Support for Uptronics Lora Expansion Board for Pi0w

I have seen a lot of new devices being used with lora radios and incorporating into Meshtastic so I am once again reaching out to see if anyone has been able to come up with a more “elegant” solution than just plugging in a raspberry pi to a t-beam with a USB cable.

I’ve gotten my hands on some Uptronics LoRa Expansion boards for the Pi Zero but I don’t have any idea on how to get it working with Meshtastic. This link includes a github page, schematics, and source code for a project called “Pi in the Sky”.

Previously my attempts at getting the Adafruit LoRa bonnet to work were a bust.

I am trying to get to a point where I can have the pi running on battery power from a PiSugar which has a programmable button on the side (I have this part working). Pressing this button would run the meshtastic tunnel command and I would then be able to connect to the device over something like MoSH. Any leads I can pick up on to work towards getting a usable device running?

I have a couple of USB devices we have looked at a bit (RAK 3172 and Pinedio), as you mention it is a pretty heavy lift as the actual hard part is porting the firmware over to linux.

We may also be able to make a hat that has both an esp32 and the radio on board. The hat would connect the normal cts/rts/rx/tx pins of the microcontroller to the rpi header.

This would be just a $5 cost on the BOM over having a hat with only the lora radio and would mean no changes on the api or firmware.

If I’m not mistaken, the esp32 chip would also add another Wifi/Bluetooth interface to the rpi? That could be beneficial to have two wireless interfaces (one on the pi already) for the uses I am considering.

I would gladly pay a bit more money for a board that has all the functionality I want. Especially if the board fits into the rpi zero platform size.