Instructables
Picture of Introducing the Wixel USB Wireless Module
Wixel Combo Deal.jpg
Wixel.jpg
EDIT: I've entered this into the makerbot contest http://www.instructables.com/contest/makerbot/ , so please vote if you liked it. What am I 'making' you ask, hopefully ideas and desire to create. :]   /EDIT

I have been playing with a Arduino microcontroller and robotics bits and pieces for a while now.

I'm still designing my first robot and wanted a two-way wireless capability, but until now they were either too expensive , or too basic .

BUT NOW I HAVE THE SOLUTION: The Pololu Wixel programable USB wireless module!

It comes in a variety of packages, the one I chose was the assembled combination deal, http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1338 (picture two ), which has a pair of modules and a mini USB cable for $42 USD + shipping. Or you can get a single module either assembled (with breadboard pins) or not for $21 or $20 (pictures three & four ).

So what can it do you ask?

Well to quote Pololu:

"The Pololu Wixel is a general-purpose programmable module featuring a 2.4 GHz radio and USB. The Wixel is based on the CC2511F32 microcontroller from Texas Instruments, which has an integrated radio transceiver, 32 KB of flash memory, 4 KB of RAM, and a full-speed USB interface. A total of 15 general-purpose I/O lines are available, including 6 analog inputs "

there are very flexible fancy uses, but for starters simply download one of six (and growing) precompiled, open-source 'apps';

a. Blink an LED (Wow you say sarcasticly ! - this is just an example/test app),
b. Wireless Serial, a bidirectional lossless serial link, either end can be USB, or UART,
c. USB to TTL Serial adapter (@ 3.3V), no need to get a FTDI cable/converter,
d. I/O Repeater, wirelessly send/receive up to 15 microcontroller I/O pin states,
e. Wireless ShiftBrite RGB LED control (http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1240) ,
f.  Wireless tilt mouse, using an 3-axis accelerometer.

Details of these apps can be found at http://www.pololu.com/docs/0J46/9 .

There is also much more it can do, including a SDK, which I will mention in a later step.

You should note now its main flaw; IT IS NOT 5V I/O TOLLERANT (Argh!). However this is easily managed, but be carefull connecting it on 5V projects or you'll fry a pin. You have been WARNED!

The other flaw is that when on the breadboard you can't see the pinouts, they are on the bottom! They could have used longer pins, to clear the USB connector, on the opposite side, thus breadboardable with the pinouts facing up. Version 2 Mr Pololu? You could buy the unassembled version and get some longer header pins.

Next - What you need.

(some images courtesy of Pololu)
 
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Michael_oz (author) 10 months ago
Test comment ignore
tbwhel1 year ago
there is no serialportserial.exe file or script in the zip documents. Is there another link we are supposed to download it from?
Michael_oz (author)  tbwhel1 year ago
Ooops...sorry. New zip file uploaded with serialportserialIO.exe (& .ahk) added.
megaduty2 years ago
Wow, this is a great write up! I can't wait to see your next steps on bot design; do keep us updated with your progress through more awesome instructables!
techbitar2 years ago
Good stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write this guide.
Michael_oz (author)  techbitar2 years ago
Thanks.

Update: Pololu have released a Arduino Shield for the Wixel http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/2500,
doco is at http://www.pololu.com/docs/0J47/all
It has voltage converters to work with 5V too :)
It can also serve as a proto-board for independent Wixels.

It looks good, I just got one and may do a small -ible (but don't hold your breath - lots going on this time of year...)
lyweilian3 years ago
This was a very good tutorial. There are not many Wixel resources for some reason. Maybe it's because the Wixel is still pretty new. However I had an issue with the autoreset feature with the Arduino Pro Mini and just wanted to share that I used P0_0 to the Pro Mini's GRN pin and it allowed it to auto reset after a wireless sketch load. Just though I'd share that in case some one else had that issue on the Pro Mini not loading or getting the AVR dude error message.
Michael_oz (author)  lyweilian3 years ago
Thanks. And thanks for sharing the tip.
Michael_oz (author) 3 years ago
Updated the C# code with a few minor bug fixes.
Michael_oz (author) 3 years ago
I'm learning Visual Studio & Visual C#, sample code added to new last step
Michael_oz (author) 3 years ago
Pololu have released the I2C app mentioned in the last step. So you can now control hundreds of I2C interfaced peripherals with your PC, with either the locally connected Wixel, or the remote wireless Wixel.