Projects‎ > ‎

Arduino RF Wireless Shield


Project Overview

The goal of this project is to design a small Arduino compatible shield using a nRF24L01+ module to allow wireless communication between multiple Arduino nodes.  The motivation for this project is to allow my Arduino Light Controllers to be placed remotely throughout my Christmas light display without the need to run control wiring back to the master control computer.

Project Requirements

  • Be compatible with my Arduino Light Controller design
  • Utilize the 5V power source from the Arduino stackable header.  Note: Due to a design error in my first batch of PCBs for teh Arduino Light Controller, the 3.3V pin from the Arduino is unavailable on the light controller PCB.  In addition, there are several sources on the internet that state that powering the nRF24L01+ modules from the Arduino's 3.3V pin is unreliable.  Due to these reasons, I've decided to build this shield using a 3.3 VDC voltage regulator fed from the 5V pin.

Project Status

In Production.  Used during my 2014 light show with no failures.

Pictures

To save production costs, I panelized four of the RF Shields into a single 10cm x 10cm board as shown below:

RF Shield Panel

The next picture shows three completed module.  This batch I accidentally scratched the cards and cut a few traces while separating the boards using my dremel.  I now use a cardboard barrier between my dremel and the boards to prevent scratching the cards while making these cuts.


Software

  • I have developed an "Arduino Light Controller RF Bridge" application to function as a bridge from your sequencing software (e.g. Vixen) and the RF network.  The bridge software will broadcast out the data (NO ACK requested) while the controller software will accept the broadcast and extract out the appropriate channels.  
  • Software can be downloaded from the Arduino Light Controller page.  The RF Bridge software is bundled with the light controller software.