Connecting your LoPy to The Things Network in Australia

EDIT [2018-06-05]: I have updated the code with the Firmware 1.18.+ releases. The code is available at our Growing Data Foundation Github.

These notes are to assist Australian IoT enthusiasts to get started in connecting a LoPy to The Things Network as it is unfortunately (not yet) straight forward to make them work with the current AU-915 TTN Channel plans. As the initiator of the local Adelaide Community of The Things Network I have been experimenting with a number of devices to connect sensors to #TTNADL. One of my personal favourites is the Pycom LoPy as a nice middle-ground between capabilities and technical complexity.

The Things Network Adelaide

However I ran into a problem where the LoPy would not get a signal back from the TTN network when joining over OTAA even though the TTN Console (http://console.thethingsnetwork.org/) the device showed as connected. With some friendly help from Jose Marcelino at the Pycom Forum this turned out to be an issue with the 915MHz frequency regions. Since there is no actual a standard governing which of the channels are used by TTN gateways, what is outlined here is what is implemented by most TTN communities down under (I know that at least ADL, BNE, SYD and WOL adhere to those). This is the typical Sub-band 2 (Channel 8-15) implementation of AU ISM 915 with TTN Gateways.

This channel plan is also implemented by the install script for the MultiTech Conduit Gateways which are currently the most common gateways installed across Australia (see https://github.com/TheThingsNetwork/gateway-conf/blob/master/AU-global_conf.json)

Channel# Direction Frequency MHz Bandwidth kHz Data rate
8 up 916.8 125 DR0 – DR3
9 up 917.0 125 DR0 – DR3
10 up 917.2 125 DR0 – DR3
11 up 917.4 125 DR0 – DR3
12 up 917.6 125 DR0 – DR3
13 up 917.7 125 DR0 – DR3
14 up 918.0 125 DR0 – DR3
15 up 918.2 125 DR0 – DR3
65 up 917.5 500 DR4
0 down 923.3 500 DR8 – DR13
1 down 923.9 500 DR8 – DR13
2 down 924.5 500 DR8 – DR13
3 down 925.1 500 DR8 – DR13
4 down 925.7 500 DR8 – DR13
5 down 926.3 500 DR8 – DR13
6 down 926.9 500 DR8 – DR13
7 down 927.5 500 DR8 – DR13

To set the LoPy unit up it needs to have the set frequency plan removed and the region specific frequency plan loaded (even though they were bought as 915Mhz units). I have created some quick Python code to set up the LoPy with the above channel structure as the default settings for those devices do not work. Note that you have to remove the default channel settings and add the correct ones before you can successfully register and send data.

Below is my adaptation of the LoPy LoraWAN example to work with TTN in Australia. Please note that the LoPy Lora class only accepts DR values from 1-7. Suggestions more than welcome.

Hope this helps other LoPy owners in Australia to connect to The Things Network. And if you are in Adelaide why don’t you come along to our OpenData and IoT Meetup ? Let’s build this thing together.

Author: Leo Gaggl

ict business owner specialising in mobile learning systems. interests: sustainability, internet of things, ict for development, open innovation, agriculture

6 thoughts on “Connecting your LoPy to The Things Network in Australia”

  1. Leo, a massive thanks for writing this. I have been plugging away in Perth to get a LoPy connected to TTN without much success!
    Unfortunately I am stuck at the previous step; unable to connect to TTN in the first place!

    I note your post was a few months ago now. Has Pycom adjusted their firmware to include any of the adjusted channel frequencies?

  2. This code used to work for me and my team, but lately when we’ve been trying (on multiple devices) it seems to never work. TTN can see the join requests coming through, but has_joined() is never True on the LoPy.

  3. I had a similar issue after the upgrade of the TTN backend a few months ago. Upgrading the LoPy firmware to the latest version fixed that issue for me.

  4. Hi Leo,

    Thanks for this data — it has worked for me. I would like to understand it a bit better though. I’m using DR4, which means with this setup I can use only 1 frequency, which seems to violate the LoRa standards.

    It seems to me that the issue would be between the LoPy and the Multitech conduit. Is there an issue with the Multitech configuration script from TTN, a hardware issue, or a spectrum issue? It seems that I should be able to change configuration on the Multitech, then change the LoPy code configuring the channels and then the LoPy LoRaWan stack would change channels after every transmission. Or am I looking at things too simply?

    Thanks for you help,
    Brian

  5. Hi Leo, I am working through trying to connect my lopy with help from Marcelino from the Pycom forum to a multitech conduit gateway . I thought i would just try your code and it doesn’t work for me.. What settings do I need on the conduit? I change it to Sub band 2 but what else??,

    Cheers

    Sean

  6. Hi Sean,

    My conduits are set up using Jac Kersing’s install script on GitHub. The code has changed recently (Jose has actually posted this on the TTN Slack). I will do an update to that article when I have a moment.

    Cheers,
    Leo

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