5G IOT Benefits For Society


5G IOT (Internet of Things) brings a number of benefits and new opportunities to the business world, allowing new business opportunities.

5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone technology, which originally started with the analogue TACS system, back in the 1980s.

Although data SIM cards for IOT applications are already available for use with 3G/4G, 5G is the first mobile (cell) phone technology specifically designed for use with IOT.

5G offers fast Gigabit data transfer rates, with very low latency.

The 5G network is also very reliable, with a dense number of local cells giving good redundancy, in case one cell should fail.

At least this is what is claimed, though of course history shows us that the mobile phone system can temporarily go down.

5G IOT is set to be a massive growth area, with estimates of 76 million 5G connections by 2025 (Source: ‘IOT Analytics’).

IOT Potential Uses


5G allows the effective connection of Industrial robots.

When we think of robots, people imagine different things, but robotic machines range from static robots, such as those used in car production, to autonomous guided vehicles (AGVS).

Other applications include:-

Video Surveillance

Smart Intelligent Mobility

Smart Grid Automation

In Car Infotainment

Vehicle Telematics

The use cases above, will be expanded on when I get more free time.

So check back regularly.


Creating a World Farm

Future World Farm

Creating a world farm would have two main advantages.

The first advantage is economy of scale, and the second advantage is increased profit and revenue.

So first I will explain what I mean by a world farm. What I mean is using technology to manage areas of agricultural land, located in geographically disperate locations.

An example is having a wheat field in the UK, and another in Australia, managed through communications technology.

Whatever your views on world politics, globalisation is here to stay, an will likely increase due to technology.

Smart agriculture offers more efficient farming through the application of sensors and robotics.

The Internet of Things uses environmental sensors, to collect data, such as soil ‘ph’.

The data is transmitted wirelessly from the sensors, using LPWAN technologies such as LoraWAN or Sigfox.

At the receiving end of the data transmission, a device called a Gateway, receives the wirelessly transmitted data, and puts it onto the Internet.

Once the data from the remote sensors is in the internet cloud, analysis and automated decisions can be made.

Robotics also now being developed to replace humans in agricultural food production.

An example of a farming process currently often done by humans, is picking cabbages.

Picking cabbages is labor intensive, and therefore is significant in the costs of production for the farmer.

A robotic solution would have a high initial outlay cost, but may be cheaper over a number of years of expected operational life.

As happens today with some agricultural processes, such as ploughing, there is a new potential business opportunity for agricultural contractors. In the future contractors may well bring a robot to a farm, rather than a tractor or plough!

Of course with the introduction of driverless vehicles, in the future the Plough may bring itself to the farm!

So back to creating a world farm, which is the focus of this blog post after all.

Satellite IOT

Just to recap for non technical readers, what IOT actually means.

IOT is short for the ‘Internet of Things’.

IOT is a general term that covers any device or machine connected to the Internet.

Therefore IOT devices encompass both devices used by the public, such as sensors on mobile phones, and also Industrial IOT (IIOT).

IOT devices use a variety of wireless connection technologies, but they work at a terrestrial level.

What I mean by terrestrial, is that the radio signals are all transmitted from the ground.

The radio frequencies used in IOT devices vary, but are at radio frequencies above 30 Mhz (MegaHertz).

In normal atmospheric conditions, radio transmissions at frequencies above 30Mhz travel in ‘line of sight’.

What this means is that they don’t bounce off the ground, or atmospheric layers, as is possible at frequencies below 30 Mhz (known as ‘HF’, or High Frequency).

Using HF frequencies long transmission distances of thousands of miles are possible, due to the signals ‘hopping’ and being reflected by various ground and atmospheric layers (intend to write a separate blog post on this).

IOT devices don’t use HF frequencies below 30 Mhz, for a few reasons, one being that a very long antenna is needed at lower frequencies. This makes using it impractical for wireless field sensors.

Therefore we are dealing with radio waves above 30 Mhz, traveling in basically straight lines.

Now consider the shape of the Earth, which unless you are a ‘flat earther’, is round.

As the distance between the wirelessly connected sensor and the receiver increases, the curvature of the earth can become a factor.

In radio communications, such as the mobile (cell) phone system, antennas for the cell base stations are mounted on towers.

The reason in case you haven’t already guessed, is to help overcome the earths curvature.

Having a high antenna allows the signals to travel further, without obstruction.

