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XBee Tech Tip: Using Remote AT Commands to Toggle an IO on a Remote XBee

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This Tech Tip is brought to you by Digi Applications Engineer Mark Grierson.

Using API mode it is possible to send commands from a transmitting radio to a receiving radio. This allows for module parameter registers on a remote device to be queried or set.

One useful application of this feature is to toggle an IO on a remote radio from a high to a low state. In this manner the radios can be used as a wireless relay to control a wide variety of remote devices.


In this tutorial we will be using XCTU to create and send 2 distinct API frames. One frame will toggle the remote radio’s IO high, and the other will toggle the remote radio’s IO low. You could easily program a micro or other piece of hardware to issue these commands.


To perform this tutorial you will require the following materials:

  • 2 – XBee 802.15.4 RF modules.
  • 2 – Interface boards (USB or RS232) *the use of DEV boards (XBIB-U-DEV or XBIB-R-DEV) will allow the use of onboard LEDs to observe output
  • 1 – PC with XCTU software installed. Click here to download.
  • Serial or USB cables to connect interface boards to the PC


Select one radio to operate as your Base and one to operate as your Remote.

Both radios are programmed with the default settings with the following exceptions. API is enabled on the Base radio (AP=1), D4=4 on the remote radio

In this example my radios have the following factory set 64 bit addresses:









Connect the base radio to the PC and launch XCTU. Connect the radio to XCTU by clicking on the Add Devices icon and selecting the appropriate com port and settings and clicking finish.

The Radio will now be listed on the left side of XCTU as in the following screenshot.

Open the Console mode of XCTU by clicking on the Console icon.

Open the serial connection with the base radio by selecting the Connect icon.   The image will change to the connected status.

The Console should indicate that it is opn as an API Console.   If it is showing that it is an AT console, return to the module settings tab and ensure API is enabled (AP=1)

In the Send a single frame section open the “Add a frame” dialog box by clicking on the  .  Rename your frame name to Low, then click on the Packet generator icon  to open the packet generator.

We will now use the built in API frames generator to create two remote AT command (type 0x17) frames paying close attention to the structure of this frame as outlined in the API section of the Product manual. One frame will set the remote radios Digital output High and the other will set it Low.

Select “0x17 – Remote AT Command” as the frame type and then set the 64 bit address to the SH and SL of the remote module.  Set the AT command to ASCII D4 and the Parameter value to HEX 04 as in the following screenshot.

*Please note that the command D4 (bytes 17 and 18) is issued as 44 and 34. 34 is the hex equivalent of the ASCII character 4. The parameter value setting for D4 (byte 19) is issued as 04 and 05. This is the hex equivalent of decimal 4 and 5 respectively.

Click OK and the frame contents will appear in the Add API frame to the list dialog box as follows:

Click on Add frame.

Repeat the procedure for your set high frame changing the parameter value to 0x05 and create a second frame with a frame name of High

Click on Add frame.

Your API console should now look something like this:

Here are the frames configured for the address of my radios. Your packets will contain the address of your remote radio and the checksum will be different.

Note: I have chosen to toggle DIO4 as it is connected to LED 3 on the XBIB-DEV board and allows easy viewing of the toggle process without the use of a voltmeter or scope.

Command to set DIO4 high:

7E 00 10 17 01 00 13 A2 00 40 55 F4 98 FF FE 02 44 34 05 95

Command to set DIO4 Low:

7E 00 10 17 01 00 13 A2 00 40 55 F4 98 FF FE 02 44 34 04 96

You can now send the commands to the base radio which will in turn send remote commands to the remote radio to set its digital output D4 (Pin 11). Do this by highlighting the appropriate frame (high or Low) and clicking on “Send selected frame.”

The LED associated with the D4 pin should go off and on as you send these two frames. You may also verify the state by connecting a multi-meter to Pin 11 of the module to check its voltage state as it is toggled from High to low. The pin should read about 3.3v when high and about 0 volts when low.

You can also view and parse the frames and their corresponding response packets in the Frame log section of the display. A status of 0x00 (OK) indicates that the frame was sent successfully and acknowledged by the remote module.

If you do not receive a response frame please check your API packet for accuracy.

Note: This article is written using the XBee 802.15.4 radios but the concepts are applicable to all of the XBee radio lineup that offer API mode.

XBee-PRO 900HP: 28-Mile LOS Range

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Super Long-Range 900 MHz XBee-PRO® Module with DigiMesh®

This little 1.3 x 1 inch XBee® radio packs a serious punch, with a 28 mile range in the 900 MHz frequency band. With interfaces that include UART or SPI, 15 digital I/O pins, 4 ADC pins, and 2 PWM outputs, the XBee-PRO 900HP is capable of wirelessly connecting virtually any device or sensor and transmitting data across long distances.

