nRF24L01+ max number of writes in its lifetime

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I've been working on my nRF24L01+ library for my ATMEGA328, 2560 and SAMD21 MCUs. Currently the library supports a single star configuration (1 receiver, 5 transmitters) as well a star network with support for up-to 251 nodes. I'm thinking of creating a more dynamic mesh network, which should be relatively easy. For the nRF24L01+, I've creating a simple algorithm for setting the "pipes". This approach would continually write to the nRF24L01+ and change its configuration. My question is, is there a limited number of writes to the nRF24L01+ before the chip degrades? For example, Flash has something like 10,000 writes (I think its 10,000). I couldn't find anything in the datasheet.

 

 

This topic has a solution.

"When all else fails, read the directions"

Last Edited: Sat. Apr 28, 2018 - 01:23 PM
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There is no flash in a nRF24L01+

Just ram.

There is no limit to the number of writes.

The limited numer of write cycles is pretty unique to Flash.

 

Are you sure you want ot spend time on this chip?

It's one of the cheapest (I also fell for it) but I find that Nordic's "6 pipes" modell is based on nothing but bollocks and bad ideas.

It's either to complicated  and /or to limited and definately not flexible enough to be usefull.

After I got this thing to work I almost immediately went on with other projects. It could not interest me.

 

I bought some RFM69W boards. They seem to be nice radio's, but I haven't written software for them yet.

Using those separate radio chips with your uC is also getting a bit old fashion nowaday's.

There are plenty of uC's with built in radio in a single chip.

Especially a lot of Bluetooth radio's have a built in (reprogrammable) radio and some manufactories have application notes and example code available to work directly with the radio hardware.

 

A noteworthy example is the ESP8266.

The noteworthyness of this chip is that because of the hardware ( 168MHz uC with on board WiFi) there has been A LOT of reverse engineering going on in the hacker & tinerer communities. With Platformio you can very easy set up a development environment for this thing and the "arduino" framework has also been ported to it.

You can have a blinking led going in a hour or so with a youtube tutorial.

Espressif (Manufacturer of the ESP8266, and it's bigger brother ESP32) has also released code for setting up mesh networks with the WiFi peripheral used as a regular 2.4GHz radio. (A big disadvantage of the WiFi protocol is that the radio needs to be on for multiple seconds to build up a WiFi connection, which makes it less suitable for battery powered applications.

 

Because of it's popularity it has also become a very cheap development platform. All tools are open source and the boards themself are around USD 3  for a NodeMcu mini from Ali / Ebay.

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 28, 2018 - 03:37 AM
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I kinda have to agree with Paulvdh,

The NRF is a funny animal.  You can either get good ones, or ones that suck.  Both are a beast to configure depending on what you want to do.  Price is right, but the headache is not.  There are a lot of BLE units out there now that are pretty slick to configure and give you pretty decent range and speed.

 

The ESP8266 is certainly getting a lot of Internet press from what I read here, and occasionally online.  Never played with one, but I will buy one eventually and try it out.  

 

I have been working on a project for a little over a year now that I needed some long range(1.5 miles), and moderate speed and I looked at some ebay specials, but in the end I spent the $$ and used 900Mhz Digi modules that simply connect to the USART pins of my AVR and off I go.

 

A competitor of Atmel has a BLE radio built into one of their mixed signal devices that I was able to get operational in about 45 minutes.  Nice unit, a little $$ in small quantity but what is not.

 

Long story short there are so many better solutions than the NRF devices anymore.

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time......" - Who said that?wink

 

Jim

 

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

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PhillyNJ wrote:
My question is, is there a limited number of writes to the nRF24L01+

Surely, that is a question that you should be asking the manufacturer; ie, Nordic Semiconductor - it has nothing to do with Atmel or Microchip. And it's not a programming question.

 

http://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/Support-Community

 

 

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jgmdesign wrote:
Long story short there are so many better solutions than the NRF devices anymore.

As we're in an Atmel forum, and the OP is using SAM D21 anyhow, then the R21 would seem the obvious choice here.

 

The SAM R21 is just a D21 and an AT56RF233 AT86RF233 in the same package ...

 

 

EDIT

Correction: AT86 - not 56

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Last Edited: Wed. Feb 28, 2018 - 10:37 AM
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I really don't know why people hate on the NRF24L01+. It's a great chip with many possible applications and it's rather easy to configure it. The pipe system can just be ignored, one can simply use the same pipe for everything.  There is only one gotcha: The Chinese fakes reject a repeated packet. But the original doesn't do that, so it's not documented in the datasheet.

 

Not everyone wants an integrated solution witch the MCU and the radio in one chip, and WiFi is a cannon, shooting birds with it is nonsense. Same for Bluetooth.

 

jgmdesign wrote:
Long story short there are so many better solutions than the NRF devices anymore.

Someone please name one then. But one that is actually a replacement for the NRF, not a completely different device class like the ESP for example. No WiFi, no Bluetooth, no integrated MCU. Just a radio chip with automatic packet handling. OSI layer 2 or maximum 3.

So far, nobody could give me something that's really better. The modules from Hope RF are about the same, not better IMHO.

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75." -Benjamin Franklin

 

What is life's greatest illusion?"  "Innocence, my brother." -Skyrim

 

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I think the AT86RF... are comparable ?

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They are expensive bit the DIGI XBEE modules IMO are a better device.

Jim

Edit
I moved this to general electronics, but it really should be in wireless forums I suppose.....

If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue! - Kartman

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB user

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 28, 2018 - 10:23 AM
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awneil wrote:
I think the AT86RF... are comparable ?

They look really nice, that's what I was looking for. It's a shame that there are no reasonably price breakout modules around crying

The modules from Microchip are too expensive for most of my projects. I'm not going to spend 30 bucks on the radio module for an outdoor temperature sensor. The chips themselves are cheap enough, but I'm not equipped to design RF circuits on my own.

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75." -Benjamin Franklin

 

What is life's greatest illusion?"  "Innocence, my brother." -Skyrim

 

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pawi777 wrote:
It's a shame that there are no reasonably price breakout modules

What do you count as "reasonably" priced?

 

http://openlabs.co/OSHW/Raspberry-Pi-802.15.4-radio - $10

 

The ATREB233-XPRO extension board is GBP 20:

https://www.microchipdirect.com/product/search/all/ATREB233-XPRO - but that's a dev board rather than for use in a final product.

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  3. Wrong baud rate is usually due to not running at the speed you thought; check by blinking a LED to see if you get the speed you expected
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Paulvdh wrote:
There is no flash in a nRF24L01+ Just ram. There is no limit to the number of writes. The limited numer of write cycles is pretty unique to Flash.

Thanks and thanks for all the feedback. 

 

So the question seems to be why use the nRF24L01+ when there are better options?

 

As jgmdesign mentioned, the price is right. Can they be finicky? Hell yes, but I set out to make a library that was easy to use and allowed you to get up an running fast. No need to configure "Pipes"; the library handles it all for you.

 

Are there better radios? Hell yes.

 

Since I am looking for a solution, I own the at least 2 of the following:

 

  • WINC1500 xplained pro - very expensive compared to a nrf24l01+
  • SAMR21 xplained pro - Love these buy very expensive compared to a nrf24l01+
  • SAMB21 - Bluetooth - started messing with these and the Atmel examples are horrible. No documentation (at least last I checked) - very expensive compared to a nrf24l01+. Bluetooth is its own beast and I need to really learn the protocol before diving in.
  • ESP8266 - I have a few and played with them

 

To give you an idea of my perspective, I was able to get a nRF24L01+ with external antenna for~$4usd. I have a total of ~20 to play with. The other options except the ESP would price me out what I wanted to do.

 

I will research the RFM69W boards. Thanks for the tip.

"When all else fails, read the directions"

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I use them because the counterfeit ones are dirt cheap, easy to use and pretty reliable. When I read of the "6 node network" feature, I said, "Forget that!" For bigger networks, I just have each node use it's own address and keep the other addresses in eeprom. To send a message to any of the other nodes, set the receive and transmit addresses to the other node, send the message. As soon as you have the ack, set back to your own address.

 

Having a good library does the trick. After that, it's simpler than running a wire.

 

Right now, I need to make them frequency hop. Just a bit of software.

 

277,232,917 -1 The largest known Mersenne Prime

Measure twice, cry, go back to the hardware store

Last Edited: Wed. Feb 28, 2018 - 05:41 PM