Now in the case of agricultural crop monitoring, the sensors might be in the ground. Whilst it may be possible to mount the sensor antenna higher than the sensor itself, it will still likely be near ground level.

Now of course in theory you could attach a long antenna coaxial cable, between the sensor unit and the antenna.

This however would reduce the power of the signal being transmitted, due to increased signal attenuation caused by the long antenna cable.

To be continued soon…….









Induction Motor Starters Types

Induction motors are a common type of ac motor, used in both industry and on board ships, with a number of induction motor starters.

The type of induction motor starters that are chosen, depend on a number of factors.

Direct On Line Starters (D.O.L)

Direct on line, or D.O.L for short, are a simple way to switch on smaller ac Induction Motors.

DOL is used to start smaller induction motors, which have a current rating of up to 10 amps.

In a DOL starter system, as Contactor is used to switch on the induction motor.

The Contactor is similar to a large electrical relay, and its function is to switch on and off, the large currents drawn by the induction motor.

When the operator presses the start button on the control panel, a voltage is supplied to an insulated coil inside the Contactor.

The coil works as an electro-magnet, and exerts a magnetic pull on the switch contacts also inside the Contactor casing.

The magnetic field causes the switch contacts to close, therefore allowing current to flow into the induction motor, and starts it.

The switch on the control panel that is used to start the motor, only works when it is pushed in. As soon as the operator releases their finger, the power ceases.

This is obviously not convenient to have to hold the button in, therefore an extra ‘auxiliary contact’ is included in the Contactor, which is wired to ‘lock’ the supply current on, even once the button is released.

The Contactor will remain locked on, allowing the induction motor to run, until a separate off button is pressed.

The off button breaks the link to the auxiliary contact, which releases the Contactor, and cuts the electrical supply to the motor.

In a three-phase DOL starter system, a single phase supply is taken from one of the input phases, and fed into the primary side of a single phase step down transformer.

The output from the transformer is used to supply the coil inside the Contactor, which closes the contacts, and makes the motor start.

Star-Delta Starters

Star-Delta Starters, which the Americans call Wye-Delta Starters, are used for starting larger induction motors.

What I mean by larger induction motors, are motors that are draw over 10 Amps of current at full load.

Induction motors have a metal plate on them which specifies the maximum current drawn by the motor.

This will be described as FLC, which is short for Full Load Current.

The reason we don’t use DOL starters for larger ac induction motors, is something called ‘inrush current’.

When you first start an induction motor, the current drawn by the motor is a number of times higher than the motors steady operating current.

Its similar to when you accelerate a car from standstill, in that more energy is used to get it going, than when its cruising at desired operating speed.

The problem with having a high initial current on motor startup, is that you need bigger capacity cables & contactor to cope with the large current.

Needing larger cables increases costs, as a motor with a FLC of 20 Amps, might have an ‘Inrush’ current of five or more times the FLC.

20 Amps x 5 = 100 Amps!

Star-Delta starters reduce the initial starting (inrush) current by starting the motor in a ‘Star’ wiring configuration.

A three phase induction motor has three sets of coils in its Stator windings. This results in six connections coming out of the Stator (two ends of each of the three coils).

To be continued…..




How Marine Generator Works & Fails

How a marine generator works is something I taught to students at South Shields Marine School many times.

The photo is of a marine generator from an old ship.

The end has been removed to allow easy access, and for demonstration and test purposes.

The marine generator in the photo was original attached to the ‘Prime Mover’ (ships engine) by a coupling at the other side of the generator.

The coupling is connected to a shaft which goes into the generator casing.

Inside the generator casing the shaft is connected to a Rotor.

Attached to the Rotor are electromagnetic Poles.

The Poles are supplied with DC (Direct Current) electricity, and act as electro-magnets.

Theory states that electricity can be generated by moving a magnet through a coil of wire.

This is why the Poles attached to the rotor, are turned into electro magnets.

As the rotor, and hence the poles rotate, they are surrounded by large coils of wire.

The large coils of wire that surround the poles is called the Stator.

The Stator coil in a marine generator, consists of three sets of copper wire coils.

There are three sets because the generator is a three-phase generator.

The three coils are connected in a star configuration as shown on the screen.


Each of the phase connections, which I have labelled ‘phase 1’, ‘phase 2’, ‘phase 3’, are connected to the generator ‘Bus Bar’.

