goTenna Mesh community

Auto power on feature request

Hey! It would be super cool if we could have an auto power-on feature for the node when power is restored, mostly for remote stationary relay applications.

The user journey:

  1. I install a node in the very top floor of an apartment building in Seattle (with permission of the landlord of course).
  2. During an unfortunate failure of Seattle’s electric grid, input power is lost for 24 hours. The node dies and shuts off.
  3. When the power is restored, it would be really great if I didn’t have to trek all the way up there to press the power button and for the node to just magically turn back on and resume relaying messages.

It would be nice to have this separate from Relay mode (like a separate setting in the app), because I like to pair an old phone with GTMs to assign a GID. This way, I can put the GID on the node map and users can try to ping it for range testing.

If you didn’t want to add a separate switch or setting, an appropriate logic flow could be:

  1. If the user shuts the node off while the battery is not dead, keep the current behavior and just charge when power is applied.
  2. If the node is ON when the battery dies, turn back ON when power is reapplied.
1 Like

FWIW - I have Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 batteries hooked up to all the inaccessible relays I have throughout Seattle. I estimate it should keep a GoTenna working for about a week. I absolutely agree with your feedback, though - especially with more remote solar setups.

Out of curiosity - is your Seattle top floor apartment install hypothetical?

I would also love to see an auto restart added to the GTM. I know this has been discussed before and is on the radar of the goTenna team but I wanted to join this conversation to try to keep it at the top of the to do list.

I’m in one of those solar situations that require at least three hours to reset each goTenna relay after a lack of solar charging. I live in a somewhat remote area with lots of cell service gaps where I think the goTenna would really interest a lot of people because it works great when it’s on. I’d do more advertising of the network I have setup if it was more reliable.

For me the perfect relay would be one that turns itself on, is pingable, and has a user replaceable battery (or larger battery). This would be a game changer.

I have a friend on the 33rd floor of a very tall apartment building in SLU and I just ordered another pair of units. I have set up a powered relay:

  1. Cap hill with GID 9922 1012 1482 37
  2. Fremont with GID 9930 0945 4853 88

And I plan for:

  1. SLU 33rd floor (maybe get it on the roof?)
  2. SLU close to lake union

Perhaps find additional friends apartments to coopt. I’ll try to get the other two set up this weekend. I believe given my range testing that my cap hill could communicate LOS with the SLU 33rd floor. It looks like Fremont is just out of line of sight from SLU but it’s possible that from the 33rd floor or higher I’d get connectivity. Will report back :slight_smile:

Two of those three things are accomplishable. I believe if you have a spare phone you can:

  1. pair with phone
  2. assign a GID
  3. and then “unpair” while the GTM is off
  4. pair spare phone with a new GTM and change the GID (you could even do them sequentially)

And a soldering iron would work wonders, though charging would take a while over USB. The solution of using an always-on IoT battery pack with solar support seems to be totally sufficient for stationary use.

1 Like

Nice! Let me know if and when you get those set up and I can try to ping from my Belltown or Downtown stationary relays.

I have used previously paired GTM’s as relay’s before and it is fantastic to be able to message or ping them to efficiently determine any holes in the mesh network. The only problem I have is they consume roughly twice the power in “pairing mode” as I call it. “pairing mode” = white light continuously flashing with the paired device either not on or not in range. I’ve also have several that I’ve soldered in connections for replaceable batteries. It all comes down to power consumption in a solar setting.

If the GTM would just reliably auto power on I would take that over any other feature request! These little 1 watt radios can do wonders when they are working!

Check out the post How to make a unit stay on?! for some good stuff on what folks have been up to.

1 Like

Bollocks. Although I did get almost a week of life out of a V44 battery plus a GTM in pairing mode. Perhaps it would be longer in relay only mode?

One hack that I might use is to put a plugged in GTM in my apartment and a solar powered relay on the roof. That way pinging the plugged in node would be a reasonable proxy for the rooftop one.

I didn’t realize this until last night: a GTM without a phone actively paired cannot begin a conversation. So if the GTM is in pairing mode (even if it has a GID assigned) you won’t be able to ping it if you haven’t previously initiated a conversation – probably a limitation of the crypto. The phone has to have an active bluetooth connection.

I can definitely source cheap android phones but wow that’s a bit annoying for range testing purposes, especially if we wanted to set up a lot of these things.

Blockquote

If you don’t need to retrieve your messages you can use the same phone or tablet for multiple GID’s. It’s been a while but I think you can just sign out of the app or logout and establish a new GID for the next relay. As long as you leave it in pairing mode, (white light flashing) you should be able to message each GTM as it will still receive messages and give confirmations just like it was paired to it’s original device. Pings work as well. Like you said above you might want to initiate a conversation or at least message back and forth to make sure the GTM’s are talking. This is great for range testing or checking the health of your network. The only downside I’ve come across is the GTM consumes about double the power.

Exactly. If you don’t do this, a new user (who has not previously communicated with the GTM) cannot ping the node.

Once I initiate the conversation, I can do range testing on a GTM without a phone paired. But nobody else can, which is a bit of a bummer.

Could a new user still message the node if they wanted to range test? I can’t say I’ve ever tried it without an initial set of messages back and forth. I prefer to message relay nodes rather than pings because I get to see how many relays were required to make the connection.

Ditto. I tend to spam my nodes with messages to test range. “Theater 1”, “Theater 2” usually up to 10. I usually don’t get confirmations, but when I check the messages from my stationary nodes, I can see that, say, 70% got through with no confirmations coming through - along with the one word description of where it was sent from.

No, that’s the problem. I ordered a new node, paired it with a new phone, and couldn’t communicate with my relay until I paired the phone and initiated the conversation.

@ImBrian do you leave an android phone paired? FYI I discovered today that the $20 tracfone androids can be used over wifi without activation. They probably won’t be too thrilled about that…still cheaper than the bare bones 3G only androids available on eBay.

Yeah, the two with guids shared on the map as always on have phones always on and paired. They’re just my old phones, nothing fancy.