SB Components' RangePi Is a Compact, Display-Equipped MicroPython-Powered RP2040 LoRa Board

Designed with ease-of-use in mind, this Python-powered communications dongle includes some neat features.

UK-based SB Components is continuing a streak of new product launches with the RangePi, a USB LoRa dongle with on-board display powered by the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller.

"You may not be acquainted with LoRa, but you are probably familiar with the Internet of Things, and LoRa is set to alter the IoT," SB Components claims in support of its latest launch. "Its capacity to transport packets across vast distances without consuming a lot of power is what makes it so popular.

"As a result, it's great for delivering little quantities of data to far-flung devices. However, there is a catch, and the hitch with LoRa is that setting up these devices is difficult. With the RangePi, we tried to make things easier."

Built around the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller — the same chip that powers the popular Raspberry Pi Pico — the RangePi is a dongle-format board with a male USB Type-A connector at one end and an SMA connector for an antenna at the other. On the board itself is a Semtech SX1262 LoRa transceiver to handle communications and the RP2040 microcontroller — plus a 1.14" color LCD panel, two general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, and two push-button switches, for good measure.

Designed to be programmed in MicroPython — and coming complete with a selection of example projects, including a simple messenger, made available under the permissive MIT license — the compact board is available in versions for operation on the 433MHz, 868MHz, and 915MHz bands, transmits at up to 22dBm power, and has a claimed 5km (around 3.1 miles) line-of-sight range when used with the bundled antenna.

The board is now available to buy from SB Components' Tindie store at $55.99 per unit with bundled antenna; the example projects have been published to the company's GitHub repository under the MIT license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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