The Bus Bar is the output connection from the generator, which connects to the ships electrical system.

Generator Exciter

I mentioned earlier that the poles which are attached to the generators rotor, are supplied with DC (Direct Current).

The device that generates the DC voltage is called an Exciter.

The Exciter is attached to the same rotating shaft as the main generator (which is driven by the Prime Mover).

The difference with the Exciter compared with the main generator, is that the poles are fixed & do not rotate with the rotor.

Instead the rotor, which contains coils of wire, rotates between the poles.

Therefore like the main generator, the exciter produces electricity.

The poles in the Exciter differ slightly from those in the generator.

The difference is that they retain magnetism, even when the generator is not being used.

Without this residual magnetism, the generator would not be able to start.

This is because there would be no magnetic field for the coil of wire (in the stator) to move through.

Therefore no electricity generated.

Just like the main generator, the Exciter produces AC, or Alternating Current.

Therefore to produce the DC needed to supply the generator poles, the AC needs to be connected to DC.

This is done using a rectifier circuit, which is incorporated into the Exciter.

A rectifier circuit uses diodes to chop off half of the alternating current, so that only DC is produced at the rectifier circuits output.


This DC is then fed via wires, into the Poles of the main generator, creating magnetism in the Poles.

If we didn’t change the original AC produced by the Exciter, into DC, then there would not be a stable magnetic field produced in the generator Poles.

Fault Finding

If the generator has been idle for a period of time, and you try to start it, it may not work.

This is due to the loss of magnetism in the Exciter Poles.

The Poles are designed to maintain a residual magnetism, even when the generator is off.

This magnetism can however ‘leak away’.

This happens over a period of time, due to the fact that the Exciter is encased in a metal casing, which can absorb the magnetism.

If the generator will not start, and it has not been used for a while, this could be the generator starting problem.

The solution is to put the lost magnetism, back into the Exciter Poles.

This is done by what is known as ‘field flashing’.

You can field flash the Exciter Poles by attaching a battery to the Poles wiring connections, for a short period of time.

This will re-magnetise the Poles, and hopefully allow the generator to start.

Generator Maintenance Testing

A marine generator is both mechanical & electrical.

Mechanical Checks

Include bearing lubrication, and wear measurements, using Feeler Guages.

Electrical checks are mainly focused on the continuity & Insulation resistance values of the generator Stator.

Continuity Checks

As previously stated the three coil windings in a marine generator Stator are connected at one end, to form a Star connection.


Continuity checks test that the coils are not broken, and have a low electrical resistance, from one end of the coil to the other end.

The only slight problem you may face is that the ‘Star Point’, which is the point at which the three coils are connected together, is not accessible, on your generator.

This is because the Star Point is often buried in the Stator windings.

If this is the case,  what you need to do is measure the continuity through two sets of windings at a time.

This is done via the three Bus Bars, using a low range Ohmmeter.

The resistance should be low, and very similar, between the different coil combinations tested.

Insulation Resistance Checks

The three separate coils of wire in the three-phase generator Stator should have a high resistance between them.

If there was no or little resistance between the coils, then a short circuit would occur, and the generator would not run.

An insulation resistance meter tests the windings resistance  under realistic working conditions, by supplying a high voltage to the coils.

For a 440 Volt marine generator, you would normally set the insulation meter to double its normal operating voltage.

Insulation testers typically offer 250, 500 & 1000 Volts ranges.

Therefore for a 440 Volt marine generator you would test at 1000 Volts.

If you are regularly testing, you may wish to reduce the meter setting to 500 Volts, so not to unduly put stress on the Stator winding’s.

The minimum insulation resistance figure under SOLAS regulations is 0.5 Mega Ohms.

Though really you would not want to see anything below 2 Mega Ohms in a healthy marine generator Stator.



Earthing Systems On Ships Insulated Neutral Versus Land

Insulated Neutral on Ships


The difference between land based power delivery and the earthing system on ships (most, but not all).

  • Land based = Connected neutral & earth
  • Earthing systems on ships = Insulated neutral, not connected to ships hull

Land based connections

  • Main priority is maximum protection of people and livestock.
  • Neutral & earth connected together at local substation (step down transformer), and also where the cable enters the building.
Earthing systems on ships

Most ships have an ‘insulated neutral’  electrical system.

