Are you a fan of the XBee form-factor but in need of more power? Try the Synapse module! The Synapse RF266PC1 is an IEEE802.15.4 RF module running the SNAP® network operating system that is pin-compatible with sockets already designed in for Digi International’s XBee® and XBee-PRO® RF modules. The RF266 also includes an open source software layer that can understand AT commands that you may already be using or you can modify the software to fit your requirements.
This module supports data rates from 250kbps up to 2Mbps and distances of up to 4000ft. because of a high gain 20 dBm transmit amp; a built in receive amp provides a -107 dBm receive sensitivity! These small, low-powered, 2.4 GHz transmitter-receiver modules are modest in power consumption – as low as 0.37 μA.
The RF266PC1 even comes preloaded with the award-winning Synapse SNAP network operating system. The embedded Python virtual machine makes application programming fast and easy and you can send your code to the module over the air. That's right, the module can be programmed with a stripped-down Python style language and execute code on it's own, no separate microcontroller required!
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 2 ratings:
Very easy to use and very useful, I like python scripts.
Synapse did well to stay ahead of XBee with the mesh tech. XBee have just now caught up but I have a draw full of these and happy to stay with them - especially with the built in Python. Spoiler alert - plug one of these into your http://www.dfrobot.com/wiki/index.php?title=Flyduino-A_12_Servo_Controller(SKU:DFR0136) for a great little robotic setup!