Using an nRF24L01 Module to Scan the 2.4GHz Frequency Range

There is a lot of electrical ‘noise’ all around us that we can’t see or sense as humans. However, in this day and time we have a great number of electronic devices which can sense what we can’t. Actually, it is these vary same electronic devices in most cases which are the cause of all the ‘noise’.┬á ­čś»

For example, if you are interested in seeing what frequencies are in the 2.4GHz range (to determine what channel might be best for your WiFi router), you will be interested in the nRF24L01 module from Nordic Semiconductor.  Here is a link to the product specifications.  They look like this:

nRF24L01nRF24L01 Pinout

 

Here is the Fritzing diagram to wire it up to an Arduino Leonardo:

nRF24L01 Wiring Diagram

If you want to modify the Fritzing diagram, here is the source. This module uses the SPI interface to communicate. Notice that the two ‘radio’ pins in my diagram (CE – Chip Enable┬á and CSN – Chip Select) are wired to Arduino pins 7 and 8 respectively (this must match what the code is expecting them to be which varies depending upon the library you choose). Also, you may need to place a 10 uf capacitor between +3.3v and ground to stabilize the power supply. These modules use 3.3V not 5V!

You will need an Arduino Library to control the nRF24L01 module, I used the one here. That library has a number of example sketches. The one to use (listed below called scanner.ino) wiil use the nRF24L01 module to scan the 2.4GHz frequency range. Note: I modified the code to use variables for the CE and CSN pins to make it easier to change if needed.

 

Here is what the output looks like (basically a list of all the available channels/frequencies then a list of what the nRF24L01 found at each frequency):

For your further investigation, there are of course, a number of sites on the internet with information about the nRF24L01 module and I find this one http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com particularly interesting and helpful.