Moteino

Moteino

I’ve recently become aware of Moteino, a very low cost but powerful platform for wireless sensor networks. Felix at LowPowerLabs has done a fantastic job designing and building the devices, which come with 4Mbit of flash and a 433/868/915MHz transceiver, all for less than $20. Moteino is based around an Atmel 328p, running at 16MHz, so it is compatible with the Arduino environment. This makes it a very accessible platform for node development and means there are a lot of existing libraries for various sensors out there.

So far I’ve only had time to play with a few Moteinos but I’m already impressed. I’ve gotten well over 600m (LOS) range using the RFM69HW radio at 55.5kbps and the sleep power consumption is wonderfully low (sub 100 microamps).

RFM69HW Range

I’m currently prototyping a node to do meteorology sensing (temperature, pressure, humidity, light level etc). The power consumption whilst running, with the transceiver in rx mode, is about 20mA. This is considerably less than my current solution (XBee based) which sits at about 65mA in rx mode. The libraries for interacting with the radio and flash chips both work nicely and are pretty easy to understand. You have a lot of control over the radio which is really nice coming from the world of XBees where there is a whole layer of abstraction in between you and the hardware.

Something of particular interest is the wireless programming possibilities, there is already some beta code to wirelessly store a new hex file in the external flash and the supplied bootloader is capable of reading that firmware image from the external flash chip into program memory. All in all I’m very impressed and I’d encourage anyone with an interest to head over to http://lowpowerlab.com/ and check it out!

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3 comments

  1. Tom-
    really happy to run across your blog- i’m a student at a university in the middle of the USA (Missouri) working on a wireless sensor network for Journalism. Been working with Moteinos for a couple months now and searching for a mesh networking solution- is this something that you’re working on by chance?

    1. I haven’t honestly had a chance to seriously play with Moteinos yet, it’s still on my to do list. That being said Felix, who makes the Moteino will definitely be able to help. I’d suggest contacting him via his store: http://lowpowerlab.com/contact/.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply Tom! yeah was just reaching out to felix and his cohort at the lowpowerlab forum now- best of luck with your work, it’s really great stuff. and should you get to the bottom of a mesh network for Moetinos, please holler at me. if it’s not too much to ask, I’d love to look into your process. thanks so much.

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