Xbee Tutorials and Catalog support

I’ve scanned through a lot of posts and gave up after several pages…so forgive me if this has already been asked.

Coming from a brand new gadgeteer, I’d like to setup the most basic setup: Using Hydra with a joystick module and a Xbee module. User moves joystick, which sends commands ‘up/down/left/right’ through the serial port on the Xbee. The other end doesn’t even matter right now, but I plan to use an Arduino to receive the messages. (but for the example here, lets just say a Cerberus Bee is receiving it)

Your documentation in the catalog isn’t complete, but it refers to a youtube video that honestly, as a total beginner, didn’t get me very far. Yes it goes through some basics - but what he’s doing in the video isn’t what I’m looking to do. So I can’t go from A to C, without knowing what B is. Another project shows a coordinator, router, and endpoint. All of which is way over my head right now…I just want a sender and receiver here.I know I can figure this out if I continue to bang away at it, but for me this wasn’t ‘FEZ’.

Again, I tried searching through the forum to find some basics - but all of them end up doing something that’s way above over me. (the one on the RC controls was good…but again, the comments inside didn’t help for someone that’s never touched a xbee before).

Finishing my long winded plea for help, I’m not looking for someone to write up a tutorial. In fact, I will volunteer to write one up myself after I’m done writing my first project with xbee…and humbly submit it. Can anyone drop some links on me that will help? (I’ve been through youtube, they weren’t that useful to me - not enough hand holding…yes, I’m a child and need my hand held for this).

xbee is a “complex” device. So much more to do than say a simple serial connection between a PC and a device (or two devices). Still much more than using a classic Bluetooth module as the serial connection. I suspect that you’re seeing the xbee complexity, not Gadgeteer - I don’t have the xbee exposure to help you navigate this, but I am sure there are others here who can…

XBee is great for point to point or multi-point mesh etc once you get the hang of it all.

If you don’t already have one, get yourself an XBee to USB module. Sparkfun is cheap for this. This will allow you to programme the XBee using the Digi X-CTU software that you can grab from the Digi-website. You’ll need this to setup the modules PAN ID etc. Easier and quicker than doing it in the software. Having different PAN ID’s means you can have multiple networks in the same location.

Whilst you are on the Sparkfun website getting the module, grab the book Building Wireless Sensor Networks as it will give you a good understanding of what XBee is capable of. It is mainly aimed at Series 2 modules but the basics will allow you to work with the older units too.

As for NETMF software, I use the XBee drivers from the MFToolkit. I only build the XBee stuff and it makes using the XBee much easier. It works with your XBee modules in API mode. This gives you access to standalone XBee modules with there ADC and DIGITAL inputs. I have a unit that sleeps most of the time, wakes up, reads the ADC for 5 seconds and transmits the data every 500ms and then goes back to sleep. All configured and setup from X-CTU with no need for any CPU. I also have 2 units setup by my bed with push buttons that wake up on pressing, send the digital status and go back to sleep. Again, no processor needed.

I had a problem with buffer overflow on it but I think I may have this fixed now and I’ll be asking the developer to add this and if not, I’ll post the fix. Another few days first to confirm it works though. :slight_smile:

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@ andre.m Thanks - I’m seriously considering getting that. Just worried about how long it will take to receive.

I really need to get this one minor project done before I’m out of town later this month…it’s related to a security system/home automation thing. Setting up the joystick to control a simple robot was going to be my stepping stone…but it’s more like a boulder.

@ Dave Thanks for the suggestions. I’m not sure the exact direction to take now if this will take a couple of weeks to figure out. I have two Gadgeteer module Xbee boards, plus a basic Xbee kit that came with a set of radios. Everywhere I look it seems I need to buy more equipment to learn it one way; when I’ve already poured in over $600 only to get stopped at a certain point and then finding out I need something different to purchase. It’s been a bit discouraging.

I’ll put my head into more reading tonight and just drudge through. Too bad there isn’t any local classes on this kind of stuff…I’d pay for it!

Have you looked at the samples provided with the community driver? If not, follow this link:
http://xbee.codeplex.com/SourceControl/latest click on the “Download” link (not “DOWNLOADS”. In the zip file is a “samples” directory with a Hydra example, it might be enough to help.

Thank you Jeff; I did glance at those initially and felt it was too much too early. However, now that I’ve looked all around, I think this must be my starting point. I’ll combine this with some of the other starter material I’ve found and purchase the USB dongle(more stuff to buy…but it is what it is).

It’s clear to me now that this technology flat out isn’t going to be as simple as I originally thought. There’s a lot of new ideas to grasp here, so with that in mind, I’ll accept that there is no plug’n’play for Xbee…and begin the journey!

@ verbosewater - the rf pipe in the link above is a breeze to use. If you are in the uk then you can get it pretty quickly from @ justin who makes it.

@ HughB I’m in southeast Michigan, so I know I can’t get it fast. But I think it warrants a try…just contacted him and will set something up.

You can get it fast. I got a batch of RF pipes in less than 5 days.

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