As the name suggests, the neutral wire is insulated from the ships hull, which is the closest thing to a land based earth aboard ship, at sea.

Insulated Neutral Practical Differences

On land, an earth fault would cause the Residual Current Device, or RCD,  to trip.

The system is designed for maximum protection of people & livestock.

At sea the main priority is safety of the ship.

If critical systems such as steering gear were the trip, due to a single fault, then it could potentially be catastrophic.

Therefore on ships a single earth leakage fault between the power and the ships hull, can happen without tripping the circuit.

What happens instead is that an alarm will be triggered on the ships earth fault monitor panel.

It is important that a single earth fault in an insulated neutral system is repaired as soon as possible.

This is because if a second fault should occur, then the circuit will trip, which could out the ship at risk.



Wireless Outdoor Intercom Linked Two-Way Radio Designing

This blog article is about the design process of designing an outdoor wireless Intercom.

Background To Project

An existing industrial manufacturing client emailed me to ask if I could ‘programme up’ a couple walkie talkies.

The customer needed to start locking their store room when unattended, due to workers helping themselves to supplies.

They wanted to mount a couple walkie-talkie radios on the wall, so that workers could call for the store to be unlocked.

The client wanted one radio to be mounted directly outside the storeroom, and the second outside the building.

They thought that perhaps the radios could be mounted in some sort of external case, to protect them.

This is especially important for the radio mounted outside the building, due to rain and snow.

The potential problem with mounting expensive handheld two-way radios outside, is also theft.

The clients site is on a secluded industrial estate, and the entrance to the car park, and hence the exterior of the building is open.

After clarifying with the client as to exactly them wanted, I sent them the rough idea for a radio linked Intercom.

The photo above shows the rough initial idea for a wireless outdoor intercom.

Luckily it was exactly what the customer was looking for.

So now I knew what they client wanted, all I needed to do now is figure out how to make it work.

RF Electronics Options

The design brief from the client, requires the intercom to be able to call the portable digital two-way radios that the factory managers have.

The purpose is so that they can come and unlock the storeroom, or unlock the outside door (both of which are now locked).

After a personal brainstorming session, I came up with the following options.

  • Bluetooth link, with audio capabilities.
  • DECT communication technology, like cordless phone.
  • Licenced PMR Digital Radio.
  • Unlicenced PMR446 Radio (analogue or digital)
  • Audio over Wifi

Once I had come up with the initial list of possible ways to link the intercom with the existing two-way radios, it was time to evaluate.

Firstly I considered Bluetooth.

Bluetooth was introduced in 1994, and is currently up to version 5.

In addition to what is now known as Bluetooth ‘Classic’, there is now also ‘Low Energy’, and ‘Mesh’.

As the names suggest, ‘Classic’ is an updated version of the original Bluetooth.

‘Low Energy’ is designed to use less current from its power supply.

This makes it suitable for the Internet Of Things, as enabled sensors can last for years on same battery.

Product like Smart Watches use Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE as it is commonly known.

Bluetooth Mesh allows data to ‘flow’ through multiple ‘nodes’ en route to their destination.

This enables data to travel longer distances than would otherwise be possible using ordinary Bluetooth.

Mesh technology is great for controlling projects like Smart Lighting, but is not needed for our simple intercom design requirements.

As you hopefully have now appreciated, there are different types of Bluetooth for different purposes.

Bluetooth was originally designed as a technology to wirelessly replace RS232 type Serial communications cables.

It has also developed  into a technology capable of  transmitting audio.

Bluetooth modules capable of audio, have a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) included in their design.

Positives of using Bluetooth for the Intercom

The intercom has the following design requirements:

  • To allow instant wireless voice communication at the push of a call button.
  • Be capable of being powered by battery, with long battery life.

Bluetooth audio could provide the communication link between the intercom and the two-way radio.

It uses fairly low power consumption.

Could also be made to work with app on mobile phone, as all smartphones now have Bluetooth built in.


Relatively short range, which might be an issue, if the receiving Bluetooth module of the two-way radio, is too distant.

Time delay to establish the connection, unless left connected (which has power consumption implications).

At the time of writing (27th November 2019) , I am still researching Bluetooth technology in more detail, so I might still use it for the design.

DECT RF Technology

The next RF (radio frequency) technology that I considered for the intercom design, was DECT.

DECT is short for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications.

