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Description: The XBee Explorer Regulated takes care of the 3.3V regulation, signal conditioning, and basic activity indicators (Power, RSSI and DIN/DOUT activity LEDs). It translates the 5V serial signals to 3.3V so that you can connect a 5V (down to 3.3V) system to any XBee module. The board was conveniently designed to mate directly with Arduino Pro boards for wireless bootloading and USB based configuration.

This unit works with all XBee modules including the Series 1 and 2, standard and Pro versions. Plug an XBee into this breakout and you will have direct access to the serial and programming pins on the XBee unit and will be able to power the XBee with 5V.

This board comes fully populated with 3.3V regulator (16V max input), XBee socket, four status LEDs, and level shifting. In the latest revision the diode level shifter is replaced with a more robust MOSFET level shifter. This board does not include and XBee module. XBee modules sold below.

Documents:

Replaces: WRL-09132

Comments 47 comments

  • Which regulator does this use? It can take up to 16v input right?

    Do the I/O pins from the xbee still output 3.3v or does it get shifted back up to 5v?

  • I would like to put this board straight on top of an Arduino Pro Mini 5v. The description states: “The board was conveniently designed to mate directly with Arduino Pro boards”, but the pin spacing seems to be slightly different (the long rows of pins seem to be further apart on the arduino pro mini). Does this work?

    • It looks like it’s designed to mate end-to-end with the pro mini. You may be looking at trying to stack them?

    • This board was designed to mate on the FTDI port of either the Pro or the Pro Mini, the both have standard 0.1" spacing. Be aware before you solder the board directly on that this is the same port you use for programming, so make sure you can still program your board. Also, this board is designed to work with the 5V versions of the board, for the 3.3V version you don’t need the levelshifting and voltage regulation that this board does.

    • I’m also curious/excited about this but confused. I’d love to put an Arduino Pro Mini 3.3v directly on this board for basic sensor processing instead of waiting for the programmable XBee. Is this possible? Can I put pins right from this board into a Pro Mini? I would assume it would be a Pro Mini 3.3v since the XBee is 3.3v?

      Edit: Joe User above is probably right. It’s an end-to-end connection, not stacking. Still, the Pro Mini should still be fine but the Explorer end connector is 5v so you need to bring the 3.3v over if you want to use the Pro Mini 3.3v. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Please help this newbie, who is looking to power the xbee standalone (with no microcontroller) using AA batteries. I plan to use the xbee in router mode to switch colors on a remote LED strip that will be powered using 8 AA cells (12V total). I’m hoping to use the same power supply for the xbee. Would this board do the needful? Thanks!

  • I tried to use this board with the 5V FTDI cable (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9718), unfortunately I’m unable to connect to the XBee module. The XBee Explorer (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8687) works without any issues. Any idea what’s wrong here?

    • Both the FTDI cable and the XBee Explorer are designed to connect to a microcontroller meaning they have the same pinout. For serial though you want RX to go to TX and TX to RX so you will need to swap those pins.

  • Is it required to have any on board connections between pins or soldering on this board to make use of boards pins 5v,din,dout,GND to be connected to arduino ??

  • I have buyed two units of this module and looks like didn’t work. I had a xbee pro s1 module connected to my Arduino pro with a tension divider and all works fine. I have changed this by the regulated module and didn’t works.

    I have connected Module -> Arduino Pro 5v -> Vcc Gnd -> Gnd Dout -> Rx Din -> Tx All works fine if I reconnect my Xbee directly with a tension divider Any Idea?

    • I have the response. My module Xbee s1 Pro uses more than 150mA and this module can supply 150mA max :(

      • The regulator on this board is rated for 500mA, if you are having problems with this board please email techsupport@sparkfun.com.

      • I just discovered this. Good thing the mbed has a 3v3 rail with enough current. I’m a bit upset with sparkfun for advertising that it works with the S1 Pro.

