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Freakduino 1284P, 900 MHz Long Range Wireless Arduino Board, v3.0


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A Battery Operated, Long Range Wireless Arduino Board w/Huge Memory
** Check quantity discounts for big savings!

  • 16 kB RAM
  • 128 kB Flash
  • 900 MHz wireless 802.15.4 radio
  • 500 mW wireless power amplifier
  • Receiver amplifier gives up to 10x gain
  • Capable of even better range using BPSK modulation
  • Data Rates of 20, 40, 100, 250k, 1000 kbps
  • Battery regulation and operation
  • Lasts months on 2 AA batteries
  • Arduino compatible
  • JTAG debug interface

  • The FreakLabs Freakduino 1284P v3.0 wireless board is designed to be an easy way to rapidly prototype and evaluate usage of high powered radios for wireless sensor networks. It comes with a full Arduino compatible subsystem and an integrated 900 MHz radio which conforms to the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol. It also sports a high power amplifier on the transmitter and an amplifier on the receiver that boosts the received signal more than 10x. With 16kB of RAM and 128 kB of flash, this particular Freakduino variant uses an Arduino compatible chip with 8x the RAM and 4x the flash memory of the standard Freakduino. It's designed to be used in applications that won't fit in the 2kB of RAM or 32 kB of flash of a standard Arduino.

    Let's face it. One of the main reasons to get this board is that it has huge memories. There are many libraries that consume large quantities of RAM like the SD card library or Ethernet library. The amount of usable RAM on a standard Arduino is theoretically 2 kB but actually about 1.5 kB due to the bootloader. This goes really fast when you have a bit of application code and stringing together a few libraries. The 128 kB of flash memory allows you to implement full applications that can be feature rich. You won't have to constrain your code size or even worry about how much flash storage you're using. In my 10+ years or working with Arduino, I don't think I've ever filled up a full 128 kB of code yet.

    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.

    This board was originally designed to evaluate high power radios for research work in environmental monitoring applications. In a remote location, a wireless sensor network often consists of a localized sensor network to collect data and a long distance link to a location where the data can be processed or forwarded into the internet. If high gain, directional antennas are used, its possible to get communication ranges in the tens of kilometers.

    This board is also good to evaluate the performance of a high power radio in environments that are either harsh or difficult for lower power radios to communicate. This is often the case in industrial environments where the background RF noise may drown out signals coming from lower power radios. Building automation is also difficult for low power radios since there are usually many obstacles to an RF signal such as ceilings, floors, walls, and furniture. This is often seen when communications occurs across multiple floors of a building.

    The main feature of this board, as opposed to the standard Freakduino 900 MHz board is that the wireless front end is based on the TI CC1190 900 MHz RF front end IC and has a 500 mW power amplifier on the transmitter with an 11 dB low noise amplifier on the receiver. That's around 50x the transmit power and greater than 10x increase in the receiver sensitivity compared to a standalone radio.

    It comes with an RP-SMA external antenna connector for connection to a wide array of antennas including omni-directional antennas or high gain directional antennas which can provide even greater range.

    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.

    It comes with an integrated battery boost circuit which can take a varying battery voltage and convert it to a stable 5V. This allows it to run completely untethered from any power cables. It will also provide up to 400 mA of current to supply the radio during transmit bursts. There is also an optional ruggedized enclosure or bottom mounted battery case for this board. The Freakduino is 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.

    This board was also designed for low power operation, consuming approximately 300 uA at 3V (2-AA batteries) in sleep mode. This would theoretically allow for months of operation on 2-AA batteries. It also features AES-128 encryption, a hardware-based true random number generator, and special high data rate modes that can transfer at speeds up to 1Mbps.

    It comes with an RP-SMA external antenna connector for connection to a wide array of antennas including omni-directional antennas or high gain directional antennas which can provide even greater 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.

    900 MHz +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 1284P v3.x Hardware User Guide

    Freakduino 1284P 900 MHz Long Range v3.0 Schematic

    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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