Frustrating IoT Devices!

I’ve been continuing my IoT journey, finding that IoT devices are a little fickle.

My first LGT92 GPS Tracker device failed back in 2021; and I tried contacting both the retailer (IoT Store Perth), and the manufacturer. I was instructed by the manufacturer to open the clamshell case and take numerous photos to send to them. They suggested a fault, and that they would organise a replacement, but after 6 months, nothings happened.

During that period, i ordered a second LGT92, and it failed on first use. I contacted IoT Store again – by webform, email, and phone, and after many weeks, spoke to “Sam”, who from the sound of it was on the phone in his car. While he said he would look into this (and the original, nothing came of it, and I tried following up several times.

I then tried to get an IP67 rated, solar power device; however, what IoT Store sent me had no solar panel or GPS tracker device, just a box with some wires and screws. Again I spoke with “Sam” (in his car again) having tried webforms, email and his mobile number multiple times, and again he said he’d follow up on it, and that’s been three months and no success.

So I’m never buying anything from IoT Store again, and I strongly advise against anyone else doing so. The customer service is terrible. Not one of the emails I’ve sent have been replied to. Not one of the contact me forms have been responded to. And when I have managed to speak with Sam, he is evasive, and does not follow up on the actions he says he’ll take.

Next up is the RAK Wireless 10700, a new GPS tracker device, again IP67 rated, with solar power. Released in 2022, these devices shipped from China after about 3 months, but without a battery that the solar panel would charge. I ordered a LiPO battery from Amazon.com.au, but naturally these had a different connector, so I find myself soldering again after 15 years.

But they do power up, with device firmware 1.0.4 installed. I connected a serial power and enter the AT command to dump the config: Dev EUI, App EUI and App Key.

I enter this into the AWS IoT Core device registration, and ensure thing slike the frequency are correct, but the device refuses to join the LoRaWAN network with the local gateway running basicstation (current build at this time), with the best log output from the basicstation gateway showing:

Mar 28 14:15:19 rak-gateway basicstation[12538]: 2022-03-28 13:15:19.629 [S2E:VERB] RX 917.0MHz DR2 SF10/BW125 snr=-14.8 rssi=-89 xtime=0x6900001BA46F94 - jreq MHdr=00 JoinEUI=ac1f:9ff:f915:4631 DevEUI=ac1f:9ff:fe06:7117 DevNonce=35258 MIC=1390227384

Mar 28 14:15:20 rak-gateway basicstation[12538]: 2022-03-28 13:15:20.093 [S2E:WARN] Unknown field in dnmsg - ignored: regionid

And the output on the tracker device showing:

+EVT:JOIN FAILED

Out of interest, the AT+STATUS shows (with some of the keys and addresses hidden with underscores):

Device status:
   Auto join enabled
   Mode LPWAN
   Network not joined
LPWAN status:
   Dev EUI AC1F09FFFE______
   App EUI AC1F09__________
   App Key AC1F09__________________________
   Dev Addr 26021F__
   NWS Key 323D155A000DF335307A16DA0C______
   Apps Key 3F6A66459D5EDCA63CBC4619CD______
   OTAA enabled
   ADR enabled
   Public Network
   Dutycycle disabled
   Send Frequency 2
   Join trials 2
   TX Power 0
   DR 3
   Class 0
   Subband 1
   Fport 2
   Unconfirmed Message
   Region AU915
LoRa P2P status:
   P2P frequency 916000000
   P2P TX Power 22
   P2P BW 125
   P2P SF 7
   P2P CR 1
   P2P Preamble length 8
   P2P Symbol Timeout 0

I did notice the documentation from RAKWireless says that firmware 1.0.1 supports LoRaWAN MAC version 1.0.2 (not the 1.0.3 that the LGT92 supported); and this version difference is defined in a device profile in AWS IoT Core for LoRaWAN.

What I also noticed was the documentation for the RAK 10700 at https://docs.rakwireless.com/Product-Categories/WisBlock/RAK10700/Datasheet/#software mentioned that the firmware version available is 1.0.1, so older than what shipped to me on the device:

+VER:1.0.4 Jan 14 2022 14:17:02

But, on that same documentation page, is a link to download for a firmware, but is unfortunately a 404!

So, my journey continues, but I’ve learnt a few lessons. The IoT device landscape seems… littered with failures. The quality, of commodity devices is low, the compatibility is bewildering, and the standards are evolving.

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