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Description: This is the SparkFun RFM69 Breakout, a small piece of tech that breaks out all the pins available on the RFM69HCW module as well as making the transceiver easy to use. The RFM69HCW is an inexpensive and versatile radio module that operates in the unlicensed ISM (Industry, Science and Medicine) radio band. It’s perfect for building inexpensive short-range wireless networks of sensors and actuators for home automation, citizen science and more.

This RFM69HCW operates on the 434MHz frequency and is capable of transmitting at up to 100mW and up to 300kbps, but you can change both of those values to fit your application. For example, you can maximize range by increasing the transmit power and reducing the data rate, or you can reduce both for short-range sensor networks that sip battery power. At full power and with simple wire antennas, we can get messages from one side of a large office building to the other through numerous internal walls. In open air you can reach 500 meters or more. With more complex antennas and modulation schemes, similar parts have successfully transmitted from space to the ground (by very smart amateur radio enthusiasts; your mileage may vary)!

The RFM69HCW uses an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) to communicate with a host microcontroller, and several good Arduino libraries are available. It supports up to 256 networks of 255 nodes per network, features AES encryption to keep your data private, and transmits data packets up to 66 bytes long.

SparkFun sells two versions of the RFM69HCW: a 915MHz version and this 434MHz version. Although the ISM band is license-free, the band itself is different in different areas. Very roughly, 915MHz is for use in the Americas, and the 434MHz version is for use in Europe, Asia and Africa. Check your local regulations for other areas.

Get Started with the RFM69HCW Hookup Guide

Dimensions: 0.8" x 1.1"

Features:

  • Transmit power: -18dBm (0.016mW) to +20dBm (100mW) in 1dBm steps
  • Receive sensitivity: down to -120dBm at 1.2kbps
  • Modulation types: FSK GFSK MSK GMSK OOK
  • Bit rates (FSK): 1.2kbps to 300kbps
  • Voltage range: 1.8V to 3.6V
  • Current consumption: 0.1uA sleep, 1.25mA standby, 16mA receive, 130mA transmit (max)
  • Encryption: AES 128-bit (optional)
  • Packet buffer (FIFO): 66 bytes

Documents:

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Customer Comments

  • Really need the RFM95 LoRa radio module. For the market where this module is appropriate (low data rate, low power, long distance) the LoRa radios get another 30 dB of link budget. Blows this away from a system perspective.

    Actually, RFM22b was used from space.

  • Will be susceptible to 70cm amateur radio transmissions in the USA 433.00-435.00 Auxiliary/repeater links

    • We recommend that our US customers order the 915MHz version.

      • You may want to use a wording stronger than “recommend” when describing when to use these RF products. If someone uses the 434 MHz version of this board in the USA without an appropriate radio licence (434 MHz license free ISM does not exist in USA), technically they are in violation of FCC rules, as I understand.

        • Because there are valid reasons you might order either frequency, including as you mentioned being licensed to transmit on that band, we’re not going to “force” people to buy one or the other based on their location (which may not even be the operational destination of the module). As always we prefer to educate people and let them make informed choices.

          That said, we RECOMMEND that our US customers order the 915MHz version. ;)

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Support Tips

Using the RFM69 Breakout with Arduino Yun and Leonardo

If you need to use this with a Yun, (or Leonardo) it can be done. First, connect your SPI pins to the ICSP header. CS in the library on a Yun is not on pin 10. It’s on the RX LED. See this picture for a connection diagram. You might want to edit the library code to move CS to a more convenient location.