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Freakduino 900 MHz Wireless Arduino Compatible Board, v3.0a


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A Low Cost Battery Operated 900 MHz Wireless Arduino Board
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  • 900 MHz wireless 802.15.4 radio
  • Data Rates of 20, 40, 100, 250k, 1000 kbps
  • Battery Regulation and Operation
  • Low Power
  • Lasts Months on 2 AA Batteries
  • Compatible with Arduino shields and libraries

  • The FreakLabs Freakduino 900 MHz v3.0a is designed for rapid prototyping, experimentation, and deployment of wireless designs at low cost. It combines the ease-of-use of the Arduino IDE, compatibility with a rich assortment of third-party peripherals and libraries, and an integrated wireless radio for an inexpensive wireless prototyping system. This variation on the original Freakduino uses the 900 MHz wireless band which offers much greater range and 10x the power of the 2.4 GHz Freakduino version. This particular version is one of my personal favorites because of the additional range and modulation options.

    The Freakduino v3.0a improves on the original design by adding battery regulation circuitry as a standard feature, lower power operation, and manufacturing improvements that result in a lower cost per device. Many of the components were also replaced with an emphasis on power optimization. As a result, the board can now operate down to 200 uA in sleep mode on two standard alkaline batteries. Theoretically, this translates into months of operation with proper power management.

    The base board has all the functionality of an Arduino-based system that includes wireless communication and is an inexpensive way to start playing with wireless Arduino smart sensor designs. It also has optional accessories such as a bottom-mounted battery case to hold two AA batteries, and a ruggedized enclosure with integrated battery case. Since the Freakduino v3.0a comes with battery regulation circuitry as standard, it's the only wireless Arduino that can run completely standalone, ie: no cables, out of the box. It doesn't need external power and it can transmit data wirelessly.

    Wireless Hardware
    The addition of an integrated wireless radio based on the 900 MHz version of the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol (same radio protocol as the XBee) allows for wireless control of devices or wireless sensor data collection. 900 MHz is the preferred frequency band for many people using wireless because it's license free similar to 2.4 GHz but is much less crowded. Lower frequencies also travel greater distances so you'll see a range improvement with the 900 MHz radio. It also supports simpler modulations such as BPSK. This will decrease data rate but greatly improve range.

    Wireless Software
    The chibiArduino wireless protocol stack was designed specifically for this board. It has a simple programming interface and small memory footprint and was designed to enable Arduino users to start communicating wirelessly quickly and easily. Rather than deal with complex networking software with other wireless devices, you can start transmitting with the Freakduino using only the init, send, and receive library commands.

    Assembly Options
    Partial Kit:
    In the partial kit form, the surface mount components come pre-assembled but the connectors and other through hole components come unassembled. Some soldering will be required to assemble the board if purchased in kit form.

    Fully Assmebled and Tested:
    In fully assembled form, the boards are fully assembled and ready to use out of the box. They also undergo 12 point testing to make sure they are fully functional and should any problem occur, a replacement is sent out immediately.

    Accessory Options:
    Baseboard Only:
    The baseboard only option is the cheapest way to get started with the Arduino platform and wireless communications. Even with no antenna, it is possible to transmit over short ranges of approximately 10-25 meters. It also offers the functionality of a standard Arduino and is good for people that want an inexpensive way to try out the platform.

    900MHz +2 dBi Antenna:
    This is a standard 900 MHz whip antenna that attaches to the antenna connector on the Freakduino board. It greatly improves the range and signal quality.

    Bottom Mount Battery Kit:
    The bottom mount battery kit allows the Freakduino to be a compact, standalone device. It includes a battery case soldered on to the bottom of the Freakduino that allows two AA batteries to be mounted on the underside of the device. It also contains 20mm spacers that go on the mounting holes of the board to keep it from resting on the batteries.

    Documentation and Tutorials:
    Freakduino v3.0 Hardware User Guide

    Freakduino v3.0a Schematics

    chibiArduino Source code and Documentation

    chibiArduino Library Usage Guide (pdf)

    Here's the original post that introduced the board.

    Tutorial on assembling the board and setting it up:
    Tutorial Link

    Tutorial on installing chibiArduino library:
    Tutorial Link

    Tutorial on using it as an 802.15.4 protocol analyzer. That way, it's possible to decode XBee/Zigbee or 6LoWPAN traffic:
    Tutorial Link

    Tutorial on using the Freakduino to wirelessly sequence and control lighting or motors via DMX:
    Tutorial Link

    • Shipping Weight: 0.07kg

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