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How to measure the range of a sub-1GHZ radio on the field, without a bulky and costly equipment?
One the latest LaunchPad based on the MSP430FR4133 features a 6-digit 14-segment LCD display and 2 buttons. This is the perfect solution for a light and autonomous on-the-field measurement tool!
The hardware fully leverages the modular system of LaunchPad with 2 BoosterPacks:
- LaunchPad MSP430FR4133 or MSP430FR6989 with LCD,
- Fuel Tank BoosterPack, with LiPo battery,
- Anaren CC110L BoosterPack.
The result looks like a sandwich, with the Fuel Tank, the LaunchPad and the CC100L stacked on. Because the SPI port for the sub-1GHz radio and the I²C to the battery monitor share the same pins, data from the BQ27520-G4 System-Side Impedance Track™ Fuel Gauge isn't used.
The software relies on 2 libraries available with Energia:
- LCD_LaunchPad for the display,
- AIR430BoostEuropeETSI or AIR430BoostUSAFCC for the sub-1GHZ radio.
The button PUSH1 toggles between Link Quality and RSSI measures. Each measure comes with a different symbol displayed on the LCD.
Of course, the project was developed with embedXcode, embedded computing Xcode.Conclusion
I really appreciate the LaunchPad MSP430FR4133 with its large and highly-contrasted LCD, the 2 buttons, as well as its low power requirements.
This circuit is flexible enough to allow any kind of measure, by just changing the BoosterPack or even designing a custom circuit based on the specific sensor.
For example, the INA219 measures volts, amps and watts with one single component. Should more pins be needed, the MSP430FR6989 LaunchPad comes with 128 KB of Flash and a connector for 40-pin BoosterPacks.
The two buttons give plenty of options for selecting the measure and the range.