Saboten

Saboten was designed from the beginning as a ruggedized wireless sensor node for environmental monitoring. It comes with a waterproof, industrial grade enclosure to protect the circuitry and internal parts from exposure to the harsh conditions of being located outdoors such as water, insects, and dust.

Saboten is the culmination of many outdoor environmental monitoring projects performed by members of FreakLabs. These projects have taken us from measureing water levels in the mountains of the Himalayas to radiation monitoring in the deserts of Egypt with many places in between. From the experiences from these projects under difficult conditions, we’ve built up an expertise in outdoor environmental monitoring and what constitutes a good ruggedized wireless sensor device that can survive outdoors. The Saboten device has been used by organizations such as the World Bank, UNESCO, Qatar Foundation, International Atomic Energy Agency, and many more.

Saboten means “cactus” in Japanese because it was designed to survive for a long time in environments with very little resources. The circuit and parts were chosen carefully and designed to be very low power. In its lowest power mode, the device can survive for up to six months on a standard 2000 mA-hr lithium-ion battery. However it wasn’t designed to just be a single charge device. It also contains circuitry so it can be outfitted with a solar cell that powers the circuitry and charges the battery simultaneously. In this configuration, it can survive indefinitely in the wild.  You can also monitor the battery and solar panel voltage remotely to make sure the solar panel is operating correctly and the battery is charging properly.

Along with this, Saboten is designed specifically to capture, store, and transmit sensor data in harsh environments. For capturing data, it comes with a temperature compensated real-time clock which allows it to accurate keep time even while the temperature fluctuates. Normally this is a difficult task because the frequency of the watch crystal the clock relies on is dependent on temperature. Keeping accurate time becomes especially important if you have multiple sensor nodes since you usually need to order and align the data according to a timeline.

Saboten comes with a built-in micro SD card slot that can house a standard micro-SD card. With the smallest SD cards starting out in the gigabyte range today, this turns Saboten into an extremely powerful data logger that can potentially store data for years. In cases where communication is lost or data won’t be transmitted, data can still be collected offline and picked up at a later time, all with proper calendar timestamp for reference and alignment. The SD card can also serve as an offline backup in cases where the data can potentially get lost on the remote side.

The wireless radio that comes with Saboten uses the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless sensor data protocol and comes in either 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz versions. Both versions come with an amplifier on the front end both the transmit and receive channels. This allows Saboten to communicate at long distance ranges, often a few kilometers to a few tens of kilometers based on the operating mode and antenna.

Saboten is the distillation of all the experience we’ve had working on outdoor environmental monitoring projects in harsh environments. Its features are a product of all the wish lists we’ve had when working on these projects and not having access to a device like Saboten. At its price point, it’s the most affordable product on the market targeted specifically at outdoor environmental monitoring for research scientists, citizen scientists, and people that just want to monitor their sensors outdoors. We hope you give it a try and find it useful. We’d also love to hear what kind of project you’re working on.

You can find more information and technical details on the shop page at the link below.