I’m working on a group project for positioning and orientation of an autonomous vehicle in an undergraduate research. We started using two RTK Surveyors from Sparkfun, RFD900+ as telemetry radios and the TOP10 Multi-band GNSS Antenna. However, we realized that, for better orientation, we had to use two ROVER’s and one BASE so that we could capture angular rotation of the vehicle.
In order to estabilish a multipoint network, we needed to upgrade the RFD telemetry radios firmware to RFD900x Multipoint SiK, everything worked well so far until we turned on the radios again and no more blinking red LED, meaning that no data was being sent nor received. However, we could see a solid green LED in both radios, meaning that they were connected. But without the red LED, we are not able to send RTCM3 data and achieve RTK service. Not even the ROVER surveyor itself was able to achieve 100cm accuracy by default.
We followed the setup that RFDesign has: change NodeID’s, check and sync comm frequencies but nothing worked. We went through some forums but no similiar problem was found.
We suppose that the problem is related to the telemetry radios, there might be some configuration we have missed that is not shown in in the RFDesign guide. Has someone dealed with this same situation before?
We downgraded the RFD radios firmware to the original 1.9 SiK version so that we could go back to start in order to redo the steps to achieve a multipoint network.
After some continous tests, we discovered that it wasn’t a problem related to the radio but with positioning of the whole setup. We were testing on a building roof place which wasn’t that clear to sky view. When we changed to a parking lot, with better view, it was almost instantly how the radios started to flash the red LED!
So what we learned is that, for these radios, we need to work on really open areas with a clear view, or else we won’t be able be make the radios transfer information since they are not able to capture good data with the antennas.
Now we will try to upgrade the 2.6 Multipoint SiK firmware and achieve a multiple connection. We will come with more results.
Updated the radios again and two of them worked perfectly, with continous connection and data transmission. We followed the guide provided by RFDesign for multipoint setup by changing the radio’s Node ID and that’s where he encountered another problem.
We cannot use neither RFD900 Modem Tools nor Ardupilot Mission Planet to change the third radio Node ID. We set 0 for the Master Node, 1 for the first ROVER node and tried 2 for the second ROVER but a pop-up appeared written “Command Set Error”. We also tried using the AT commands by typing ATS25=2, then AT&W, then ATZ but nothing happened.
The third radio won’t even reach solid green LED, which means that it is not connecting. Has someone dealed with the same situation before? We suppose it might be something settings we still need to turn on.
We managed to achieve multipoint network successfully!
We discovered that one of the radios was probably trying to connect to a previous one we used in our lab from another manufacture. It probably happened because another project was using one of the RFD900+ for a self-driven robot.
We had a fourth radio and decided to use it, upgraded the firmware and boom! All three radios were solid green LED and blinking red LED, meaning that all of them were connected and transferring data.
I will keep sharing our results in this forum so that future people with the same idea can follow up our progress.
Next step is to make a map using a library in Python called Florium and plot the geographic positions on it so that we can study how accurate our car is. To receive latitude and longitude, we will use another library called Pynmeagps.