Step 9: Use it! Wiring


This section will introduce and explain each of the breakout pins on the XBee adapter. And also show some ways to wire the board up for use with a computer or microcontroller


This image shows the pinout for the XBee adapter

1. 3V pin - this is either an input power pin (if 5V is not provided) or an output from the 250mA regulator if 5V is provided
2. DTR - "Data terminal ready" this is a flow control pin used to tell the XBee that the microcontroller or computer host is ready to communicate
3. RST - this pin can be used to reset the XBee. By default it is pulled high by the 10K resistor under the module. To reset, pull this pin low.'
4. Ground - common ground for power and signal
5. CTS - "Clear to Send" this is a flow control pin that can be used to determine if there is data in the XBee input buffer ready to be read
6. 5V - this is the power input pin into the 3.3V regulator. Provide up to 6V that will be linearly converted into 3.3V
7. RX - This is the XBee's serial recieve pin. Serial data is sent on this pin into the XBee to be transmitted wirelessly
8. TX - This it the XBee's serial transmit pin. Serial data is sent on this pin out of the XBee, after it has been transmitted wirelessly from another module
9. RTS - "Ready to Send" this is a flow control pin that can be used to tell the XBee to signal that the computer or microcontroller needs a break from reading serial data.
10. see pin #1

Connecting to a computer

Often times, wireless modules are used as a bridge between a computer and a microcontroller or sensor. The XBees must also be connected to a computer to perform firmware updates and its often easier to configure the modules (changing the baud rate, configuring network IDs, etc) this way as well.

By far the easiest way to connect to a computer is to use an FTDI cable - use either 3.3V or 5V. These cables have a USB to serial converter chip molded into them and are supported by every OS. Thus configuring or upgrading or connecting is really trivial. Simply plug the cable into the end of the module so that the black wire lines up with GND. There is a white outline showing where the cable connects.

Another method of connecting is using a USB or serial breakout board. Each breakout board is going to be a little different so check the documentation. Make sure the transmit/receive pins are not swapped, etc.

Finally, it is possible to use a de-chipped Arduino to connect an XBee to a computer. Basically, this is just using the FTDI chip on the Arduino to pass the serial data. First, gently pry the microcontroller from its socket using a small flat screwdriver or similar. Try to make sure the pins don't get bent. Put it in a safe place. Preferably in an anti-static bag.

Then connect the +5V pin on the XBee to the 5V line on the Arduino. Do the same for Ground. The TX line from the XBee connects to the TX line on the Arduino (because we're replacing the microcontroller, not talking to it). Same with RX.

If you are planning to try and upgrade the modem - which is pretty common, connect the RTS line to the right hand solder dot to as shown. That's the best connection you can get to the RTS line. If you're not upgrading, then you can skip this wire

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?

About This Instructable


92 favorites


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 »
More by adafruit: Adaruit Resistor Helper Adafruit Photo Tutorial Logger Shield: Datalogging for Arduino
Add instructable to: