tehf0x 218 days ago [-]
Hey guys, just a bit of backstory as suggested by a mod:

tl;dr is that with this python script and one of the arduino sketches you can get an out-of-the-box remote sensing network with sqlite storage that is very easy to extend and hack on and has proven stable for over a year now.

The background:

I live in the countryside and wanted to find some ways to help out our neighbouring farmers with my trade. One of the things you see a lot of is remote things failing and going unnoticed -- unclosed barriers, electrified enclosures not strong enough, escaped animals, etc. In addition to this, there are some regular maintenance tasks -- opening/closing the chicken coop door, irrigation, opening/closing a greenhouse -- that are trivial to define programatically and can save a lot of time and trouble if automated.

This is the backbone to a set of other projects currently in the pipeline, but it also includes chicken coop door opener in one of the example nodes. I have some neighbours working on remote sensing for their solar-powered electric fence generator using LoRa. Overall this technology's mix of low-power and long-range transmission makes it an awesome tool for cheap, 'low'-tech countryside hacks.

rmason 218 days ago [-]
Just a tip, in the states the term 'remote sensing' refers to aerial photography of crops either by satellite, airplane or drone. These photos can find problems in the growing crop related to stress.

Things may be different in Europe but over here your use of the term will confuse people. Good luck on your project it has many applications.


pygy_ 218 days ago [-]
Not sure why this is being downvoted, since it appears to be accurate (searching for "remote sensing agriculture" only yields results about aerial/satellite imagery), and the linked paper contrasts "remote" (aka aerial) with "ground-based".

That usage is quite problematic though, because, by using such a broad term for such a specific application, you lose the ability to use it to describe other valid "remote sensing " instances such as those implemented by the OP.

neetdeth 218 days ago [-]
From Wikipedia:

> Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus in contrast to on-site observation, especially the Earth.

I've encountered the term in other contexts, but always where the object is remote with respect to the sensor. The applicable term here will be "sensor networks." The OP describes it as a "remote sensing network", so we all understand the meaning, but it might be best to substitute another keyword there like "RF sensor network" to increase search relevance.

brodouevencode 218 days ago [-]
It’s fair to call out the other definitions, but unfair to downvote.
asynchronous13 218 days ago [-]
> in the states the term 'remote sensing' refers to aerial photography of crops either by satellite, airplane or drone.

Sorry, but that's not even remotely true. (Haha, I kill me). There's all sorts of remote sensing in embedded systems for oil companies and other applications that is just some electronics, sensors, and a radio for sending data back to some central location.

TeMPOraL 218 days ago [-]
I guess it's "remote sensing" vs. "remote sensors".
xd1936 218 days ago [-]
LoRa is awesome technology, if you haven't yet played with it. Here in West Michigan, our city's Board of Public Works runs the local power station, which in turn powers snowmelt heated sidewalks in our downtown area. The employees are testing homegrown bricks in the sidewalk with little temperature sensors and LoRa radios that can run for months without needing a recharge, that in turn report their temperatures back to homebase. Super cool.


LoRa can be used for all kinds of low-bandwitch medium-range transmission of data. Temperatures, lat-long, you name it.

d21d3q 216 days ago [-]
I've played with LoRaWAN and I think that it has one major problem. Limited ack frames. In such case you can not be 100% sure about your data. Symphony link claims that they have every frame acked, and firmware uploads, but I didn't test it. LoRaWAN could work with custom channels (private freq), not limited to 1% of air time.
218 days ago [-]
tibu 218 days ago [-]
I'm not that deep involved in LoRa but isn't there a problem with it that by spamming the network you can take down the whole one with a $3 device?
tehf0x 218 days ago [-]
This could definitely be an issue, but in my use case I think I'd find the perp pretty quickly and scare him off with my pitchfork :) . It's important to space out the messaging, I don't send more frequently than 1msg/minute, and messages are 8-12 bytes, and most sensors are 1 msg/hour.
chli 218 days ago [-]
Yes you must respect the band duty cycle ! Check your respective country regulation.
dbrgn 218 days ago [-]
In general LoRa (and LoRaWan) are designed to be very resilient against interference, but targeted jamming seems possible: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1712.02141.pdf

On the other hand, jamming is possible for most radio protocols. I'm pretty sure it's illegal though, even in the license free band.

And LoRaWan in standard mode is inherently unreliable (unconfirmed packages by default). Using it for "passive" logging is fine, using it for critical "active" remote control maybe less so.

staticvar 218 days ago [-]
It would be cool to see this sending data to farmOS running on the Raspberry Pi. farmOS has a nice graphing and mapping UI for assets on farms and I know they have it running on some Pi's.


tehf0x 218 days ago [-]
Oh cool, I'll give this a look! I also want to get integration working with OpenSprinkler in the near future.
StavrosK 218 days ago [-]
Does anyone know some cheap LoRa radios I can buy? I'd like to play with it, but so far I only know about the LoPy (expensive but easy to program) and some no-name radios for which sample code is very hard to come by.
tehf0x 218 days ago [-]
At the end of the readme I point out the boards I use, namely the adafruit Lora feather which was the best bang for buck Arduino compatible board, and the Lora/GPS header for raspi which I would not necessarily recommend anymore, but that I can say works with this code.
StavrosK 218 days ago [-]
Oh I missed that, thanks. My local Hackerspace made some boards that have that LoRa radio and an ESP8266 on them, I might grab some of those as I'm not in the US and Adafruit won't ship here cheaply, thank you.
tehf0x 218 days ago [-]
Yeah, that's probably a good bet. I'm in Europe and there are actually a decent number of European suppliers (or try Mouser, they seems to ship internationally for free, I have no idea how it works out for them but I got mine there).
frazar0 218 days ago [-]
If you're looking for something Arduino-compatible, you should consider the RFM9x family of boards, based on the SX1276 LoRa chips.

Breakout board from Adafruit: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3072

StavrosK 218 days ago [-]
Ahh, those are the boards I couldn't find sample code for, thanks! Adafruit is a godsend.
wiradikusuma 218 days ago [-]
Is there any table/matrix to compare basically "for this use that"? Esp in terms of range, speed, bandwidth and power consumption (and maybe licensing?)?
CalRobert 218 days ago [-]
Thanks!! It so happens I'm signing on a house on a few acres Monday and want to set up remote soil sensors - this seems like just the thing for coordination.
Sendotsh 218 days ago [-]
This looks very cool, and I actually have a farm project right now that could use it.
chicob 218 days ago [-]
Cool. I think I have some use for this.