There are several ways to play with LoRaWAN protocol on the Raspberry Pi including RisingHF Discovery kit or Cooking Hacks LoRa Shield for Raspberry Pi, but the latter requires you to spend close to $100 just for the shield, the complete Lora discovery kit costs close to $400. Dragino Tech LoRa/GPS HAT board should be a more cost effective way to get started with LoRa on Raspberry Pi, as it sells for $32 + shipping on Tindie.
Dragino LoRa/GPS HAT specifications:
- Semtech SX1276/SX1278 transceiver @ 433/868, or 915 MHz (Country dependent, pre-configured in the factory)
- 168 dB maximum link budget.
- +20 dBm – 100 mW constant RF output vs. +14 dBm high efficiency PA.
- Programmable bit rate up to 300 kbps.
- L80 GPS module based on Mediatek MT3339 SoC
- Horizontal Position Accuracy: autonomous <2.5 m CEP.
- TTFF@-130dBm with EASY (AGPS): Cold Start <15s,Warm Start <5s,Hot start <1s;
- TTFF@-130dBm without EASY (AGPS):Cold Start <35s,Warm Start <30s,Hot Start <1s.
- Timing Accuracy:1PPS out 10ns,Reacquisition Time <1s.
- GPS automatic switching between internal patch antenna and external active antenna
- Built-in temperature sensor and low battery indicator
- Low power consumption (no specific data)
- Dimensions – 60 x 53 x 25 mm; HAT compliant with Raspberry Pi 2 Model B/Raspberry Pi 3.
- Weight – 30g
The package includes the HAT board, 4x brass spacers, 4x screws, 4x nuts, and an external antenna suitable for 433, 868, or 915 MHz as needed.
The board also comes with some apparently decent documentation explaining how to use both LoRa and GPS with the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, as well as links to schematics (PDF), and other technical documentation. Some typical applications of such board include automated meter reading, home and building automation, wireless alarm and security systems, industrial monitoring and control, and long range irrigation systems.
Beside Tindie, the board can also be purchased on Eleduino for $39 shipped, and by the end of this article, I’ve also come across an even cheaper Dragino Lora Shield for Arduino (433 MHz) selling for $19 on Seeed Studio. More details can also be found in Dragino Tech LoRa/GPS HAT page.