Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection

At IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2 I reported some quality issues with two low cost SAMD21 Arduino Zero like boards.

In both cases, the bootloader did not work. I did not investigate further but did note that the NVM user row looked like it had been cleared, but just wrote a new bootloader and restored a default user row with protection for the 8192 length bootloader.

Above is one of the culprit boards. Continue reading Arduino SAMD21 bootloader protection

IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2

At IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 1 details were given of first steps in a LoRaWAN project.

This article documents some MCU boards used for prototyping solutions.

The Arduino Zero concept was chosen for a modern module supported by the Arduino IDE and with ample memory resources for the LoRaWAN protocol stack and application code and memory requirements.

The boards tested are ‘basic’ Zero boards using the Atmel SAMD21G18 MCU. None of the three boards discussed here had the ‘PRO’ EDBG chip / ‘Programming USB’ port, they had only the ‘Native USB’ port.

Wemos SAMD21 Arduino form

Above is the module under test. Continue reading IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 2

Dragino LG02 review

This article reviews the Dragino LG02 LoRa ‘gateway’.

Above is a pic of the supplied device, and notably it is supplied without the external WiFi antenna shown in the manufacturer’s literature and seller’s web shop.

Above is a close up of the case with the plastic plug removed from the ANT-3 hole, there is not connector, the device does not have provision to install the external WiFi antenna and presumably has an internal antenna though we might expect that has reduced range. Continue reading Dragino LG02 review

ESP8266 IoT BME280 temperature, humidity and pressure

This article documents a project with the Espressif ESP8266.

This project is based on ESP8266 IoT DHT22 temperature and humidity – evolution 3, but uses the Bosch BME280 temperature, humidity and pressure sensor. The BME280 has been around for a couple of years, but recently, modules using the chip have become available on eBay for a couple of dollars.

The objective is a module that will take periodic temperature, humidity atmospheric pressure (barometer) measurements, and in this evolution publish them using a RESTful API.

The example platform used in this article is a Wemos D1Pro. In this case, the D1Pro is configured for an external antenna, and a modification is made to the board to add a 1N34A diode for the deep sleep reset circuit (NodeMCU devkit V1 deep sleep). A right angle header on the top of the board (as seen) and another on the underside on the opposite edge to get GND, +3.3, D3 and D4 for the BME280 sensor. There is less than $25 in parts in the pic above. Continue reading ESP8266 IoT BME280 temperature, humidity and pressure

IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 1

Several of my IoT projects use WiFi, and its range is quite limited, too short to be practical for some projects.

There are several alternatives, but the emerging LoRaWAN concept looks interesting and is worth a visit. LoRaWAN is capable of up to 20km range under ideal conditions, km range should be reliable in most cases.

The first trial is to adapt an existing project functional requirement to LoRaWAN connectivity.

Above is a block diagram of the working trial. Continue reading IoT – exploration of LoRaWAN – part 1

AIM 915 produces internally inconsistent results



AIM914 was recently pulled from the distribution site and replaced by a new release, AIM915.

I cannot recall ever finding a new release that did not have significant defects, commonly inconsistency between displayed values. In the common theme of one step forward, two steps backwards, this version has defects that were not present in AIM910B.

Let’s review the internal consistency of this part of the display screen.

Most of the values given above are calculated from a single measurement value, and should be internally consistent. That measurement value is translated to different quantities, many based on the stated Zref (50Ω in this case). Continue reading AIM 915 produces internally inconsistent results

When simple explanations target a simple audience

Modern hams live busy lives and it is difficult to fit everything in to the available time / resources etc. So, there is an appetite for the skinny on some key topics, the inside info that took the wise a long time to learn.

This article discusses one of those articles containing the skinny on VSWR, What is VSWR: Voltage Standing Wave Ratio, it takes only a minute or two to read and there is a six minute video for those who prefer that.

The issues discussed here are common in the ham world explanation of VSWR and analysing them provides a learning opportunity. The video contains the issues mentioned below… and some.

Right up front, eager readers are given a take home message. If something prevents them finishing the article they have learned something they can repeat as pros. So satisfying!

In order to obtain the maximum power transfer from the source to the transmission line, or the transmission line to the load, be it a resistor, an input to another system, or an antenna, the impedance levels must match.

In other words for a 50Ω system the source or signal generator must have a source impedance of 50Ω, the transmission line must be 50Ω and so must the load

Ok, it states clearly and unequivocally that a necessary condition for maximum power transfer it that source must match line and line must match load.

We will test that proposition, but firstly the detailed explanation follows… Continue reading When simple explanations target a simple audience