Meshtastic

Quahog custom board

A fellow named @donblair just posted his write-up on his cool board, I thought I’d break it out here so it doesn’t get buried.

https://edgecollective.io/posts/notes/mesh/

Thanks so much, @geeksville – very kind of you! I’m so inspired by the Meshtastic project, and it was a big thrill to get Meshtastic-device up and running so quickly on the Quahog (thanks to your clear documentation / codebase, and the friendly forum here).

The main idea behind the Quahog design was to make something that beginners to electronics might more easily assemble themselves – trying to take a sort of ‘right to repair’ approach to off-grid / farming IoT tech, and to make an easier on-ramp for small tech co-ops towards building and servicing useful monitoring / comm infrastructure. The ESP32 and RFM95 chips aren’t too terrible to hand solder; and all of the other components on the board are through-hole.

The secondary idea was to try to see if I could connect to a ROCKBLOCK 9602 satellite modem via a header on the board. I was able to do some basic stuff with the modem, but haven’t yet spent the time to really make a nice satellite gateway system out of it.

Finally: because the initial use-cases I had in mind involved off-grid greenhouses, I placed some cute DC-DC power modules on the board to convert 12V or 24V DC input to 3.3V and 5V (the sat modem requires 5V). The thought here was that it might be nice to farmers to be able to directly run the system off a 12V or 24V solar-charged battery, or just a simple car / RV battery, in the field. (Something like this could perhaps be useful for a Meshtastic ‘repeater’ node?)

I’m currently traveling, so might need to wait to write more til after the weekend sometime – but just wanted to say that the Quahog board is sorely due for a revision, and I’d love to try to incorporate any (do-able) suggestions for features based on what folks have learned thus far. I see that there’s at least one really neat custom NRF52-based design, already; I’m going to stick to the ESP32 for now, because I’m also eager to use this design as a lora-wifi gateway (for some farming applications). I might try to add GPS if I can swing it … (not sure if it’s possible to get the ESP32 to talk to both a GPS module and a satellite modem, each of which would require its own UART, I believe …)

Anyway, more soon – I’m hoping to do some Meshtastic tests over the weekend in an off-grid setting, will post some pics if I’m able to do it :slight_smile:

Thanks again for this great project, really very inspiring!!!

Cheers,
Don

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