How to use the NRF24L01 module with Arduino

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Having two or more Arduino boards be able to communicate with each other wirelessly over a distance opens lots of possibilities like remotely monitoring sensor data, controlling robots, home automation and the list goes on. A good, reliable and inexpensive solution is NRF24L01.

The NRF24L01+ is a newer version of the NRF24L01, capable of doing an extra 250kbps of on-air data rate while the one without “+” has only 1Mbps and 2Mbps. Both versions can be mixed together as long as 1 or 2 MBps is being used as the data rate.

DIY - Universal RC Joystick

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Controlling devices over a distance opens lots of possibilities. Our Arduino roadmap contains many projects that must be controlled remotely and sometimes on a long-distance. Of course, it can be done with a PC but our experience has shown that it becomes complicated when you need long way, portable and rapid communications. Our solution was designing a multi-functional remote controller, we have called it AirControl. Aware of the needs it will have 4 push buttons, 2 switch buttons, 2 potentiometers and two analog modules. Additionally, each analog joystick module has integrated push button.

DIY - Universal RC Joystick: controls

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Based on the solution of designing multi-functional remote controller and being aware of the needs we started building the joystick. It will have 4 push buttons, 2 switch buttons, 2 potentiometers and two analog modules. And, additional 2 push buttons integrated on the analog joystick module.

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DIY - Universal RC Joystick: concept

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Controlling devices over a distance opens lots of possibilities. Our Arduino roadmap contains many projects that must be controlled remotely and sometimes on a long-distance. Of course, it can be done with a PC but our experience has shown that it becomes complicated when you need long way, portable and rapid communications. Our solution was designing a multi-functional remote controller, we have called it AirControl.

DIY - Universal RC Joystick: mounting

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Based on the solution of designing multi-functional remote controller and being aware of the needs we started building the joystick. The cover with controls is ready for use but we miss the most important part: the microcontroller. Once more, our decision falls on Arduino Nano. It perfectly fits by size providing all the necessary functionality.

DIY - Universal RC Joystick: code

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The physical part of the controller is finished but what about the brain? Once more, our decision falls on Arduino Nano. It perfectly fits by size providing all the necessary functionality. For programming a Nano board we need a USB to serial interface which can be hooked up to the programing header located on the top side of our controller.

DIY - Universal RC Joystick: receiver

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Wireless communication implies having a transmitter, in our case the joystick, and a receiver. We must build a simple circuit with NRF24L01 wiring that will act as listener for our joystick. The NRF24L01 module strictly needs 3.3V but the logic pins are 5V tolerant. That why we recommend to use the NRF24L01 adapter which acts as regulator, keep the voltage stable, apply filtering and reduce noises.

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