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I'm trying to monitor the temperatures at various location inside and arround my house. So far, I used battery powered (18650 Li-Ion) ESP8266 chips with a DHT22 sensor. The ESP wakes up every 5 minutes, measures the temperature, and goes back into deep-sleep mode. This way, I can run them for approx. 1 month until the battery is low.

Since I don't want to change batteries every month, I read some articles about alternative ways to do that, and learned that Bluetooth Low Energy or Zigbee boards are far more energy efficient and could even enable button-cell battery powering instead of the big Li-Ion Battery.

I decided that I want to try this out with the Zigbee protocol (feel free to change my mind), because it can cover greater distances and i can set up a mesh network. However, I'm really struggling to find resources. I'm not very experienced in this field and I could really need your help on the following topics:

Which Board to choose

It seems like the Xbee boards from digi are the way to go. However, I can't find any real datasheets/specifications about the pins or how to program them. Also I don't find any real alternatives to compare them. (I would prefer a chip-solution, such that i can do all the wiring/soldering myself as with the ESP8266). Do you know any alternatives or any other Low-Power Zigbee Boards? I need:

  • 4 digital IOs (2 for data, 2 to supply the sensors with power once the board is awake)
  • Low Power Application (Deep Sleep mode)
  • As compact as possible (no ext. antenna)

Any similar work?

Do you know a similar project I could maybe get some hints? It seems like most people just use the ESP8266 for such applications, and I can't find any similar Zigbee projects.

Tips

Do you have any tips on how i should start this project?

Thanks in advance!

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One option is to use nRF24L01+ based chips which have great support on Arduino. Use the ones with Power Amplifier (PA) + Low Noise Amplifier (LNA), as mentioned here Which nRF24L001+PA+LNA should I get?

With these you can have one receiver that is powered from the mains and the rest can do unidirectional communication with the temperature value every 5 minutes. You can even kill power to the rest of the circuitry with a MOSFET switch in this off-time to have few uA/nA current consumption in this duration. Hope this helps.

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