BastWAN Feather-compatible LoRaWAN board features RAK4260 Microchip R34 module

We’ve previously written about a Feather-compatible LoRaWAN board equipped with RAK4260 module based on Microchip R34 LoRa SIP called Penguino Feather.

It appears somebody, namely Electronic Cats based in Mexico, decided to design an almost identical board with BastWAN. Let’s see if there are any differences besides the cheaper price.

BatsWANBastWAN specifications:

  • LoRa module – Rak wireless RAK4260 module with:
    • SiP – Microchip SAML21 Arm Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz, 32 KB RAM, 256 KB Flash, Semtech SX1276
    • LoRa Connectivity
      • Frequency Range – 862 to 1020 MHz
      • High level of accuracy and stability (32MHz TXCO)
      • Max Tx Power: 20dBm; Max Sensitivity: -148dBm; Rx Current: 17mA (typical)
      • Compliant with LoRaWan 1.0.2
  • Antenna – SMA and u.FL (IPEX) antenna connector
  • I/Os – Feather headers with 20x IO pins including PWN, serial, I2C, SPI, 6x 12-bit ADC, 1x 10-bit DAC
  • HW security – ATECC608A crypto authentication chip
  • Programming and debugging
    • 10-pin 4-pin SWD programming header
    • Micro USB port for power and debugging
  • Misc – RGB user LED, Battery Charge Status, reset pin and button
  • Power Supply
    • 5V via Micro USB port
    • 2-pin header for Li-Po battery, onboard 100mA charging IC
    • 3.3V regulator with 500mA peak current
  • Dimensions – 50.8 mm x 22.8 mm (Adafruit Feather form factor)
  • Weight – 6.9 grams
  • OSHWA certifications – MX000015

Feather-compatible LoRaWAN board

Both boards are pretty similar, but compared to Penguino board, BastWAN does with only an SMA connector (no u.FL option), lacks an RGB LED, replaces the USB-C port with a Micro USB port, and comes with SWD support is done through four through holes, instead of a 10-pin connector. BastWAN does add a crypto chip (ATECC608A) and somehow does not come with a USB to serial chip (as per the PDF schematics), but still features built-in USB-to-Serial program & debug capability “with no need for an FTDI-like chip”.

The Feather-compatible LoRaWAN board comes preloaded with a UF2 bootloader and appears as a virtual disk drive, so programming is as simple as dragging and dropping the firmware file like with Raspberry Pi Pico. Since the bootloader is BOSSA compatible it can also be used directly within the Arduino integrated development environment (IDE), MakeCode, and others. Just like Penguino board, BastWAN is open-source hardware and certified by OSHWA. You’ll find hardware and software resources on Github.

In my article about Penguino Feather, I actually linked to Arduino instructions for a RAK4260 board from Electronic Cats, so BastWAN may have actually been designed before. It’s just it has just been brought to my attention now. The development board ships with a LoRa antenna, a Micro USB cable, and a set of jumpers for $31.99 on Tindie which compares to $39.95 asked for Penguino Feather.

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4 Replies to “BastWAN Feather-compatible LoRaWAN board features RAK4260 Microchip R34 module”

  1. The on-board crypto authenticator chip on the BastWAN module is an attractive difference. But I wonder why microchip’s ATECC608A crypto chip was chosen over their ATECC608B chip?[1][3] At first glance the two parts are quite similar, these were the only features I could find supported by the ATECC608B that are not found on the ATECC608A: 1. Secure boot support. 2. While both parts support a Single Wire Interface mode (SWI), only the ATECC608B comes in a 3-lead CONTACT package specifically for the SWI. Both chips have an I2C interface, come pin-compatible packages (8-SOIC seems most popular, 8-UDFN less so), and they cost essentially the same (ATECC608A: qty.-1 USD $0.83 ea., qty.-25 USD $0.702 ea. ATECC608B: qty.-1 USD $0.82 ea., qty.-25 USD $0.689 ea.)[2][4] There may be a good reason for choosing the ATECC608A over the ATECC608B, but can’t find it.

    One big drawback to the BastWAN module may be the USB. The RAK4260 module [5] is based on Microchip’s ATSAMR34J18B which is a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+[6]. The ATSAMR34J18B does not have hardware USB, so that means the USB is bit-banged using something like LemcUSB [7] (there are others out there; think V-USB but for the ARM Cortex-M0+ instead of the ATMEL AVRs). Developing directly on the RAK4260’s ATSAMR34J18B means you’ll have to dance around the bit-banged USB, which can be a pain. I would have preferred to see a USB/UART chip on the BastWAN board instead, something like the ubiquitous CH340B or CH340N.[8]

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