"Least disruptive" Xenon replacement strategies going forward

I just heard the bad news about the demise of the Xenon. I had been an early adopter and am obviously very disappointed.

My typical application is outdoors and has 6-8 Xenons that are 12 feet apart (so the distance from the first to the last one is about 100 feet). Those Xenons were talking to a Boron (via mesh :-(. The messages transmitted are tiny and maybe once every minute or so.

I would appreciate the community’s input on the least disruptive route to replace those Xenons (while still talking to the Boron)?

Thanks in advance

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@Jimmie if it is a commercial project; ditch the particles and use a different vendor. If this is a hobby/student/school project, and you just want to hang on to them xenons; don’t upgrade your OS beyond 1.6

12 Feet would be easy for BLE to still communicate, which is a little tricky for multiple nodes, but it can be done.

Any suggestions for those who need top consider this?


I was hoping for something simpler. Also, what about the communication with the Boron …?

The Boron also has BLE built in, so any BLE device can talk to and receive information from a Boron.

Thank you @no1089.

But I thought BLE on the Boron cannot be used because of Mesh?

Can you refer me to code examples?

Thank you.

That would be the same for the Xenon and Argon, but while both share the same radio they still can run concurrently.


Thank you @Scruffr.

Because Xenons will no longer be available, can they be replaced by the following micro-controller:

If this will work, then all what would be needed is using code similar to the one you referenced for the Boron to read the output from the BLE micros?

If this will work, I guess the only thing remaining is how to boost the BLE signal range given that all sensors will need to talk directly to the Boron?

Thanks again.

Hi Jimmie, the Bluefruit you linked contains the NRF52832, which also would work great, but the https://www.adafruit.com/product/4062 (NRF52840) has the same chip as the Xenon. They also recently released the https://www.adafruit.com/product/4481 which has a smaller form factor and cheaper price (no battery charger though)

Unfortunately, the NRF52 devices sold at Adafruit have chip antennas, but Raytec does sell a unit with a u.FL connector https://www.raytac.com/product/ins.php?index_id=79 Digikey sells these. I’ve reflow soldered them with great success. You can then use a higher gain 2.4GHz antenna to increase your range.

Speaking of: The Argon has a u.FL for the Bluetooth chip! You can use that with an external antenna to increase your range and simply communicate over BLE - I realise this is a costly option though.


Thank you @no1089.

The Raytac is not easy to integrate into my board. Is there a micro that incorporates it with standard pins?

None of the usual suspects sell a breakout with the u.FL version :thinking:
Tindie might have some. Even Pycom uses chip antennas.
You could prototype this with an Argon+external BLE antenna.
If you have direct LOS 100ft might still work with the chip antennas on the NRF52840 Feather Express from Adafruit. It’s within spec afaik.

Hard to tell without knowing your requirements. My current product development requires only WiFi connectivity (but has mesh on its roadmap) and I choose a TI MCU (from the SimpleLink series). But I also found interesting looking MCUs from NXP.

With TI you have the option to select the Energia platform which you will recognize as very similar to Arduino with a setup() and loop() function. We, however, decided to move to adapt our code to freeRTOS which is not such a big step as it appears at first and gives one great programmatic control.

An important requirement for us is to connect to AWS MQTT servers. This was (barely) possible on the photon/p1 devices, requiring the factory flash area to be used as code space. With Amazon’s freeRTOS and a processor that has all the security crypto code built-in, this is now a couple of lines of code - simple and stable.

We connect to our own management application and never used Particle’s console. If you need device management on that level you will need to develop something or look around for management dashboards (ubidots perhaps?). With AWS OTA you can not only update the app code but specific files/sections which is quite nice to customize a generic code base to specific requirements in the field.

There are a lot of options - you’ll have to invest some time needless to say. But you will be glad you did.


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