We’ve covered plenty of hardware with LoRa radio from gateways, to Arduino shields, tracker boards, and mini PCIe cards, but after reading an article on Time4EE this morning, I realized we never wrote about any LoRa USB stick.
LoStik – previoulsy LoRa Stick – is an open source hardware USB dongle based on Microchip RN2903 / RN2483 LoRa module, and offered on CrowdSupply for $39.
- USB – USB 2.0 port
- LoRa Connectivity
- Microchip RN2903 – 915 MHz for US, Canada, South America and Australia
- Microchip RN2483 – 868 Mhz for Europe
- Receiver Sensitivity – down to -146 dBm
- TX Power – adjustable up to +18.5 dBm
- Range – up to 15 km coverage in suburban and up to 5 km coverage in urban areas
- Misc – 2x user LEDs
- Power Consumption – 140 ma typical TX, 20 ma idle (with power LED)
- Dimensions – 80 mm x 25 mm x 12 mm (without antenna)
As usual, people requiring AS923 (waving hand here) are left out…
The board works with any PC, as well as Linux development boards such as Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone. It’s easier to carry compared to a prototype with jumper wires, can be programmed via a simple ASCII interface, supports packet mode LoRa or LoRaWAN, and works with the Things Networks. You’ll find hardware design files (EAGLE schematics + PCB layout), as well as Python 3.x code sample on Github.
LoStik is not the first LoRa USB dongle around, so the developer compared it to GlobalSat LD-50H (NDA required), and iFrogLab LoRa USB.
LoRa stik offers several advantages, and also happens to be the cheapest of the list. It’s $39 shipped to the US, but you’d need to add $10 to the rest of the world.
I could however find an even cheaper LoRa USB stick – albeit probably not as well supported – on Tindie based on Bluepill STM32 board + SX127x module and that sells for $15 + shipping with a 433/470MHz radio or $18 + shipping with a 868 MHz/915MHz radio. Beside lacking a case, and requiring a micro USB to USB cable, it may not be suitable for all projects:
RxTx/PingPong demo applications. No LoRaWAN demo project.
More firmware will be ported, however no guarantee for delivery schedule.
So at this point, if you plan to add LoRa via a USB adapter, LoStik looks like a decent option.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.