Author Topic: Flutter Wireless  (Read 935 times)

alobo

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Flutter Wireless
« on: October 31, 2014, 11:24:13 PM »
I came across Flutter Wireless while browsing the various tech blogs I keep up with, it's a funded KickStarter project.

It seems really cool. TL;DR: It's an Arduino-compatible 3.3V prototyping board with a TI chip enabling wireless communication, an integrated antenna boasting 1km range, 256-bit encryption, and easy support for mesh networking. AND ... it supposedly costs just $20. Reading their KickStarter page, it seems they're a bit slow on the production end, but no reason (yet) to think they might not deliver.

It could be cool to have your heliostat further away and still accessible without having to run wires. Perhaps a 433MHz transmitter/receiver pair off eBay would probably be cheaper, but then you'd have to set up your own networking infrastructure (or perhaps use something like the RadioHead Arduino library). xBees are almost prohibitively expensive in comparison - and often troublesome, to boot.
What do you CerebralMeltdowners think?
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 11:55:59 PM by alobo »


Gabriel

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Re: Flutter Wireless
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2014, 05:37:13 AM »
That looks promising. For the range it has, it is definitely cheaper than the XBee alternative. It looks like the Arduino is built into it too. I'll have to try and get my hands on one when they have them available again.

Coincidently, I was playing around with a "wireless" heliostat just last week actually. I just bought a charge controller and battery and am waiting for them to show up in the mail. I already have the solar panel, so it is cheaper, easier, and more portable to just power the heliostat where it's at instead of running wires out to it.

I also played around with getting my XBees running with it again. One of them sits inside a metal enclosure which seems to diminish the range for the wireless. I have to put the laptop next to the window to get it to connect. I may need to get an external antenna for the one inside the enclosure. We'll see, I haven't had much of a chance to experiment with it yet.

I actually found it to be pretty easy to set up my XBees. There is a bit of set up required though to update the firmware on them which I'm sure would be outside of many people's comfort zone.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 05:32:04 AM by Gabriel »


marcusbehrens

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Re: Flutter Wireless
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 01:43:46 PM »
Hi, I also was thinking about wireless heliostat with solar to keep it powered. Both to allow me to ask someone to have it in his backyard and then not touch it for a whole year.

The distance i'm crossing is 560m - so flutter would be good but it is not allowed in Europe (yet). I will go for xbee pros series 1 that should also go this distance.

Gabriel, for the solar power I see the solution that you are going for with 12v and off the shellf battery and solar charge regulator and a 12-18V solar panel. Then you can use the 12V for the stepper motors. If you go for a regulator with 6v output then this would be more efficient then burning the excess 7v in the regulator of a typical arduino board.

Another solution is to go down to the 5V area with the devices from voltaicsystems. A little more pricey but can also be used as backup battery for mobile devices and is waterproof oout of the box.

Regards, Marcus from Heidelberg

Gabriel

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Re: Flutter Wireless
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 05:42:25 AM »
That's a good idea. For now, I'm just trying to get something set up quickly so that I don't have to run a permanent power cord, but once It's set up I should start experimenting with different ways of saving power. I think there is an option to put XBees into sleep mode and the Arduino can also be put into sleep mode. Overall, the system shouldn't require much power at all.

alobo

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Re: Flutter Wireless
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2014, 01:37:08 AM »
Hi marcusbehrens,

If you are capable, you could also try simple 315/433 MHz radio transmitter/receivers, which I had mentioned in the first post. If I understand correctly, they are in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) range of frequencies, which should give you some freedom to use.
Combined with the RadioHead library for Arduino, that might give you the range you need? I don't know what the real range is on those transmitters, there are varying results, anywhere from less than 50m to more than 250m. Supposedly that Arduino library has support for mesh networking, so since the range on one transmitter probably isn't enough you could put one more in the middle as a relay.
I don't know whether this fits your project, just sharing my thoughts. You would probably have to code it in yourself using the RadioHead examples as a guide, anyway.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 02:02:29 AM by alobo »