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I am building a prototype for a remote controlled vessel, the LoRa Marine Environmental Ranger (LoRa MER) that gathers environmental data and relays it to a shore based station using Arduino MKR WAN 1300 LoRa boards.  This post is the seventh in a series, and describes the preparation done to better assure the upcoming tests on water will be successful.

Logo

Implementation Status

Last week I described the first tests on water .  While the LoRa and sensor portion worked without issue, the Radio Control (RC) system of the boat did not function.  Most of the work this past week was effort to find the cause of the RC problem and secure the sensors for the next test.  Changes from last week are in red bold

 

Boat

  • RC control inspected and retested
  • MKR WAN 1300 firmware tested
  • Following sensors / hardware more permanently fitted and tested
    • ST3775 TFT Display
    • ICP10100  Atmospheric Pressure / Temperature
    • NEO-6M-0-001 GPS
    • Thermistor Water Temperature
    • Thermistor Air Temperature
    • KX224-I2C 3 axis Accelerometer
    • RPR-0521RSLight Sensor
    • TSW-10 Turbidity Sensor
  • Bathtub test

Shore base:

  • Enclosure completed
  • TFT screen fitted
  • Firmware has LoRa reception (polls) and responds with RSSI
  • MKR WAN 1300 connected to Raspberry Pi by USB serial
  • Python script sends data over internet to adafruit.io
  • Dashboard implemented on adafruit.io
  • Fitted a DIY dipole antenna
  • Tested TTGO LoRa32 with MKRWAN 1300

 

Indoor Testing

The project technicians inspected all connections in the radio control portion of the boat but were unable to find any obvious problems.

Project Technician at work

There are still intermittent issues with communication but by powering down and repowering they can be controlled somewhat.  Since I will see the grandkids this weekend I decided to button it back up and make do.  The sensors and MKRWAN 1300 LoRa board were attached more securely and testing done indoors as seen in the following video.

 

Playing Nice with ESP32 LoRa

A while back I ordered an ESP32 board with LoRa and a small display.  It is quite easy to communicate between the Arduino and ESP32 board and they even use the same library.  I have been unsuccessful in setting the ESP32 up as a TTN gateway so far but it seems a number of others have done so.   It should be possible to use the ESP32 as a base station that talks to Adafruit IO  but I haven't tried that and will stick with the Raspberry Pi for now.  The photo below shows the Arduino and ESP32 communicating.

Arduino MKRWAN 1300 communicating with ESP32 LoRa Board

Next Steps

  • Tests on water

Links

MKR WAN 1300: LoRa Marine Environmental Ranger  - This is the landing page which outlines the project

LoRa MER Week 1:  Making it Portable

LoRa MER Week 2: Boat in a Box

LoRa MER Week 3: Building a Shore station and Starting the Boat

LoRa MER Week 3.5:  Testing Turbidity and Posting Data to Internet

LoRa MER Week 4:  Boat Afloat and New Antenna