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Number communicate clearly. With a simple 7-segment numeric display you can show how many, how much, which one or when with precision. It’s a snap to display numbers wirelessly with an Digi XBee radio.
The Digi XBee directly drives a simple numeric display, and that’s often all a project needs. For example, here’s some characters you can show in seven segments, (click the image to see even more possibilities):
The numbers can be small or huge. For applications that require extensive text, check out our LCD text display example for rich communications. Otherwise when simple numbers and letters fit the bill, here’s how to get ’em….
- Assemble the Parts
- Configure the Radios
- Wire up the Circuit
- Install the Digi XBee Internet Gateway
- Setup Digi Remote Manager
- Upload PHP Scripts
- Use it!
In this example, we’ll walk you through the steps for setting up the Digi XBee Internet Gateway and Digi Remote Manager (DRM) to control a lamp over the internet! Of course, you don’t have to use a lamp for this; you can use XIG and Digi Remote Manager to control many kinds of devices and even read wireless sensors.
When you want to turn the lamp on or off, you’ll click a bookmark on your bookmarks bar that will connect you to your own PHP-enabled web server. The server will send an XML-formatted request to Digi Remote Manager, which will pass the request along to the Digi XBee Internet Gateway. The XIG will wirelessly set the command on the Digi XBee to set a pin high, which is connected to a PowerSwitch Tail. The lamp connected to the PowerSwitch Tail will light up when the Digi XBee’s pin is high.
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Words are how humans communicate. An inexpensive LCD text display can be the most economical way to make your project talk to people, and it’s easy to make a wireless one with a Digi XBee radio.
Digi XBee radios in transparent mode generate plain text right out of their serial port. By pairing the Digi XBee with an LCD that has a serial backpack, any text you send to your Digi XBee will show up directly on the electronic screen. You can use control codes to clear the display, move the cursor or smoothly scroll the text in either direction. Build this example for inexpensive wireless text output. It’s the fastest way for your project to gain human communications!
Whether you’re pulling into work after a busy morning, driving to the family cabin, or just laying in bed after a long day, the last thing you want to worry about is your car garage door. This example will show you how to install a simple garage door monitor so you never have to worry if your garage door is left open. Using the Digi XBee LTE Cat1 Development Kit and a magnetic reed switch, an SMS can be sent to your phone notifying you if your garage door is opened or closed.
- Assemble the Parts
- Communicate with ELIZA
- Your First Counselling Session
- Accessing Other Servers
XCTU is a free multi-platform application designed to enable developers to interact with Digi RF modules through a simple-to-use graphical interface. By using XCTU and the Digi XBee cellular, you can connect to many servers such as the ELIZA Therapist Bot, Echo, and Daytime.
In XCTU you can directly communicate with radio modules using the AT console. All the data you send through the serial interface is queued for transmission by the module, and all the data received by the module is sent through the serial interface. To communicate between devices in the console, you can use the AT Console Log which displays all sent (blue) and received (red) data characters.
Using the Digi Xbee Cellular Modem and XCTU, you can chat with the ELIZA Therapist Bot. ELIZA is an artificial intelligence (AI) bot that emulates a therapist and can perform simple conversations. Every conversation with ELIZA can be viewed through the XCTU Console Log. In this example, we will provide step by step instructions on how to connect to the ELIZA server.
Grove modules are quickly growing in popularity due to each sensor and actuator having the same standardized connector — making it fast and easy to prototype a sensor project.
In the words of Seeed Studio, “Grove is a modulated, ready-to-use tool set. Much like Lego, it takes a building block approach to assembling electronics. Compared with the traditional, complicated learning method of using a breadboard and various electronic components to assemble a project, Grove simplifies and condenses the learning process significantly. The Grove system consists of a base shield and various modules with standardized connectors.”
What makes Grove devices so simple is that the connectors eliminate the need to break out the breadboard, resistors, jumper wires, etc.. The connection is a 4-pin interface that supports digital, analog, I2C signal through four wires with different colors.
- Red is for VCC
- Black is for GND,
- Yellow is for signal
- White is for others.