Sometimes you may also see it called Digital European Cordless Telecommunications, as the technology originated in Europe.

DECT has been adopted worldwide, and is most commonly used in cordless phones.

However I considered using DECT to provide the wireless communications link between the intercom and the two-way radios.


DECT provides clear two-way audio communication.

DECT operates at 1900 Mhz  (1.9Ghz) which has the advantage over Bluetooth & Wifi, which operate at 2.4Ghz (2400 Mhz).

1900 Mhz is an advantage because it is a less crowded frequency, and therefore less subject to potential interference from other users.


There is less choice in DECT modules available, compared with technologies such as Bluetooth.

The modules for DECT enablement of the wireless outdoor intercom also seem to be more expensive than Bluetooth.

Licenced PMR Digital Radio

PMR stands for Private Mobile Radio.

…..more information on the design project coming soon. Come back regularly.















Bluetooth Integration Services Smart Factories

Bluetooth Integration into existing factory machinery is possible.

By connecting a factories existing machines wirelessly to networks, smart factories can be created.

Integrating Bluetooth is an option for wirelessly Connecting machines to the Cloud.

Smart factories need to be able to closely monitor parameters, such as vibration and current of induction motors.

This allows the creation of Predictive Maintenance systems.

Using a wireless link to transfer data, rather than cables, saves installation time and cost.

Bluetooth is not the only wireless technology that can be used for smart factory integration.

The choice of the most suitable wireless link technology depends on a number of factors.

For example if long range, low data rate communication was required, then technologies such as LoraWAN might be better.

It is a myth however that Bluetooth is only suitable for short range communication.

Distances of up to a Kilometre are realistically possible.

Another option is to use the mesh version of the technology.

Mesh networks can send the signal over a wide area, by ‘passing through’ the separate nodes within range.

This can create a long distance network of connected nodes.

Internet Of Things Consultant services

Internet of Things consultant services for business.

The Internet of Things or IOT for short is the connection of machines, sensors and objects to the Internet cloud.

I can help your business with the Internet of Things consultant services by researching, designing and implementing solutions, tailored to your business.

LoRaWAN architecture and uses in Sensing

How to Build a Lorawan Gateway

Zigbee Technical Characteristics

What your Microwave Oven has in common with your WIFI

Connecting existing industrial machinery to local servers, or the cloud is something I can help with.

An example of a common piece of machinery in a factory, is the three-phase induction motor.

Induction motors can be connected to monitoring networks, to create Smart Factories.

Having early warning of potential problems with the induction motor can save a costly breakdown later.

This is known as Predictive Maintenance.

Parameters that can be monitored, include motor vibration.

Without smart sensors monitoring the induction motor, the vibration could go unnoticed.

Likely causes of vibration in an induction motor is worn or damaged bearings.

The bearings in an induction motor allow the motor shaft to rotate.

Worn bearings in a non smart factory would only become apparent, when immediate attention is required.

Replacement of worn bearings necessitates machine ‘down time’, which is costly.

The Internet of Things can help monitor induction motor condition, and therefore reduce expensive downtime.

Wireless versus wired connection.

For short localised connection, wired connections are easy to set up, and cheap.

However for longer distances between sensor and network, wireless radio links make sense.

The wireless technology that is most suitable, will depend on the industrial scenario.

Possible wireless technologies suitable for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) include Bluetooth, WiFi & LoraWAN.

Factors which determine the most suitable wireless link technology include amount, speed and type of data to be transmitted.

For example if the requirement is to transmit live CCTV, then low data rate wireless technologies such as LoraWAN, wouldn’t be suitable.




Things Network Gateway Diy Build

What is the Things Network

The Things Network originated in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015.

The idea was to create a crowd funded Internet of Things network, that was open to the public.

The network uses LoraWAN spread spectrum wireless technology to enable data from environmental sensors, to get onto the Internet.

The network has quickly expanded through crowd funding and volunteers installing their own ‘Gateway’ devices.

The Gateway devices receive data that has been transmitted from sensors, and puts that data onto the Internet cloud.

Sensors can include pollution monitoring devices, Smart Parking detectors, flood warning sensors etc.

The LoraWAN that I mentioned is the wireless technology that allows the transfer of data from the sensor (which might be in a field a mile from the Gateway), to the receiving Gateway device.