Companies have utilized this module to develop some amazing products, like intelligent wireless street lighting systems, mission-critical radiation detection systems at power plants, and even beacon systems used in firefighting suits.

 Key features:

  • Superior outdoor LOS range of up to 28 miles
  • Over-the-Air firmware updates eliminate costly “truck rolls”
  • Software-selectable channel mask for interference immunity
  • Advanced sleep modes include sleeping routers, pin sleep, cyclic sleep for minimal power usage
  • Pin-compatible with other XBee modules DigiMesh and point-to-multipoint networking topologies
  • Simplified AT command set or advanced XBee API accelerates time to market

XBee-PRO 900 HP modules and development kits are available now. To learn more, please download the datasheet, visit the product webpage or contact us for more information.

Have you built a cool wireless product using the XBee-PRO 900HP? Let us know about it!

Want a free XBee-PRO 900HP S3B Development Kit? Answer the XBee Puzzler at the end of our latest Tech Tip for your chance to win a kit!

XBee Tech Tip: The IO AT Command

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This Tech Tip is brought to you by Digi Applications Engineer Mark Grierson.

Be sure to answer the XBee Puzzler at the end of this entry for a chance to win a free XBee-PRO 900HP S3B Development Kit!

Recently a customer asked me if they could send a single command to a remote module to set the states of multiple Digital outputs. Well if you are using the XBee/XBee-PRO 802.15.4 modules the answer is, “Yes!”

Let us introduce you to the IO AT command.

The IO command is only available on the XBee/XBee-PRO 802.15.4 modules but provides some powerful IO features not available on other modules. With the IO command it is possible to change the states of multiple Digital output pins with a single AT command, either on a local module, using API Mode or Command Mode, or on a remote module, using API Mode.

To change the States of your local modules digital outputs, first set 1 or more IOs as digital outputs, either high or low. In this example I have set them to a low state (Dx=4).

You can then change those states by issuing an IO command. The command is followed by a bitmask where a 1 will set the state of a pin high and 0 will set the state low. Sending an
ATIO with no bitmask will set all outputs low and is the equivalent of sending an ATIO0.

A local module’s IO pins can be set using the IO feature in AT command mode.

In the X-CTU terminal screen
Use +++ to enter Command Mode
Enter ATIO7 to set D0, D1, and D2 to a high state
Enter ATIO to set all Digital outputs low. Your screen should look like the following.


The local modules Digital outputs can also be set using API Mode.

The following are some sample API frames using the IO command to set the local module’s DO 1,2, and 3 high and low.

7E 00 05 08 01 49 4F 07 57 Set D0, D1, and D2 on
7E 00 05 08 01 49 4F 00 5E Set all Do’s off

To change the States of a remote module’s Digital outputs API Mode must be used on the base module. The remote module can be in either API Mode or Transparent Mode. First set one or more of the remote module’s IOs as Digital outputs, either high or low. You can then change those states by issuing a remote AT (IO) command from another module on the network that is running in API Mode. The remote module can be in either AT Mode or API Mode.

Using Remote AT Command examples:
7E 00 10 17 01 00 13 A2 00 40 08 4E 3C FF FE 02 49 4F 07 C2 – TURN D0,D1,D2 ON
7E 00 10 17 01 00 13 A2 00 40 08 4E 3C FF FE 02 49 4F 00 C9 – TURN OFF ALL DO

XBee Puzzler

The first 3 responses with the correct answer will receive a free XBee-PRO 900HP S3B Development Kit. Good luck!

Using the IO command, what would be the correct API frame, including checksum, to set a locally connected XBee 802.15.4 module to the following digital output settings?



This Puzzler contest is now closed. Correct answer:

For API mode 1:  7E 00 05 08 01 49 4F 13 4B
For API mode 2:  7E 00 05 08 01 49 4F 7D 33 4B

Congratulations to our XBee-PRO 900HP S3B Development Kit winners: Sergio Alonso, Evan Farthing and Thomas Tracy Allen Ph.D.

Check back in November for our next Puzzler!

Friday Favorites

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The Internet of Things is developing and buzzing all around us. Throughout the week we come across innovative projects, brilliant articles and posts that support and feature the innovators and companies that make our business possible. Here’s our list of favorites from this week’s journey on the Web.

EVE Alpha – Raspberry Pi wireless development hardware on Kickstarter
Check out the November 9 update– the EVE team spoke with Rob Faludi about the new XBee PRO 900HP

Product Spotlight: The XBee-PRO 900HP

IoT could transform our lives quicker than we expect by John Riley on Computer World UK

Smart Apron wirelessly alerts your guests when their food is ready on DVICE
featuring XBee

Do you have a link to share? Please tell us in the comments below or Tweet us, @XBeeWireless — we would love to share your findings too. You can also follow all of the commentary and discussion with the hashtag #FridayFavorites.

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