Using Remote AT Commands to Toggle an IO on a Remote XBee ZB Radio

 Using API mode it is possible to send AT commands from a transmitting radio to a receiving radio. This allows for module parameter registers on remote devices 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 X-CTU to create and send 2 distinct API frames. One frame will toggle the remote radios IO high, and the other will toggle the remote radios 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 ZB RF modules.

2 - Interface boards (USB or RS232) *the use of Dev boards(XBIB-R-Dev or XBIB-U-DEV) will allow the use of onboard LEDs to observe output.

1 - PC with X-CTU software installed

Serial or USB cables to connect interface boards to the PC.


Program 1 radio as a ZB (Zigbee Coordinator API) and 1 radio as a ZB (Zigbee Router AT)

Both radios are programmed with the default settings. And in my example, have the following 64 bit addresses:







Connect the Coordinator to the PC and launch X-CTU. Select the correct com port and ensure the Enable API check box is checked. Power up the Router on the other XBIB interface board.

Create two remote AT command (type 0x17) frames, paying close attention to the structure of this frame as outlined in the API frames section of the XBee/Xbee-PRO product manual.

Here are the frames configured for the address of my radios. Your packets will contain the address of your router radio and the checksum will need to be recalculated.

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 05 00 13 A2 00 40 0A 59 F1 FF FE 02 44 34 05 1E

Command to set DIO4 Low:

7E 00 10 17 05 00 13 A2 00 40 0A 59 F1 FF FE 02 44 34 04 1F

*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 setting for D4 (byte 19) is issued as 04 and 05. This is the hex equivalent of decimal 4 and 5 respectively.

Open the Terminal tab in X-CTU and click the Show Hex button.

Click the Assemble Packet button. In the Send Packet window, select the Hex radio button and enter the API command into the text window.

Click the send data button. You should see your packet displayed in the X-CTU's main window in blue followed by a response packet in red. If you do not receive a response, check your packet for accuracy. Definitions of the remote AT command (0x17) and the remote command response (0x97) can be found in the API section of the product manual.

On the Receiving radio you should see the LED 3 go off when the set high command is sent on go on when the set low command is set. 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.

Note: This article is written using the XBee ZB radios but the concepts are applicable to most of the XBee Radio lineup that offer API mode.

Last updated: Aug 23, 2017

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RFRF Dev kits

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