Remote Controlled Arduino Robot Using Wixel Transceivers





Introduction: Remote Controlled Arduino Robot Using Wixel Transceivers

UPDATE JAN 2012: This project was featured on Pololu's website under Resources/Community Projects.


In this project, I use two Pololu Wixel transceivers to remotely control an Arduino robot from a PC running a terminal emulator software where I use the keyboard to tell the Arduino robot, via wireless connection, which direction to move (f=forward, b=back, l=left, r=right, s=stop).

This is by far one of the simplest robots I had to put together. Mostly because I am reusing my past robot project parts and code and in no small measure due to the simplicity of the Wixel wireless solution.


Pololu's Wixel transceivers are inexpensive and easy to deploy. I bought two for about $40 plus shipping. The transceivers come with all the applications needed to turn it into a wireless serial port. The vendor does a great job with documenting the setup of the Wixels but in a nutshell this is what's involved in setting up a Wixel:

-- Plug each Wixel into into the PC via mini-USB
-- Install the vendor's Windows drivers and configuration utility.
-- Using the Wixel Configuration Utility load the the vendor provided applet named Wixel Wireless Serial Application. Make certain the Wixels and Arduino have the same baud rate.

Once you have performed the above steps for each Wixel, you can disconnect them from the PC and they will retain their code, just like the Arduino. You now have two Wixels that will talk to each other as two serial com ports.

The simplest way to test if your Wixels are communicating with one another is to connect each to a separate PC running a terminal emulator such as TeraTerm. Set both terminal emulators serial ports and parameters to those of the attached Wixel and start typing on the keyboard. You will see what you typed on the other PC's terminal emulator screen. It's that simple.

The only downside of the Wixel is the short range. The vendor documentation says it's about 60 feet. But the simplicity of deployment compensates for the short distance. If all you need is indoors wireless functionality and ease of use, Wixel is a good choice.

No, this project is not sponsored by Pololu...blah blah blah. I am simply impressed by this well-packaged gizmo.


-- Wixel Transceivers X 2. If you are not into soldering you can get the Wixels with headers ready to plug into your breadboard:

-- Arduino Uno:

-- Arduino prototyping shield (optional)

-- Micro Servos X 2. I used the Turingy TG9e which I modified for continuous rotation. You can buy servos already modified for continuous rotation. If you already have 2 servos and wish to modify them for continuous rotation, there are plenty of tutorials if you search around the web.  I used servos instead of DC motors to drive the robot because servos can be controlled and powered from an Arduino without the complications of an h-bridge which is needed to power and control DC motors. 

-- AA X 6 Batteries

-- Breadboards and wires.

-- The robot platform is an empty 3.5 USB external drive case covered with Velcro to facilitate ease of adjustment and removal of robot parts. I am not a big fan of permanent attachments. The wheels of the robot were taken from a toy car and are connected together via mechanical construction set parts and tape and paper clips. Refer to my previous robot project on how this platform was assembled:


Arduino IDE 1.0 for Windows

Wixel Windows Drivers and Software (release 110705)

Wixel Wireless Serial Application

TeraTerm Terminal Emulator (shareware)


Wixel  GND pin -----> Arduino GND pin
Wixel VIN  pin -----> Arduino 5V pin
Wixel TX pin P1_6   -----> Arduino Digital Pin 0 (RX)

The Wixel on the PC needs to be connected via a mini-USB. That's all.

Servo Left - Signal (Yellow wire on my servo) -----> Arduino Digital Pin 10
Servo Left - GND (Black wire on my servo) -----> Arduino GND pin
Servo Left - VIN (Red wire on my servo) -----> Arduino 5V pin

Servo Right - Signal (Yellow wire on my servo) -----> Arduino Digital Pin 11
Servo Right - GND (Black wire on my servo) -----> Arduino GND pin
Servo Right - VIN (Red wire on my servo) -----> Arduino 5V pin

Battery Red wire (+) -----> Arduino VIN pin
Battery Black wire (-) -----> Arduino GND pin

See attached file "wixelrobot.ino"

As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

I found this guide to be useful in learning more about Wixel:



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    Can the code used for wixels be used for xbee
    pleasasee help me I 'm in middle of my project and can't figure the code right

    Hi, please I will like to know if the wixel transceiver can be replaced with the HC-05 bluetooth transceiver to achieve the same results. Need your assistance please.

    High. This is a very helpfull tutorial. I am trying to reproduce it. In fact I just received the two tranceivers which work great. I have a question about wiring. In the arduino-wixel connection I see a wixel_TX pin connection to Arduino_RXpin and do not see the reverse connection (Arduino_TX to Wixel_RX). Don't you need it too to have a complete serial connection?
    thank you

    Thanks. Arduino_TX to Wixel_RX should be connected only if you need 2-way communications. On the robot side, the Wixel was receiving commands from the PC via wireless then sending those commands to the Arduino (Wixel TX pin P1_6 to Arduino Digital Pin 0 which is the RX pin too). There was no need for the Wixel on the robot to receive any info from the Arduino. if I needed to send info from the Arduino (robot) back to the PC then I would need to pass that infor to the Wixel by closing the RX/TX loop.

    You should also note that the Wixel is a 3.3 volt device and the Arduino (this version) is 5 volt. So if you want to have Arduino_TX to Wixel_RX you need to have a voltage divider, otherwise you will burn a Wixel pin.. See Polulo doco for details.

    Thanks for the advice
    But, as I can see from the diagram, techbitar connects it directly, with no voltage divider.I also managed to make all the connections creating a small pan/tilt mechanism, with an arduino nano, 2 servos and and the wixels, and it worked. At least form 10 minutes. After that I disconnected them. I hope I didn't burn anything.
    Something strange, is that I was doing all these, for the first time since I got the wixels, at about the time you messaged me. Isn't that strange? I hope you where not spying on me :)))

    techbitar was connecting the Wixel 3.3 volt OUTPUT to the Arduino INPUT, 3.3v is still a HIGH to the 5v Arduino so that is OK.

    Connecting Arduino OUTPUT at 5v to Wixel INPUT (rated 3.3v) for two way communication, and setting the OUTPUT pin HIGH will send 5V to the Wixel.

    I also mistakenly did so for < aminute and the Wixel was OK, but it is specifically mentioned in the Pololu doco not to do so.

    and it was the Wixel spying on you... ;) they are wireless after all.

    ps You can also use something like this;

    Thanks for the input, Michael_oz.

    Nice instructions, and in fact EXACTLY what I was planning to do! But on this 5v vs 3.3v thing: the Uno DOES actually fire up with 5v on its Rx pin, that later gets pulled low to 0 with a start bit and would then sit at 0 or 3.3 under Wixel Tx control. Presumably, since Wixel Tx is an output it doesn't ever "see" that 5v since it's not "looking"? Reason I'm asking is that the schematic for the Pololu Wixel shield for Uno shows a load of electronics (2x mosfets) between those pins so I wondered if that was to take care of that Uno Rx 5v at startup which could be seen by the Wixel Tx?