Since Digi XBee is used frequently in wireless sensor networks, we included six Grove connectors on the new Digi XBee Grove Development Board. You can use it to quickly evaluate Digi XBee and Grove modules with a PC or micro-controller.
We have included two Digi XBee Grove Adapter Boards in the Wireless Connectivity Kit. If you’re interested in how this might help you build wireless sensor networks, we have this graphic that offers an overview of the board and its connections.
Visit Digi-Key to learn more about the Wireless Connectivity Kit. More information on the Digi XBee Grove Development Board can be found here.
Have you ever wanted to test the strength of connections in your XBee network? Within the Digi 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 Digi XBee Tech Tip: http://bit.ly/xbeetechtip
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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!
2) Assemble the Parts
To hook up a potentiometer you’ll need:
*…or a powered Digi XBee Zigbee with breadboard and jumper wires.
3) Configure the Radio
You’ll configure the radio using your free Device Cloud account. (Note that radios can also be configured using XCTU.)
NOTE: If your radio was recently configured by the Digi XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit then the sampling rate and pin settings are already set. You can safely skip these steps.
- Log in to Device Cloud.
- Select Devices under the Device Management tab.
- Select the Digi XBee Zigbee that you are configuring, then select Properties or double-click to open the Properties window for that device.
- Select Configurations, then Input and Output Settings, then confirm that DIO1/AD1/SPI_ATTN is set to Analog Input.
- On the same page, confirm that Sample Rate is set to 5000 ms which will take a sample every five seconds.
- Save your changes!
4) Wire up the Circuit
You will build this sensor circuit using the Digi XBee Development Board.
- Plug the potentiometer into the breadboard as shown. It has four pins. When facing the pins, they are from left to right:
- Pin 1: Ground.
- Pin 2: Output voltage that varies with the position of the knob.
- Pin 3: Voltage in, which we will feed with 1 volt.
- Pin 4: This is just a dummy pin and is not used for anything.
- Connect a black jumper wire from the potentiometer’s pin 1 to ground (GND) as shown.
- Connect one end of a yellow (or any other color) jumper wire to the second pin (2) of the potentiometer. Connect the other end of this wire to to the XBee’s AD1 pin.
- Plug in the four resistors to separate rows of the breadboard as shown. They will form a chain with the each resistor connecting to one end of each resistor on either side. We will use them to scale the input down from 3.3 volt input to the 1 volt maximum of the Digi XBee Zigbee’s ADC.
- Connect a red wire from 3.3V to the open end of the first resistor.
- Connect a blue (or other color) jumper wire so that the third pin (3) of the potentiometer is connected to the junction between the first and second resistor as shown.
- Use a black wire to connect the open end of the fourth resistor to GND.
- Set the DIP switch for AD1 on the PCB to OFF to disconnect the soldered-on component.
- Here’s what everything should look like:
5) View It!
You will use the Digi XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit’s web application to configure a widget for viewing the potentiometer readings: https://xbeegateway.herokuapp.com/#/login
- Log in to the Digi XBee Zigbee Cloud Kit web application.
- Use the Add Widget button to create a new display widget.
- Choose Gauge Widget for the widget type.
- Add a label such as “Potentiometer.”
- Choose your Digi XBee Zigbee device by its ID.
- Select ADC1 as the input stream and check the device configuration to make sure it is configured properly.
- Enter “value/2500*100” to transform the input from millivolts to a simple percentage from 0 to 100. The calculation takes the input value, scales to a decimal, then multiplies by 100 to get a percentage value. While the base value is 2500, you may want to adjust this number to properly calibrate it with your individual potentiometer.
- Add a name for Units such as “percent.”
- Set a low value of 0 and a high of 100 to see the potentiometer range displayed.
- Save the changes to see your new Widget.
6) Use it!
Your potentiometer settings are now instantly transmitted to the web. You can turn the knob directly to affect the gauge, and the new setting will be maintained until the knob gets moved again. This is terrific for testing out new circuits, but potentiometers can also be used to control an online setting, monitor anything that rotates, or as an input to a game that joins the physical and virtual worlds together. Once you’re satisfied that your prototype creation is working well, try replacing the pot with a light or temperature sensor to create an input that reacts to real-world environments.
Read more about Digi XBee, >>.