Electron low power vs arduino

I’m looking into potentially replacing an arduino with an adafruit Fona for a Particle Electron.

The script running would likely take a number of sensor readings and then upload them via http to a server every 5 minutes or so.

How is the Electron for power consumption. Would this be feasible to carry out and power via a solar panel?

What other advantages / disadvantages does the electron have over an arduino + Fona / GSM shield?

Thanks

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This would definetly be doable with the Electron and there are several solar powered Electrons doing their job already

Advantages of the Electron:

  • price (compared to Arduino plus Fona)
  • one fully integrated device vs. Arduino plus Fona
  • inbuilt LiPo support with PMIC & fuel gauge (charging not only via USB)
  • Particle cloud service
  • THIS community :wink:
  • and more …
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I don’t see any specifications for the Fona+Arduinio combo, so not sure if I can really compare the two on power consumption. Fona is also a 2G product (2G is getting phased out of the USA), while you have an option to go 3G with an Electron.
Advantages - all of the above that @ScruffR stated! Also, Electron is a lot smaller and comes with a data plan and dashboard.

You can find the current consumption detailed in the Electron datasheet.

Regards

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Also, here’s more detailed information about the different sleep modes that we make available to users with the Particle firmware:

https://docs.particle.io/reference/firmware/electron/#sleep-sleep-

I’ve got closely related questions…
My Electron is in a similar situation. It’s running off solar, and I’m hesitant to put it into sleep mode since it takes so much data to reconnect to the network. I plan to try:
System.sleep(SLEEP_MODE_DEEP, long seconds, SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY)
since it says it takes significantly less data to reconnect, but I don’t yet know how much “significantly less” is. My plan would be to put it to sleep each night at 8pm and have it wake back up at 8am. If the data required to reconnect isn’t too bad this might be the solution.

But I read elsewhere that you could reduce the Arduino’s power consumption quite a bit by removing the built-in USB-serial converter that’s only used when loading the firmware. Could I do the same with the Electron?

Thanks for any tips.

If you only want to wake once a day, reconnection “penalty” won’t play a role either way and since you are sleeping for 12 hours SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY won’t reduce that but only consume more power.

One or two failed publishes will consume just as much data as one single wake handshake. So if you can’t cope with the data used by 30 wakes a month, your data plan is wrong.

To learn some about the data consumption to estimate your needs look here

https://docs.particle.io/guide/getting-started/data/electron/[quote=“spork, post:5, topic:24361”]
But I read elsewhere that you could reduce the Arduino’s power consumption quite a bit by removing the built-in USB-serial converter that’s only used when loading the firmware. Could I do the same with the Electron?
[/quote]

The Electron has no extra USB chip but the controller supports USB natively, so no way but also no need.

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If you only want to wake once a day, reconnection “penalty” won’t play a role either way…

I don’t understand. Currently I am not going into sleep mode at all, so it would seem that I have no reconnection penalty. If I do start using sleep to save power at night I would think that would cost me one reconnection penalty per day - right?

…and since you are sleeping for 12 hours SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY won’t reduce that but only consume more power.

If I understand you correctly you’re saying that SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY will cost me power vs. sleeping without using that parameter - right? But sleeping (with or without SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY ) should save me power vs. not sleeping - yes?

Have you ever thought of relations? If you use 30KB of data per day you’ll stay well under 1MB and in relation to that 30KB per day an extra 1K will virtually not play any role (to be more precise one 30th of the otherwise daily amount).
But the power saved during that sleeping periode will double your battery life.

So to answer this

Not sleeping saves no power at all
Deep sleep without SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY will save most power.
Deep sleep with SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY will save a little bit less since it needs to keep the cellular module powered.

Still a bit confused. I’m currently not sleeping at all - so I’m saving no power. I get that. If I do sleep it seems I have two options. I can sleep with or without SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY. Either way I will save power over not sleeping - right. One way will save more power and use more data to reconnect (not using SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY) - right? If I do use SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY I won’t save as much power, but I’ll also use less data to reconnect.

Do you know the relative power savings and relative data burden for these two approaches?

And one other question… I have an external watchdog that pings the RESET pin. If I ping the reset pin while the Electron is asleep will it ignore the ping or wake the Electron?

Thanks again.

Nope, SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY only saves data when you are waking every 23 minutes or less, since after that time a handshake has to happen in any case.

No, the RESET pin is hard wired and will “override” any sleep mode.

Have you read the info I provided the linke for?

Yes.

SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY only saves data when you are waking every 23 minutes or less,

From the link you provided I got the impression that SLEEP_NETWORK_STANDBY caused it to maintain network settings and thus use less data for a reconnect. I assumed going into deep sleep caused it to use the same amount of data on reconnect as would be used from a cold start.

https://docs.particle.io/reference/firmware/electron/#sleep-sleep-

So my statement still stands.
When the maximum time is 23 minutes (only with the Particel SIM - others typically have much shorter keep alive times) you will wake 31 times in12 hours to keep the connection alive. Which will consume power and data some extra for all the 31 wakes.

Since we don’t know anything about your actual use case only you can decide which option is the fitting one for you.

Can you tell me whether the reconnect data usage from a deep-sleep state is the same as the data usage from a cold start?

It is.

Thanks. I’ll try running deep sleep from 8pm to 8am to reduce power consumption, and I’ll tell the external watchdog not to ping me during that time.