Getting Started with nRF24L01+ using a Protoshield

RF24 Getting Started ProtoShield

This post follows the Getting Started with nRF24L01+ on Arduino. If the resulting board from that is a little too rough around the edges, it can be built instead on a proper prototype shield for a few more dollars.

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Control and Monitor Arduino Over the Web Using ENC28J60

NanodeUIP Webserver Screens

The NanodeUIP web server provides a mobile-optimized web page to control and monitor your Ethernet-connected Arduino. All you need is an Arduino and an ENC28J60-based Ethernet shield, or get a Nanode which combines the two together.

The home page shows the three functions the webserver can handle:

  • Monitor Buttons
  • Control Lights
  • Monitor Sensors

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Nordic FOB and nRF24L01+

Nordic FOB and nRF24L01+

Sparkfun sells a nifty little gadget to control your project remotely using nRF24L01+ radios. It’s a small key fob with 5 buttons, which transmits codes when you press each button. Today we’re going to explore how to receive those signals using the RF24 library. This is all thanks to Kirk Mower who sent me these units for Christmas. Thanks, Kirk! 🙂
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Arduino on Ice: Internet Radio via Shoutcast

Nanode streaming Internet Radio (close-up)

I’ve seen plenty Internet Radio examples out there on various platforms, but none on Arduino. Is 2K memory just too little to stream radio effectively? Thought it was time to find out. Turns out it’s no problem at all. Using uIP on ENC28J60 for networking and VS1053 for playback, a stock ATmega328p-based Arduino can stream Internet Radio no problem with plenty RAM to spare.

The example sketch discussed here is something of a “Hello, world.” of Internet Radio. It starts up, connects to a single hard-coded stream, and plays it forever. This makes it simple! Plug and listen. For this example, I’ll use the stream from www.c895.org, “Seattle’s Hottest Music” 🙂

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nRF24L01+ Running on Maple

nRF24L01+ connected to Leaf Labs Maple Native

Last weekend, I got a Maple Native board from Leaf Labs. This is a somewhat-Arduino-compatible board running a STM Cortex-M3 processor with 512k flash and 1M of external RAM. I figure it will ease the wait for the Arduino Due.

So my first task is to port RF24, my Driver for nRF24L01(+) 2.4GHz Wireless Transceiver library. This library makes it easy to use dirt-cheap nRF24L01+ modules for radio communication.

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Arduino on ATmega1284P

ATmega1284P on a breadboard

Sooner or later, the Arduino starts to feel a little claustrophobic. Your sketches start running out of memory, so you need more RAM. You want to talk serial to another peripheral (like an RFID Module) AND watch the action in the Serial Monitor at the same time, so you need more UARTS. You want to use SPI and control a motor and read a few sensors, and pretty soon you’re out of pins, so you need more I/O pins. You’re logging data, and running out of 1k EEPROM fast, so a bit more EEPROM would sure be handy.

The obvious solution to this problem is an Arduino Mega 2560. Oh yeah, this thing is powerful! 54 pins! 4 UARTS! 8k RAM! You add it to your cart, and then realize it’s almost $50.

Now maybe you’re wondering, isn’t there anything in-between that might be a bit less cash? Indeed there is, it’s call the ATmega1284P and today I’m going to explore getting Arduino to run on it, on a breadboard.

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Getting Started with nRF24L01+ on Arduino

RF24 Getting Started - Finished Product

Nordic’s nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz RF radios are a great way to communicate wirelessly between Arduino’s. They’re cheap, and powerful. Unfortunately, they can be a little daunting to beginners to get started. Today, I want to make it easy for total beginners to get up and running on nRF24L01+ radios quickly and easily.

Stuff we need

First, we have to go shopping. A great place to start is the iTeadStudio store. Here’s what you need. Obviously, you’ll want to buy two of the radios and protoboards because what good is a radio that can only talk to itself?

Reasonable substitutes for this stuff can also be found at Sparkfun if you like spending a lot more money. Also the radios are at MDfly.com.

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Low-Power Wireless Sensor Node

RF Duinode V3 (2V4)

My goal today is to create a sensor node which can be used in a wireless sensor network, to capture environmental information and send it back to the base. My main goals are for the nodes to: Be cheap, and last for a year.

How cheap and how low-power can we go? In the end, I got down under $12 for a very capable Arduino-compatible node with a 2.4GHz radio running ~2.6V that should last a year and a half on 2 AA’s, or 5 months on a coin cell.

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125Khz RFID Module RDM630

RFID Test Photo

Parts

I picked these up with my last iTeadStudio order to experiment with:

Connections

Connecting to the Arduino is brain-dead simple. Note that I am not connecting the module to the Arduino’s RX/TX pins, because I want to leave that open for the Serial Monitor.

Arduino RFID
2 LED
6 TX
+5V +5V
GND GND

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Contiki on Zigduino

Sensor Data Collect with Contiki

I’m looking for something powerful enough to take advantage of the Zigduino hardware, while at the same time open source and supported by an active community. Is that Contiki? Early signs are promising. I have put up a specialized avr-zigduino platform for Contiki, which contains tested and proven code and a Zigduino-specific walk-through to use it.

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