Introduction: Restoring Your Broken XBee

Picture of Restoring Your Broken XBee

Just a while ago, I had a problem of bricking my xbees.  I was using moltosenso IRON and I accidentally loaded the wrong firmware on it.  For this tutorial, I will use series 2 XBees (not proven to work yet on series 1) and restore them to their original state.  Most all problems with not showing up on the com port, not being able to communicate once you have loaded some random firmware are all causes of bricking your XBee.  I have watched some videos on this, and I had to search around for the best possible outcome.  This probably will restore your broken XBees, and be the easiest tutorial.

Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section.

Note: This will work with XBee-Pros.

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

All you need is an

XBee Explorer (or other xbee FTDI board)
1 Jumper wire
Bricked XBee S2
A PC running the newest version of X-CTU

Step 2: Settings for X-CTU

Picture of Settings for X-CTU

Plug in your XBee to the Explorer and the Explorer into your computer.  Then open X-CTU.  Click the correct port of your Explorer.  It will probably be named USB Serial Port.  If you did what I did to my XBees, your XBee will show up on the devices tab of X-CTU, but with a test will show an error message.  This is error message is okay, for it is with this problem you have the best chance of restoring them.  Set the baud rate to 115200, but leave the rest of the settings the same.

Step 3: Modem Configuration Tab

Picture of Modem Configuration Tab

Next, go to the modem configuration tab.  As most X-CTU users know, this is where you configure your modem to be in AT or API mode, or a router, coordinator, or end device.  Make sure to check the always update firmware box next to the read button.  Next click the read button, and it still should display an error message.  Click okay to get out of this message.  Click the drop down box on the left that will say something like XB24-ZB but click on the XB24-B (or XBP24-B if you are restoring an XBee Pro)  On the drop down box to the right of that it will say ZNET 2.5 COORDINATOR API.  Even if this is not what you are configuring, you still have to leave it like this because it is the easiest setting for you to restore your XBee.

Step 4: Reseting the XBee

Picture of Reseting the XBee

Now click the write button on X-CTU.  It should give you an error message, but do not click out of this one.  Flip over the XBee Explorer.  Now, take your jumper wire and touch RST (not RTS) to the GND pin of the Explorer for about a second.  Take away the jumper wire.  The error message should go away!  It will start to load the firmware on.  Once the error message comes up again, repeat the above step again.  Now your XBee has been restored!

Step 5: Configuration for Your Project

Picture of Configuration for Your Project

Since you may have a different firmware that you want to use, I will go over changing this.  Change the drop down menu on the left to XB24-ZB (for regular zigbee configuration), or XBP24-ZB for XBee pros.  Change the right drop down bar to best fit your project.  Click Write, and it will write the xbee with that firmware.  On some of my XBees that I had to restore, it came up with the error message again.    If this comes up again, connect GND to RST (not RTS) on the Explorer together with a jumper wire for about one second.  This error message should go away.

Step 6: Important Notes

Picture of Important Notes

Here are a few problems you might run into
Getting the error message again 
XBee not showing up on the COM port

To solve error 1, touch the RST (not RTS) pin to GND briefly on the Explorer.
To solve error 2, you will have to do this instructable over again.

I hope you've enjoyed my instructable and please feel free to leave comments or questions.
P.S. I'm 11 years old!


HeyElleCP (author)2012-04-03

Wow, amazing! Let us know when you do some other XBee work. We created an XBee project gallery, and we'd love to feature one of your XBee projects.

Keep up the great work!


AsifH (author)HeyElleCP2014-11-07

Please tell me too...........I am using Xbee s1.........I am not able to configure it??

Qtechknow (author)HeyElleCP2012-04-03

Thanks for the comment. I am working on an Xbee project with the help of Building Wireless Sensor Networks. I will have a functional project by the end of this month and at Bay Area Maker Faire.

MissusL (author)2014-05-30

This helped me immensely! Thank you :)

mmarteletti (author)2014-04-26

Thank you guy! You are THE BOSS!

sergiovasconcelos (author)2014-01-16

Very useful! Saved me a lot of time! :)

Build_it_Bob (author)2012-03-29

Very nice work ! I am 48 years old and I haven't worked with xbee yet...guess I better get started. I started with electronics when I was about your age , and to this day I still find it so fascinating.
Arduino , Xbee , PIC chips , internet and Instructibles have all made for awesome electronics learning. I look forward to your next Instructible ...curious to know what you made with your Xbee's !
Thanks again for your contribution!

