Simple wireless communication: An XBee wireless modem adapter that doesn't suck!

XBee modems are one of the easiest ways to create a wireless point-to-point or mesh network. They have error correction, are configured with AT commands, come in multiple flavors and can create a wireless serial link out of the box! I wanted to make a wireless Arduino project but all the adapter boards on the market made me unhappy. So I designed what I think is an excellent low-cost adapter board.

  • Yes it can act as a breakout board, but it also has....
  • Onboard 3.3V regulator to cleanly power your XBee, up to 250mA
  • Level shifting circuitry means that its trivial to connect it to 5V circuitry such as an Arduino without risk of damage
  • Two LEDs, one for activity (RSSI), the other for power (Associate)
  • 10-pin 2mm sockets included to protect the modem and allow easy swapping, upgrading or recycling
  • All the commonly used pins are brought out along the edge, making it easy to breadboard or wire up
  • For use with any XBee/Pro pin-compatible module
  • Specifically created for use with an FTDI cable to connect to a computer via USB. This means that you can use, configure or upgrade the adapter painlessly simply by plugging in a cable:

Perfect for wirelessly communicating with a microcontroller project.

Step 1: Make it! Tools and preparation

Assembling the kit!

This is a very easy kit to make, just go through each of these steps to build the kit

1. Tools and preparation
2. Check the parts list
3. Assemble it


Learn how to solder with tons of tutorials!

Don't forget to learn how to use your multimeter too!


There are a few tools that are required for assembly. None of these tools are included. If you don't have them, now would be a good time to borrow or purchase them. They are very very handy whenever assembling/fixing/modifying electronic devices! I provide links to buy them, but of course, you should get them wherever is most convenient/inexpensive. Many of these parts are available in a place like Radio Shack or other (higher quality) DIY electronics stores.

I recommend a "basic" electronics tool set for this kit, which I describe here.

Soldering iron. One with temperature control and a stand is best. A conical or small 'screwdriver' tip is good, almost all irons come with one of these.

A low quality (ahem, $10 model from radioshack) iron may cause more problems than its worth!

Do not use a "ColdHeat" soldering iron, they are not suitable for delicate electronics work and can damage the kit (see here) http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/cold-soldering2.htm

Solder. Rosin core, 60/40. Good solder is a good thing. Bad solder leads to bridging and cold solder joints which can be tough to find. Dont buy a tiny amount, you'll run out when you least expect it. A half pound spool is a minimum.

Multimeter/Oscilloscope. A meter is helpful to check voltages and continuity.

Flush/diagonal cutters. Essential for cutting leads close to the PCB.

Desoldering tool. If you are prone to incorrectly soldering parts.

'Handy Hands' with Magnifying Glass. Not absolutely necessary but will make things go much much faster.

Good light. More important than you think.

Check out my recommendations and where to buy.

Hi..how to connect d xbee transmitter to webcam?
<p>If you're attempting to transmit a USB webcam over a Xbee, I don't think they're capable of it.. The instructable here, is about how to connect the serial level adaptor via a &quot;RS-232C @ TTL Level (0V/5V, not +12V/-12V)&quot;-to USB (FTDI FT232) cable.. </p>
Hi! Im playing around with Xbees and bought a couple of these. Some will be temperature sensors around the house. <br><br>I have a question about the input voltage into this adapter. It says &quot;5V - power to regulator&quot; but what is the exact range in this case?
This is a great instructable but you might improve the beginning a bit.&nbsp; You explain what the XBee is but you don't mention what kit you're talking about.&nbsp; In step 1 you go right in to how easy this kit is, but you never say what kit you're talking about in the first place.&nbsp; So, and I could be blind about this, it happens to me all the time, but it sure seems like you've left out the single most important link in a great instructable that's filled with links.<br /> <br /> Again, it looks like a really great instructable, if only I&nbsp;knew what kit you were talking about.<br />
Best written, most comprehensive 'ible I have seen FULL STOP !!! Great work my friend, keep 'em coming please :-)
This is a fantastic instructable! Thank you for creating it. I have been itching to get an audurino and xbee for a specific project of mine. This will greatly speed up my learning curve. Thanks a million. what did you end up using yours in?

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Bio: All-original DIY electronics kits - Adafruit Industries is a New York City based company that sells kits and parts for original, open source hardware electronics projects ... More »
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