Today I'm releasing FluxN0de a personal project I have been working on for about 1 year (nights and weekends). The project ended up being quite a bit different compared to when I started it.
What is FluxN0de?
FluxN0de is a platform (for me) to play with LoRa and LoRaWAN. Originally I bought a Adafruit Feather M0 with RFM95 LoRa Radio - 900MHz - RadioFruit in mid 2019 but had little joy with it and almost stopped caring. In late 2019/very early 2020 I gave it another try and bought a ESP32-based Huzzah32 board also from Adafruit and wired it up to a LoRa Feather. Using that combination I played with the various LoRa and LoRaWAN libraries that are available for the ESP32 platform.
When NYC was shutdown in March 2020 I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands.
After several month I was quite happy with my software but got frustrated with the Huzzah board. So my plan developed towards building my own board to fix all the issues I saw with the Huzzah board and by issues I mostly mean adding some features. Basically I had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. For the next couple of month I tired to learn everything that would allow me to understand and finally build my own ESP32-based board that had a LoRa radio on the same PCB. It was quite a journey but I ended up with a working (and decent looking) Fluxboard.
So what is FluxN0de?
The very original idea was to build a LoRa based messaging device that is connected to your smartphone via BLE. I had the idea when I saw some article about building a full-on LoRa pager with keyboard and display. I thought that was silly since your smartphone can do both of those functions a million times better. That is the main reason why my setup supports BLE and is designed to run on battery.
In summary: The whole project was a fantastic learning experience. Especially going thru multiple iterations of the software stack paired with different hardware configurations. I have planned to write a number of follow up posts about various parts of this project. This will likely include my experience of learning how to design Fluxboard. How I went about it and what tools I used. Spoiler I ended up using EasyEDA for the design and JLCPCB for the manufacturing. I also built a basic setup to measure the power/battery consumption of my boards. One of the most fun things is seeing how your software design impacts battery runtime, I will definitely write a blog post about that. I will probably start with a short post on how to develop apps for the FluxN0de environment.
Checkout the GitHub page for detailed documentation, examples, build instructions, and more.