Search Results for 'Xbee'

New LilyPad XBee

LilyPad XBee radioThe LilyPad XBee sew-in wearable radio created by myself and Kate Hartman just got an update to add a reset button and improve its manufacturability. This board can be paired with LilyPad wearable sensors, custom built sensors and a variety of output devices to create a complete wireless wearable system. Available from Sparkfun for just $14.95 with discounts available for larger quantities. Get yours today!


LilyPad XBee frontLilyPad XBee sideLilyPad XBee back



Botanicalls on Smithsonian Channel’s Amazing Plants

Botanicalls was recently featured in the Smithsonian Channel’s “Amazing Plants” documentary. There’s even beauty shots of the Arduino and XBee radio components!

Also here’s the segment, filmed all the way back in 2007:

Botanicalls Smithsonian Channel Amazing Plants

XBee Stacker 2

The Stacker is an XBee radio-sized Arduino-compatible microcontroller that can be “stacked” directly underneath the radio. It is intended for use with devices that already use the XBee’s 20-pin footprint. Future designs could easily utilize other microcontrollers or host sensors.  The goal is to create plug-and-play tools for prototyping new concepts that extend the popular radio’s feature set. A few iterations have created a prototype that works well, supports USB programming, wireless programming, I2C, SPI, digital and analog I/O!

XBee Stacker 2

This is the next iteration of an Arduino-compatible board the size of an XBee that fits right underneath the radio. It uses the ATMega32U4 so in Arduino you can program it as a Leonardo board.

“XBee Stacker 2″ Arduino/ATMEL board design 

IMG_2932 IMG_2934IMG_2930 IMG_2933


  • I2C

  • SPI

  • scriptable interruption of:

    • all UART transactions

    • XBee pin sleep controls

  • local support for:

    • association indicator

    • commissioning button

  • 17 total digital i/o pins (14 Arduino, 4 XBee)

    • 6 configurable as ADC analog inputs

    • 4 configurable as PWM analog outputs

    • 2 attachable interrupts

  • USB serial programming

  • wireless programming


  • multiple UARTs

  • Use of all Arduino libraries, e.g. servo, stepper, displays, capacitive sensing, rfid, sd cards etc.


Bottom of XBee Stacker 2:


Physical Pin Function Arduino Connection
1 Power supply VCC
2 Arduino software TX D11 (softserial TX)
3 Arduino software RX, PWM D10 (softserial RX)
4 MISO (spi), digital i/o MISO (spi)
5 input for Arduino reset RESET
6 digital i/o, analog output D9
7 MOSI (spi), analog input, digital i/o MOSI (spi)
8 analog input, digital i/o D8/A8
9 PWM, interrupt, digital i/o D7
11 SCK (spi), digital i/o SCK (spi)
12 SDA (i2c) interrupt, digital i/o D2/SDA (i2c)
13 SCL (i2c), interrupt, PWM, digital i/o D3/SCL (i2c)
14 analog input, digital i/o D4/A6
15 PWM, digital i/o D5 pwm
16 analog input, PWM, digital i/o D6/A7 pwm
17 analog input, digital i/o A3
18 analog input, digital i/o A2
19 analog input, digital i/o A1
20 analog input, digital i/o A0

Top of XBee Stacker 2

XBee Stacker 2 top pins

XBee Physical Pin  Function  XBee Connection
1 Power supply VCC
2 Arduino RX D0 RX
3 Arduino TX D1 TX
4 - -
5 -  -
6 - -
7 - -
8 -
9 control for pin sleep D12
11 - -
12 CTS A4
13 - -
14 voltage reference VCC
15 association output <led>
16 RTS A5
17 Arduino Reset (p1) via cap. <capacitor> for reset
18  - -
19  - -
20 - -

Schematics & Board Layout

XBee Stacker Arduino 2.0-board

XBee Stacker Arduino 2.0-schematic


Sample code library

Program as an Arduino Leonardo board!




