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Badge Edition

Linar Yusupov edited this page Mar 18, 2023 · 111 revisions




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Badge Edition is a variant of SoftRF DIY GA proximity awareness device been implemented in a small, lightweight board form factor.

The Badge is a synergy of two leading edge technologies in one miniature unit:

  1. SoftRF advanced radio, GNSS and air traffic processing core with data stream output, and
  2. SkyView air traffic visualization engine for an e-Paper display.

It is supposed to require minimal skills from a builder to begin with and gives an opportunity to evaluate if the SoftRF technology is appropriate for your needs.

The Badge is based upon a partner's hardware - LilyGO® T-Echo board, which is available for direct purchase from manufacturer at more or less reasonable price (50+ USD).

T-Echo is:

  • a multipurpose ,
  • DIY-friendly ,
  • low power ,
  • lightweight

- LoRaWAN GNSS assets tracker board.

The T-Echo is an example of cutting edge technology. It contains:

  • Nordic nRF52840 Low Power MCU ;
  • Semtech SX1262 Long Range Low Power RF Transceiver with TCXO clock source ;
  • Quectel L76K Low Power GNSS (GPS/GLONASS/BD) Receiver module ;
  • GooDisplay® 1.54" SPI e-Paper display with backlight;
  • Macronix MX25R1635F or Zetta ZD25WQ16B 2 Mbytes QSPI flash memory storage ;
  • Bosch BME280 I2C Humidity and Pressure Sensor 1 ;
  • optional TDK InvenSense MPU-9250 Inertial Measurement Unit 2

1 - some of the LilyGO® T-Echo product variants may not have the pressure sensor. If you need it - make sure that the option is selected in your order ;
2 - InvenSense MPU-9250 is a part of Expansion module

Effective from June of year 2021 the LilyGO® manufacturer has started to ship the T-Echo board with SoftRF firmware been pre-installed by default.

Compatibility 3

Type Protocol FLARM OGN tracker PilotAware Skytraxx SoftRF








  Garmin GDL90



3 - it is necessary for a reader to feel the difference between statement "compatible" and statement "fully compatible".
     SoftRF implements only a reasonable minimum of the protocols specs. No "bells and whistles" so far.


Effective from November 16th of year 2022 the LilyGO T-Echo has the following certificate of compliance :

and effective from November 18th of year 2022 the product has this certificate as well :

Operating range

Operating range of any radio device varies greatly of numerous factors, such as:

  • obstructions
  • local RF noise and reflection levels
  • frequency band and modulation type
  • type and quality of antenna (and ground plane) circuit(s) 4
  • transmit power level
  • weather
      and many others...

4 - due to a small size of the T-Echo with 'stock' antenna - it definitely needs a proper ground plane component to achieve an appropriate performance with FSK radio protocols, such as 'Air V6', OGNTP and P3I. You may also think about a 'T-style' or 'Whip' (20 cm) dipole antennas from the Optional list when deployment of the ground plane is not feasible.

This is an example of the Badge practical range flight test that has been taken at the following conditions:

  • 'stock' 868 MHz antenna is in use
  • FANET (LoRa SF7 BW250 CR5) radio protocol
  • 14 dBm (25mW) transmit power level (EU legal limit)


This is a picture of 'stock' 868 MHz antenna SWR parameter (presented by the antenna supplier).

Screen pages

There are six different screens available:

5 - 'Baro' page is not available when the air pressure sensor is missing ;
6 - 'G-load' page is not available when IMU sensor is missing.

You can use Mode button to switch between these screens.

The screens are better explained on this page.

Air pressure option

SoftRF operates with Pressure Altitude that belongs to the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) definition.

The values from (optional) Bosch air pressure sensor are in use for:

  1. reporting of your aircraft climb or descent rate over radio. So other traffic will be able to anticipate convergence with you and make an avoidance maneuver well in advance ; 7
  2. reporting of your aircraft Pressure Altitude and climb/descent rate over NMEA or GDL90 data protocols to an application software connected to your Badge, such as: XCSoar, LK8000, ForeFlight, Avare, SkyDemon, etc... ;
  3. reporting of your aircraft Pressure Altitude on the Baro screen. This value can be used as the altitude backup source when your primary instrument is inoperative ;
  4. reporting of the atmosphere pressure value on the Baro screen. You can monitor it while on the ground to anticipate any upcoming weather change.

Is it a lot? Probably, not much...
However, the sensor option costs only a fraction of the T-Echo full price. It is up to you to decide - does this option has a worth for you or it does not.

One can also add BMP280 air pressure sensor into the T-Echo device by means of this new Expansion module

7 - some of the radio protocols do not support climb/descent rate reporting.

Comparison with Prime Edition MkII


SoftRF firmware for Badge Edition is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

In general a lot of Chinese DIY electronics manufacturers are known to behave this way:

  • sometimes they may not apply necessary Q.C. before releasing of a product from factory ;
  • they may arbitrary change schematics and electronic components from one batch to the next one.

Author of SoftRF firmware:

  • will reject any hardware related claims associated with LilyGO® T-Echo board. Ask for support from seller or manufacturer ;
  • reserves the right to suspend or terminate support of LilyGO® T-Echo in the firmware at any time.

For the time being ( Apr'21 ) there were no critical hardware issues reported for current version of the T-Echo board. However things my change over the time...
If you have issues with bringing up your new LilyGO® T-Echo or just not happy with the board - be prepared to execute your Purchase Protection plan.

