pretty sure I’ve seen nice step by step tutorials for it on this site.

Going down the path of dealing directly with radio chips and running the LoRaWAN stack is meant to be hard. You are going to have to do things like read the specification, debug new hardware, intercept and dissect packets, develop tools. It’s going to take time and it’s going to feel like work. It’s going to really suck if you aren’t a seasoned firmware developer.

I may understand your frustration, however I would distinguish between pro and hobbyist. In the latter case, some tinkering is part of the joy.
I am in the middle or so (attitude more like hobbyist), and among the nodes I played with, the easiest path has been the Arduino MKR WAN 1300. It is far from perfect, but its high level library makes things easy for a beginner. When LMIC is needed, code is dirtier, although there is much more documentation and examples around.
Of the latter, the one I like most is Lora32U4 - cheap, small, relatively low power, but unfortunately with small memory and thus code should stay on diet. ESP32 + LoRa is another choice on the opposite side of the spectrum: powerful, lot of memory, not optimized for low power, and still cheap. Your T-Beam is of this kind, I do not know why you are having issues (one possible source is pin mapping, due to the various versions available).

I didn’t find it hard to get my first few nodes running on TTN, actually it was very easy. I followed one of the ADAFRUIT tutorials and had my node running very quickly. Here is that tutorial :

After understanding the procedure described there, it was trivial to get my T-Beams running, it took about an hour to get the first one running.

Hello Lind,

I really liked the Andreas Spiess videos. Its a great motivation for trying Lora.

But insteed to get some cheap TTN cards, I started directly with the official TTN gateway and TTN Arduino One Things. It took me one day to read, watch some video and get a successfull setup.

When all the process was connected, then I started to try and add external hardware, sensors and code to reach what I was looking for.

Of course, It was not the most costly solution. However I didn’t spend 10 days of my live to connect a 15$ wierd gateway from Aliexpress.


One of the most important skills is being able to frame an answerable question.

The above makes almost no sense at all. Arduino libraries run on an embedded device, like an Arduino’s ATmega. pyserial is a host side library.

What exact issue are you having?

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First of all: Thank you very much for the many helpful hints I got in the responses!

I should have read more before I ordered parts, that for sure, but here i am, and we all know it takes weeks up to months the get the items from China :wink:

I’m still not willing to pay twice as much for nearly the same items with a proper brand name on it. But I’m obviously willing to pay my time bill for it. It is important for me to understand a technology, so I go the hard way to find it out by myself. But I also need some directions to find out, what I need to know. That is why I’m so thankful for all the comments that give me directions! Thank you again!

To the last comment: There is no “answerable question” it was just a complaint about the lack of Step-by-step-guide for setting up a node. Now I understand that this is impossible due to the variety of hardware. It was just pure luck I found this great guide to set up my gateway:

I just was expecting something similar to set up my node. I’m developing my software under Qubes OS, so I don’t expect any helpful answer that could be related to the “special needs” of this OS, and one of those “special needs” is the inability to use “pip” in my programming domain :wink:

Many of us were able to have a node running in the very first hours of LoRaWAN experience because there are a lot of examples around, thanks to a number of forum members. For example, your T-Beam can directly run the PaxCounter , and almost any non-exotic setup may be made functional with LMIC.

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I have been affected by that issue a few times myself. When I was trying to get LoRa working back in 2014 there was a distinct lack of support from anyone, very little workable code, none at all for my chosen microcontroller.

Its been the same again recently, I have been trying to get the LoRa SX1280 working on Arduino, there was a distinct lack of suitable code, and Semtech, apart from publishing their own SAMD\MBED based development system were of little help.

You might think that companies releasing devices should be obliged to provide whatever support is needed, but they ofton dont, I just accept it and get on with the making it work.

Ok, quick update:
In fact I managed to get my node up and running, thanks to:

It wasn’t really easy but also not very difficult. So thank you very much for all the help I got here. Now it’s time to test some range with various SF.

First time is always a pain. You need to check out different libraries to see what works and what not, make yourself familiar with new hardware perhaps and so on. It took me a week to get stuff running from point zero (including installing arduino ide and getting familiar with esp32 boards and getting to know lorawan more than at high level.

My method was like this
.Play with esp32 board and arduinoto get to know them. Check out lora with simple radio links to get a feel of capabilities.
-TTGO Lora32 board(s) for single channel gateway(s) (easy job but needed, no TTN gateways near me before these!)
-TTGO T-Beam for node using arduino-lmic library and NeoGPS library with Adafruit GFX and Adafruit library for SSD1306. (NeoGPS seems pretty good, especially if you need multiple GNSS support. It has it’s quirks too but nothing major.).

As always, 5% of small problems (like figuring out lmic does not start SPI well on esp32) take 95% of the time. Also I thing lmic is not too user friendly and trying stuff like OTAA that never worked after a full day of trying takes time as well. However, now I think I have a solid understanding of basics on these platforms.

Next I think I’ll check out some other lmic variants that seem more user friendly and updated.

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