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This is the SparkFun XBee 3 Wireless Kit, the perfect box full of goodies to get you started using XBees. Inside this kit you will find two XBee 3 Modules, one XBee Explorer, one Xbee Shield and a set of Arduino R3 headers to solder onto the shield. Our entire goal for the XBee Kit was to make wireless communication simple. Connect one XBee to the shield and your Arduino, connect the other XBee to the Explorer board and your computer, and you'll be able to seamlessly pass serial data to and from your Arduino wirelessly! Using this connection, you can transmit remote sensor data, or send data from your computer to update a scoreboard, or drive a robot from your keyboard!
The XBee Shield mates directly with an Arduino Pro or USB board, and equips it with wireless communication capabilities using the popular XBee module. The serial pins (DIN and DOUT) of the XBee are connected through an SPDT switch, which allows you to select a connection to either the UART pins (D0, D1) or any digital pins on the Arduino (D2 and D3 default). Power is taken from the 5V pin of the Arduino and regulated on-board to 3.3VDC before being supplied to the XBee. The shield also takes care of level shifting on the DIN pin of the XBee.
The board also includes LEDs to indicate power and activity on DIN, DOUT, RSSI, and DIO5 pins of the XBee. The Arduino's reset button is brought out on the shield, and a 12x11 grid of 0.1" holes are available for prototyping. The boards in this kit cannot source the power required for the Cellular XBee line. It will only work with the 802.15.4 XBee variants like the ones included in this kit.
Note: If you are using these outside of the United States, please check with your local laws regarding radio communication.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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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: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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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: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 2 ratings:
I had about XBee before and decided to use them to send data from a weather info data logger in my back yard to a PC in my house. I read the XBee tutorials and was up and running very quickly. I tested the range and it transmitted a strong signal from the furthest point in my backyard. I also like that the XBee only uses 2 GPIO pins on the XBee Shield which leaves plenty of access for sensors. The XBee works seamlessly with the Software Serial library making its use very easy. I really appreciated the tutuorial for the XBee and Xbee Shield. Very thorough and well written. I highly recommend Sparkfun.
The kit is just what I wanted for my project and just what was described in the product info. It wasn't difficult to configure and convert my Arduino sketch from streaming serial over USB to XBee (thank goodness for search and replace!). Freeing the project up from the cable was an important step in developing my environment sensing and telemetry module.