WSN recommended hardware

Hello, could anyone tell me what GHI hardware would be best suited for building a WSN based on the .NetMF, including humidity and temperature sensors?

WSN = Weather StatioN ?

What are your requirements?

I have been running a weather station with two nodes, an outdoor sender that does temp/humidity/baro pressure and others, and an internal node with a 2.8" TFT screen, using G30 equivalent devices, for more than a year. It works well, but has a big battery and a solar panel to recharge - netmf isn’t always the best option when low power is a concern. In fact I’m about to go to the dark side and deploy an Arduino (I hope nobody else reads this post!) as part of a WeatherDuino Pro 2 installation. I may “extend” it with netmf later, but for now it’ll probably be a stock install; the setup is likely to be a lot less demanding on power than the netmf route, and autonomy is important

Hi Brett, thanks for your reply. In my case it’s a very simple wireless sensor network for humidity and temperature data for a project. I’m just trying to figure out what hardware to use as I’ve minimal experience in this subject area. For example, is it as simple as having a number of multi hop wireless sensors and a board? Is there a board with a built-in tranceiver for the sensor readings, which can be connected to my work station so that I can attempt creating a program in VB through use of NetMF? Just trying to learn the best way forward!

ok, cool, get it.

There’s no board with built in wireless capability that you can use as your “hub”. Often, choosing a wireless device to use is a complex problem (range, power vs battery, geographic and environmental considerations etc) and you often need to do that first. I haven’t gone through any decisions on wireless devices before like you need to, but the xbee range seems reasonably compelling in your scenario given they can be used stand-alone in many scenarios, avoiding the need to have another microcontroller at the remote node point, and you can centralise the node controller - so yes it can be as simple as a multi-hop xbee and an appropriate controller with xbee in one place. But there are also many other cheaper solutions as well (like the ESP8266 range of wifi devices, if you have a wifi network available)

So do you have any pre-selected technologies in mind, or anything that someone has suggested, that maybe we can see if others have used?

I’ll second the Xbee modules.

It you don’t need any high resolution ADC (Xbee is 10 bit) or need a protocol (I2C, SPI etc) for your sensors then the Xbee modules can be used to periodically transmit analog or digital inputs without the need for a microcontroller. Add a micro and use the API and now you have a powerful easy to use wireless network.

@ OUBen85 - Guys I have been using the Electric Imp 001 with environmental tail for many weather related projects and have been very happy with their service. Temp, humidity, bara pressure, light and volts.

You program the board and the server code on their servers. So my imps take temperature every hour then I put then into deep sleep to conserve battery life. So far my imps have been running on 9v batteries for over 3 months.

When you make a change to your device code, the next time the imp wakes up and reports to the cloud, it downloads the new code automatically.

Once the data get to the imp servers, I push it to my Azure WebAPI, and then on to Azure Table Storage. From there my website publishes charts and graphs.

The board plus sensors cost $30 on Amazon.

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Good find! They dont ship to Europe, do you happen to know anywhere else that stocks the env tail?

My only suggestion is that WiFi is not necessarily a good low power sensor network target, plus it’s point-to-basestation not mesh, and relatively close range. Bet you don’t have Imp sitting in a paddock 1km away from it’s closest neighbour (like is possible with other wireless choices). It’s perfectly fine for within your house, or immediate surrounds, but if that’s not your problem space then it’s not your solution…

@ Brett - Bet you don’t have Imp sitting in a paddock 1km away from it’s closest neighbour

You are right. My sensors are within spitting distance of my router.

I am exploring Multitech’s LoRaWAN solution for long range projects.

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@ njbuch - No I don’t. Too bad.

You might try mailto:sales@ Hugo, the man, will give you a quick response. The forum is very active as well, someone in Europe should chime in.

@ Brett @ Dave McLaughlin @ terrence
Hello folks and thanks again for you helpful contributions…and apologies for my slow reply on the thred that [em]I[/em] started!
I’m thinking Terrence’s theory might suit me best here due to the fact that my proposed network actually consists of 6 different sensor locations around the Isle of Man TT race track (Motorcycle road racing). The idea is to try to provide real-time humidity and temperature data to a central task manager to help organisers and competitors make informed safety decisions ie. damp patches, melting tarmac, what time might be safe to race etc. Initially I thought I could have several sensors at each location around the track which feed data through a controller and on to a nearby PC at an adjacent building with WiFi. The next step would have been to use a long range WiFi extender (such as the Ubiquiti Networks Powerbeam AC) to transmit the data to a central task manager located within the track boundary. I was hoping then to use NetMF to create a simple visual basic UI to present the readings to the user.
However, Terrence’s Electric Imp 001 looks to be a whole lot more cost effective for such a project in terms of finance and time. Thing is, I have no knowledge whatsoever when it comes to programming these devices. Do you reckon the Electric Imp would be quite straight forward to program for a beginner? Have you ever used NetMF to create a UI based on Electric Imp?

Regards, Ben.

@ OUBen85 -

Do you reckon the Electric Imp would be quite straight forward to program for a beginner?
Well no it will be a struggle. BUT there are some great examples on the Electric Imp site that you should be able to cut and paste that will get data up into the Imp Servers. From there getting into Azure is a whole 'nother ball game. There are 10 different ways to do it depending on what you want to do.

Have you ever used NetMF to create a UI based on Electric Imp?
You won’t need to. Once you get your data into a database “somewhere” you can extract it with a full windows pc and use the full .net framework to build your UI.

Azure has some great visualizations as well, but that is a big topic.

Thanks again @ terrence

I’ll go and try to find some info on the Electric Imp site to see if I can find a way forward.

For a back-up plan, based on what I’ve mentioned in reply #10 (sensors will be within tens of meters of eachother and of the microcontroller if it’s needed) can anyone in the discussion recommend a sensor/controller combo which suit my requirements that they’ve perhaps used in a similar situation? I can also add that the motorsport event I mentioned takes place over two weeks, so I doubt power consumption would be an issue.

The other thing I should point out is that this is a conceptual project. I won’t be physically implementing the network. I am trying to find the best way to do it from hardware and software points of view. I’ll present a potential hardware topology, describing how the devices communicate etc, then my intention is to use NetMF emulator to present the software side of things with a UI in VB