SparkFun is looking to make long-range serial connectivity as easy as possible, launching a fully-enclosed LoRaSerial Kit which connects to devices over a long-range low-power radio link — tested beyond a nine mile line-of-sight range.
“This kit has been fully enclosed and is now fully supported by our teams here at SparkFun,” SparkFun’s Chris McCarty explains of the launch, which is based on an earlier and not-officially-supported SparkX design. “This kit has a lot of perks and features that experienced users will appreciate, but we’ve made sure that anyone will be able to start using this kit straight out of the box!”
The SparkFun LoRaSerial Kit is based on two 1W LoRa transceivers running on the 915MHz band, arriving pre-paired and ready to communicate. “Although this won’t get you video streaming quality,” McCarty admits of the kit’s 4,800 bits per second (BPS) data rate for AES-encrypted streams or up to 19,200 BPS for unencrypted streams, “the LoRaSerial is very good at getting whatever data you need, encrypted or not, from point A to point B without configuration.”
Using the kit out-of-the-box is as easy as connecting a TTL serial device to both transceivers and powering them up. Anything transmitted by one is received by the other, and vice-versa — allowing for two-way data communications. A “train” button puts the transceivers into pairing mode, generating a new randomized network ID and AES key and sharing them between two or more transceivers — with multipoint broadcast support built in.
The kit includes transceivers, 3D-printed enclosures, and cabling. (📷: SparkFun)
The kit does come with one note, beyond the warning that operation at extreme ranges will result in a commensurate lowering of data throughput: that it’s designed for physical-layer connectivity between devices, and isn’t designed to operate with LoRaWAN networks like The Things Network.
The kit is now available to buy on the SparkFun store at $174.95, before volume discounts.