In this tutorial I am going to give you a brief example of how to configure your Wireless Enterprise Line of sensors using our ncd-red-wireless Node-RED package. Some of our sensors have special configuration options that I will be covering as I build other tutorials, so if you have a sensor with options you need help with that isn’t listed here, please feel free to let us know on our Node-RED Community topic and I will get this updated as quickly as I can!
To complete this tutorial all you need is any one of our Wireless Enterprise Line of sensors, a router, our ncd-red-wireless package, and Node-RED. We will not be covering receiving and parsing the data in this article, but we do have other posts for specific sensors to help get you started, these posts can be reached through the resources tab on the appropriate product page, if the product your using does not seem to have a specific example, you can check out a complete list here, setup is very similar between different sensors and should be easily translatable. If you still need help feel free to let us know on the Community!
- Make sure your router is plugged in to a USB port on the computer you are going to be running Node-RED on.
- Ensure your sensor is powered, either with an AC adapter, or the included batteries.
- Check that your sensor is sending data, when you restart it, the RX LED on your router should blink within a few seconds.
- Start Node-RED and visit the UI.
- Add a “Wireless Gateway” and a “Wireless Device” node.
- Set up the nodes to use your Serial Device (router) in their edit panels.
- Deploy the flow.
When you edit a Wireless Device node, you’ll see a set of fields under the “Advanced” header, in order for these configuration options to affect the sensor you need to check the “Auto Config” button. The default values for each field are preloaded, and every field is sent when the sensor is configured. Once you’ve added your desired settings you will need to deploy the flow so they can be sent when ready.
Allowed Values: 0-255
The Node ID is a configurable, arbitrary ID number that the user can define between 0-255, this can be used to identify a specific sensor. When used in conjunction with the Sensor Type, Wireless Sensor Networks can easily support hundreds of different, unique, combinations.
Allowed Values: 1 – 16777215 (seconds)
The Delay determines the amount of time a sensor sleeps between broadcasting its telemetry, sensors ship with a default delay of 10 minutes, with a properly configured delay a sensor can last 5 years on the 2 supplied AA batteries.
Allowed Values: 0x0000FFFF or the Mac Address of a Router
The Destination allows you to send telemetry information directly to a specific router, or publish it to the entire network, allowing any router to read it. The default value of 0x0000FFFF is the “Broadcast” value which allows any router on the network (with a matching encryption key) to receive the packet.
Default: +24 dBm (250 mW)
Allowed Values: User selectable
The power option defines the broadcast power used when sending out telemetry messages. When using these sensors in smaller areas this value may be adjusted to maximize battery life.
Allowed Values: 0-16
The number of times a sensor will attempt to deliver a telemetry message to the destination mac address. Setting this value to 0 will turn off acknowledgments and may affect reliability of message deliverability.
Allowed Values: 0 – 0x7FFF
The network ID allows isolation of sensors into individual groups. This is useful when you want to use more than 1 router to monitor sensors in different segments or locations without overlap. The network ID is used during normal run operations of a sensor, when a sensor is put into configuration mode it will automatically switch to the configuration network ID (0x7BCD), and return to the user configured network once the settings are applied.
When you add a Wireless Device there are 2 Serial Device options, the second being a “for Config”. The configuration serial option is there in case NOT missing telemetry packets from other sensors on the network is critical. By adding a second router and setting it up to use the configuration Network ID, you can put a single sensor in config mode and it will use the appropriate router to transmit all settings, while all other sensors can continue to report uninterrupted to the primary router. If you only have 1 sensor, or possibly missing a telemetry message from another device is acceptable, you can leave the Serial Device for Config field blank, and Node-RED will automatically use the other router to send your settings to the sensor.
Putting the Router in Config Mode
When added to your workspace, the Wireless Gateway node will have a button on the left hand side. This button allows you to quickly toggle between the configuration network and the standard “listening” network. In order to send your settings to the sensor your router you will need your gateway to be in config mode, click the button and the status of the node will change, showing a small yellow square with the word “Configuring” underneath it.
Sending the Configuration Settings
Now that the router is on the correct network ID (THE ROUTER MUST BE ON THIS NETWORK ID BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR SENSOR IN CONFIG MODE), you can switch your sensor into config mode. This is done by pressing and releasing the RST button, then immediately pressing and holding the CFG for at least 5 seconds (Holding the CFG button for 15 seconds will cause a factory reset of the sensor). You should see the status of your wireless device change to a red square with “Config Mode” next to it, after a few seconds (it can take up to 15 in my experience), that will change to a green dot with “Config Complete” next to it. Go ahead and click the button next to your Wireless Gateway node to return it to listening mode, then click RST on your sensor, and it will return to run mode with your new settings applied.