Boron + 5-Xenon Setup Questions


It’s worth mentioning that 15 feet separation and one commercial building partition wall (steel studs, drywall) is enough to cause consistent, significant latency of the heartbeat as well as some beats being missed within the 5 second response window.



That’s not good at all. The short range is crazy.

I’m looking for stability before caring about range testing.

Feels like a Mesh LoRA network would have been better.


@ninjatill, have you considered trying an external mesh antenna? That wall may also have electrical wiring, insulation, etc. in it. Placement is everything so having a “relay” device may be necessary. There is lots to be done in regards to mesh topology, antenna use, range and placement IMO.


@peekay123, Yes! On my “to buy” list.


Considering the range out of the box, I wonder why the engineers decided the WiFi and Cellular antennas had to be external instead of the Mesh antenna? Granted, it makes for a more consistent PCB design. Good thing they added the u.FL connector for the mesh.


@ninjatill, an onboard WiFi antenna for the Argon was causing too many issues. The cellular antenna has ALWAYS been off-board which makes sense since devices are often place in environmentally protected boxes with an external antenna.

As for the “range out of the box”, I wonder how much can be attributed to the current firmware versus the actual radio. Mesh stability != true range IMO.


@ninjatill your new code is running now.

All the Xenons are flashing Green still. Seems the same so far.


Does a external mesh antenna connect to the NFC or BT ufl jack?


You could try to increase the unsigned long beatTimeout = 5000; It may be that the latency is causing the responses to be received just outside the timeout period. Try 9000.

According to the datasheet, the external mesh antenna uses the uFL connector on the top (side with LEDs, buttons, LiPo connector, etc.) It is labeled BT on the PCB.


@RWB, the mesh goes to the BT uFL connector.


Can I just use one of the spare Argon antennas to see if it changes anything?


Yup. That is the recommended antenna!


I will give that a try in a few.


One note. You may want to try with different orientations. Also, you will need to switch to the external antenna with what I believe is Mesh.WiFi.selectAntenna(ANT_EXTERNAL);, possibly in STARTUP().


The stability is hard to wrap my head around… it looks like after moving the one device to the next office over, the latency was all over the place. Then somehow when I started a web conference, I bumped something (maybe) and the gateway lost the cloud connection. After a 10 minute gap (circled) it must have done a System.reset() based on the new code. When the gateway came back, only one of the endpoints was working (the one next door). After my conference, I realized the endpoint on my desk was not recovering and I pressed reset. Now the whole thing is rock solid, low latency again.


I think @rickkas7 said in a different thread the external antenna selection on the Xenons currently do nothing. May want to verify this before thinking it makes no difference when a external antenna is connected.

How many meters can i have between the meshdevices?

@ninjatill when I manually power cycle the Argon here is what I see the Xenon do as far as throwing the Red SOS error message.

I’m assuming it’s triggered by your system reset code or who knows what else. Just found it interesting so I’ll share it.


I haven’t seen that yet. 7 blinks is an “Exit”, whatever that means?


Thank you for sharing the results of your reliability testing here. We’re working on wrangling the list of known issues and will start chipping away at them starting with a release of rc.26 shortly.

We’re going to be focusing on setup-blocking issues first, then moving our attention quickly to network reconnect behavior and mesh reliability improvements.


Today I decided to begin exploring the mesh, including finding simple code examples of sending data between the xenon and the Boron, both which are breathing cyan here next to one another. I was looking for a tutorial on this, and haven’t found one yet. All of you guys who are posting about Marco-Polo and multiple xenons are way beyond my league in understanding most of this stuff. Maybe I should give up for a few months until more information is available. Hmm.
First question: If BLE is not supported yet in the xenons (this is a surprise to me), I assume after reading all the posts to this isse “Boron +5-Xenon Setup Questions” that your xenons are communicating with a short range blue tooth connection. Is that correct? I never got involved in the mesh assuming that it was not BLE. Do you have any idea when this will be supported? Are the xenons hardware equipped to do the BLE communications? 15 Feet will not do anything for us in our first application.
I’m afraid I will drive you all crazy with my basic questions. There needs to be some basic coding examples in addition to the simple examples of Publish.mesh found in the reference documents, along with the other mesh commands.
Is there some area of documentation that I am missing, that would help someone in my shoes?
I could try the marco-polo code on my one xenon, or I could set up a couple more xenons in the local network, but I’m not sure this is a good use of my time or yours. All you guys work hard at supporting others well, but there has to be limits of what a new user should expect.
I welcome your comments.