Fully assembled RN2483A/RN2903A breakout board - supports LoRa / LoRaWANDesigned by Azduino by Spence Konde in United States of America
This is the fully assembled version of my RN2483/RN2903 breakout board, available here as a bare board. This breakout board offers an affordable solution for makers working with the popular RN2483A a…Read More…
This is the fully assembled version of my RN2483/RN2903 breakout board, available here as a bare board.
This breakout board offers an affordable solution for makers working with the popular RN2483A and RN2903A LoRa transceivers from Microchip, widely used for LoRaWAN (Commonly called just RN2483 and RN2903, or collectively, RN2xx3). The layout of this breakout board is based on the the datasheet reference designs. This board breaks out all 14 GPIO pins to a row of 0.1" pin header, and the power and serial communication pins to a second row of 0.1" pin header. These assembled boards are made from ROHS components, and no leaded solder is used!
Good news! Our latest round of process improvements in lead-free assembly of boards containing modules - like these - would have enabled a $5 price cut. Bad news! Our suppliers, or at least the ones with lead-times of less than a year, have eliminated quantity discounts thanks to the chip shortage, which has seen lead times on some parts from this manufacturer, Microchip, exceeding ~18~ 24 months. This works out to a price increase of around $5/module. Well... so much for that price cut. You'll still enjoy benefits of our more consistent process, and boards come out clean and free of flux residue used by our previous methods. And finally a source came through for me on the RF connectors! so more assembled boards are now available.
Added good news: I was able to score 25 RN2903s (they are preloaded with I/RM 103, but that's just firmware, and can be upgraded - we break out the pins for that) at about halfway between the old and the new price. $2.50 off RN2903's
As of mid-May, my new shipment of antennae has arrived at long last! The 868 and 915 MHz antennae are interchangeable; investigation with an antenna analyzer showed that all had either 1 somewhat broad minimum VSWR band between 868 and 915, or two minima at around 868 and around 915, with a slight bump between then.
I'm sure you all know about the chip shortage - The parts for these are running with 5-8 month lead-times in many cases, and because of they are by far the most expensive component I use, I cant hold a large inventory as a buffer. If you will need a large number, please get your order in much earlier than you think you need to. (if you can commit to a purchase in the future (ex: (I will need 20 RN2903's for june 2023) please contact me as soon as you know when and how many you need.) I am at the mercy of the global supply chain for these with everyone else. But it could be worse - I was trying to find another Microchip product that I dearly want. I've been trying since release day to score two parts that would let me introduce an exciting new product (I've got the PCBs made and everything, and tested with lower spec parts). I'm hoping that I might get a small number of one of them middle of next year, but the ship date, originally september 2022, is now may 2023, and I am not optimistic about that one - the other one I haven't even been able to get a backorder in for.). Thankfully the RF connectors, which had become unavailable from the ususal venders were discovered for sale overseas at sane prices, allowing assembly of modules to resume
The RN2483A and RN2903A are identical except for their transmission frequency and which world regions they are approved for use in. The RN2483 operates at 433mhz and 868mhz, and is approved for use in Europe, while the RN2903A operates at 915mhz, and is approved for use in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (**That means, the RN2903[A] does not have anything connected to the 433 MHz port. Please, do not order the 433 MHz addon or RF connector for an RD2903, as it will delay you order while I try to reach you, explain the issue and we agree on how to handle it.. The frequency markings on these breakout boards correspond to the RN2483A (as European customers have been big buyers of them); if using with RN2903A, use the antenna marked 868/923 MHz (the low frequency antenna is not used). Prior to ordering, please verify that the RN2903A or RN2483A is legal to operate in your jurisdiction. One or the other usually is, but which one varies by country, according to the capricious whims of your national FCC-equivalent.
The RN2903A and RN2483A are an updated version of the RN2903 and RN2483. Within a few months of the initial release, errata came out (described as errata for the firmware version) describing a number of issues that sounded suspiciously like a hardware issue. Shortly thereafter, a shortage struck - they vanished from distributors worldwide! During this time, I happened to have a few modules that I hadn't mounted. A desperate user emailed me, and offered me the full $35/ea if I had any bare modules (and whaddya know I had just enough for them). When the RN2xx3 parts reappeared, there was an A after the part number, in addition to a new firmware version. The I/RM in the part number refers to the pre-loaded firmware version. Note that this is user-upgradable, and there's even a bootloader (firmware can be uploaded by the the PGD and PCG pins are available on these boards) - official firmware versions conforming with other nations' regulations are available from the Microchip website. Note that using the wrong firmware for the jurisdiction may violate local laws, be sure to use the correct version of this board and the correct firmware.
