After years of popularity with the XBee Series 1 and XBee Series 2, we now have the XBee Series 3 which brings the best of both worlds. XBee 3 not only handles 802.15.4, and ZigBee, but also BLE protocols and you can now talk to the modules over UART or SPI as well. With a 200ft indoor range, or 4000ft outdoor/line-of-sight range, you can set up a mesh network to talk to or communicate with various devices around your house, work, or other area.
This module has the familiar XBee package while sporting a PCB Antenna. You also get a built in microcontroller so you can also configure and program the modules using MicroPython as well as Digi's XCTU software. With a HCS08 CPU running at up to 50.33MHz, 15x digital I/O pins, and 4x 10-bit ADC pins these modules can even hold their own as a microcontroller.
Note: While these are backwards compatible in many ways with the XBee 1s and 2s, they are not completely compatible. Please see documentation for differences if you plan on adding these to an existing project.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Adding the built in micro controller and extra IO pins is just awesome.