We just received the final revision of SensorStation from our contract manufacturer. Things are looking very good and our software developers are excited to finally have them in hand. They are currently working to adapt the software for the prototype version of the SensorStation to take advantage of a variety of new features.
What is new with SensorStation? We will take a look at each change.
IMPROVED USB HUB NETWORK
The original prototype SensorStation had only one translator per USB hub. While this worked fine for most applications, we decided to further improve the performance for older USB 1.2 devices, such as the FunCube and RTL-SDR. The new USB network makes use of four Microchip USB2514B USB Hub ICs, which has an independent translator per USB port. What does that mean? Vastly improved performance when the SensorStation is placed into demanding applications.
SUPPORT FOR AN OPTIONAL GPS ANTENNA
The original SensorStation prototype features a Ublox CAM-M8Q with a chip antenna. While the chip antenna performs reasonably well while outdoors, it had difficulty receiving a GPS fix indoors. Now, there is a switch that lets you pick between the onboard chip antenna and an SMA GPS antenna. This allows you to use more powerful antennas indoors, or possibly route an antenna outside.
Now, you can switch SensorStation on and off, which is useful especially when connecting power connections that do not feature a power switch — such as a deep cycle battery.
ADDITIONAL STATUS LEDS
Additional status LEDs are now available under the buttons. This allows for “headless” operation without a screen. You can use these status indicators to identify faults, as well as provide a status indicator when pressing a button to copy files to a USB jump drive.
NEW MICRO USB ON-THE-GO PORT
A new, special USB port is available that lets you program the Raspberry Pi Compute module right on the board. When you plug a USB OTG cable into this port, it will disable the USB Hub Network and route the Raspberry Pi to the OTG port automatically. When selecting the new “USB Boot” jumper, the Raspberry Pi will turn into a virtual flash drive, allowing for easy programming.
NEW, CONVENIENT ANTENNA ATTACHMENT
There is now a large hole next to the GSM module which allows the user to attach a small PCB patch antenna to the back of their SensorStation. This avoids messy cables and awkward antenna placements.
VERTICALLY MOUNTED SMA RADIO CHANNELS
The SMA connectors have been moved from the end of the board to the top, allowing for the use of waterproof bulkheads. Simply place a jumper cable to the bulkhead of your choice, drilled right through your case. You can even use waterproof Type N connectors!
With production boards arriving weekly, we will be very shortly fulfilling all of our pre-orders, with general availability starting the first week of July. You can order yours today on our online store here, or for larger projects, use our inquiry form to get a full quote. We are very excited to bring you SensorStation, which will be powering Motus SensorGnomes around the world!