The pin layout for the serial and power pins is designed such that it can be plugged into breadboard alongside an Espruino Pico, and the pins will line up.
The row of pins along the edge of the PCB will match up with the classic "FTDI" serial adapter pinout for rapid development.
Assembled in USA with unleaded solder, so the result is ROHS compliant.
Since many of our customers are using these with 5v microcontrollers (such as Arduino), we now offer a level shifter as an add-on. These level shifters are mass-produced 4-channel bidirectional fet-based level shifters. See the diagrams below for wiring examples.
The RN2483 supports communication at 868mhz and 433mhz - however, I've heard from my customers that they only install the high 868mhz SMA connector. In order to keep costs down (since these are all made to order), I've made the SMA connector for 433mhz on the RN2483 optional. Thankfully, we have reestablished suppliers for the proper connectors, instead of having to buy them for twice the price, then send them out to be milled to fit over the edge of the PCB. .
This board can ship with three regulator options. If you have a regulator on the RN2483/RN2903 board, it can be used to supply 3.3v to the rest of the project (within the limits of the regulator - 1A, less if Vin exceeds 5v due to heat dissipation). See the wiring diagrams below.
No regulator - If you will already have a regulated 3.3v supply, there is no need to use a regulator on the RN2483 board. The board will be shipped with a 4.7uf cap installed on the pads for the output capacitor, but no regulator or input capacitor.
LDL1117 ~ZLDO1117~ - ~The ZLDO1117 is one of the best 1117-series regulators available, and provides a dropout of around 1.1V at maximum load (meaning a minimum of 4.4 V input to get 3.3v out), and permits a maximum input voltage of up to 18V.~ Thw ZLDO1117 was one of the best 1117 series regulators available (since everyone seems to make one, there are many not-quite-identical regulators that sometimes differ in important ways). I think the current king of the 1117's is now the LDL1117. At realistic loads the LDL1117 has dropout voltage comparable to the AP2114 (3.3v regulated from a 3.7v LiPo, and a much higher maximum input voltage). It also uses a tiny fraction of the quiescent current that the ZLDO uses. We are not using ZLDO1117's on the LoRAWAN breakout boards anymore.
AP2114 - The AP2114 is a modern LDO regulator that has much lower dropout than the 1117 series, as low as a few tenths of a volt. This allows it to put out 3.3v when powered from a 1S LiPo battery. However, the maximum input voltage must not exceed 6 volts.
The Things Network is a thriving community dedicated to LoRaWAN which has a great deal of useful information available to makers experimenting with these sort of devices:The Things Network
For use with Espruino, see the Espruino RN2483 module documentation
For use with a Raspberry Pi, Michael Honaker of Beach Cities Software has written some demo code that can be valuable to help get started, available from his Github: Interfacing with C Interfacing with Python
If you ever find yourself needing to perform rework or modification, lead-free solder (SAC305) can be used without producing poor joints. Leaded solder should under no circumstances be used.
These modules copy the layout specified in the Microchip datasheet. It is my belief that they meet the requirements for FCC precertification, but as always, you should consult with an expert in the relevant laws in your jurisdiction if you do not fall under the "hobbyist" exemption provided in many countries (in USA, you can make up to 5 of something without FCC certification as long as you're not selling them). In order to maintain precertification, you must use an antenna consistent with the datasheet (in the US, sleeve dipole antenna not more than 6dBi - I couldn't figure out the requirements for other jurisdictions); the antennae we offer are spec'd at 5dBi, so they should comply. Note that the precertification covers only the intentional radiator portion of FCC requirements. Any unofficial firmware voids all certification. Note that the certification must be obtained with full system including enclosure, which makes a profound difference. These devices are modules, mot finished products, amd since RFI can only be determined once the rest of the system is connected, modules and subassembly are not covered by these regulations.
There exist MONSTER Lora modules with transmit power that boggles the mind. Breakout boards for these insane (>1 1W) devices are coming soon, unassembled only. Unlike the LoRaWAN modules like this listing, these things make a mockery of the transmission power limits of LoRaWAN and often national radio regulations (hence why no assembled units), and needless to say they aren't pre-certified. Those monster modules are meant for LoRa point-to-point, not LoRaWAN.
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