Soldering in the desert sucks!

In building a project that goes into extreme conditions there are many challenges. One challenge I wanted to head off was broken wiring. Desert conditions are harsh on electonics, attendees doubly so. Lake Lahontan Point taught me that you trench anything you don’t want to repair daily. The Charcade experience with their Simon project (RIP) taught me that signal lines that you trench won’t work. Specifically, if you bury signal lines next to AC power lines… signals won’t work. So, any signal lines we don’t trench will get broken, and any we trench won’t work correctly.

Yeah, awesome.

So… wireless communications. I’d done some of that with Simon v1, but the XBee solution was short range, expensive, and complex. After research, I went with 915MHz radio boards from HopeRF. $7 parts, and the gang at Low Power Labs make AVR (Arduino) clones with integral radios. Those gave us 100m+ range and enough power to overcome reasonable interference levels. Moreover, it’s an expandable topology… YOUR project can talk to our project.

So, Simon v2 trenches only propane and power, and I hope that means less soldering out in the desert!