Using spectrum analyzer to debug NRF24 module

Thread Starter

sairfan1

Joined May 24, 2012
105
Let me explain a bit back ground, long ago I used LEDs and Serial port to debug SPI, I2C communication which was quite hard. Then I came to know about Logic Analyzer, oh god it made my life so easy.

A few months back I started working on NRF24L01 modules to communicate between two uC, I gave myself a challenge to build it by getting help only from its datasheet. After setting up RX, TX nodes I had no idea if TX really transmitted anything?? this bring me to search for Spectrum Analyzer so that I know if my modules are really working.

So I started searching around for reasonable Spectrum Analyzer after reading/exploring a lot of options, I bought two devices. HackRF One and Signal Hound SA44B. Now when I transmit I do not see any signal on any of these device, that made me think may be I do not know how to use it in this scenario.

While working with logic analyzer we have trigger to make it ready to listen/log data, my question is how can I snif tranmitted packets to analyze if everything is correct? please help me what terms are used for it, what kind of procedures used so that I can further learn it. One thing I found tricky that Spectrum analyzer (at least my devices) can't continiously minitor the signal, alway there is a small gap in between a sweep how do I overcome this, because I do not have trigger like a logic analyzer to ensure SA is looking for packet right after it transmitted.
 
Last edited:

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,265
Welcome to AAC.

An SA is not really the tool you want. Fortunately, your HackRF One is very useful as a receiver. Using an SDR program such as the free, Windows-based SDR# (or one of the many other options that support Linux and MacOS, if needed), you can set the receive frequency to the transmit frequency of the NRF2401L and watch its ouput.

SDR# (pronounced “S D R sharp”) is not very complicated to operate as a simple receiver, but The Big Book of SDR# by Paolo Romani covers anything you could reasonably need including sourcing it, installing it, and using it—and it is freely downloadable.

You can also demodulate and analyze the signal with a great variety of tools designed for the purpose.

An SA is a great tool when it is needed, but it’s not needed very often unless you are building radio circuits or repairing them.
 

Thread Starter

sairfan1

Joined May 24, 2012
105
Can you please give some examples what tools are best suitable (other than hack RF) I would like to learn about it an buy for my on going projects.
 
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