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Grogster
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Posted: 12 June 2018 at 8:01am | IP Logged Quote Grogster

In my case, I use a little slice of the band at 458.6MHz, which is allowed up to 500mW, so I can run the module at 100mW to get the best range - your local regulations may well be different. However, with that setup, with a small helical on the transmitting node, and a whip on an F-to-U.FL lead on the receiving end inside the house, I was able to get about 400 meters or so. Not bad for a small helical and an inside receiving antenna.

I have another setup where the receiving antenna is outside on the roof, and with the same frequency and power I can get about 600m or so reliable comms still using the tiny little helical.

The helical is mounted in-line with the module, and away from anything metallic. Here is an image of how I have one setup on one of my PCB's that gives the range I have just mentioned:





It is VITAL that there is no ground-plane or any other copper tracks anywhere near the helical, especially at the open end of the helical. You probably already know that. Despite this crampt-ish looking layout, I get 500m easy with 100mW to a roof-mounted receiving antenna. The antennas I am using on this PCB, are 27mm helicals from this seller. These are 433MHz antennas, so I cut about 1.5 turns off the end of them to re-tune them up to around 458MHz where I need them.

I have seen people mount the helical back against the rear of the module. This will work OK for short-range and makes it nice and compact, but that will affect the range as you have the metallic PCB and it's components right beside the helical, which will affect it's performance quite badly. However, if you only need a short distance....

As you have never played with these modules before, I strongly suggest you get hold of Rob's little HC12 config utility which makes setting them up a point-and-click and very painless operation. I can probably upload it here if you don't have it. I will check with Rob, but he would probably be fine with that(or posting a link where you can download it from).

I encourage you to set FU4 mode, as this gives the best performance I have found. You are limited to 1200 baud, but that has never been a problem for me. Different modes have faster baud-rates, but the range will be less for the same output power. It does depend on what you are actually trying to do.

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MicroBlocks
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Posted: 12 June 2018 at 6:47pm | IP Logged Quote MicroBlocks

It will be part of home automation.
The box it will be the tibbit enclosure.
Going to be a tight fit with all the other parts.


It will be wall mounted and I planned to use it the same as you shown on your pcb.
Do you mount the module with just pad, no header pins?




Edited by MicroBlocks on 12 June 2018 at 6:51pm


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Grogster
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Posted: 12 June 2018 at 7:01pm | IP Logged Quote Grogster

Yes, I just solder the module to the pads. They never move after that.
It is also quite easy to remove them if you ever need to.





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Grogster
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Posted: 13 June 2018 at 7:52am | IP Logged Quote Grogster

Link to Rob's HC12 config utility...

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