        • This should work fine with a S1 Pro, the regulator is rated for 500mA. If you are having problems with the board please email techsupport@sparkfun.com

  • Can I connect this device to a arduino lylipad?

  • I’m trying to use this explorer with XBee Pro 900. It is suggested that the diode D1 should be shorted. But, I cannot find the diode at the schematic. Can you be more specific? Is it the LED marked DIN, or something else? Thanks.

    • You do not need to short any diodes to get this board to work with the XBee Pro 900 units. That was one way to get the older boards to work with some of the modules, but the new boards should work just fine.

  • Given that the 3.3V regulator has a max 16V input, is it a fair to say that a 16V input would make the DIN and DOUT signals 16V? I can see that the level shifter will provide 3.3V to the XBee, but won’t the high voltage reference be the same as the supply voltage? I’m thinking this would blow the works on the Arduino side (if using one), where the TX and DX pins accept only 5V. I’m still learning to read the schematics properly, but this looks to be the case. Is this right? If so, it’s the users responsibility to supply ~5V?

  • I have one of these, but actually want to just do 3.3V I/O. Can I use this board as a simple break-out board, by connecting to the IN/OUT pins on the sides, rather than the DIN/DOUT pins at the bottom? And if I only have a 3.3V rail, would connecting this to both 3.3V and 5V make sure the regulator doesn’t break? (back-feeding regulators is a bad idea in general, but equal potential should be safe)

  • What is use of this product? pls say it cleary…. converts ttl 5V to cmos 3.3V for DIN and converts 3.3V to 5V for DOUT… Am i correct? if it is wrong pls say….

  • Does this output a 5v signal? I need to use it to receive a serial signal then pass it to a 5v servo controller

  • Is it very problematic to use this Explorer with a 3.3v PRO? I know I dont need the regulated one in this case but, I REALY like the possibility of staking the exprorer directly into the arduino, and the not regulated one does not have the headers ! You should provide this header on the not regulated one ! (that is also much cheaper), but in the meantime, use this with the 3.3v will case problems??

    Thanks !!

  • In the schematic are inverted labels: IN - DIN, OUT - DOUT?

  • Any documents available for a Noob about how to best use this with Arduino Uno? Wanting to use a Series 1 Pro Xbee. Expected documentation with this. None to be found in the box it shipped in.

  • It appears I’ve ruined a second XBee Explorer Regulated after soldering wires. I’ve never run into this again. I’m a delicate solderer and don’t feel I overheated the pads–I do this every day. Apparently, I’ve broken the solder to trace connection. For Din and Dout, two pads for each (on the end and on the 0.1 pad near the 2mm 10p connection point) and a track between them and to the SMD pad on 2mm 10p connect. On the first board I soldered, both Din and Dout on the end broke. Then I pulled out another new explorer board and reassembled another set of wires to the end Din/Dout, as well as add (again) header pins for testing to the 2nd pad. This time the Din connection between the 2nd pad and SMD 2mm tail broke. Not obvious from looking at the boards but the boards are useless now. These boards are cheaply made! I’m very disappointed. Excuse me while I find another source for this board.

    I found it difficult to believe that it was the board but as it turned out

    • that sucks! I’m really surprised by what you say. we do a LOT of soldering on our own boards and we rarely ever have an issue. Any chance you could contact tech support (techsupport@sparkfun.com) and we can make an exchange. We’d like to see if there was a quality issue with our boards. It sounds like you might be soldering too hot? The pads shouldn’t be pulling up at all, even if you are being pretty hard on them. If there is a problem with our boards, we’d like to know about it and get it fixed!

