question

edwardc avatar image

LoRaWAN connection

I recently purchased the LoRaWAN dongle for my SmartSolar 100/15. On the TTN map, there was a gateway about 600m away, so I thought I had a decent chance of getting a connection. I wasn't able to get a green light from my house, I had to walk down the block to get a connection, so I decided to run my own gateway. I saw that TTN recently released a low cost, fully compliant gateway for only $69, so I ordered it, but it is currently back-ordered.

For fun, and wanting to get the Victron LoRaWAN node working, I purchased the SparkFun LoRa 1ch Gateway (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/15006) with a 3.5dB antenna. I followed the tutorial and got the gateway running. It initially didn't talk to the Victron module, so I tried manually switching through the different channels (leaving the Channel Activity Detection enabled to scan through the different spreading factors). I saw data coming in when I switched to channel 3, so I left it there.

I added my gateway to The Things Network and checked the TTN Console and can see the Victron node send out a Join Request, and 4 seconds later, a Join Accept (this seems to happens approximately twice every hour). I can see the dev eui hex matches my Victron Portal ID on the side of my dongle, so I'm fairly certain I'm getting close.

However, at this point (it's been about 5 hours since I started seeing the Join Request/Join Accept pairings), I haven't received any other data packets according to the Gateway Traffic screen. In addition, the Portal ID still can't be found through the VRM Portal.


I was hoping to confirm that I am going down the right path. I completely understand if this isn't really a Victron issue, possibly just something wrong with my gateway settings.


Thanks!

Edward


LoRaWAN
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5 Answers
Lasse avatar image
Lasse answered ·

Hi Edward,

It is most likely that you have a single channel gateway which does not work (out of the box) with the TTN. You can find the frequency plans of TTN here https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/frequency-plans.html. I believe on the join accept they send over the channels that must be used.

They don't recommend single channel gateways, please see some more info on the topic here:

https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/gateways/start/single-channel.html

Forum post:

https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/forum/t/the-future-of-single-channel-gateways/6590


As far as gateways go I would recommend a Lorix One: https://www.lorixone.io/en


I hope this helps!

Lasse




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edwardc avatar image
edwardc answered ·

Thank you, Lasse! I appreciate the response. I really wish there were more LoRaWAN gateways in my area (there appear to be about 5 in Chicago, and from what I can tell, they aren't all connected).

I'm completely new to LoRa networking, do you know if the Victron (or a node in general) can only connect to official LoRaWAN gateways (of 8+ channels)? I'm wondering if in the Join Accept, it lists frequency requirements, and because my gateway is only 1 channel, the Victron dongle is sending data on a different frequency than my gateway is listening to. I'll try toggle through the other channels and see if anything happens.

Either way, I'll probably end up waiting for my official gateway to arrive. I'd love to get a the Lorix model you mentioned, especially the IP65 model so I can put it outside, but it's priced out of my budget (my entire small off-grid system has cost less than $500USD so far).


Hopefully this $69 gateway will work:

https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/article/announcing-a-69-lorawantm-indoor-gateway-and-399-4g-industrial-gateway

https://www.alliedelec.com/product/rs-components-uk/ttig-915/71600476/


Thank you again!

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I don't have that gateway here but please let me know if it works, looks interesting!

edwardc avatar image
edwardc answered ·

I forgot to add some details:


The Victron Dongle is flashing blue, so that's pretty clear to me that it isn't connected right (for whatever reason).


And, an off-topic comment, it would be really handy (for me at least) if Victron made a VE.direct dongle that connected through WiFi to the VRM Portal. I imagine it could be fairly inexpensive to implement with an ESP8266 or ESP32 chip and the built in serial connection. For a 500W, single controller system like I have, I can't justify a Venus GX just to get it connected to VRM.

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Yes blinking blue means that it is trying to connect.

As for your off topic comment I agree that this possible but at the moment not available. The VE.Direct Module is based on an ESP32.

It is also possible to use a raspberry pi: https://github.com/victronenergy/venus/wiki/raspberrypi-install-venus-image

edwardc avatar image
edwardc answered ·

After several weeks of being backordered, I received my The Things Network Indoor Gateway. It's a proper 8 channel. I followed an online tutorial and got it up and running in just a few minutes. My Victron Lorawan dongle was immediately detected as well.

It's literally only been about 15 minutes, but it looks like a viable option for those without a nearby gateway. It is the least expensive I know of at $69.


I have no relationship with this vendor, just where I purchased mine.

https://www.alliedelec.com/product/rs-components-uk/ttig-915/71600476/

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bitkid avatar image
bitkid answered ·

Sorry to steal your topic... it's slightly relevant.

I just received the new Things Indoor Gateway (US version) and Victron LoRaWan module.

My problem is that it takes forever to connect. So far I had it connected once. I set it up around 10 PM and it was flashing blue. I went to sleep and according to VRM, it connected around 1:30 AM. I worked seamlessly until morning. When I woke up, it was flashing Green and had about 5 data points in VRM.


So I wanted to see if this time it connects faster. So I powered off the module and started it again.

Now it's flashing blue again and it's been already few hours. The gateway is in the same building, just room away. Why is it taking so long to connect? I was hoping to do some range testing, driving around in a car. But if it takes hours to connect, I won't be able to.


Anyone experiencing anything similar?

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Hi @bitkid, the unit should normally connect within a few minutes if it takes longer there seems to be some issue with the reception. If you had it connect once you can see the RSSI and SNR in the device list on VRM. Can you share the values that you see?

It should be something like this (only with 915Mhz obviously):

My LoRaWan module links up to my TTNIG almost immediately upon power up (light turns green). I have the gateway only about 20' away, through two walls and one floor.


Might be a coincidence, and I don't know if it was an outage at TTN, or possibly something unknown at my location, but I had no data on VRM for a couple days around 10/23-10/25 (my internet was working at home, I could confirm that).


And, just for reference, this is my signal strength:

vrm-lorawan.png (21.5 KiB)