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January 11, 2009
about a year ago
Ok, so it has been a while since I have posted here about this product. I finally managed to get it working, however, only in ad-hoc mode. I went threw 2 modules trying to get it figured out. And by that I mean 1 I am 100% locked out of after trying to set it up to connect to my network & establish a tcpip connection on bootup. The second module will still work in adhoc mode only. connecting to my network will never happen again with my second module, however the adhoc mode still works.
As for its functionality. Eh… so so. easy to use once you figure out how. Once it is setup it will create its own adhoc network connection which you can connect to via pc or other RN171. Bootup time is minimal, usually under 30 seconds from power on till I can connect to it.
Speed… thats the “Eh”. when I got locked out of my first module I switched to a Raspberry Pi via serial to ip software to use its WiFi capability. When I got my second module, I went from between 80-120 transfer’s per second (with video downlink on the same wifi card at the same time) to 8-10. That’s pretty bad. So I checked to make sure it was running the same as my network then checked again. Still 8-10 Max. Running the same identical software as I made my second module on a breakout board to be plugged in the same spot the RPi was just to be able to test this feature.
Other info to note, it occasionally crashes & needs to either be reset completely or can be just reconnected to. In one night this could happen 20-30 times (~8 hr period). And the occasional hiccup where data slows to a stop then starts flowing again.
For something WiFi compatible, pretty much drop in useable part, fairly easy to code & somewhat robust, it is a decent little chip. I am still using it & plan to buy another. I am going to combine this radio with a much more powerful RFM23BP for a 5 Mile datalink for under $20 (the 5 mile part). Not to mention having 2 Digital RSSI outputs. Tho, it has a bit more intensive setup method, it is just sending 15 or 20 1001011010011110’s to the SPI interface to setup the chip, all documented (I used both RFM23BP & RFM22 Datasheets). Not to mention the radio is a Software Defined Radio and can be set from 400 to 900 mhz (the datasheet says 240 Mhz to 960 Mhz) and the output power can be set from low ~+10 dbm to a whopping high +30dbm (1 Watt)!
Being that they can be obtained fairly cheep (got my 2 for $20 here in America) & could use a simple interface / breakout board for the average user, perhaps someone at SparkFun would enjoy the privilege of handling that project. They are a nice High Power Radio to add to any RC project or other Long Range systems. I know you have the Xtend 1W, that takes 2 to work as well. Unfortunately they cost $185 each so I will not be able to afford this radio for a while being that you have to buy 2 of them in order to get it to work. 5 Miles is good enough for now. Once I reach that point I might be about to run out of battery or gas anyhow (I am using these for a UAV project), I will only need 40+ miles on a HUGE RC Aircraft, and at that point, why settle with just 40 miles? Ive seen 100 Mile & 150 Mile datalinks for the same price as the XTend module. Which btw the RFM23 Data Rate = 0.123 to 256 kbps. Which is up to 2 times Faster than the Xtend. Just a thought guys. $9 + tax per module, 2 for under $20 with shipping (free). Thats less than just One RN171 at $30 per module. Even if you made a simple breakout (dirt cheep), sold it for the same price as the module itself and sold the set for $20 your still making a killing & putting out a good product to the community. Sales would go up with new interest in UAV’s & Long Distance Data Transfer.
Well thats my $0.02
Thanks for this pretty cool WiFi solution, I look forward to seeing more diversity in your long range department of data links.
about 2 years ago
I Doubt it is normal, but my GPS is showing itself being about 20 Km South and about 1 Km to the right of my actual position
is there nothing you can just get and it “works” like it is suppose to?
about 2 years ago
New module came, had same problems with the new module. firmware update caused it to go on the fritz, no data transfer. so i contacted roving networks about it. not too much help, but i did acquire a copy of the SPI Protocol package from them.
i ended up doing as someone else mentioned here in the comments & got a Raspberry Pi & connected to it via serial and the pi to the network running ser2net. I was SUPER Surprised how Easy it was to get up and running.
I would still like to have a backup wifi solution that dont require a second cpu to use.
Ok, a little update…
Sparkfun Tech Support is pretty bad ass… They are sending me a new module to replace this one!!!
Back to being pretty stoked!
Ok, its official, i have Bricked my RN-171 module. in my search for data transfer i tried setting up a UDP connection, as a result i am completely locked out of my module. The only way i could connect with it from the start was via ADHOC or over wifi, as the UART via microcontroller Never worked. Which would probibly explain why i cant send data threw it. Now either in ADHOC mode or AP mode it Refuses Connection when i try to telnet in. GPIO 9 Hardware Reset dosent work.
I Wish Sparkfun would TEST the devices they sell BEFORE they decide to sell them!
haha what fun it is to learn a new product… so you CAN downgrade firmware… thank god. load the old boot image & delete the current config file & that will let you save after you do a factory RESET.
so, back to how to transfer data between my micro and my pc via the wifi…
im assuming i have to set up everything, including an auto open tcp on bootup sequence to get it to join the network and connect to my program via adhoc terminal connection, then just use the micro with serial rx / tx & the rn171 will do the rest? no need to enter command mode from the micro? im thinkin this might be how it goes… we will see, as im a bit determined to get this thing working all the way.
fyi, now that i have downgraded, my module has quit crashing. it is connected to my ap the moment power gets turned on & is staying connected. its no longer making lots of random access points either. wtf is that all about?
so is the update really necessary?
So i have gotten it to connect to my network… had to “set wlan auth 1” to get it to send the wep key instead of the wpa equivalent (found out it was doing this by using “get everything”). and when i did a “scan” my AP comes back without the dash that is in it, so i removed the dash & finally got it to associate with our AP.
on to the next problem… Still NO Data Flow. attempting to open a tcp connection like “open 126.96.36.199 80” (google.com) gives “ERR: Connected”. I also have a program that is listening on X port and when i attempt to make a connection i get the same result “ERR: Connected”.
so what is the trick?
So far, a pain in the ass. Refuses to enter command mode over serial. Can access the module over ADHOC & make updates to the wifi config, BUT, does nothing other than that. Cant make a TCP connection (not even in adhoc), Cant connect to my network, cant update.
i have been struggling with this little module all day. i see other people seem to have no problem at all getting this little guy to work.
What is the deal?
This is suppose to be easy. now im just getting aggravated… about as bad as trying to get MLX90615’s to work (still NOTHING from them, not even PWM).
No public wish lists :(
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