Not determined, leaning toward open source hardware.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee Wi-Fi Visits Logroño

logrono-lie-detect-robFor the latest Digi Hackathon, I headed overseas to hold our first ever creative construction event at Digi’s office in Logroño, Spain. Using XBee WiFi Cloud Kits, the four teams hacked away for what was the most competitive session yet. In a matter of hours, each team had to quickly brainstorm, build, and present their cloud-connected projects. Their results were terrific.

Projects included:

  • The Garbage M.A.N.: Smart garbage containers monitoring for smart cities
  • Germinator Plus: An automated system for remote greenhouse seed germination monitoring.
  • Lie-Detect-o-Meter: A mobile battery-operated wristband lie detector for public questioning.
  • The Smart Plug-Y-Play: A power consumption monitor and remote control for computers and other electrical appliances.

Read more and see pictures on the Digi blog.

Digi Employee Hackathon: XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit


Last week, we held a Digi Employee Hackathon to put the new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit to the test. This is one of several ways we are working on designing outstanding user experiences for new Digi products. With the kits, the teams were able to build projects that connected with the cloud right away. One team member reported, “I got from the box to the cloud in under 20 minutes.” Using the kit’s dashboard, new widgets were  developed to whimsically represent data being collected by Device Cloud. Rain, food safety and even child development were addressed by our project teams.

I’m looking forward to doing more of these internal hackathons in the coming year. They’re fun!

Read more about this hackathon on the Digi Blog.

Maker Faire: XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit Wins Editor’s Choice


The new XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit won an Editor’s Choice award at Maker Faire NYC! My team at Digi International has been hard at work all summer bringing together this modular kit to help users  create XBee Wi-Fi connected devices for the Internet of Things. There’s a development board with all kinds of input and output components plus modular widgets to make building online web interfaces for seeing data and controlling devices a snap. The kit gets online right out of the box, and contains additional loose components to help you create your own circuits and wire them to the web. Look for an XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit release in November.

We also showed off the beta of Digi’s XCTU configuration tool and presented “Make it Awesome: How to Internet-Enable Your Project.” Here’s some more photos from our fabulous weekend at Maker Faire NYC:

IMG_4218 IMG_4221 IMG_4229

2013-09-21-17.44.46 2013-09-21-17.05.01 2013-09-22 11.25.58

2013-09-22 12.01.04 2013-09-21-11.10.05 IMG_4249


New XCTU for Mac & Windows


Get a sneak peek of the brand new version of Digi’s XCTU for Mac & Windows! It’s the official tool to configure and test XBee radios, as well as other Digi devices. Get the New XCTU beta version below, completely redesigned from the ground up with:

  • a fresh new user interface
  • expanded discovery options
  • automatic device recovery feature
  • local and remote radio management
  • API frame generator and interpreter
  • automatic updates with more features on the way!

Check out these screen shots for a sneak peek. Then download the new XCTU beta:

xctu_1 xctu_2 xctu_3xctu_4


World Maker Faire NY 2013: Make Your Project Awesome

World Maker Faire NY is less than a week away! We’ll have project demos for you to check out, a new development kit, and we’ll be giving a talk on connecting your projects to the Internet. It’s going to be an extremely fun weekend. If you’re going to Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Digi booth where we will be debuting our XBee Wi-Fi Cloud Kit. The Kit makes Internet-enabling your project easy. Maker Faire attendees also have a chance to sign up for the beta version of Digi’s new XCTU software.


Digi’s Liz Presson  and I will be presenting September 22, 2013 at 12:00p.m. EST on the Electronics Stage. We’ll show you how an Internet connection can improve your project and turn it into something amazing. This will be a great first step to getting your projects online. Everything from how to get started, what technologies to use and examples of great internet enabled projects will be covered.

Learn more about the talk here!

XBee Stacker


This new project creates XBee radio-sized components that can be “stacked” directly underneath the radio. Each Stacker will add additional features like microcontrollers and sensors for devices that already use the XBee’s 20-pin footprint. The goal is to create plug-and-play tools for prototyping new concepts that extend the popular radio’s feature set. A few iterations have created a prototype that works great!

XBee Stacker Arduino

The first design is an Arduino-compatible board the size of an XBee that fits right underneath the radio, creating a Arduino-programmable XBee.

