RFM69 and SPIFlash libraries released via Arduino LibraryManager

The LowPowerLab RFM69 and SPIFlash libraries are now published to the Arduino Library directory, and available to install in the IDE’s Library Manager (under Tools>Manage Libraries). Note that if you already have these library installed manually, you may need to remove it and re-install using the manager:

As new versions are released, you can update to the latest or switch back to an older version if you have a need to do so. If you’re new to using the Library Manager, it’s worth to read the official Arduino Library guide, and also check the Library Manager FAQ, to understand how Arduino libraries work, and how manage them (adding, switching, updating, manual library installation, deleting local libraries, etc).

As usual, please report any issues or bugs in the forum or open a Github issue where appropriate.

Gateway app Updated to v8.10

The Pi Gateway software is now at v8.10, this release is mainly a new feature release and also it fixes some issues. You can view a list of all the changes in the official release notes. Here are some quick highlights:

Node/overridable Settings

If you’d like a particular global setting (from settings.json5) to be overridable in a node (for instance minimum voltage for battery powered nodes) you can now do so in metrics.js by using the new settings section under exports.motes, note that the included settings must match the name in settings.json5 or they will be ignored. Example from exports.motes.MotionMote:

imageThen on nodes of that type, the setting can now be set a custom value:
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Wifi RadioThermostat CT50 IP setting support

Specific code for the CT50 was updated to support a new IP setting in the UI. This allows the user to override and set the IP of a thermostat on the node page, thus enabling having multiple thermostats with different IPs in the app:
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New Setting Types

This enables more user friendly settings. Supported types are jQuery mobile HTML5 defaults, and examples of how to use these are found in the settings.json5 file:

  • checkbox – for true/false settings
  • number
  • email
  • password – obsoletes setting.password:true/false
  • range – min, max
  • default (no type) is text

A few examples using new types:
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Email attachments

The sendEmail function in gateway.js has a new parameter where you can pass the URL of an attachment to include in sent emails: global.sendEmail = function(SUBJECT, BODY, **ATTACHMENTS**). Example email with attachment:
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Scheduled events time remaining & datetime

Scheduled events now show time remaining until they will run, and the datetime when that happens:
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Sunset/sunrise API for events

Based on suncalc, this node API allows creating events that run at various times during the day based on calculation of the sun position. A few examples are:

  • sunrise
  • sunset
  • solarNoon
  • goldenHour
  • dusk
  • dawn

To calculate these events, the latitude/longitude coordinates can be provided on the general settings page:

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New All-Events page which shows all scheduled and disabled events:

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Modified main menu:

  • removed the Exit item (redundant)
  • added app version:
    image

RSSI is now a metric and logged/graphed by default:

imageimage

Low Battery Voltage

Warning icon now blinks in/out over the node icon:
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As always, when you update:

SwitchMote with single 16A relay

SwitchMote  and SwitchMote PSU are now available with a single 16A relay, instead of dual 10A relays. I realize this is most often the case that a second relay is not really necessary, except when replacing dual gang switches with a single gang SwitchMote, so I found this higher rating relay which can be soldered as shown in the guide. I also added the option to get it with a single 10A relay since most light applications now use either CFLs or LEDs and 16 amps are not really necessary for such small loads.

This new 16A relay requires removing two of the leads to make it fit the SwitchMote PCB, this is also added to the guide:

Worth noting here that the dual relay SwitchMote (a.k.a. 2x10A) is now the official kit that deprecates the older single 5A relay SwitchMote – that one has been discontinued and will only be available by special order.

Moteino R6 released

After Moteino R4 has been the long running champion of its lineup, and R5 has had a brief period of glory, Moteino has now been shipping for the past week at revision R6!

Wait, what happened to R5 which was never announced you ask?
Well R5 was mainly a transceiver layout change from R4, it also added a u.FL RF connector (which is now offered in the shop) and SMA connector “helper” pads, and few other minor layout changes, nothing too significant and otherwise identical to R4. Customers were now getting HCW and LoRa radios on the same Moteino PCB instead of separate PCBs for HW and LoRa.

However in R6 there are more important changes:

  • CW transceiver layout has been added in addition to the RFM69/LoRa layout, which means that the whole spectrum of RFM69 and LoRa radios are supported. Note that W and HW, while still in the shop, are no longer available as an option for MoteinoR6 – they are replaced by CW and HCW (which are 100% equivalent from a software and features perspective, but smaller!)
  • supported transceivers: RFM69CW, RFM69HCW, RFM95/96/LoRa
  • in addition to this, RFM12B is now also usable (though not sold) with Moteino R6 because of the new CW pads. Note that the RFM12B library is still usable but no longer actively developed or supported
  • a delay cap was added to DTR to avoid situations where the Moteino never wakes from an ultra low power state – this has been mentioned and discussed in the forum
  • u.FL pads kept for those who want to connect a pigtail instead of straight coax or the provided monopole wire antenna
  • the Trace Antenna variant reflects all these changes as well except it’s connected to the onboard PCB antenna and does not require an external antenna

Here are RF connector options now possible on the Moteino, all these RF connectors are available in the shop for convenience:

 

DHL Express for international orders

Good news for international customers!
After a period of integration and API testing, DHL Express is now available for international orders!

