Joost Plattel

Data-strategist, Founder & Speaker.

Getting started with a LoRaWan gateway

Most of the work I do is software related, but sometimes I do dabble in hardware. As a result I receive more and more requests for hardware related projects. As an aspiring maker I do want to explore this side of technology more so these projects are perfect opportunities for me to learn.

And while learning I thought it would be nice to share what I learned so far as well! I've been building a LoRaWan gateway with at least 10 connected nodes. And in the past few weeks I got the gateway working, and I'd like to show which steps I took and what hardware is required.

Bill of materials
Hardware preparations
  1. Solder the right headers (2 rows) to the ch2i shield so you can mount it on the Raspberry Pi 3
  2. Check the spacing and mount the spacers in between the two boards
  3. Disconnect the shield if it fits and then solder the headers for the concentrator on the ch2i shield, and any optional elements (like LEDs)
  4. Solder a bridging header onthe ch2i shield that enables you to share power between the Pi and the concentrator (this took me a while to figure out...)
  5. Re-mount the ch2i on the Raspberry Pi and then add the concentrator
  6. Plug in the power the LED on the concentrator should light up!
Software setup
  1. Download the resin-boot image with the right configurations (I used ethernet only, but if you want wifi, be sure to add it or check the docs)
  2. Flash the micro-sd with the Resin image (I can recommend Etcher)
  3. If you setup with Ethernet, be sure to plug in the cable!
  4. Plug in the power for the Raspberry Pi and it should pop up in the Resin Dashboard as online and you can check the logs
  5. Create a new local git repo by cloning this repository by JPMeijers
  6. Add, commit and push to resin, as specified in README of the repository.
  7. Go the The Things Network console, create a gateway and keep a copy of the Gateway Key and ID for the next step
  8. In the resin dashboard, set the right env-vars and set the reset pin to 11
  9. After the initial push and configuration the Raspberry Pi should automatically join the Things Network!

If everything went as planned you should be up and running with a working gateway that can be configured to other apps on The Things Network. In a next post I think I'll share the process of developing the motes. Something with GPS, movement and other things that might be interesting to measure.

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel

Predicting energy usage with Prophet

Facebook recently released Prophet, a library that makes it easy to create predictions based on time-series data. When the time was right to tinker around, I thought of a dataset I've been collecting for some time now, which is the smart energy meter we have for our house.

And with some tinkering to get Prophet to play nice with my containers and Jupyter I had my first prediction in a few minutes:


This makes me wonder if I could just pay the predicted amount instead of a fixed fee... but that's probably not feasible on the provider side. Other datasets that I might look at: amount of calendar items (to predict future busy-ness), activity or heart-rate (could I really?). Or maybe parking fines prediction? I got a sample dataset of a year of parking fines, mmh?

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel

All my 8:36pm photos of 2016

Happy new year! Hope you had a blast the past few weeks! I surely did :)

As a tradition when a new year starts, I had to make a movie of all my 8:36pm photos of past year. And this time its easier as every, since I saved the After Effects project template of last year. Here's the video:

Why shoot a picture everyday you might ask? Here's the answer! And in case you want to get all your photos of Mobypicture as well, here's the gist:

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel

Brewing beer in a modified kettle

It took me a while, but I managed to write this post about the thing I've been spending some time on in the last few months: brewing beer. I started collecting things for my own setup a while ago and took the plunge to buy a kettle: A modified kettle for brewing beer

For now the temperature will be manually controlled, and I will be stirring for a while, but I'm slowly working towards and enclosure that covers the pump and a PID for temperature control. For the brewing method I use the brew-in-a-bag system, which lets me easily get out all the malts, but the filtering proces ain't perfect yet.

The first beer I've brewed in the new kettle is a saison, 17L effective volume and just before bottling it had a alcohol percentage of 7,30%. During this first run the filtering didn't go trough properly and the small tap on the front of the kettle turned out to be leaking (luckily I figured this out while I still only had water in the kettle.)

So more updates shortly on the brewing proces!

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel

On holiday in Italy: Rome, Florence, Pisa & Cinque Terre

This summer I spend 2 weeks in Italy together with Chantal. We started off in Rome, spending our time in Trastevere. We visited all the main tourist attractions, because I hadn't visited Rome before. Time passed by pretty quickly and we traveled to Florence by BlaBlaCar. After a day of traveling, it's great to jump in a pool!

Florence is an amazing city, especially when you can watch the sun set over the city, the food is good and if you dive a bit into Italian culture you'll find hidden gems! Next up was San Gimigniano, a little town with lots of towers. We stayed in an agriturismo for 1 night, I cannot recommend this enough if you are somewhere in Tuscania. We visited Pisa before going to La Spezia, which would be our take off point for the main goal of our trip: Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre is series of villages at the waterfront of Liguria, and I'd like to show you one image for every village:

RiomaggioreRiomaggiore, one of the five villages of cinque terre
ManaroleManarole, one of the five villages of cinque terre
CornigliaCorniglia, one of the five villages of cinque terre
VernazzaVernazza, one of the five villages of cinque terre
MonterossoMonterosso, one of the five villages of cinque terre
The last two days we're spend at the beach of Lido di Camaiore and Lucca. Holiday well spend I would say! Italy, I'll be back for more.

Author's profile picture Joost Plattel