433/868/915 MHz LoRa Modules Are Now Selling for $6 and Up

Market forecasts for the Internet of Things promise billions of connected device in the years to come, but this won’t happen when LPWAN  connector sensors cost $50 or more, so prices will have to come down. I’ve been told that one company is working on a WiFi + LoRa module that’s going to sell for $5 to $6 sometimes in 2017, but in the meantime, it’s possible to get some LoRa modules for less than $10, albeit limited to 433 MHz frequency not the more common 868 MHz (EU) and 915 MHz (US), thanks to products such as AI-Thinker Ra-02 module.

ai-thinker-ra-02-lora-moduleRa-02 specifications:

  • Chipset – Semtech SX1278 low power long range transceiver
  • Radio
    • 433MHz frequency (420 to 450 MHz range)
    • +20dBm – 10mW constant RF output vs. V supply; up to 300 kbps bitrate
    • Supports FSK, GFSK, MSK, GMSK, LoRa and OOK Modulation Mode
    • 127dB RSSI wave range.
  • I/Os – 16x half through holes with half-duplex SPI communication, GPIO and power signals; 2.0 mm pitch
  • Supply Voltage – 1.8 – 3.7V, default 3.3V
  • Power Consumption – Receive < 10.8mA (LnaBoost closed, Band 1); transmist: < 120mA(+20dBm), sleep: 0.2 uA
  • Dimensions – Estimated 16×16 mm
  • Certifications – FCC/CE
  • Temperature Range – -40 to +85 °C

I could only find the module on a company called Smart Prototyping selling the module for $9 plus shipping ($6.84), which amounts to roughly $15. But you could also get your hands on a pair of two SX1278 modules and spring antennas for $14.85 including shipping on Aliexpress, or about $7 per module.

cheap-lora-moduleThe specifications of this cheaper module are basically the same as the AI-Thinker module. The seller is also promising to send the schematics and program by e-mail. If you look for DRF1278F on the web, you’ll find other websites selling it, for example it can be found on eBay for as low as $5.60 with one antenna and including shipping.

[Update: for 868MHz search for DRF1272F ($8.28), and 868/915 MHz for DRF1276G ($8.68)]

Thanks to Elia for the tip.

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JM
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Major MEH that when we’re finally starting to get cheap LoRa modules they only offer 433Mhz (aka LoRA China)

The problem is there’s no LoRaWAN standard at 433Mhz for Europe/US so they’re all rather useless around here.

$8.27 for an uncertified, RF-only (dumb) module is still too much. AcSiP is selling certified LoRaWAN modules with the best RF (SX1276) + an STM32L0 for $10/each (min order of 2) – http://www.acsip.com.tw/index.php?action=products-detail&fid1=19&fid2=&fid3=&id=79

Meanwhile I’m buying ‘intelligent’ certified Sigfox modules at $2.70 in low quantities. This is the target LoRa should be aiming for.

amazed
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amazed

yeah. what are the use cases for 433mhz outside china and in north america? this is NOT a rethorical, but a rather genuine question.
anybody knows the prices for those acsip dev kits? wouldn’t mind playing with some if available at a reasonable price.

Arnab
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I guessed it long ago, one day AI-Thinker will release cheap LoRaWAN modules. And it will create the another IoT storm like before with ESP8266.

Deets
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Deets

@JM
Which sigfox modules are those? Built in MCU?