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Library for SX127X LoRa devices
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Boards Revise examples order, add SX126x, ESP32 and STM32 examples Feb 6, 2020
Test_Reports Revise examples order, add SX126x, ESP32 and STM32 examples Feb 6, 2020
examples SX127X used instead of SX126X Feb 18, 2020
pictures Change ProMini picture Jan 28, 2020
src Incorrect IO pin switching Feb 13, 2020
Evaluation Board.md Add ESP32 Examples Feb 3, 2020
Examples List.md
Library Functions.md Rename printLoRaSettings to printModemSettings Feb 9, 2020
ReadMe.md
What is LoRa.md Updates to examples and descriptions Dec 30, 2019
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library.properties Initial commit Dec 18, 2019

ReadMe.md

SX12XX Library

Update: 11/02/20 - SX128X basic library and examples added

Update: 06/02/20 - SX126X basic library and examples added with required antenna switch support for Dorji DRF1268
ESP32 examples added for SX127X
STM32 examples added for SX127X 

This library currently has full support for the SX1272, SX1276, SX1277, SX1278 and SX1279 Semtech SPI based LoRa devices. There is a wide range of examples for these devices. These Semtech devices are used to manufacture a range of LoRa modules sold by companies such as Hope, Dorji, NiceRF and others. The library does not support LoRa modules with a UART based interface such as those from Ebyte and Microchip.

There is now basic support in the library for SX1261, SX1262, SX1268 (all UHF) and the SX1280 (2.4Ghz) devices.

At a later date the wide range of examples available for the SX127x devices will be extended to cover the SX126X and SX128X devices.

The objective of the library was to allow the same program sketches to be used across the range of UHF lora modules SX126x and SX127x (UHF) as well as the 2.4Ghz SX128x modules. A sketch written for the SX1278 (for example) should then run with very minor changes on the SX1262 or SX1280. However, whilst the SX126x and SX128x modules use the same style of device programming, the SX127x programming is completely different. The function style used for the SX126x and SX128x devices has been copied to create a matching style for the SX127x.

A conventional lora library normally uses a buffer of data created within the Arduino sketch to create the data packet to be sent. This library has those functions, see the examples in the 'Basics' folder. There are examples for sending\receiving a simple character buffer ("Hello World") and for sending\receiving a data structure which can also include a character buffer.

###Special considerations for pin usage

Pins settings and usage must be set up the the 'Settings.h' file that is include in each sketch folder. Program 2_Register_Test does not use a 'Settings.h' file however.

The library supports the SPI based LoRa modules and these all require that the SPI bus pins, SCK, MOSI and MISO are connected. All modules also need a NSS (chip select pin) and NRESET (reset) pin. In theory the NRESET pin could be omitted, but the programs would loose the ability to reset the device. All devices need the RFBUSY pin to be used also.

Of the DIO pins the library in standard form only uses DIO0 (SX127X) and DIO1 (SX126X and SX128X). The pin definitions for DIO1 and DIO2 (SX127x) and DIO2 and DIO3 (SX126x and SX128x) are not currently used by the library or examples so can be defined as -1 meaning they will not be configured.

The Dorji DRF1262 and DRF1268 modules has a SW pin which must be configured, it provides power to the antenna switch used on these modules. Some SX126x modules have RX or TX enable pins, these are currently not supported by the library.

Some of the SX128x modules also have RX or TX enable pins, such as the Ebyte modules, these are supported by the library, and you need to define the pins RX_EN and TX_EN pins used, otherwise leave unused by defining them as -1.

###Direct access to devices internal data buffer

An additional library feature has been implemented to enable variables or character data to be written direct to the lora devices internal buffer. This has the benefit of not requiring a memory buffer in the Arduino, but also lends itself to a simple way of sending and receiving packets. For instance this is the routine to create a packet for transmission taken from the 'LowMemory' folder;

LT.startWriteSXBuffer(0);                         //start the write at location 0
LT.writeBuffer(trackerID, sizeof(trackerID));     //= 13 bytes (12 characters plus null (0) at end)
LT.writeUint32(TXpacketCount);                    //+4 = 17 bytes
LT.writeFloat(latitude);                          //+4 = 21 bytes
LT.writeFloat(longitude);                         //+4 = 25 bytes
LT.writeUint16(altitude);                         //+2 = 27 bytes
LT.writeUint8(satellites);                        //+1 = 28 bytes
LT.writeUint16(voltage);                          //+2 = 30 bytes
LT.writeInt8(temperature);                        //+1 = 31 bytes total to send
len = LT.endWriteSXBuffer();

This is the matching code for the receiver;

LT.startReadSXBuffer(0);               //start buffer read at location 0
LT.readBuffer(receivebuffer);          //read in the character buffer
txcount  = LT.readUint32();            //read in the TXCount
latitude = LT.readFloat();             //read in the latitude
longitude = LT.readFloat();            //read in the longitude
altitude = LT.readUint16();            //read in the altitude
satellites = LT.readUint8();           //read in the number of satellites
voltage = LT.readUint16();             //read in the voltage
temperature = LT.readInt8();           //read in the temperature
RXPacketL = LT.endReadSXBuffer();

Clearly as with other methods of sending data the order in which the packet data is created in the transmitter had to match the order that it is read in the receiver.