Bill of materials


Number Part Qty Picture Source
1 LilyGO®
T-Echo 8 9 10
1 AliExpress 1 2 3 4
LilyGO Store

8 - some LilyGO® T-Echo product variants may not have the pressure sensor. If you need it - make sure that the option is selected in your order ;
9 - 868 MHz variant is applicable for these world regions: EU, RU, NZ, SA, IN ;
     915 MHz - US, CA, AU, KR, IL ;
     433 MHz - CN .
10 - avoid purchasing of T-Echo with pre-installed 'Meshtastic' unless you want to install the SoftRF firmware by yourself


Number Part Qty Picture Source
1 LilyGO®
T-Echo  Expansion module
1 AliExpress
2 803040 1000mAh Li-Po battery 1 AliExpress
3 Double faced adhesive foam tape 1 AliExpress


Number Part Qty Picture Source
1 T-Echo ABS shell: 
White, Black, Brown, Gray
1 AliExpress
2 868 MHz SMA dipole antenna 11 1 AliExpress
3 Antenna
868 MHz 11
1 AliExpress
4 SMA female to uFL adapter 1 AliExpress
5 Antenna
868 MHz 11
1 EBay
AliExpress 1 2
6 LilyGO® T-Dongle 1 AliExpress
7 ST-LINK V2 adapter 12 1 AliExpress

11 - 868 MHz variant is applicable for these world regions: EU, RU, NZ, SA, IN ;
     915 MHz - US, CA, AU, IL, KR ;
     433 MHz - CN .
12 - ST-LINK V2 is able to operate with 3.3V logic levels only. For 1.8V logic levels - you should consider to use genuine SEGGER J-LINK or similar equipment.

Quick start

Use these instructions to start operating with your delivered Badge device.
One may also consider to watch this video on YouTube that was made by a user of the Badge Edition.


Procedure of settings change is explained on this page.

Basic (radio) settings description is located here.
e-Paper UI settings description is located there.

If you are an application developer and you think about to add the Badge configuration menu into your software, please, use:


There are free STL files of 3D printable enclosure available for download. For details, please, read this page.

There is also an option to purchase a 3D printed enclosure as a part of the LilyGO® T-Echo board order:

These are two of the enclosure variants, side by side:

Effective from February of year 2022, the LilyGO company has started to ship T-Echo product with molded ABS plastic enclosure.
Effective from June, this enclosure type can be ordered separately as well.

There are four choices of color available: cream white, black, brown, gray.


Mode button function

When unit is Off:

  • press and release mode button to turn the unit On.

When unit is On:

  • press and release mode button to cycle between display view modes, or
  • press and release mode button 2 times to toggle display backlight On/Off, or
  • press and keep holding mode button for 2-3 seconds to turn the unit Off.

Touch button function

  • Radar view - cycle between zoom levels
  • Text view    - cycle between aircraft info pages

Reset button function

  • press and release reset button one time to restart the SoftRF unit, or
  • press and release reset button 2 times to proceed into firmware download mode.


Red     LED - indicates battery charging status and/or power supply over micro-USB port (when battery is not connected) ;
Green LED - indicates unit power on status. Flashing green LED indicates low battery charge level ;
Blue    LED - indicates Bluetooth LE activity.

Bluetooth LE

Factory default data output setting is to deliver GNSS and air traffic information over Bluetooth LE in NMEA plain-text format.

This data is sufficient for an app (such as XCSoar) to facilitate a Radar view:

These Bluetooth LE services are available:

  • UART (both HM-10 and Nordic ones)
  • Battery
  • Bluefruit device information
  • OTA firmware update

This is a list of mobile applications that are known good to operate with the Badge Edition over Bluetooth LE:

For more information, please, read this Bluetooth LE page.

Two seater

One may consider to use SkyView EZ as a second traffic display in a multiple seat aircraft.

Recommended wireless connection method of the SkyView to the Badge is: Bluetooth LE
This is an example of the EZ settings:

ATTENTION: There is only one active Bluetooth LE connection possible. When the SkyView EZ is connected to the Badge - you will not be able to use your smartphone app together with the SoftRF unit at the same time.

Aircrafts database

The Badge Edition is able to use internal 2 Mbyte flash memory storage to operate with 'Aircrafts Database' ( OGN DDB ): 13


For details, please, read this Aircrafts database page

13 - this feature is a part of Stable Release 1.0 firmware update.

Battery life

Current consumption from 3.7 Volt battery:

Mode Average current
backlight OFF

42 mA

backlight ON

55 mA


0.25 mA

Operating time from a full charge depends on your actual battery capacity.

Display care

For e-Paper display care recommendations, please, read this page.

Expansion module

There are two types of the expansion module available.
The first one is a bare-bone pin-to-pin cable. The second one is populated with MPU-9250 IMU sensor and MSM261 MEMS microphone.

For more details, please, read a separate Expansion module page.

Optional equipment

SoftRF WebTop USB (USB to Wi-Fi adapter)

Additional information on T-Echo board

  1. LilyGO® product info
  2. LilyGO® T-Echo product support pages on GitHub
  3. Schematics
  4. LilyGO® videos on:
    • Twitter: 1 , 2 , 3
    • YouTube: 1
  5. Videos made by the Badge users: 1 , 2 , 3
  6. article