XBee Stacker Arduino 1.1

“XBee Stacker” Arduino/ATMEL board design v1.1 xbee-stacker-1.1-side xbee-stacker-1.1-front xbee-stacker-1.1--with-radio


  • I2C

  • SPI

  • scriptable interruption of:

    • all UART transactions

    • XBee reset

    • XBee pin sleep

  • pass-through of:

    • on/sleep indicator

    • association indicator

    • RSSI indicator

    • commissioning button

  • 18 total digital i/o pins (14 Arduino, 4 XBee)

    • 6 configurable as ADC analog inputs

    • 4 configurable as PWM analog outputs

    • 2 attachable interrupts

  • USB serial (via bootloader firmare) programming, using adaptor cable

  • wireless programming

  • ICSP for firmware access


  • multiple UARTs

  • Use of all Arduino libraries, e.g. servo, stepper, displays, capacitive sensing, rfid, sd cards etc.


Bottom of XBee Stacker Arduino:
Base Pin Physical Connection Function
1 VCC Power supply
2 Arduino D9 Arduino software TX / PWM out
3 Arduino D8 Arduino software RX
4 Arduino D12 MISO (spi) / digital i/o
5 Arduino D2 input for resets
6 XBee 6 passthrough RSSI output
7 Arduino A4 SCA (i2c) / analog input
8 Arduino A2 analog input
9 Arduino D3 input for pin sleep / PWM out
11 Arduino D11 MOSI (spi) / digital i/o / PWM out
12 Arduino A0 analog input
13 XBee 13 passthrough on/sleep output
14 Arduino A3 voltage reference / analog input
15 XBee 15 passthrough assn output
16 Arduino A1 analog input
17 Arduino D10 SS (spi) / digital i/o / PWM out
18 Arduino D13 SCLK (spi) / digital i/o
19 Arduino A5 SCL (i2c) / analog input
20 XBee 20 passthrough commissioning
Top of XBee Stacker Arduino
XBee Pin Physical Connection Function
1 VCC Power supply
2 Arduino D0 Arduino RX
3 Arduino D1 Arduino TX
4 -
5 Arduino D4 control for resets
6 base 6 passthrough RSSI output
7 - -
8 - -
9 Arduino D5 control for pin sleep
11 -
12 - -
13 base 13 passthrough on/sleep output
14 VCC voltage reference
15 base 15 passthrough assn output
16 - -
17 capacitor Arduino Reset (p1) via cap.
18 - -
19 - -
20 base 20 passthrough commissioning

Wireless Programming (Arduino XBee OTA)

This XBee Stacker can be programmed wirelessly using an Arduino setup first prototyped by me, then greatly improved by Limor Fried and later Shigeru Kobayashi. I’m borrowing it back now, thanks everyone!


2 – XBee 802.15.4

1 – XBee Explorer USB (or XBIB, or similar)

1 – USB cable

Configure Your XBees

XBees are factory configured for 9600 baud. The Arduino IDE typically sends programs (sketches) at 57600 baud. In addition, Arduino needs to reset the microcontroller on your remote board just before sending over a new sketch. This is cleverly accomplished by linking one of the base station’s hardware handshaking lines briefly to the reset line on the remote Arduino-based microcontroller. Here’s the chain of events:

  1. User clicks the upload button in the Arduino IDE. That’s it! The remaining steps happen automatically…
    • Arduino (technically AVR Dude) opens the local serial port, automatically bringing the RTS line low.
    • The RTS line is connected to pin DIO3 on the local XBee Explorer so that pin it goes low in tandem.
    • The local, base station XBee has pin DIO3 configured as a digital input, and sends that low state to the remote XBee, the one plugged in to the XBee Stacker board.
    • The remote XBee has pin DIO3 configured as a digital output, initially high. When it receives the low state from the base station XBee, its own DIO3 goes low too.
    • DIO3 on the XBee Arduino Stacker is connected to the Arduino microcontroller’s reset line, but via a capacitor so only a burst of the low signal gets through, just enough to reset the microcontroller.
    • The reset microcontroller goes into bootloader mode and accepts your new Arduino sketch over-the-air, then begins running that new sketch. All by itself and without wires!