Warning

The Semtech devices that this library supports are all 3.3V logic level devices so do not use directly with 5V logic level Arduinos, some form of logic level conversion is needed. There are no specific logic level converters I could recommend. The programs have only been tested on 3.3V 8Mhz ATMega328P and ATMega1284P processors.

Library installation

To install the library select the 'Clone or download' button on the main Github page, then select 'Download Zip'. In the Arduino IDE select 'Sketch' then 'Include Library'. Next select 'Add .ZIP library' and browse to and select the ZIP file you downloaded, it's called 'SX12xx-master.zip'.

Library Functions

For details on how to use the library functions see the document; 'Library Functions'

Testing

For testing the library and the example programs I used a board of my own design, it uses a 3.3V/8Mhz Arduino Pro Mini which is soldered with a minimum amount of other components onto a board to which you can plug in a LoRa device as a Mikrobus style module. The board is small enough to be used for a GPS tracker application using the connections for a GPS and display as shown in the picture. The Pro Mini used includes a supply reverse protection diode and a fuse, so the board does not need these components.

All example programs were checked against version 1.8.10 of the Arduino IDE, and the latest copies of any external libraries, as of 16/12/19. The operating system was Windows 10.

Program examples

The Examples folder contains a number of practical working applications. There is an example for a very low sleep current sensor transmitter and matching receiver. There are examples for remote control of outputs and servos. There is a GPS tracker transmitter and receiver application. These applications utilise LoRa for the communications so even at low powers they can operate over several kilometres.

There are additional program examples for testing testing devices, antennas and long distance links.

There are demonstrations on how to send data as a plain character array, as a structure and by writing variables direct to the LoRa device.

For most of the example programs the pin connection definitions are in the Settings.h file that is in the sketches folder. These pins need to be defined and connected, NSS, NRESET and DIO0. In addition the normal SPI pins, SCK, MISO and MOSI have to be connected also (these are pins 13, 12 and 11 respectively on an Arduino Pro Mini). The LoRa devices DIO1 and DIO2 pins are not used directly by the library. Such unused pins should be defined as -1 in the Settings.h file.

The Settings.h file also contains the settings for the LoRa device such as frequency, spreading factor, bandwidth and coding rate. The example programs use a frequency of 434.000Mhz, you will need to check if that frequency is permitted in your part of the World. The radio frequency spectrum is not a free for all, what frequencies, transmitter powers and duty cycles you are permitted to use varies by region and country. By default CRC checking is added to transmitted packets and used to check for errors on receipt.

The example programs contain a mix of test and functional examples. There are programs for transmitting and receiving packets, as a simple buffer, using structures and a method that directly addresses the SX127x internal buffer.

There are example applications of sending and receiving data from sensors (BME280) and remote control of LEDs or other outputs. There is a functional GPS tracker transmitter and receiver example. With an example program written and tested on this SX127x library the example should work with some minor changes with the SX126x and SX128x devices when support for those devices has been added to the library. Many of the example programs have already been tested and are working on SX126x, conversion typically takes less than a minute.

The first program to test your layout and connections would be the Example program in the Basics folder 2_Register_Test, this just does a simple register print of the LoRa device. If this program does not work, then the rest of the example programs wont either.

This library is in its first revision, there are still some issues to attend to and changes to be made, see the section 'Changes Required to Library' at the bottom of this document.

Compatibility

Full tested on 3.3V 8Mhz ATMega328P and ATMega1284P only.

It was not the intention to specifically support non-Atmel platforms with the library, but the following programs have been tested and work on an ESP32 WROOM board;

3_LoRa_Transmitter and 4_LoRa_Receiver

Using the ESP32 Dev Module board in the Arduino IDE. The pins used were; NSS 5, NRESET 27, DIO0 35, SCK 18, MISO 19, MOSI 23. Some of the example programs use Atmel specific libraries for functions such as sleep mode and interrupts, these would not be expected to work on the ESP32.

Support

The examples do work, so if for you they do not, assume there is a problem with how you have wired the modules or that your modules are faulty or that your Arduino set-up is faulty or unsupported. Please do not ask for basic level support on how to connect the SX127x devices to a particular Arduino or other device, I just don't have the time to do help with this.

If you find a bug, or other error in the SX12xx library or examples, please let me know.

Future Changes and Enhancements to Library

Add ppmoffset to frequency error check program Check this in program 12 LT.writeRegister(RegPpmCorrection,ppmoffset)

Investigate adding internal SX1278 temperature sensor

Check sensitivity\current for writeRegister(RegLna, 0x3B );.//at HF 150% LNA current.


Stuart Robinson

February 2020

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