Thank you for informations about RF100 or RF200 modules. I was looking on the market if there is anythink else like XBee.
Why would you like to recommend the Breakout Board? Is this like a XBee module to put on Arduino Board? And how much it costs? I was looking on product page and I couldn't found any informations about costs.
I've been using Synapse Wireless rf engine for a year and a half now. When I started using them, there were not any breakout boards available cheaply (around 10). On this page: https://www.jcwoltz.com/breakout-board-for-synapse-wireless-rf-engine/, If you click the Buy Now button under the breakout board, it is $12.50 with the smt (vreg and power filtering) assembled. I will sell Bare PCB + 12 pin 2mm headers for $7. If you have your own 3.3v supply, you do not need the vreg and caps. With that said, the Breakout Board is designed for multiple purposes:
- Plug into arduino through FTDI Connector
- Solder components directly onto headers inside or outside of the rfengine headers
- Solder male headers on the bottom to plug into a breadboard or .600 wide 24 pin IC Socket
The breakout board measure 2 inches x 2 inches. You do not have to go with my breakout board. You can go with something else. My breakout board is meant to be an affordable and multipurpose. One nice thing about the RF200 (or RF100) series is that you can use them with arduinos to wirelessly program them. You can also Use an rfengine by itself as it has a programmable MCU. I used to have a bunch of XBee/Arduino combos. For my simpler nodes, I have replaced them with just a RF200. They are programmable in a stripped down python called SNAPpy. So Lets say you want to read an ADC every second (or every minute, or whenever you want), It is a simple program to read the ADC and send the data where you want.
As I said before, you do not have to use my breakout board. You could use Solarbotics boards if you want. Synapse Wireless makes some boards, but they are too specific and cost too much for my use. Also, If you are comfortable with Eagle and want to make your own boards, my design files are released under a CC BY-SA license. However, I really think you will like the Synapse Wireless modules. They provide example code for different purposes. One of the most basic examples is what is called "transparent serial" where serial into one node comes out the other and vice-verse.
Synapse Wireless also has some software they call Portal. They release it for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It compiles and uploads your scripts to the nodes over the air. The RF100/200 nodes have 2 serial ports, 8 ADCs, 20 GPIO pins, I2C, and SPI. (maybe more features than that. That is just off the top of my head of what I use)
I briefly mentioned RPCs before, here is a simple, but more thorough example:
- Node 1: A refrigerator with a CDS (light based variable resistor) and a temp sensor. It can be programmed to sleep for one minute (to save the battery). Every minute it can read the temperature and light level. After it does that, it can send an RPC to portal (or any other node you want). Portal can take that RPC and log it to a file. Depending on how your light sensor is hooked up, it could be on an interrupt pin to wake up and log when the door is opened.
- Node 2: Hook up to your computer. Serial port 1 can goto Portal (but does not have to) for script changes, or arduino code upload
- Node 2: Continued. Serial port 0 can goto another serial port on your computer to read an transmit the data from your program (that sends the joystick commands)
- Node 3: On your tank. One UART can goto the arduino UART. This can be for wirelessly programming you arduino and serial data from your computer program during normal operations. In portal you can call RPCs on any node if you want. You could have lights or other switches on the GPIOs on the rfengine if you wanted.
With XBee series 1, you can set up two XBees in a wireless Serial mode, but only those two xbees talk to each other. With Xbee Series 2/2.5 you can do a mesh, but for what you want, you can not really have more than 2 xbees talking serial to each other.
With the Synapse Wireless modules, you can have 2 or more units talking to each other. You could have 2 main units doing what is called transparent serial. You could also program them that when a pin changes on one unit it can change a pin on another unit, send out a serial message, call an rpc on any other unit, etc... The possibilities are too many to list.
All I can really say, the RF200 units are nice. Their prices are very close to the XBee when you compare similar units. Here is a product brief for the RF200 including pinouts:
If you do not need the 3 mile LOS range, the RF200P81 uses a chip antenna:
Another thought: If you do not need the USB Joystick and computer program, you could make a handheld remote control:
you could use a thumb joystick like this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9032
with a breakout board like this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9110
wire up a couple of push buttons, put it all in a project enclosure.
on the rfengine side, use two of the ADCs to read the joystick, hook the push buttons into GPIOs on the rfengine. It would be a fairly simple program to read the state of the ADCs and GPIOs, then send an rpc to the other rfengine. You could code the receiver to send out serial commands to the arduino mega. just a thought.