I received an unexpected surge in orders for the Freakduino 900 MHz Long Range Wireless boards due to mention on the Make Magazine site and also in various news outlets . I didn't plan a large initial run for these boards since I figured that they would mostly appeal to wireless sensor network enthusiasts. The interest was greater than I expected and the boards sold out quickly.

I'm now working with quick turn PCB houses to get 24-hour turnaround on the printed circuit boards which are the main bottleneck. I just got confirmation on another batch of boards which will arrive over the weekend and will ship out next week. The quick turn boards are only allowed green solder masks rather than the original black, but they'll be functionally identical. Thanks for your patience and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that there's interest in a board like this. Thanks for all your support!

I'm proud to introduce the latest addition to the Freakduino family. This is the Freakduino 900 MHz Long Range wireless board. On the outside, it looks fairly similar to the other Freakduino boards, but under the hood, it's tuned to communicate over long distances. This board uses the same radio as the standard Freakduino 900 MHz board but adds a TI CC1190 RF front end. This boosts the transmit power from 10 mW (+10 dBm) to 500 mW (+27 dBm). There's also a low noise amplifier on the receiver which gives the received signal an +11 dB boost (>10X). Altogether, this chip adds +38 dB to the link budget which is massive gain in the wireless world.

I originally designed this circuit a few years back when I was looking for something to do long distance wireless sensor links, on the order of kilometers or tens of kilometers. 2.4 GHz gets a bit hard to drive that far since higher frequencies have more attenuation in free space as well as a difficult time going through objects. Lower frequencies have much less attenuation and are able to travel through obstacles more easily so they're ideal for situations where range is valued over speed. In sensor networks, data rate usually has a low priority compared to battery life and communications range.

I'm happy to announce that after way too long, the new forum is now online . I switched from using the Joomla Fireboard forums, which are no longer being maintained or developed, to phpBB which has a very active development community. The reason for the switch was that the Joomla forums were easily targeted by forum spammers and I started having to spend a lot of time deleting spam posts from bots. Since Fireboard didn't support standard anti-bot tools like reCaptcha and Kismet, bots could essentially have their way with things. I have to admit that when I first started this site, I didn't give much thought to the tools. Truthfully, I didn't expect many people to visit the site so I just chose whatever was easiest. I now realize what a mistake that was. Ha ha ha. 

The forum should be much better with phpBB since it has many options, features, and plugins. I'm also hoping to make it much easier to share code on the forum. The old forum has been archived and can be reached at the forum menu link on the main menu or on the button at the top right side on the new forums. 

Sorry this took longer than expected. Hopefully I can turn this into a nice community hub for wireless sensor network enthusiasts.


I just got back from my vacation in Shenzhen yesterday and was going to relax a bit until Monday when I’d start working on some new designs. When I was reading the New York Times this morning, a particular article caught my attention. Hiroko Tabuchi wrote an interesting article about the worsening crisis going on at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.

The radioactive waste water is leaking into the ocean and the leaks seem to be getting larger. There are nearly 1000 tanks at the plant to store the radiated water which are prone to leaks. Also, there are no water level gauges in the tanks and only two men patrol the tanks every day to check for leaks. What caught my attention in the article was when it mentioned TEPCO had no reliable way to check the storage tanks for leaks. That was actually one of those “hmmm….really” moments for me.

Hi folks.

Just wanted to drop a quick note that I'll be on summer holiday from 8/17 to 8/23/2013. I'll be in Shenzhen taking in the geekery with some friends which will not only provide me with a nice break but also hopefully give me inspiration for my next designs. Sorry for the inconvenience and the shop will be open from 8/23.



I’m proud to announce the release of two new designs, the Arashi Ethernet Gateway for both 2.4 GHz and 900 MHz wireless sensor networks. There’s quite a bit of history for me with this design. Back when there was a meltdown at Fukushima Dai-Ichi in Japan, I grabbed some Wiznet W5100 ICs and put together a circuit that connected to and uploaded radiation data to servers on the internet. This eventually became a design I called the NetRad and was one of the first DIY geiger counters to be uploading radiation data publicly to the internet during the Fukushima crisis.

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In Tokyo Hackerspace, we deployed a few of them when Sean Bonner emailed me to ask me for links to the data and if I wanted to help a fledgling group that he and Joi Ito were working with called RDTN. Later on, Sean, Joi, me, Bunnie, and a cast of others started working together and Safecast was born .


Here's a shot of one of our first meetings together in Tokyo with Bunnie, Aaron Huslage, Sean Bonner, Joi Ito, Ray Ozzie, and a bunch of people from Keio University.

I just packaged up and released chibiArduino v1.01. This release mainly includes support for some new boards that I'll be releasing shortly. The first board will be an 802.15.4/Ethernet gateway that can be used to connect a chibi based local sensor network to the internet. That should be released within the next day or two. The next round of boards coming out afterwards will be long range boards that have powered RF front ends. I'll be explaining more about these boards soon as well.

There is also a bug fix in this version of the stack. A race condition was found in the transmit function. When a frame is transmitted, the radio state machine is put into a transmit state. However if the radio is busy receiving a frame, the state machine won't transition to the transmit state properly. The fix was to check to make sure no frames were being received before transitioning to the transmit state. 

The release links can be found on the chibiArduino page here :)