arduino Uncategorized

Converting Radiohead ASK Transmissions to ASCII

This is a quick one, mostly because I don’t want to forget it. I’ve been playing with rtl_433 (a super-easy SDR package), and have been piping all of the transmissions received to a local mosquitto server to be used within node-red. I run this command to start receiving:

rtl_433 -F json -M utc | mosquitto_pub -t home/rtl_433 -l -h localhost

Once that’s running, you can add the MQTT node in node-red, using topic “home/rtl_433”. If you’re lucky, you’ll start getting semi-interesting stuff right away (I get inundated with signals from tire pressure systems). I noticed that when I was testing 433Mhz transmissions with the RadioHead library on Arduino, I would get these transmissions:

{"time":"2019-06-13 13:31:52","model":"RadioHead ASK","len":29,"to":255,"from":255,"id":0,"flags":0,"payload":[87,101,108,99,111,109,101,32,116,111,32,116,104,101,32,87,111,114,107,115,104,111,112,32,100,117,100,101,33],"mic":"CRC"}

This was really welcome at the time because I was having a difficult time with the hardware receivers.  The problem is that the payload is received in ASCII, so we need a way to decipher it in node-red, and there is not a pre-made node built to handle this (surprisingly). This snippet within a function node did the trick for me.

var stream = msg.payload.payload;		
msg.payload = String.fromCharCode.apply(null, stream);
return msg;

This converts the array of ASCII values into a readable string.

Welcome to the Workshop!

Now that we’ve got that, we can use the RadioHead library and the cheap 433Mhz transmitters to send something meaningful and have it acted upon within node-red. Thanks to DroneBot Workshop for the transmitter code and thanks to Steve’s Internet Guide for node-red javascript function help.

UPDATE: If you use commas to separate what you’re sending, here’s the code that you want. This examples just has two elements.

var output = msg.payload.split(",");
msg.payload = {
    id :output[0],
    range : output[1] 
return msg;


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