Making changes

Now that we have a LoRaWAN based end-to-end example, we are ready to make some changes.

As mentioned earlier, it may happen that the device misses its downlink message from the cloud. However, it wouldn’t be a problem if the device would phone home on a regular basis[1].

Making plans

Instead of publishing once when the user presses a button, let’s change the logic of the device in way that it periodically sends some data. This might be a more realistic scenario anyway, periodically sending gathered telemetry data, instead of waiting for a user to press a button.

However, we need to be careful: LoRaWAN isn’t intended to constantly send data. First of all, the usage policy restricts you from doing so. Second, this is bad for power consumption and thus for the battery.

The Things Network limits downlink messages to a few per day. So we also cannot always send a downlink message, like we currently do it, when the button is pressed.

Here is what we need to change:

  • The device needs to report the state of the LED to the cloud too.

  • The device needs to periodically phone home

  • The cloud side application needs to evaluate if the state of the device’s LED is in the desired state.

  • If not, it needs to send out a command to the device to alter its state, but only in this case.

Changing the cloud side

Let prepare the cloud side first.

All that we need to do is to change the Processor class:

// first we split the payload
var parts = event.getPayload().split(",");

// then we check if the payload is, what we expect...
if (parts.length != 2 || !parts[0].startsWith("ping:") || !parts[1].startsWith("led:")) {
    // .. if not, return with no command
    return null;

// check if the configured response is about the LED, and if it matches ...
if (!this.response.startsWith("led:") || parts[1].equals(this.response)) {
    // ... it is not, or it matches, so we return with no command
    return null;

// if we end up here, we need to update the device"Need to update device state");

Changing the device

On the device side, we need to add a ticker. Take a look at the file, and make the following changes:

use drogue_device::{
    actors::ticker::*, (1)
use embassy::time::Duration; (2)
1 Import the ticker actor.
2 Import the Duration struct.
pub struct MyDevice {
    lora: ActorContext<'static, LoraActor<Sx127x<'static>>>,
    button: ActorContext<'static, Button<'static, ExtiPin<PB2<Input<PullUp>>>, MyApp>>,
    app: ActorContext<'static, MyApp>,
    ticker: ActorContext<'static, Ticker<'static, MyApp>>, (1)
1 Add an actor context for the ticker

Next, initialize the ticker for the device:

context.configure(MyDevice {
    app: ActorContext::new(App::new(AppInitConfig {
        tx_led: led2,
        green_led: led1,
        init_led: led4,
        user_led: led3,
        lora: Some(config),
    lora: ActorContext::new(LoraActor::new(lora)),
    button: ActorContext::new(Button::new(pin)),
    ticker: ActorContext::new(Ticker::new(Duration::from_secs(60), Command::Send)), (1)
1 Add the ticker, and configure it so send the Command::Send event every 60 seconds.

Now that the ticker takes care of sending the uplink message, we need to decouple this from the button push event. In the file, make the following changes:

fn from(event: ButtonEvent) -> Option<Command> {
    match event {
        ButtonEvent::Pressed => None,
        ButtonEvent::Released => Some(Command::Tick), (1)
1 When the button is released, send Command::Tick only.

Next, we change the context which is sent to the cloud. We simply append the LED state at the end of the current message:

let mut tx = String::<heapless::consts::U32>::new();
let led = match self.config.user_led.state().unwrap_or_default() {
    true => "on",
    false => "off",
}; (1)
write!(&mut tx, "ping:{},led:{}", self.counter, led).ok(); (2)
log::info!("Message: {}", &tx);
let tx = tx.into_bytes();
1 Generate the current state as a string.
2 Append the string to uplink message, using the prefix led:.

After making those changes, you should be able to compile and flash the firmware again using:

cargo run --release

Making tests

Pretty easy, wasn’t it? Noticed the bit of string handling on device side. And still, we are 100% sure we didn’t create any memory leaks or invalid pointer access in the process thanks to Rust.

So after the device is flashed, let’s sit back and watch the device phone home. Make some change to the LED state, and watch the logs. The LED should change. But, you only see the message Need to update device state in the logs, when there was a mismatch between the actual and the desired state of the LED.

More ideas

Now it is time to come up with your own ideas. You could:

  • Switch from sending string to some binary format, to make your LoRa messages more efficient.

  • You could come up with some more elaborate processing on the cloud side. Maybe tie in some external service for evaluating the desired state of the LED.

  • Attach a sensor to the device, and send some real data.

1. True, there are other ways to deal with this as well