Small town USA here. I have family spread just about perfectly to 24/7 mesh my borough. Anyone else thinking the same? I know its early on but I’d love to see the possibility of battery backed stationary relays. This would allow me to still use my mesh units out an about without compromising the towns mesh. Could they be cheaper too if you dropped GPS units since they would be stationery?
I think for the time being one could have a unit outside in a small pelican case hooked up to a small external battery. As far as GPS both versions of GoTenna (V1 and Mesh) use GPS coordinates from the users phone to obtain it’s location and send it to others (if one so desires).
Hey there, just confirming what @gua742 said here: goTenna Mesh doesn’t have an on-board GPS chip actually (I believe that’s what you’re asking). Indeed, we made that decision so that we could bring down the cost of goTenna Mesh. We leverage the GPS in paired smartphones.
Not too early on! I think this is the thing we’re all most excited by — and it’s part of why a little over 3 weeks ago we decided to tear down the first version of imeshyou.com and build out a more fully functional map (with this message board!) where you can also clearly differentiate between area/mobile nodes and stationary always-powered-on-mode because so many of our Kickstarter backers & preorder customers were telling us that you were buying extra units for exactly this purpose!
Would love to see (pics) and read ways mesh users are setting up stationary units for relay to other mesh users. I bought a extra one for this purpose both in my town and while out in about with second mesh unit. What would be the best way to keep the mesh unit powered up?
@Mark have you considered a solar panel?
Thanks @Rahul_Subramany I will look into this. Not sure the large panel will help hide the mesh unit though.
I am putting together at least a few 24/7 dedicated Mesh relays. I am doing this using small pelican cases, bigger batteries, small solar charging system, and an external antenna (for wider range/gain). It will look something like this…
I’ll keep y’all posted on my progress!
It would be interesting to know if just this solar panel and built in battery in the goTenna unit would be enough to keep the goTenna powered through days when there is only 8 hours of sunlight or on cloudy days. I suppose it also depends on how many messages the goTenna mesh unit is trying to relay each day.
I’ll be using an external battery: SLA 9 to 12 AMP.
@gua742 what modification are you planning on doing if any to extend range with the external antenna on the pelican?
Amazon same day delivery picked up one of these units. Showing image with gotenna v1 units to put things into perspective here. I know the size of mesh units are much smaller.
Not sure I would use this large panel to power 1 mesh unit 24/7, a bit overkill don’t you think?
@Mark, the goTenna MESH charges at current of around 250 mA. Since the panel in question is capable of up to 2 Amps, it definitely seems to be overqualified. However, I think there will definitely be cloudy days when it’ll be nice to have that extra surface to catch the elusive sun!
@Turnerb, the goTenna MESH charges at around 250 mA, which is at rate of around 0.4C (C = Capacity). Most solar panels are capable of above 500mA. So given a decent solar panel and couple hours of sun, goTenna will be juiced up again. And since the unit is designed to last 24 hours with a fully charged battery, it should last through the night to be recharged again the next day.
My stationary unit has been on solar power for 48 hours so far. Just got home from work and its sitting at 100%. I’ve not had chances to check how far it dips over night before the sun comes out… I’ll report back as i get more data.
It’s an older Anker 4 panel. Can’t find the amazon page anymore since it’s been replaced with a newer unit.
This panel is likely overkill, and i’d like to find one i can mount to my weather station mast semi permanently (3.5 stories up).
EDIT: Found it:
Wow! Keep us posted. It will also be interesting to see how seasonal weather changes effect battery life.
Will do. My solar powered weather station (bloomsky) and the current location of this test setup are on a semi ideal arc for most of the year. The trick will be to find a water proof solar panel and mount for the mast.
My test setup simply has my portable panel inside the window at the bottom of this image.
They mention its NOT to be used with other systems… but the mount might do the trick with off the shelf panels.
So based on the little info I have. you would have to still have a cell phone attached to get GPS coordinates and relay Messages to other gotenna users? or can the relay work with just the gotenna being on? And would you have to have mesh or would v1 work?
Actually thinking about cheap android phones with no cell service, attached to gotenna for the GPS function. if they are near wireless the phone could connect to it. not sure the benefit though as relaying messages to SMS may not function with out the cell provider?
As far as I understand it a dedicated 24/7 mesh relay is simply a mesh unit that is always powered on (whether it be on or off grid power).
This unit does not need to be actively paired with a phone to do its job (simply relay other messages).
Not sure why you would NEED a phone constantly paired to the dedicated unit unless you wanted others to be able to get the dedicated units location.
AFAIK only the mesh can act as a dedicated relay (not v1)
I’m sure if any of this is incorrect a dev will chime in.