Meshtastic DIY – How To Build Your Own Meshtastic Node ESP32 & Lora Radio

by shopidea.net
0 comment

This guide will walk you through building your own Meshtastic LoRa node. Sure, you can easily buy the Heltec V3 for just $15, but if you have some spare boards from old projects or just enjoy the satisfaction of building something yourself, this guide is the best.

hardware

Now, let’s start preparing the necessary hardware.

  • 1x ESP-32S WiFi + Bluetooth Development Kit V1 (30 PIN)
  • 1x 433MHZ LoRa Module Ra-02 DIP
  • 14x Female to Female Pin Connector
  • 0.96 inch I2C OLED (optional, but requires serial connection to pair)
  • 4x female to female pin connectors (if using screen)
  • 1x soldering iron + 60/40 solder wire (optional – you can go to your local electronics store and solder the Lora header on the board)

We aimed to make this guide as simple as possible for those new to promoting Meshtastic. Let’s take a look at the hardware breakdown. We chose the ESP-32S WiFi + Bluetooth Devkit V1 (30 PIN), which is a compact board. If you’re thinking of adding a large number of sensors, consider the 38-pin version. Make sure it comes with pre-soldered headers. These boards come in both USB Type-C and Micro USB versions, so choose one that fits your existing cable.

When it comes to Lora chips, many are sold as SMCs (Surface Mount Components), which means they are very small and can cause damage to the board. That’s why we chose the Ra-02 DIP. The DIP version is mounted on an adapter board, so all pins are accessible, creating a plug-and-play experience similar to building with Lego blocks. Please note that you will need to solder the header to the board. To keep costs down, contact your local electronics store. Electronic stores may offer soldering services, which can save you the hassle and expense of purchasing soldering equipment.

Lastly, let’s talk about the screen. Nodes can function without a screen, but a screen is useful. This screen is especially useful when pairing a node with a phone, but you can also find his 6-digit number on the terminal and pair it via a serial connection. I highly recommend getting a screen. It’s also affordable, greatly simplifies the experience, and makes the whole process smoother.

assembly

The hardware is all ready and configured for wiring. For this, follow the following schematic.

433MHz LoRa Module Ra-02 DIP

Github user credits: Nano VHF

⚠️

Once the wiring is complete, it is important not to miss the last step: connecting the antenna

💡

To establish a ground connection, connect the four ground pins on the Lora board. Strip the wire on the other side, use another female cable to connect the wire to the Esp32’s ground, and strip the other side. Finally, tie the four wires from the Lora board to the wire from the Esp32 ground to ensure a safe and reliable ground connection.Be sure to use insulation tape to avoid short circuits

💡

Note that the order of connections may vary. Please follow the specific component labels and IO ports and the provided schematic to ensure accurate wiring. Attention to these details will help ensure correct connections and avoid potential problems and component damage.

0.96 inch I2C OLED

Github user credits: Nano VHF

⚠️

Some screens support 5v for a better setup and avoid wire stripping. In this case, you can connect the screen’s Vcc or Vdd (power) pin to the Esp32’s Vin (voltage input). This simplifies wiring and gives the Meshtastic Lora node a cleaner overall look. Always check the specifications of specific components to ensure compatibility and appropriate voltage levels.

💡

In some cases, the Sck (serial clock) pin is labeled as Scl (serial clock line). To properly identify and connect the Sck or Scl pins during the Meshtastic Lora node wiring process, pay attention to the device documentation or label.

Once all wiring is completed according to the provided schematic, your setup should look like the picture below. Double-check your connections and make sure they match the proposed layout before proceeding to the next step in the building process.

flashing software

The web-based installer requires a Chrome or Edge browser, but is a great choice for quickly flashing your device.

  1. Connect your device
  2. Visit flasher.meshtastic.org *Requires Chrome or Edge browser
  3. For devices, use DIY V1.
  4. Choose the latest stable version
  5. Click on flash

The CLI script is considered a “manual process” for flashing firmware. If the web-based flasher doesn’t work, an alternative option is to use a CLI (command line interface) script. This guide does not go into detail, but please refer to the Meshtastic guide for comprehensive instructions.

Pairing your device

Once you have assembled the hardware and flashed the firmware, you are ready to power up your Meshtastic LoRa node and pair it with your phone. This step marks the exciting moment when the custom-built device begins its communication journey.

  • Download the Meshtastic app on your phone. This app is available for download on both the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).
  • Go to the Bluetooth page, wait a moment, and your device should pop up there.
  • Select the Meshtastic device you want to pair from the list. The device’s node ID and other relevant information should be displayed in the app.
  • A pairing code will appear on your Meshtastic node. Type it into your phone and wait a second or two. You will be asked to select your region. Please select EU433. The node will be restarted and ready.

conclusion

Building your own Meshtastic LoRa node can be more valuable than buying a ready-made device, especially if you have a spare board from a previous project or enjoy the satisfaction of a DIY project. It provides a cost-effective alternative. The hardware requirements outlined, including the ESP-32S WiFi + Bluetooth Devkit V1, 433MHZ LoRa module Ra-02 DIP, and optional 0.96-inch I2C OLED screen, provide a versatile foundation for creating mesh communication nodes. Offers.

The assembly process includes easy wiring and clear schematics are provided for both the LoRa Ra-02 module and the optional screen. Some soldering may be required, but your local electronics store can often assist you with this step. Although this screen is optional, it is emphasized that it simplifies the process of pairing your phone with his Meshtastic app and greatly improves the user experience.

Flashing the software is easily accomplished through a web-based installer compatible with Chrome or Edge browsers, or a CLI script for a manual process if desired. To ensure a successful firmware installation, it is important to pay close attention during the flashing process.

Finally, pairing your device with the Meshtastic app on your phone is easy. The app, available for both iOS and Android platforms, prompts you to enter a pairing code on the node, making it easy to identify and select Meshtastic devices. After a quick reboot of your region selection, your DIY Meshtastic LoRa node is ready for use, providing a customizable, self-build solution for mesh communication.

You may also like

Leave a Comment