XBee Tutorial

[ Foreword ]

Xbee can be used for wireless communication with low power consumption. A 3.6V 600mA Lithium battery may last 6 - 12 months for powering up an Xbee while the wireless range can up to 1 mile. It talks with well known UART interface and makes it easy to use. It is simple and straight forward if you only use 2 Xbee for communication. People use this for their own electronics projects for wireless communication. Arduino plus Xbee is a very popular combination for electronics projects. In this tutorial , I'll show you the most basic way to make a Xbee network communication happen which is only consist two Xbee. You will be able to use Xbee in your robot control / monitor project. Xbee is the module using Zigbee protocol. Zigbee is a wireless communication protocol like wifi and bluetooth. ZigBee defines a network layer above the 802.15.4 layers to support advanced mesh routing capabilities.It is simple to make XBee talk to another XBee( P2P , use 802.15.4) , however , it is not an easy job to setup a Zigbee Network. This tutorial will also demonstrate a simple way to make it happen. When you are trying to touch and play Xbee in the first time , you may notice that it is not just like plug and play. The datasheet has totally 69 pages , and the content does not show you how to make it work right away. Also , when you try to update the firmware , you may have a lot of questions in your mind about : Which modem and function set is the one that I need? You may found after upgrading the firmware , the XBee looks like transforming into a "Brick" from USD$25.0 (or USD$55.0 if you're using the Pro ver.). After succeeding in updating the firmware , how do I configure these tons of setting so the Xbee will start communicating?This tutorial will show you the tips and shortcuts about how to make Xbee Net Work !

[ The Scope Of This Website ]

[ Configure XBee with X-CTU ]

Digi International write a software X-CTU for configuring XBee. With X-CTU , it is simple and easy to update the firmware and modify the parameters. Before you can do that , you will need an USB adapter for XBee. After the right setting , the XBee will work for you and your projects. The basic tutorials of XBee configuration for both P2P(802.15.4) and Network(Coordinator and Router) will be covered in here.

[ PC Talk To XBee ]

Sometimes , you wanna your PC be able to communicate with other electronics device , such as Arduino , an Embedded Sytem in your home , or other electronics projects , wirelessly. In this time , XBee is one the best choice , and you'll need an USB adapter for this purpose.

X-CTU is a very good tool for updating firmware and parameters , however , it can not perform this task. For doing this , you will need :

  1. Windows Serial Port Programming

  2. An USB Adapter for PC to connect to XBee

In my case , the USB Adapter has a FTDI chip : "FTDI FT232RL". It will create a Virtual COM Port(VCP) in your PC , such that you can write a simple program which can talk to this Virtual COM Port. The tutorial of Windows Serial Port Programming is here. Then , this VCP driver will talk to your XBee through USB Port and the FTDI chip. In this case , you can use your PC to collect and store the data from your electronics project , or control / monitor them , wirelessly.

[ Web Server For Electronics Project ]

Further more , if you make your own Customized Web Server , a simple one of course , then you can access (monitor and control) your personal electronics project from Internet.

The tutorial of Making Your Own Web Server is here.

From WikiPedia:


The technology defined by the ZigBee specification is intended to be simpler and less expensive than other WPANs, such as Bluetooth. ZigBee is targeted at radio-frequency (RF) applications that require a low data rate, long battery life, and secure networking.

ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh networking proprietary standard. The low cost allows the technology to be widely deployed in wireless control and monitoring applications, the low power-usage allows longer life with smaller batteries, and the mesh networking provides high reliability and larger range.

[ Application ]

Not only just on and off , XBee can communicate wirelessly. This is an example of using XBee to communicate between PC and a microcontroller(Arduino). So , the XBee can transfer input data from a microcontroller to PC. Tell PC "Hey , Buddy! Something is happening here! What should I do?". So the PC got input data and found it is too dark and the vehicle hit the wall. Then , PC commands Arduino through XBee "Don't Panic and stay cool. Just turn on your flashlight. Then go backward and make a right turn!".

[ A Friendly Reminder ]

This website may contain error messages and personal opinions. Be aware that all the information here are just for viewer's references.