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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5 Replies to “433/868/915 MHz LoRa Modules Are Now Selling for $6 and Up”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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