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New Product – Tiny Reflow Controller

Our Reflow Oven Controller Shield has been around for many years now. It went through minor changes over the years and we were fortunate to ship out a lot of them. But, we always felt that we are not doing enough in pushing the overall cost further down to provide a lower entry to get into SMD reflowing. The need for an external Arduino board as the brain for the setup adds a massive cost to the shield (depending on whether you buy an official board from Arduino or a copy online). The new Tiny Reflow Controller is a derivative design from the shield version to address those tiny little issues. Read more

The SX1276 Modules Shootout – HopeRF’s RFM95W vs NiceRF’s LORA1276-C1 vs HPDTEK’s HPD13

Few months back, a customer of ours asked whether we could get a shielded version of the HopeRF’s RFM95W on our Mini Ultra Pro boards. And sure we asked HopeRF whether they are willing to provide a custom version with a metal shield. They gave us a quotation and a minimum order quantity (MOQ) to fulfilled. Unfortunately, the MOQ were too high for either of us. So, we went on to search high and low for a LoRa SX1276 based module with a shield. At first we stumbled upon NiceRF’s LORA1276-100mW but it doesn’t have the same form factor as the RFM95W. But, we went on and made a prototype board with it. On paper it looks great but as soon as we assembled the very first few units using our reflow oven, we notice that one side of the module would be slightly lifted due to the imbalance of the module pinout (it has 12 pads on 1 side and another 2 pads on the opposite side corner of the module). The solder tension on the side with 12 pads are stronger compare to the other side of the module. We believe that this will somehow create some potential issues in manufacturing. So, we dropped the plan. Read more

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Updated & Back in Stock – Mini Ultra Pro V2

When we first release the V1 of the Mini Ultra Pro, we were very surprised that people actually like the design very much. On top of that, we received a lot of suggestions on future features from our awesome customers. We take all the suggestions seriously and incorporate most of them into the new revision of the Mini Ultra Pro. Here’s the list of the changes in the new revision. Read more

Antenna Selection Conundrum

We have been dealing with antennas close to 10 years now (adjusting and modifying your terrestrial TV Yagi antenna 20 years ago doesn’t count!). Having access to wide range of antenna from factories in the far east allow us to choose suitable antenna for our project and product. But in order to get the antenna with the specifications that we really wanted, one has to go through many iterative selection process to reach that goal. Prior to the release of the Mini Ultra Pro, we have been engaged in a year long wireless sensor network project in Australia that runs in the 915 MHz ISM band. We thought having already tested variety of antenna at 915 MHz band, selecting antennas for other frequency would be as easy as specifying the requirements and specifications to our antenna supplier. Boy oh boy, we were so wrong…

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Radio Range Test with RFM69HCW

We offer 2 types of low cost radio module option for our Mini Ultra Pro boards. We always think that it is important to choose a suitable radio module based on the application. One of the most important feature when choosing a radio module is the transmission range and transmission rate. While we have basically run many range test on the LoRa capable RFM95W radio module on the Mini Ultra Pro, we are really curious how different the FSK RFM69HCW radio module would perform in terms of range. It is obvious that the RFM69HCW is unable to achieve the few kilometer range provided by the LoRa technology but faster transmission rate and cost effectiveness of the FSK RFM69HCW radio module might be very compelling for certain applications. Read more