Label one XBee “Base” and use X-CTU, CoolTerm or even the Arduino IDE’s Serial Monitor to give the “Base” XBee the following settings:

PAN ID 1234 ->  ATID 1234 (I recommend that you choose your own unique PAN ID)
MY ID 1 ->  ATMY 1
BAUD RATE 57,600 ->  ATBD 5
DIGITAL IO 3 input ->   ATD3 3

Label the other XBee “Remote” and give it the following settings:

PAN ID: 1234 ->  ATID 1234 (always match the “Base” radio’s PAN ID)
MY ID: 2 ->  ATMY 2
BAUD RATE: 57,600 ->  ATBD 5
DIGITAL IO 3: output high ->   ATD3 5
UART OUTPUT disable ->  ATIU 0

If you are using CoolTerm or another Serial Terminal, use ATWR to save the configuration to your XBee’s firmware.

After you change their baud rate the radios will no longer respond at 9600 baud. Be sure to change the baud rate in X-CTU or CoolTerm to 57600 if you want to check or update their configurations.

Configure Your Hardware

The “Base” XBee’s DIO3 and RTS pins need to be connected together. If you are using an XBee Explorer, simply solder a jumper or wire between these two pins.

Nate at Sparkfun shows the solder jumper you will need.

(If you are using Digi’s XBIB board or a different adapter, find the appropriate pins and then short them together either with some solder or with a bit of wire. Either method is reversible.)

Upload Sketches

Now you can start uploading Arduino sketches wirelessly! Simply:

  1. Connect your “Base” XBee into the modified XBee Explorer USB  (or  your own adapter) connect it to your computer with a USB cable.
  2. Stack your “Remote” XBee onto the XBee Arduino Stacker and provide it with power (a second Explorer or XBIB is an easy way to power it for tests).
  3. Select “Arduino Uno” in the Tools:Board menu and select the correct serial port from the Tools:Serial Port menu.
  4. Open the sketch you’d like to upload.
  5. Click the Upload button!

Should you get an error message, try again in case it’s just a one-time glitch. Next carefully recheck each connection and configuration item, one at a time. It’s very common to get something set wrong the first time you try this so go through it methodically and patience will pay off.

Schematics & Board Layout




Not determined although open source hardware is top of my list right now.

Digi Deploys 500-Node Internet of Things Network for Data Sensing Lab at Google I/O


This week we are taking part in deploying over 500 sensor motes at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, May 15-17. The network will make up the Data Sensing Lab, a project that utilizes Digi’s XBee ZigBee modules and ConnectPort wireless gateways. The sensor data will be collected and managed by Device Cloud. The project demonstrates how real-time machine-to-machine data can provide insight into customer behaviors and preferences.

The senor network will provide more than 4,000 data streams running over Device Cloud with continuous updates on temperature, pressure, light, air quality, motion and noise levels in San Francisco’s Moscone Center during the conference. The Google Cloud Platform team will gather, transform, and analyze the information, then share heat maps and other data visualizations in collaboration with the Google Maps team.


Google is getting a global view of their entire multi-million dollar event, as it plays out in real time. They’re learning where people are going and when, how loud the applause is for each presentation, where it’s figuratively hot and where it’s literally cool. But they’re also learning how easy it is to integrate Device Cloud’s APIs with their own cloud-based business systems. Google and Digi collaborated to create a complete end-to-end solution in just a few weeks, one that’s ready to hand us 40 million fascinating data points.”

The Data Sensing Lab crew, Alasdair Allan of Babilim Light Industries, Kipp Bradford of Kippworks, Rob Faludi of Digi International, Michael Manoochehri, Amy Unruh and Kim Cameron of Google and Julie Steele of O’Reilly Media, created the project to collect data to answer questions about the physical world in a fun and awe-inspiring way. For more information about the software involved in this project, attend the “Behind the Data Sensing Lab” session on May 16, 5:20 – 6 p.m. PDT.

Here’s a bit of the press we’ve gotten so far about the project: