The RC-RICK-868-EV Wireless Modem: A Compelling Addition to Your Workbench

    • by Jean-François Simon
    • Reading time: 2 min

    In this review, we're exploring the RC-RICK-868-EV, a specialized evaluation kit by Radiocontrolli designed for their RC-RICK-868 radio modem. This device stands out by employing LoRa modulation for point-to-point communication, making it an intriguing option for long-distance data transmission without the need for a network infrastructure like LoRaWAN.

    Unboxing and First Impressions

    The kit arrives with two USB dongles, two antennas, and a quick start guide. The assembly involves a UFL to SMA pigtail, which might appear somewhat cumbersome. Users should handle this setup carefully to avoid any potential damage to laptop USB ports, possibly by using a USB extension cable or hub to ease the connection strain.

    the RC-RICK-868 kit contents
    The contents of the kit.

    Technical Overview

    The heart of the RC-RICK-868 modules is the STM32WLE5JC IC—a collaboration between STMicroelectronics and Semtech. This integrated circuit merges an ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller with an RF transceiver, providing robust functionality as a pre-programmed wireless serial link.

    Configuration and Testing

    Setting up the modules is a breeze with the included guide. Installation of the CP2102 USB-to-serial drivers is straightforward, as noted in Radiocontrolli's documentation. Configurations are managed through AT commands via terminal software like RealTerm, allowing for easy customization and saving of parameters in the module's Flash memory.

    RC-RICK-868 USB dongle
    RC-RICK-868 USB dongle.

    Range Testing

    Our practical tests began by connecting one module to a PC and sending data continuously with a compliant duty cycle. This setup proved effective, maintaining robust communication over significant distances in an urban environment—demonstrating the module's capability for reliable long-range data transmission.

    Building a Remote Sensor

    We further tested the module's utility by constructing a remote sensor to monitor conditions in a wine cellar. This scenario showcased the RC-RICK-868's strength in penetrating through interference-heavy environments and maintaining a steady connection, even with obstructions typical of a residential setting.

    RC-RICK-868 bare module
    RC-RICK-868 bare module. (Source: TME)


    This LoRa evaluation kit is a powerful addition to any developer's toolkit, offering pre-programmed modules for straightforward point-to-point serial communication. While the price point is slightly higher than some alternatives, the convenience and capability of the RC-RICK-868 justify the investment, particularly for those needing robust long-distance communication solutions.



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