Pricing on DHL shipments is dynamically fetched at checkout and ranges typically from $25 to $40 to most EU countries. In almost every case it will beat the USPS pricing of PRIORITY ($33 to most countries) and it totally obsoletes USPS EXPRESS ($60 for most destinations). The transit time is typically 4 days to western EU and about 5 days to eastern EU. Most other places should expect a similar transit duration. There will always be flawless full tracking to the destination address, as opposed to postal tracking which is only available to a few countries that have agreements with USPS and has recently been unexpectedly removed from countries like France, Italy, Denmark and others.

USPS will continue to be available as flat rate service. The big disadvantage of USPS for international shipments is that there is an exchange to the destination country’s postal system, and in many cases these government run postal systems are poor at best. This sometimes results in delays, invalid package routing, invalid or confusing or out of order tracking (if any), bad customs handling and overall poor customer experience – not because USPS didn’t do its part. But because countries like Germany (the irony is the Deutsche Post owns DHL!) or Italy have very poor and anal customs which are nothing but deterrents for using the regular post for shipping.

With DHL all this is a thing of the past because DHL is one of the (if not the) best (and fastest) courier service available. It handles the customs clearance brokerage for the end customer (sounds like it may add a fee for this service in some places) but the experience you get is incomparable to that of dealing with the local post office. International buyers still have to pay import taxes as required by your country laws.

This is still considered to be a Beta release and while integration and automation continues to be implemented in the backend and some details ironed out, you are encouraged to report any bugs or issues or provide any feedback for improvement. Hopefully DHL will improve shipping experience for those customers who opt for and are willing to pay for the better service!

WeatherShield R2 released

UPDATE: A sample RFM69 sketch for WeatherShield R2 is posted here.

WeatherShield is now at R2 and although the PCB is very similar to R1 there are some significant differences. The R1 used to have a BMP180 until Bosch decided to stop making it. So R2 came about partly because of that reason, and is now shipped with a BME280 which includes all Temperature/Humidity/Pressure readings all in 1 sensor. This sensor is pretty popular it seems so hopefully the supply will be plenty for a long time.

Here’s a look at R2:

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And the schematic:schematic

Notice a few changes:

  • The voltage monitor circuit is now without a mosfet – this was removed and a resistor was added (the angled resistor) to tie the circuit permanently to A7. The old pads are still there so including the mosfet as on R1 is an option if someone really wants it.
  • there is now a solder jumper to allow disconnecting the battery monitor from A7
  • The Si7021 pads are still there if you’d like to add that sensor yourself

The board will idle at around 3.5uA when the sensor is put to sleep because of the voltage monitor. That’s still very low power but if you want 100nA instead and don’t care for battery monitoring, cut the jumper to A7. Bring your feedback in the forums!

MotionMote R3 with BME280 & Panasonic PIRs

The MotionMote is now available with optional BME280 sensors and Panasonic PIR ultra low power sensors (the EKMB1201111: 5m 2uA, white). When you opt for the Panasonic PIR you get that instead of the chinese HC-SR501 with the appropriate enclosure front cover and required acrylic standoff. The guide explains how to use the standoff and switch the PIR input voltage from battery to regulated 3.3v from the Moteino:

DSC_9826DSC_9823

The MotionMote sample sketch was updated to include BME280 code support, but it’s commented out (will require a 3rd party library to read the sensor). If you get the BME280, make sure to uncomment the BME280 related code lines.

Although expensive, this PIR allows running on less than 10uA of idle current draw. Who thought that less power costs more huh! When assembled these will look like this:

DSC_9805

The OLED variant of the kit might be available soon as well, I will update the product page with that option when/if it does. That allows using this kit as a battery operated Moteino with a nifty OLED display for any general purpose use on your wireless IoT network. Here is that at a glance next to the regular HC-SR501 PIR based MotionMote.

Gateway app updates

There are some notable changes and some new features for the Gateway app – these are published in this Github release. Below is a video overview and a summary of changes:

New settings:

  • serial baud is now 19200 (old: 115200), this is to eliminate any serial corruption when lots of serial data is going in/out to Moteino/MightyHat
  • keepFilesOnDelete (default: false) ensures the binary log files are removed when node/metrics are removed
  • graphMaxPoints – graph data point resolution (total points graphed from raw data)

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New features

  • List reordering (desktop only) – drag & drop nodes to reorder list & broadcast to all clients:
    image
  • Graph legend div reformat + count of total raw data points that produced a graph are now displayed on top left.
  • Also there is a new Export-Raw-Data button that generates a CSV file from the selected time window. This was requested here.
    image

Moteino with trace antenna

I had previously released a MoteinoMEGA with trace antenna, and there is now a regular Moteino with trace antenna. Everything is the same as the MEGA variant, except of course this is the atmega328p based Moteino, the most popular variant. The antenna is tuned to work in the 868-915 bands and should deliver very decent performance, close to the wire monopole. Here it is next to it’s MEGA sister board: