PoE mesh board (wishlist)


#1

I tried looking to see if anyone has created this topic before but didn’t find anything so hopefully i didn’t create a duplicate and i did it in the correct place.

I think it would be cool if particle created an actual PoE board with mesh. I know that there is a feather that gives it ethernet or that i could get a raspberry pi and get a PoE hat. I think it would be a nice addition to the mesh lineup to just have it be a dedicated product.

I can see this being useful for a few different reasons. One reason being power itself. I don’t want to have to run high voltage everywhere i want to place a particle device. The argument could even be made that PoE should just be on every particle board even if it was just for the power. It would also be useful when wifi or data connections are just not an option or you don’t want to use them. I have a project in mind that I would use a dozen PoE boards with probably a few Xenons here and there.

I hope I did a good enough job of explaining what i want and why. I often have issues getting what is in my head into words. Please let me know if I can clarify anything and hopefully others are wishing for the same thing and the Particle team can do it.


#2

As I understand it, the Particle Ethernet Feathering is intended to have a small add-on card which will enable PoE. There are three female pin headers right behind the RJ45 Jack that will accept this add-on card. This card hasn’t been released yet and I haven’t looked at the GitHub in a while to see if that schematic exists yet if you wanted to build it yourself.

This post has more info regarding the PoE support:


#3

yeah like i said i know there are ways to accomplish ethernet and even PoE with what is available today. This is more of a “I think particle could do it better.” similar to how they made their product in the first place. It wasn’t that solutions were not available on the market. It was that they were difficult and or cumbersome.

The feathers are nice but think how cool it would be just just plug and play with PoE


#4

Could you come up with different use cases that are diverse enough that it would warrant a new revision of the boards with an ‘all in one’ board.
General use cases where PoE would be preferred would be nice to have too.


#5

I would be able to offer an entirely new product line based on PoE. I have customers who like the idea of my product but don’t trust wireless. This would be a good solution for that without a second power supply.


#6

Until wireless power becomes a thing nothing is truly wireless. So in almost all my home automation projects I have been having to find ways to get power to the location where my project will be. I am not a fan of batteries because there are multiple issues that come along with them. I also don’t want to have to run high voltage to the locations and wire up an outlet and find a way yo make it all look nice. I could hack a solution together but i find myself running into issues with sending 5 volts DC over longer distances. PoE standards have most of these things figured out. So running cat-5 for the power would be nice. If you are going to be running cat-5 for power why not just make it the data connection (2 birds 1 stone)

I know there are other solutions where you can get a PoE breakout adapter but then that data connection is just wasted if i just plug the micro-usb in for the power and leave the ethernet unconnected. I don’t really want to get into the details of my projects but it would solve a lot of my problems and cut the cost. I am currently looking at running particle on raspberry pis and getting a PoE breakout adapter which will total $50 per unit and that isn’t including SD cards or cases. I love my particle devices I was an original Spark Core Kickstarter backer and have pre-ordered every devices they have ever released. I know they could make an amazing product and it would be a shame if i had to use something else.


#7

I think everyone agrees that “it would be nice if” other devices and boards had this and that feature. PoE support on the Ethernet FeatherWing is something that falls into that category. The board designs are open source so you are free to get a revision made that would support all the features you require. The problem I suspect is one of cost - small batches of boards cost a lot of money! It is difficult for Particle to cover all requirements and hardware especially is hard to get 100% right!


#8

I don’t quite understand the argument that it is difficult. We are engineers difficult is what we do.

As for batch sizes I am not asking for them to make me a custom board and make a dozen. Hopefully others will like this post to show them it is a product that lots of people want. Before spark core it wasn’t like there were not ways to get Wifi on your projects. They just made it clean and easy. They solved the difficult for everyone.


#10

So I have a baseboard design in review at the moment:

Power:

  • PoE or 12VDC(max36V)
  • PMIC for selecting best power source
  • LiPo charger for board level backup (in addition to LiPo on module) - 3v3 not taken from module so it will stay alive once main power dies
  • Micro slide switch to disable all regulators
  • Power good detection

External GPIO:

  • 3 external DIO on buckled connectors with 5V level translators and ESD protection
  • I2C at 5V with transient protection and level converotrs
  • Separate 1A 5V supply for external IO, controllable from internal IO

Onboard:

  • RTC with batt backup
  • SD holder (for future time when SD and ETH will play nice!
  • ETH as per particle feathering
  • 2 leds for status
  • Relay with 1A contacts
  • Internal I2C for connecting a display or I2C expansion
  • Socket for using any Gen3 device
  • Peizo Beeper

Will be designed for an off the shelf enclosure to make it easy to productise

I will post once we get closer to production - it is meant to be a volume product in order to keep the costs down.


#11


#12

That is great!!! Any timeline? I would much rather do that then raspberry pis.

Is there any other chance that in the further future they might put PoE on a board itself?

Still the PoE feather breakout board is amazing and I will start planning my projects based on those.


#13

While nice to have it onboard natively, it also takes up a lot of space, like, a lot. It would also drive up the cost for something that might be of limited interest. Being modular as it is now allows those that would like access to have it, without having to force the additional cost upon those that don’t need it.
That said, if it turns out that PoE is extremely popular, Particle might do more with it. Time, or rather sales, will tell I suppose :slight_smile:


#14

Yeah I understand. They for sure should make sure there is demand which is why I hope others that want this chime in and say so.

Maybe even before they really pull the trigger doing a sort of pre-order so they know they are not wasting time and money.


#15

The PoE Adapter is now available in the Particle online store!

The datasheet is now available. A tutorial and a blog post too!


#16

If i missed it on the docs, sorry.
I did not see what MODE type it uses (I.E. Mode A or Mode B) for the power pins.
Stating “IEEE 802.3af PoE standard” is not enough, you also need to specify the MODE type as well. According to the schematic they opted out using a full bridge rectifier on the board to handle both modes.
This is important as there are many POE injectors out there with these two mode types out there.
FYI
MODE A: power on pins 1, 2, 3, and 6 (1&2= negative, 3&6=positive)
MODE B: power on pins 4, 5, 7, and 8 (7&8= negative, 4&5=positive)


#17

That is really cool. I am excited to try it out.

I still think it would be cool to have a PoE device that is not so modular. Still a cool device. Thanks!


#18

Sorry, I’ll update the docs to make that clearer. It supports both Alternative A (power on data pair) and Alternative B (power on spare pair). The transformer and full-bridge rectifiers are built into the HR931147A RJ-45 jack, which is why they don’t show up on the PoE schematic.


#19

@rickkas7, Thanks for the update!
P.S. can you share where your getting those from ?


#20

Does the POE version have the same issue related to hard-wired D3, D4 and D5 pins?


#21

The PoE adapter plugs into the Ethernet FeatherWing. It’s the same Ethernet FeatherWing that has always shipped; from the pre-order shipments on they’ve all had the header pins to accept the PoE adapter soldered on at the factory.

The Ethernet FeatherWing always ships set to D3, D4, and D5 though you could cut some traces to change pins. The limitation really is in Device OS. The additional pins are not selectable, though that could change in the future.

The problem with arbitrary pin selection is that it needs to be a configurable setting stored in configuration flash. If it were only set in user firmware, then safe mode would no longer work, which would make upgrading Device OS difficult. It’s not an insurmountable problem, but it mean there needs to be a few extra APIs. It just hasn’t been prioritized yet.