LoraWAN Characteristics

Lorawan is suitable for applications that only require small amounts of data to be transferred at a time. Therefore LoraWAN would not be suitable for transmitting video from a CCTV camera (WIFI would be more suitable).

Data transfer is also quite slow.

What LoraWAN excels at is allowing small amounts of data to be sent over relatively long distances (such as 10Km), while consuming very low battery power.

The good communications range, and low battery power consumption make it ideal for the Internet of Things, or IOT for short.

To start using the Things Network, there are a few options available.

Firstly you can buy a ready made indoor Gateway that the initiators of the Things Network have now manufactured.

A second option is to buy a Gateway designed for commerical LoraWAN use. These Gateways are often designed for outdoor use, and feature weatherproof construction.

A third option to get onto the Things Network, if there is no local Gateway within range, is to build your own Gateway.

There are a few options and ways to build a Gateway, including using an RF board from RAK Wireless.

The option that I used to build my Gateway, uses an 880A LoraWAN Concentrator board from IMST of Germany.

The RF Concentrator board is controlled and connected to the Internet via a Raspberry Pi.

Full details for construction are given below.

Building the Gateway

For beginners to building their own gateway, I would recommend joining, or founding a local Things Network .

The Lorawan Gateway that I am going to describe here, is designed to operate on the Things Network, however other lora networks can easily be installed.

The main components that you will need are:-

1) A Concentrator board from IMST of Germany. The Concentrator board is the wireless communications part of the system, responsible for receiving the wireless data signals, from the remote environmental sensors (Air quality sensors etc).

2) A small computer to store the software that controls the Concentrator board. We are going to use the UK designed Raspberry PI 3.

A Micro SD Card, for holding the software used by the Raspberry PI.  A small 4 GB card is fine.

3) A suitable Antenna (or Aerial), with pigtail connecting cable.

4) A suitable 2 Amp rated power supply, with a micro USB connector.

5)  7 Female to Female connecting leads, suitable for raspberry PI.

4) A suitable case, to house the components.

The first thing I need to make you aware of is the risk of static electricity, to your IMST ic880a Concentrator and Raspberry PI.

Static can damage the sensitive electronic components, therefore it is advisable to take precautions, such as not touching the board components, and wearing an anti static wrist strap.

The first thing you need to do is to format the micro SD card, that will be fitted to the raspberry PI, to hold the gateway software.

The SD card association has a free piece of software, for Windows PC and Mac, to do this. My card was already formatted, so I skipped this step.

The next step is to burn the actual software that will power your gateway, onto the Raspberry PI.

To do this, I used https://etcher.io/    

I first installed Etcher onto my  linux desktop computer. As most people use Windows PC, or Mac, you will need to find a suitable alternative to Etcher.

I also downloaded the operating system needed to run the Raspberry Pi, which is called Raspbian Stretch Lite , onto my desktop PC.

Put your micro SD card into your computers micro SD card reader. If your computer (like mine) does not have a card reader, then external USB plug in ones can be purchased cheaply (I got mine from my local Asda supermarket for £6).

Fire up Etcher, or whatever card  burning software you prefer, and select the copy of Raspbian Stretch Lite , that you previously downloaded to your PC.

Follow the instructions, and burn the operating system software onto the micro SD card.

Once you have successfully burned your Raspbian Stretch Lite, onto your SD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi (the slot is on the underside of the Pi).

The next thing to do is to connect your Raspberry Pi to a suitable monitor (I used a TV, that had a HDMI connection), and also connect a USB keyboard, power supply, and mouse.

The power supply should be 5 Volts DC, and Raspberry Pi power supplies are widely available. I used a USB phone charger, with 5 Volts output, and a current rating of 2000mA.

Boot up your Raspberry Pi (connect the power), and you will see lots of computer code scrolling across your screen (if you have done everything successfully, so far).

When the Raspberry Pi asks you for a user name and password, use the following default ones (the  bit after the  ‘ : ‘ ).

Username: Pi

Password: Raspberry

After you have successfully logged in, type:

 sudo raspi-config

Numbered options will now hopefully be on your monitor screen.

Select [5] Interfacing Options, and then P4 SPI

Then select [7] Advanced Options , and then [A1] Expand Filesystem.

You now need to exit the raspi-config utility, either by hitting the ‘CTRL’  and  ‘X’ keys, or by typing sudo reboot

Next you are going to Configure the locales and time zone.

