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XBee Tech Tip: How to conduct an XBee range test

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Have you ever wanted to test the strength of connections in your XBee network? Within the XBee configuration software, XCTU, you can perform a range test. This will tell you the amount of packets received and the RSSI values at the local and remote nodes. This video will take you through the steps necessary to perform a range test.

You can download XCTU at this link: http://www.digi.com/xctu

We hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let us know what you’d like to learn in the next XBee Tech Tip: http://bit.ly/xbeetechtip

Potentiometer Example: XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit

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xbee-wifi-potentiometer-widgetTable of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assemble the Parts
  3. Configure the Radio
  4. Wire up the Circuit
  5. View it!
  6. Use it!

1) Introduction

When it comes to analog input, it doesn’t get any easier than a basic potentiometer. Nicknamed “pots,” these components are variable resistors. With a twist of their knob, you alter the amount of voltage that flows out through their center pin. If you’ve ever adjusted a volume dial, chances are, you were using a potentiometer.

Potentiometers can be used for setting a level, determining an angle, or just as a simple user interface adjustment. Because you can set them immediately to a value that they’ll hold indefinitely, pots are terrific for prototyping and testing. Use them as a stand-in for any kind of analog input. Let’s get started and add them to your development toolkit!

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Push Button Example: XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit

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xbee-wifi-switch-widgetTable of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assemble the Parts
  3. Configure the Radio
  4. Wire up the Circuit
  5. View it!
  6. Use it!

1) Introduction

A button or “momentary switch” is perfect for projects that require user input, or any place you need to detect a change in device state. This example uses a simple tactile switch however the very same circuit can be used with a pressure mat to detect someone walking into a room, or with a microswitch to monitor when a door opens or with a passive infrared sensor to respond to motion. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through wiring up a simple button to your XBee Zigbee so that its current state can be seen in a online application from anywhere in the world.

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LED Example: XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit

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xbee-wifi-led-widgetTable of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assemble the Parts
  3. Configure the Radio
  4. Wire up the Circuit
  5. View it!
  6. Use it!

1) Introduction

Making an LED illuminate is one of the first things many people do when they start learning electronics. It’s also often the most satisfying. We’re putting a wireless spin on that achievement by hooking up an LED to an XBee’s output, then controlling it from the web.

Let’s get blinking!

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Light Sensor Example: XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit

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xbee-wifi-light-dashboard-widget

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assemble the Parts
  3. Configure the Radio
  4. Wire up the Circuit
  5. View it!
  6. Use it!

1) Introduction

In this example you will learn to use a photocell light sensor with the XBee Zigbee Gateway to sense and take action based on the amount of available light. You use light to tell if it’s day or night of course, but you can also determine if a cabinet is open or closed, or if someone is currently occupying a hotel room. Because light changes at the speed…well of light, it’s a great sensor to use when want to prototype using changes that happen instantaneously rather than only over a longer period of time. Best of all, these sensors are cheap—at about a dollar a piece, they’re a great component to use when deploying sensors in large multiples.

The resistance across the two leads of the cell varies according to the amount of light hitting the cell. With our circuit, the brighter it is, the lower the voltage that is passed to the XBee’s analog-to-digital converter (ADC). This reading is then sent via Device Cloud to the XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit’s online dashboard application. Now you can monitor the brightness from anywhere right in your web browser.

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Temperature Example: XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit

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temperature-widget

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assemble the Parts
  3. Configure the Radio
  4. Wire up the Circuit
  5. View it!
  6. Use it!

1) Introduction

Measuring temperature is a popular way to get started with analog sensing. This example uses the TMP36 low-voltage linear temperature sensor that is included in the XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit. The TMP36 is very easy to set up. It doesn’t require any complicated circuits or tricky calculations to determine if it’s hot or not.

The sensor generates a voltage output output that is directly proportional to the Celsius temperature. The hotter it is, the higher the voltage that is passed to the XBee’s analog-to-digital converter (ADC). This reading is then sent via Device Cloud to the XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit’s online dashboard application where you can monitor the temperature right in your web browser.

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Wireless Text-to-Speech Device

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Would you like to be able to type ANY word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph and have it speak wirelessly from a speaker? Well it’s now a reality. This project allows you to type into a serial terminal connected to an XBee, and when you press enter, the words are sent to another XBee enabled text-to-speech module that speaks the words out loud on a connected speaker.

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Figure 1. XBee Serial Connection

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Figure 2. Text-to-Speech Module

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Wireless Bar Graph Brightness Display

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Would you like an LED bar graph to wirelessly show you how bright or dim a room is elsewhere? Well this is just the solution for you! This project uses an MBed microcontroller, light sensor, LED bar graph, and a pair of XBee radios to get you going on monitoring brightness without even being there.

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Standard Lighting

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Dim Lighting

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Dark

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