This instructable is a modification of my presentation to Processing Chicago community at  the (EVL) Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago on Oct 1, 2012. In the topic of

Processing Library Series
Processing and Wireless XBee Wireless RF Module

In this presentation, attendants will learn about
  • UART Serial Communication
  • Serial Lib
  • How to install FTDI Virtual Comm Port Driver
  • XBee Wireless RF Module and how to configure the modules 
  • How to design the GUI (Graphics User Interface) in Processing (Used Processing to control R/C car as an example)
  • Hands-on exercise configure the XBee modules and communicate among each other. 

Note: I changed the title and  modified my presentation to fit the Instructables' step-by-step format.

Step 1: Materials

The presentation was divided into two parts, first part was about my few past works:

Wireless (Bluetooth) Control Pop-Bot
Make Wired Robotic Arm Edge to "Wireless" with DIY Arduino + XBee and
Wireless Finger Drum,
XB-Buddy and XB-Buddy Basic Kits

And introduced a new project. (this instructable - Processing Controls R/C Car with Wireless XBee modules)

Second part, was an in-depth workshop on working with the XBee configuration, the Processing's Serial library, Arduino's Serial and SoftwareSerial library.

In case,  if you want to build the project, below are the list of Hardware, Software and Parts.
I also provided the step-by-step details (Step 11) to build the PCB, and modification of the R/C car (which was not shown at the presentation).


Arduino or Arduino Compatibles
XBee Modules
FTDI cable or equivalent (i.e. XB-Buddy, Adafruit's FTDI Friend, Sparkfun's Breakoutboard, Librelium's ...)

Motors Driver Board or equivalent

Cheap R/C car with  min. 6VDC. battery power (example used was 1:16 Scale Ford Mustang Shelby GT 2010, with 7.5VDC)

Driver & Softwares

FTDI - Virtual Comm Port Drivers
CoolTerm - Free Terminal Program
Processing IDE
Arduino IDE

Parts list for DIY Motors Driver PCB and DIY Arduino 

If you're are scratch building DIY Arduino and DIY Motors Driver Following is the parts list, (See Step 11 for Schematics and Diagrams)

(x1) ATMega328P with Arduino bootloader
(x1) 28-pin IC Socket (Digikey #3M5480-ND)
(x1) 16Mhz Resonator
(x3) 0.1uF Ceramic capacitor
(x2) 100uF/16V capacitors
(x1) 10uF/16 capacitor
(x1) 10K resistortor
(x3) 1K Resistor
(x1) 6-pin right angle male header
(x1) 3mm green LED
(x1) 3mm red or yellow LED
(x2) 2 pin receptacle
(x1) L293D - Motor Drivers IC (or SN745)
(x1) 16-pin IC Socket
0.1" grid PCB  ( about 2-3/4" long x 3-1/2" wide)
Hook-up wire


Solder iron and Soldering Work Station
Solder - Rosin Core (Radio Shack #64-013)
Hookup Wire
Diagonal cutter
X-Acto Knife
Wire Stripper
Solder Sucker
very cool, do you have a video of the final product?
Thanks Amanda. <br>I'm working on three projects right now! <br>I'll post a video ASAP. <br>

About This Instructable




Bio: I am Electronic Visualization Artist. I look at things through the Looking Glasses.
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