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ZigBee is the new serial



Tonight I hooked up these neat little zigbee radios and got a network going. These little radios mix modern mesh networking with the old school hayes AT command set. You basically dial another network node and start talking. Very weird, but also very cool.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
seiryuu26
Apr. 26th, 2007 07:50 am (UTC)
you are a god of things like this
vanbeast
Apr. 26th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Where'd you get 'em? Sparkfun doesn't carry them.

I've been wanting to play with some radios, but bletooth is too expensive/weird. I've heard of zigbee but haven't looked into them much.
matthew
Apr. 26th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
I got the radios from digikey and the breakout boards and sockets from sparkfun. I found then at digikey with http://octopart.com/ it's like a google for electronics parts with stock info and pricing when you search.

The radios were $19 each and I ended up spending $5 more each on the breakout boards.
vanbeast
Apr. 26th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
ooo, is this the xbee thing they recently introduced? It's hard to tell from your pic.

They're out of stock on the breakout boards right now (weep), but I'm gonna order a pair. Thanks :)
matthew
Apr. 26th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah they are the 1mW xbee's with the dipole antenna. I got 3 radios so I could play with the addressing. With just two radios they *just work* and talk to one another. With 3 you can play addressing games.

I also strongly recommend getting one of these for each radio:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=718
and one of these so you can put it in a breadboard:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=117

The ft232rl board outputs the 3v needed to run the xbee. Don't put 5v into them or you'll let the smoke out.
vanbeast
Apr. 26th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
nice, so you get a USB connection instead of db9 and it does the power conversion for you? That's hot.

Ooooooo and the xbee breakouts came back into stock! Rad!
vanbeast
Apr. 26th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
ah, wait, I thought for some reason the xbee spoke rs232, I see now that's incorrect. Gonna have to figure out how many of those boards I want to get.
vanbeast
Apr. 26th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
ended up ordering one ft232rl board and three 3.3v regulators. My "experimental" first project is going to be desk-based continuous integration status boards, so one end will be plugged into my machine and the others will be on my coworkers desks.

Not sure what the battery life is going to be off of a 9v, but it should be entertaining for a while :)
matthew
Apr. 26th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
just remember that you have to run your signaling at 3.3v as well as the device. And the output signal of the xbee would need to be stepped up too.

I have one unit put together with a MAX232 and 3v regulator with the MAX232 set to 3v signaling. Remember that rs232 is +12/-12 signaling and will surely smoke the unit.

Of course if you are just making leds blink they'll do it just fine at 3v. You'll end up drawing about 60mA at 3.3v with the radio and some bright leds running so you can work out the battery life from there.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )