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LoRaWAN FeatherWing for Adafruit Feather

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Featherwing design from Dan Watson on the Sync Channel Blog

Introduction

I have designed some FeatherWings in the past to add a LoRa transceiver module to Feather. I did the LoRa FeatherWing Development Breakout and the LoRa FeatherWing IOX that used the HopeRF RFM95/96(W) modules. The RFM modules are small and cheap, which is great for IoT projects. However, they have a limitation if you want to use them with LoRaWAN: the stack is not implemented in the module, leaving that burden to the microcontroller. The LoRaWAN stack takes a fair amount of code space, and it’s difficult to implement in some 8-bit microcontrollers.

This new FeatherWing uses the RN2483 (868 MHz) or RN2903 (915 MHz) from MicroChip. It’s an excellent module that fully implements the LoRaWAN stack itself. The microcontroller talks to it over USART with a simple command structure to configure it and send/receive messages. The module also has several GPIO pins available. This is the preferred module on The Things Network, and there are a lot of great example projects and code on the Internet to help you get started.

My FeatherWing is very simple. It connects the module serial pins and the module Reset pin to the Feather. It has an SMA connector for attaching an antenna, and a small white silk-screen box for writing in a node ID or other information. GPIO10 from the RN module is attached to an LED for status indication. Finally, I added an ICSP connector for the module that is compatible with the PicKit3. You’ll probably never need this, but it can be used to update the firmware on the module if that is ever necessary.

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