At the tail-end of Summer 2019, we worked on a turnkey contract project for Helium Systems - which consisted of building five off-grid, outdoor enclosures to house their Helium hotspots. The outdoor hotspots would be temporarily deployed in a rural, mountainous setting to showcase the Helium network for a potential enterprise customer. Each outdoor hotspot is powered by dual LiPo battery packs, dual solar panels, and a rugged Cradlepoint modem - providing a 4G LTE cellular backhaul. The outdoor hotspot kits also include a high-gain external antenna and telescoping tripod mast. The basic premise is you can deploy these outdoor hotspots anywhere, without any grid dependencies - and quickly "pop-up" a Helium network. The project had an extremely quick turnaround, essentially 6 weeks from start to finish. With such a small window of time, we had to immediately get to work - designing the layout, placing orders, testing, optimizing - all the while keeping a close-eye on part lead-times and shipping dates. We knew everything had to proceed in a seamless fashion in order to pull off the project and deliver on-time! The concept design for the outdoor hotspot is loosely based on the Relay Station that we created for goTenna Mesh, but the power system and entire enclosure had to be significantly scaled up. We had to iterate on the design about halfway through the project, as Helium asked us to change from using their pre-commercial hotspot design to a prototype "Blackspot" unit, which essentially acts a LoRa repeater and does not operate on the blockchain. It was a fun experience working with the Helium team in San Francisco and collaborating with them onsite at the customer's office and event location. You can read more about the project here (see the Trail Rides section)
Feel free to reach out with any questions regarding the outdoor hotspot build! -TW
Adding to yesterday's post on the goTenna Mesh Portable Kit, we also developed an experimental "high-power" prototype for the same energy company. This kit uses a larger Nanuk 915 case, 10-watt amplifier, and higher-spec'd Volatic V88 pattery pack with dual 9-watt (18V) solar panels. Similar to the Mesh Portable Kit, this version includes egress ports leading to an N-type bulkhead connector and solar panel connector. Antenna and solar panels mount to the roof of your vehicle via magnetic base and cables pass through a small opening in the window or door. The concept for this kit could easily be adapted for goTenna Pro, by simply changing out the amplifier and antenna. If you are interested in learning more or would like quote for a custom build similar to the High-Power Kit, please reach out!
One of the product builds that has seen continual interest over the years is the Portable Kit we built for goTenna Mesh. The kit is built upon a Nanuk 905 case, modified to include egress ports which connect to an external antenna (typically a mag-mount antenna) and a small solar panel. The original design was conceived for an energy company operating in remote locations. This portable kit would be stored and utilized in-vehicle, in a completely off-grid scenario. Unfortunately that project never moved forward, so we now use this prototype for testing various configurations around the shop. The current iteration includes a Voltaic V44 battery pack, 6-watt solar panel, modified goTenna Mesh with external SMA connector, and Laird mag-mount antenna. Originally we used a Laird TRA9203 (small stubby white antenna), but have since moved on to the BB8965CR. The solar panel is stored inside the Nanuk case top, behind the foam insert. The solar panel includes magnetic mounts on each corner so it can adhere to a vehicle roof. If you are interested in purchasing a goTenna Mesh Portable Kit or perhaps a customized version, please reach out. -TW