Idiot Testing LoraWan Gateway from Pi-Supply: Part 2.

I finally have some free time while the teenagers are still asleep to move on to booting up the Pi Supply LoraWan. When the teens get up we will decorate the house for Christmas and bake cookies, so limited time! Pressure is on!

First let’s follow the steps already laid out for me from the Pi Supply tutorial. I’m already familiar with getting SD cards ready for a Pi. I expect this will go well. At the time of writing this, the image is dated from Dec 2nd. I missed a few iterations already which should make my life easier. Also I see from the name of it that Raspbian Lite was used. No GUI will be available. Roll your sleeves up, this is all command line folks!

Once the card has been flashed with Etcher I decided to boot it up first, before configuring The Things Network. I just want to see what’s on the card.  My Pi is headless, connected to my home network with an Ethernet cable, right into the Range Extender so I can easily retrieve its IP address. Hmm, ssh is off by default. Considering that this image is most likely to be run headless I would have configured SSH by default but at least it’s an easy thing to do. Booting up a second time, with SSH on. Default password on the image which saves me some time and a good opportunity to change said password.  I’m launching raspi-config just to have an idea of the state of this image.  Hmm, weird, SSH was off by default but VNC is on ? I’m turning it off for now not that it has any real impact.  The image did expand automatically which is nice.

The Things Network

Creating an account is a cinch, and creating a new gateway is easy enough. Bit taken aback by having to select a country-based frequency plan as my country isn’t listed. Yet we almost always follow the United States and a quick Google confirms it. United States it is for me. The router is picked by default so I’ll let it be.   Hmm, it needs the exact location of my gateway? How precise does it need to be? And it seems I can’t change it once it’s decided where to put the pin. Bit uneasy about this but let’s keep going.
Oh! On the following page I can control the privacy level, that’s good. At least location isn’t wide open unless there’s a security breach.  I’m turning my location private.

Configuring my network.

Since my Pi is up and running and I have SSH configured, I will edit my files manually directly on it, therefore I’m following Step 3.2.2 (for manual edition).  All is going pretty well but I am puzzled at <<a random ID (of numbers and Letters) in the “gateway_ID”>> . Why not the ID I used when creating the gateway on The Things Network website? And why is there a capital L on Letters?  I’ll be a rebel and will use the same gateway ID as opposed to a random list of characters.

“For the server_address field you should use the server address from the TTN Console that you selected” I have no idea what this refers to.  I’m going to put the router name in there, as it’s some sort of a server and I don’t see what else I could put in this spot.  Save this and reboot!

Rebooting

Lots of activity on the Pi leds. Now I’m wondering if it was a wise choice to boot it up once before making the changes. What if it’s running a script once to set everything up but now it’s no longer running it?
The Pi has booted but there’s no blue light on the LoRa HAT. So first attempt is a FAIL. Let’s try again…

Second Time

This time I go with the online setup provided by Pi-Supply and I will not pre-boot the image. Just in case.  The form is easy enough to fill in, I’m not as confused as doing it manually in the previous step (note that I ended up getting everything right – yeah me).
However when I download the file and take a look, the router information is not what I entered but I can manually edit it.

Entered value
Output

I’m sure this little issue will be taken care of by the time I publish this post.

By comparing the two names, I can see one uses dashes and the other uses dots. So it’s not the name of the router it actually needs.  After a bit of investigation on TheThings website, I find that the ttn-router-us-west is not the server name! The server name should be router.us-west.thethings.network and not the one displayed on the right.

Idiot Testing LoraWan Gateway from Pi-Supply

I received the Pi Supply LoraWan Gateway to beta test or, as I prefer to say, to idiot test. My Lora knowledge is non existent. I expect I will be making a lot of beginner mistakes – which is why I’m calling this *idiot testing*.  Note that this is early stuff for the LoRa HAT and documentation is lacking for now. At least the type of documentation that I would need. Knowing Pi Supply, it won’t stay that way for long.

Assembly:

In this photo I already have the board and header assembled. I did not solder the header, I’m assuming (let’s see if I’m right, probably not) that it does not require soldering, similar to the Sense Hat. Also, posts are already in all four corners because I feel confident. Ah!

Ok, there’s this little black flap on the left which looks like that’s over the camera port on the Pi. I can lift it up and tilt it backwards, like I would do with the camera flap.

Pi Supply IoT LoRa Gateway HAT
Pi Supply IoT LoRa Gateway HAT

Oops, broke it.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be tilted backwards. Rather it seems to be just a protector in place for shipping. I removed it completely for now.

Broken Flap

HAT board:

Here’s the HAT itself.  I’ve already assembled it in this photo:

  1. Added the heat sink in the only way that would not cover the sticker. Hopefully that will work.
  2. Added an antenna.  The kit came with two antennae and I tried to assemble them last evening. My eyes are not what they used to be, astigmatism and old age don’t do well together. I need good day light.  So last night, I fumbled around not really seeing what needed to be done. The black antenna fit. Today in broad daylight, I can see that the other one would fit too. As of now, I have no idea which antenna I’m supposed to use.

IoT Lora HAT

Attaching both parts together:

This insertion is self explanatory. Fits only one way. Good, I feel confident.

20181124_124454.jpg

After insertion it looks like the following photo though. This begs to be pushed down!

20181124_131730Sure enough, look at those nice little metal clamps that hold it in place once pushed down! Wooh, nicely done. I love it when I find a new (to me) mechanism !

Also kinda happy I broke that black flap at the beginning. It would have been in the way here.

20181124_131748

At this point the board is all assembled, ready for its first boot up!