Telegram for tank water levels

Hi everyone

So I want to build an arduino powered device that can check the water levels in tanks (essentially this However I also want this to message my phone to tell me the levels (at least once daily, potentially hourly).

Unfortunately as this will be run on a farm internet access will be limited (3g + 4g is available) and there is multiple tanks. There will be distances of maximum 20km (line of sight is fine).

I imagine I will need one arduino to have a 3g/ 4g cellular shield. This arduino (server) will likely have a radio receiver. Other arduinos will have radio modules to send the data. Daily, I would have the server arduino send via telegram the water levels to my phone.

So I have a few questions about this project.

What cellular shield is cheap and useful in Australia? How do the data plans work, and how much would a couple of lines via telegram daily cost in data? What radio modules would be cheap and useful?

I've looked at many different modules for all of this but I'd like some advice on what would work best for this project.

How far are you away from Wi-Fi
how far is the tank away from anything else
what powers are you going to have at the tank ?can you put something in between the tank and the Wi-Fi to repeat the signal
Water level sensing is easy sending the signals is easy using a cell phone style becomes more complicated and expensive on a monthly basis.
If you have Wi-Fi available it may be easier to put in a couple repeaters or use low Rob and get your signal that way

How far are you away from Wi-Fi
how far is the tank away from anything else
what powers are you going to have at the tank ?can you put something in between the tank and the Wi-Fi to repeat the signal

No wifi, at all, hence need for cellular shield. Power can be via solar panels. Largest distance tank will be from something is 20km.

Some of our best Arduinistas are Australian! 20km is a long way away! Australia seems like somewhere you could see 20km. Every once in a while (half a dozen or so times a year) we have that in Arizona. It's really cool to see all the way to the natural horizon!

or use low Rob

I think Dave meant to say LoRa. I was also going to suggest that also.

Is there a location, central to all tanks, where you have line of sight, power, 3G/4G and distances of no more than around 10Km to the other tanks?

What is your budget? For the central LoRa->3/4G gateway you could buy off the shelf LoRa gateway such as a Lorix One, and 3G/4G router that can accept an external antenna, such as those made by TP-link.

LoRa data usage is very low, so you could probably get away with a very low monthly data allowance SIM card.

Check out TTN Australia. You could be lucky and be in range of an existing gateway.

3g phone is all you need to get off the property, I'm not sure I can see the point of using internet here anyway. The exercise is to minimise the cost. Two of my phones are on Belong, which is cheapskates' Telstra. The plans are sold as data plans, I imagine this is a growing trend. Mine are on 1gB data for $10 a month. This includes unlimited national phone calls and SMS. It might not be the cheapest for you, but at least you know how much it is going to cost per month, and maybe you can pull the SIM out and use it in the phone to call your girlfriend in Cairns on a starry night to get some real value.

The phone in the car is still on Aldi. This is because it doesn't get much use these days, and a $15 PAYG topup is good for a year. Aldi is also on Telstra and works fine out on the interstate. It isn't particularly cheap but I can't imagine you having to SMS more than once a day, and it may be a better proposition for you.

Note that you can't call international with Belong. You can with the Aldi, and one of the reasons I keep it is that it is cheaper for international voice than a standard Telstra landline.

WiFi couldn't possibly be a good idea, but I understand the LoRa 900MHz radio is the sort of thing that would work at 20km over the Divide.

Being reasonably secure in the knowledge that, if one works a swag of them will work, you may get a better result with phone shields at every tank. In that event, you might get some advantage with a family plan encompassing several SIMs particularly if your own phone is on the same plan.

Forget 3G, Telstra say its still here, but the service is lousy and won't be improved as G4 will be come the main mobile system.

Investigate Lora, it has some interesting properties, and being 900MHz here in Australia, it does have good coverage.
You would need to setup a Lora gateway to be able to handle two or more Lora units.

One company in Victoria has been able to get 69kms over Port Philip Bay, but they didn't elaborate on what aerials they used.

Tom... :slight_smile: