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Fixing the Terrible Range of your Cheap NRF24L01+ PA/LNA Module

nRF24L01+ PA/LNA module specs look great on paper. Wireless communication up to 1000m in a small package readily available from a variety of cheap sources in China? The hard work of software connectivity already done by a variety of open source projects? Sounds great! But if you mashed BUY and are getting maybe 1% of that range, don’t worry because thanks to these clear directions, they can be fixed .

[Oitzu] got vastly better performance from his cheap units with a mixture of providing better power, controlling noise, adding shielding, and being careful to choose the right channel. He claims that “with [these] modifications I got about 1000m free line of sight out of the modules. In a forest with non free line of sight I measured about 270m, but these are probably not the maximum ranges possible. I need to test further.”

Modified nRF24L01+ PA/LNA modules and the MySensors software framework were used in another of [Oitzu]’s projects we recently featured: his solar-powered, networked birdhouses where they handle transmitting camera images to a Raspberry Pi for later uploading via the mobile network. He was able to get the aforementioned 270m in the woods, but not even a tenth of that before doing the simple modifications.

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