Type this in, to set the locales, and follow instruction.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, type this in to set time zone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The next stage is to update the raspberry Pi software, do this by typing:

sudo apt-get update

Then install any upgrades to the operating system software, by typing sudo apt-get upgrade

Next we are going to install Git , which is needed to be able to download the Things Network software from Github.


sudo apt-get install git

The next step is to create a user called TTN (the things network).  This user will eventually replace the default raspberry pi user, which we will delete.

sudo adduser ttn

Then:    sudo adduser ttn sudo

Logout, by typing logout

Once you have logged out, log back in using the user name and password that you have just set up, when you added a user.

You can now delete the default Raspberry Pi user, by typing

sudo userdel -rf pi

Set the WIFI  SSID and password details, which can be found on the back of your home router / Hub (usually).

To set the WIFI details type

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf 

Once you have typed in the above text, you should see some code on the screen. Add the following to the end of the existing code, making sure that you enter your SSID and password details, in place of the shown text.




Now we are going to clone the installer from Github. This will download the software which runs the gateway, from the Github repository.  Type each of the following three code lines into your Pi, one at a time, hitting the return key after each line of code.

  git clone -b spi https://github.com/ttn-zh/ic880a-gateway.git ~/ic880a-gateway
  cd ~/ic880a-gateway
  sudo ./install.sh spi

Identifying the LoraWAN Gateway

The software will give the gateway the default name of ttn-gateway.

This however may need to be changed, to prevent issues with other Things Network Gateways within wireless range.

Wiring it Up

The next step is to connect the  Concentrator board, to the Raspberry Pi, and also connect the antenna.

The components including the antenna should be mounted in a protective box,  and the antenna connected to the Concentrator board.

It is very important that the Concentrator board is not powered up, with no suitable antenna connected, of damage could occur to the board.

Once the antenna is connected, then the next step is to connect the Concentrator to the Raspberry Pi.

Connect using female to female connecting wires, as follows:

iC880a Concentrator pin Description RPi physical pin
21 Supply 5V 2
22 GND 6
13 Reset 22
14 SPI CLK 23
15 MISO 21
16 MOSI 19
17 NSS 24


It is important that you identify the correct pins, by referring to the manufactures data sheets (Both IMST & Raspberry Pi).

We accept no liability for loss or damage caused, by following these information only instructions.

For help, and to learn more about the Things Network Gateway, or what the Things Network can do, why not get in touch with me.



Craig Miles (C) 2018 -2019 , all images and content, unless stated separately.

International Marketing lessons that McDonalds should have known before ‘Sundae Bloody Sunday’ Promotion

International Marketing

When I studied international marketing during my undergraduate degree in the mid 1990s, I learnt something important.

It is important to ensure that your brand name and advertising do not cause offence in some markets.

The case study we learnt was that of Toyota cars, who had produced a sports car called the Toyota MR2.

The original model MR2 was launched in 1984, but the name soon caused an unexpected issue.

You see ‘MR2’ when said out loud, sounds like something rude in French (basically Shit!).

Clearly no business wants their product to have this image, so the car was renamed for the French speaking market.

Now what has this got to do with yesterdays news about McDonalds in Portugal.

For those of you that didn’t read or see the news, McDonald’s has apologised  for accidentally causing offence with its ‘Sundae Bloody Sundae’ promotion.

For younger readers, and those without an Irish connection, the promotion sounded like ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’.

‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ happened in northern Ireland in 1972, and resulted in 14 deaths, by gunshots, during ‘the troubles’.

Due to the context of the deaths, it is still understandably a very sensitive matter for many people.

The point I am trying to get across in this article in international marketing  is that it is important to think internationally.

Thinking on an international marketing level was important for large business in the 1990s.

It is also now important for SME (Small & Medium Enterprises), due to the growth of the Internet.

Lessons to be learned

Personally I am surprised that a company like McDonald’s slipped up like this.

Normally they are experts in positive marketing of their products, and in creating a fun brand image.

Going forward I am sure they will double down on ensuring that promotions do not cause offence in other countries.

Conclusions and advice

Someone seems not to have checked that the advertising campaign would not cause offence outside of the local Portuguese target market.

Businesses should always check that they will not offend other countries that they currently operate in, or intend to in the future.

It is even more important now than it was in the 1990s, due to the Internet.