  • Hello all,

    Just a quick question. Can we combine this board with the RN-XV WiFly Module - Wire Antenna (WRL-10822) module? I think it can, but just to be on the safe side…

    thx

  • Question about using the DTR pin on the 6 pin header, I see on the schematic it is tied to dio3. The schematic does not show that it is pulled up to 5v. My question is: is the DTR pin on the header expecting a 3.3v signal when dio3 is an input and is it sourcing 3.3v when dio3 is an output. I understand that if I use a solder bridge on sj1 (rst to dio3) that when the xbee receives a reset signal and dio3 is an output, then the dtr pin on the 6 pin header will go low otherwise it is pulled high somehow.
    Is this correct? Thanks

  • It’s difficult to get a solid connection to the pro mini with these guys without having to finalize your project (solder). If you wanna make sure everything works before soldering your you’re gonna have a difficult time. I don’t understand why the holes have to be so big?

    Can you guys make the holes smaller? or at the very least add a switch so i can still upload sketches after i’ve soldered.

  • Note: if you are going to use this module with an XBee-Pro XSC module, you have to physically remove the RSSI LED or the R4 resistor. The XSC has a different pinout compared to a normal XBee and this LED will drive the config pin low and cause the module to be unresponsive.

    • I just had this problem. Thanks! I’m guessing I’ll run into the same issue on the XBee Explorer USB which was going to be the other half of my link.

  • Hi there!

    I am trying to use this board to connect an xbee pro s2b to the serial bus on a raspberry pi’s GPIO. I am connecting the RX pin (10) from the GPIO to the out pin on the sparkfun board and the TX pin (8) to the in pin. I have tried using both 3.3 volts and 5 volts from the GPIO. However in all cases the power led just seems to blink in distress… I know the radios work because I can connect them from my USB xbee explorer on a PC to an arduino an get them talking. Its just the hookup to RPi… Anyone else have a similar problem?

    Thanks if anyone can help,

    Mike.

  • I have a question, as well…

    I looked at the schematic, and I’m pretty sure, but not completely. Are DIN and DOUT the same as IN and OUT?

    I’m using a book that seems to use the old version of this board, but some of the labels aren’t clear in the pictures, and they connect wires to the locations that currently correspond to IN and OUT but call them DIN and DOUT in the text. Later in the book, of course, they connect all the wires to the end, while saying they’re connecting to 3.3V, DIN and DOUT. Even in the old version, it looks like they’re connecting to 5V and not 3.3V. Does it even matter which I connect to? I’m using an Arduino UNO R3, but doesn’t this board convert to 3.3V regardless?

    The only reason I care is that it will impact how much space I have left on my protoshield.

  • Is the DOUT line coming out a 5V? I’m afraid it could blow out my Arduino Due, whereas the old ones won’t.

    • If you are using a Due, then you are already at 3.3V, and you don’t need the Explorer Regulated. Try using just the plain XBee breakout board.

  • I do get dropped bits now and then. Is that the issue with the old ones? Can I get a discount on a new set? :P

  • Whats the benefit of that MOSFET Level shifter?

    • From http://www.sparkfun.com/news/1029

      Speaking of customer feedback, we’ve revised the XBee Explorer Regulated to replace the old diode level shifter with a proper and more robust MOSFET level shifter. Now you should have a lot less communication issues with your XBees.

      • What MOSFETS are those? Im looking at the schematic and nothing, and again with the Eagle files, and still nothing. It would be nice to know what MOSFETS they are.

        • Are you looking for the manufacturer and part #? Those I can’t find either. The part as used on the board is, from the library, just a ‘generic NMOS footprint’ device.

          • Yeah, thats exactly what Im looking for. Im trying to reproduce this for my prototypes now that its come to my attention that I need it. Only thing that keeps coming up in my searches is the BSS138, and Im not sure if thats the one they use or not.

            If I knew the specific specs for Vth that I should be looking for, it would help to select a mosfet to do the job.

            • I’ve used the BSS138 as a logic level shifter in several of my designs. I’m almost positive that’s what Sparkfun uses in their designs.

  • I just ordered the old version of this product and it is literally being shipped to my house today. What are the chances that I got this version and you guys gave me an early Christmas surprise?

    • Not so good if you ordered off of SKU WRL-09132. The old version should still be functional and appropriate.


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