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I am using a network of simple 2.4 ghz Nordic NRF24L01 radios (with the stubby SMA antennas) together with pro mini Arduinos. I have to place one radio and sensor inside a metal tube about 6 to 9 inches from the end. I want the antenna to be as close to the end of the tube as possible in order that it stays in range of its base unit.

Am I better having longer wires connecting the pro mini to the nrf24, or am I better off using a small piece of antenna cable?

I ask this question because I do not want to risk diminishing radio signal. i.e.

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Arduino================Nrf24+Antenna ))) ) )
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Or

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Arduino+Nrf24================Antenna ))) ) )
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What would you do, does such a short distance make any difference?

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From my experience, there is no difference between the two setups regarding signal quality. But, I would prefer the first one, because in the second setup, you need 2.4 GHz antenna extender for about the same length of the tube, and another issue is the additional cost that it adds to the system. Whereas in the first setup you just need a few inches of normal cables which are cheaper and easier to provide.

Another thing to take into consideration is that, if NRF24L01 modules are well designed you should not care about EMI. EMI is something that you should care about with made-in-china products.

My advice is to use the first setup and test the performance of the system. If you noticed a degradation in the connection quality, take the NRF24L01 module outside the tube.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, EMI en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… - now I understand the prevalence of advice about adding a capacitor between gnd/vcc on many microcontroller/nrf24 forums. Thx \$\endgroup\$ – Cups Jun 19 '17 at 9:24

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