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Freakduino 2.4 GHz Long Range Wireless Arduino Compatible Board



A Battery Operated, Long Range Wireless Arduino Board


  • 2.4 GHz wireless 802.15.4 radio
  • 150 mW wireless power amplifier
  • Receiver amplifier with 12x power gain
  • Data Rates up to 2 Mbps
  • Battery regulation and operation
  • Lasts months on 2 AA batteries
  • Arduino compatible
  • The FreakLabs Freakduino 2.4 GHz Long Range 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 2.4 GHz radio which conforms to the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol. It also sports a high power 150mW amplifier on the transmitter and an amplifier on the receiver that boosts the received signal more than 12x. If you need range at 2.4 GHz, this is the board for you.

    Wireless Hardware
    The addition of an integrated wireless radio based on the 2.4 GHz 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. 2.4 GHz is the preferred frequency band for many people using wireless because it's internationally recognized as license free.

    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.

    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 2.4 GHz board is that the wireless front end has a 150 mW power amplifier on the transmitter and 12x power amplification on the receiver. That's 75x the transmit power and 25x the omnidirectional range compared to the standalone 2.4 GHz radio.

    It also 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.

    2.4 GHz +2 dBi Antenna:
    This is a standard 2.4 GHz 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.x Hardware User Guide

    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: 0.1kg
    • Manufactured by: FreakLabs

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