Qtechknow (author)Build_it_Bob2012-03-29

Thanks very much for the reply. I hope to do more awesome XBee projects in the future (probably one this month). Thanks for subscribing too.

Ralphxyz (author)2012-03-29

Fantastic, actually I have not bricked a XBee (yet) as I am just getting started
but this was a very informative instructable, Thank You!!


欢王 (author)2017-02-01

Oh my gosh!! Thanks a ton! I thought I broke it, now it is back!

AnaOMcG (author)2016-12-28


I'm trying to restore my Xbee Series1. I followed all the steps untill step 4. I connect with a wire "RST" and "GND" but the error message does not go away. What do you recommend I do?

Thank you!

electrototo (author)2016-07-06

Thank you! It has been over 4 years and it's still valid this tutorial... Right now I bricked my xbee ZB by trying uploading a new firmware in ubuntu with xctu and when the firmware was being uploaded to the xbee, it was interrupted by who-knows-what, bricking my xbee... It was really difficult to find the version you were using, I don't think (or at least I didn't find anything) that you can restore it with the new version of XCTU...

Muchas gracias (thank you a lot)!

herbert_brazil (author)2016-06-21

Some of my radios are losing the configuration and setting the factory default parameters alone. Does anyone knows what can cause this kind of behavior::

sman944 (author)2016-05-02

Thanks alot! My xbee is back to life!

AndrewW180 (author)2016-04-08

This is a great piece of work!

This could be very important considering the cost of these radios.

Well done!

automazio (author)2015-06-23



sduarte (author)2015-05-03

Just worked!!! =D Thanks a lot!!

nanun (author)2015-04-18

thank you so much...

I followed the instructions and it worked...

rensbaeyens (author)2014-09-25

Hi, as most of the people trying out xbees, I bricked a couple.

After a while I discovered the remote configure possibility.

This removes the necessity to reset your xbee and so on..

cmujica (author)2014-07-18

Me has salvado el XBEE con el reseteo, muchas gracias

mmarteletti (author)2014-04-26

Funcionó con un - It work with a XBEE PRO 900 RPSMA modem type XBP09-DP

mmarteletti (author)2014-04-26

Funcionó con un - It work with a XBEE PRO 900 RPSMA modem type XBP09-DP

madaze (author)2013-08-19

iv been noticing a few people still having issues with the recovery of there Xbees and im glad that everyone here seems to have fixed there "bricked" Xbees. but for those of you still having issues (like i did) try these settings and reset your comp and try these steps again. it worked Awesome for me!

teknohawk (author)2013-07-08

Hey, Qtechknow, I want to get started with X-Bees. Are they hard to use?

jsohail1 (author)2012-12-13

same errors are being displayed by my xbee but this method jst didnt work . the error msg in the last step didnot go away when i shorted RST and GND . any suggestion ?

Qtechknow (author)jsohail12013-03-30

Hmm... Try XB-24ZB for the modem and Zigbee Coordinator API for the device, and then if that works, try again with the same modem, but with the device that you want your XBee to have the firmware of. When I originally made the Instructable, I figured out that sometimes you need to burn the firmware of a different modem for different XBees to function correctly. Thanks!

jhon_isaak (author)2013-02-21

hola que tal buen tutorial teno un xbee S2xb24-ZTWIT y realice los pasos que mostraste en tu tutorial pero no me funciono!!!! Ojala y me puedas guiar de que debo hacer ahora por que no puedo avanzar en mi proyecto gracias

Qtechknow (author)jhon_isaak2013-03-30

Me alegro que funcionó! Si está atrapado en una parte de su proyecto, le recomiendo mirar el libro Construyendo Redes de Sensores Inalámbricos por Rob Faludi.

tomlogic (author)2012-04-13

Nice Instructable, Qtechknow. Check out the free program Greenshot for taking screen shots. Has a nice feature of being able to easily grab any window, and has a quick editor for cropping before saving to disk.

Should make it easier to write future Instructables.


himanshu494 (author)2012-03-29

wireless charging

About This Instructable




Bio: White House Maker Faire // 16 years old // CEO of Qtechknow, maker and electronics enthusiast, I teach Arduino classes, and put making into schools! My successful ... More »
More by Qtechknow:NFC Door Lock with the Qduino Mini (under $100)Qtechknow Robot Obstacle CourseYour Image on an Arduino! - TFT LCD Screen Guide
Add instructable to: