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Description: This is a simple to use, USB to serial base unit for the Digi XBee line. This unit works with all XBee modules including the Series 1 and Series 2.5, standard and Pro version. Plug the unit into the XBee Explorer, attach a mini USB cable, and you will have direct access to the serial and programming pins on the XBee unit.

The highlight of this board is an FT231X USB-to-Serial converter. That’s what translates data between your computer and the XBee. There’s also a reset button, and a voltage regulator to supply the XBee with plenty of power. In addition, there are four LEDs that’ll help if you ever need to debug your XBee: RX, TX, RSSI (signal-strength indicator), and power indicator.

This board also breaks out each of the XBee’s I/O pins to a pair of breadboard-compatible headers. So if you want to make use of the XBee’s extended functionality, you can solder some header pins into those, or even just solder some wire.

Not sure which XBee module or accessory is right for you? Check out our XBee Buying Guide!

Note: There is no XBee included with this Explorer USB. Check the Recommended Products section below for different options.


Recommended Products

Customer Comments

  • This module is compatible with bluetooth bee ???

    • I’ve used a Bluetooth Bee from TinyOS without trouble. Bluetooth Bees are wired to TX and RX in the same pin layout as XBee, so they, along with most XBee form factor devices should work on this. If it’s XBee compatible, it should be usable with this.

      Also, I have 2 XBee Series 2 PCB antenna devices and they work fine with these. The only difference between them and my Bluetooth Bee are the GPIO pins which bluetooth bees and other third party XBee clones, those GPIO pins don’t affect devices like this which use the serial pins only.

  • I have this XBee explorer.

    I was wondering, could one use the TX & RX pins on it (without an XBee attached) to program an Arduino pro mini (DEV-11113 or DEV-11114).

    In other words does it have the same functionality as the FTDI Basic breakout boards, e.g. BOB-11736

    thanks for any clarification.

    • Kind of. The Arduino basically needs 5 connections/signals. Power, GND, RX, TX and reset. You should be able to get the first 4 from this board. I can’t think of a way to send the auto-reset signal this way, but you can manually reset the board with the reset button (wait until you see the white text on the IDE screen telling you the size of the sketch, then hit reset). If you have any problems with this please email and they should be able to help you.

  • I’m having difficulty getting XCTU on my Mac to “see” this device. I’ve confirmed that the Mac sees the USB device, but XCTU does not show it in the list of serial/USB ports. I’m a little perplexed as to where to go from here in troubleshooting this problem. Any thoughts on this?

  • i connected 2 xbee 900 to the USB explorer , one of them the RSSI LED was off and it works , the other one the RSSI LED was on and it did not work ? any help ???

  • I just bought 2 of these, 2 xbee shields, xbee usb dongle, and 3 xbees, all series 1 as applicable, oh, and 2 Unos. I have been following along with the tutorials. When I got to the tutorial that has a pot attached to the uno, I couldn’t get it to work.

    While I was working on this problem, I realized that every test I had done up to this point had usb cables attached to every device I was using. Wireless??? So I start unplugging cables one at a time and tested with all failed results.

    I started over from the beginning, config the xbees. As I went through all the tests I stopped to pull cables. I have come to the conclusion that there is not enough info in the tutorials I’m using to actually get any kind of wireless communications. I put a cable and loose it every time.

    Can anyone shed some light on what might be going on here?

    Here is the link of the swarm tutorial where it tries to add a pot to the uno.

    Thanks for the help guys, d

    • I don’t know what happeed but it works now. All I did was shut everything down and powered it back up the next day. Could have had bad connection somewhere or perhaps I didn’t realize I pulled the USB cable with the monitor open. For now, problem solved.


  • I see that a jumper was added to the back of the board on the RSSI line. Presumably to fix this issue

    However in the eagle board file it looks like the jumper pads are connected. Is the idea that to use the S3B series radios you need to cut that trace?


  • What about digi’s xbee wifi modules? Do their bulky under belly fit? The previous version does not. The mini USB connector is in the way.

    • No, unfortunately the connector still hits the XBee WiFi’s RF shield. We wanted to keep the board dimensions the same, so we were unable to pull the connector out any further. It’s not completely unusable with the WiFi’s – I stick some electrical tape between the two components to add a little protection – but, because the module is lifted a bit by the connector, some pins aren’t as plugged into the socket as they probably should be.

      The WiFi modules do plug nicely into the XBee Dongle Explorer, though. If you’re looking for a better (nearly equivalent) option.

  • The reset button is a nice addition, but if I’m reading the schematic correctly, it is resetting the FT231, not the xbee, correct?

    • The labeling on the schematic is a little weird (there is a Reset pin on the FT231X, which is pulled high), but it is definitely resetting the XBee. That “RESET” stub net connected to the switch is connected to the “RESET” net coming off pin 5 of the XBee.

      • Thanks for the help, my schematic reading skills are obviously lacking. So, this should work quite well with the Synapse RF266 (the radio with the same pin footprint as the XBee), because a reset is really needed when programming it.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5

Based on 5 ratings:

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1 of 1 found this helpful:

Works perfectly, reset button is not the greatest.

I’ve been using this product for awhile and it works perfectly for interfacing my xbee Pro. I use the xbee Pros as a wireless serial link and the explorer plugs into my computer and creates a COM port with no problems. My only complaint (and a minor one at that) is that the reset button is a bit hard to reach and feel since the xbee module overhangs it slightly.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Product works great but having a lot of trouble getting xbee to work

I am trying to get 2 xbees to communicate sensor data to one another to get an LED to blink. There is very little documentation about how to get the right settings for the Xbee. Any pointers would be much appreciated

Excellent interface for WiFly

The Explorer USB handles the powering and connections for a WiFly (and XBee’s, I assume). It’s straightforward to use and makes application of the WiFly a snap.

0 of 1 found this helpful:

I haven't tried it yet.

But I have used SparkFun gadgets for my work to do things amazing. So thanks for YOUR support while I explore the amazing world of affordable technology!

Related Tutorials

Exploring XBees and XCTU

June 5, 2014

How to set up an XBee using your computer, the X-CTU software, and an XBee Explorer interface board.