goTenna Mesh community

Feature request: Lower power consumption in pairing mode

How nice and efficient would it be to be able to check all the GTM relays on your network from the comfort of your home?

I know it’s not possible to ping or message a GTM node while it is in relay mode. Currently I’ve been working around this by pairing a GTM to a device, sending and receiving a message while paired and then putting it on a mountain top with a solar panel and external battery but without the paired device in Bluetooth range. This leaves the white light constantly flashing and I believe Bluetooth on as it searches or listens for the paired device. By my calculations this uses around double the power of a GTM in relay mode but allows me to quickly check all my relays as long as I’m somewhere on the network.

This works great as long as the sun is shining but fails miserably when the clouds come. I could double my solar panels but I am up already as large as I feel comfortable with in trying to keep the total package discrete to avoid vandalism/theft.

Would it be possible to make a firmware change that would tell the GTM to shut off the light and Bluetooth after a set amount of time? If the power consumption could be cut down closer to what is used when in relay mode this may help those that are interested in being able to ping relays.

The recent comments about desirable new features have me thinking that what is really needed are TWO new devices. One would be an update of the basic GTM for use by most consumers. The other would be a new GTM designed for use as a relay with all the bells and whistles to facilitate that.

Why?

First, most users have no need for advanced features. Otherwise the unit itself will grow in size and weight. It will also be more confusing for anyone that just wants the basic benefits of using the mesh.

Second, there will likely be a difference in cost between the ordinary GTM and the relay version. There will need to be some physical differences and additional controis to meet some of the requests.

Third, while those of us who need the relay versions will not object to higher costs, they would impact all users if there aren’t two versions, which would be negative to growing the mesh.

Just something to consider when conceptualizing what we need to build mesh.

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Two units would be amazing but I realize that is a a big endeavor for the folks at goTenna. I was hoping this request could be a simple firmware change. But again, simple in my mind is probably a lot more complex for those that have to make it happen.

Here’s my understanding from the many past discussions about requested features. Yes, many new features are possible by firmware updates. The most requested one does require a hardware change

Originally, it was hoped that Power On-Resume Past State could be accomplished via a firmware update, but this proved not to be the case. It require a production change in the Power switch that may also require s reworking of the board in that area to support the switch change.

I’m pretty sure this feature will be on any future goTenna Mesh device. Even with a dedicated relay version available, we still want the mesh capability available in every GTM. Both versions I envisage would have that. It’s possible future base model GTMs would have other hardware changes, but most the rest as applied to personal use GTMs seem to me likely firmware based.

A dedicated relay version of the GTM, could have all sorts of options, but the next most requested option is likely having battery options, instead of the internal LiPo that is really not user accessible (there’s limited need as the battery has a life of up to 10 years depending on how it’s used.) It’s on relays where the battery option makes the most sense, IMO, the base model GTM should keep the internal battery to avoid the total lack of power being without a battery causes, the water intrusion issue, and the general need to keep the basic package slim as possible.

The antenna issue is pretty vexing for many. The reality is the permanently mounted antenna is a FCC requirement. Which doesn’t mean that a more optimal antenna for stationary use can’t happen. That won’t provide a way to hookup homebrew antennas, I’m pretty sure you’re still going to need to hack a connector on if that’s what you need. But a better if a more obtrusive, antenna would be a welcome feature of a relay GTM.

Something that might be welcome with either version would be a Bluetooth link to a dedicated GPS. That way it would be easy to add-your own GPS source, perhaps from a map program within your (other device.) I’ve found the map package supplied via GoTenna Plus pretty good when out in the woods, so long as you download the right maps before leaving civilization. But it would be nice to have some options here, as it could make the GTM more widely useful for position reporting.

My personal desire would be for more secure connections on the relay version. The heating and cooling usually associated with environmental exposure 24/7 is something that I’ve associated mainly with the now archaic micro USB plug, which will likely be replaced in any new version because people expect something different on their devices. This really wasn’t the fault of anything on the GTM, but my misreading the way heat/cool factors might loosen the corded connectors in certain orientations. That’s why I’d like a more positive, locking connection to save me from my own fumbles.

I’m sure there are many more ideas, but as I just showed, thinking about where and how they could be applied may really be helpful for both those who propose ideas as it will be for those who maight implement them. All things cost money and that’s a big reason I wanted to add this to these conversations. What is the minimum feature set for the base GTM that people will expect? What are users willing to pay for in a relay version? Those are likely the lower and upper limits of what the costs are here to produce them. Takes a surprising amount of work to determine that sort of thing, as well as suitable investment. That takes time and this is a great time to think about what the hardware side of future mesh will look like.

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What? You don’t like climbing trees/Roofs/towers to check this kinda stuff?

+Me to the group wanting more features such as this for MOAN style setups.

The command toggle_led in the serial console turns off most of the unsolicited LED activity and brings the power usage down to relay mode levels. No firmware change required.

I think that can be switched off too, but I wouldn’t worry about it as the power usage is insignificant. BTW, contrary to popular belief, Bluetooth is actually 100% active in relay mode, allowing pairing and a subset of endpoint functions.

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Thanks for the reply! So the increase power consumption is all due to the flashing light? Either way, the GTM relays I am using could be significantly more available if I could turn it off. Can you explain how to do that to an absolute layman when it comes to “serial consoles”? Thanks for your time