SparkFun XBee Explorer Serial

This is a simple to use, RS232 to serial base unit for the 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 RS232 cable, and you will have direct access to the serial and programming pins on the XBee unit. The board also supports DTR communication so you can reprogram and configure the XBee unit.

XBee modules, RS232 cable, and power supplies sold below.

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


SparkFun XBee Explorer Serial Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

1 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #396688 / about 9 years ago / 2

    rather not believe when reading the discussion about XBee Explorer Serial can not work well, after seeing the schematic is given, there is an error in the installation of capacitor terminal section IC MAX232 series, I think the capacitor C6 is connected to the foot of the IC number 6 foot and the other foot should not be connected to GND but to 3.3 V.

  • Member #363494 / about 8 years ago / 1

    Hi guys, I have some bytes of data coming from an external device using RS-232. Can this board receive the data and broadcast it through the Xbee or is it just used for programming the Xbee?

    • Member #470803 / about 7 years ago / 1

      Yes, I use these to transmit some data from a simple doppler radar sensor that transmits a string of ASCII.

      On the other end, I have an arduino with an Xbee shield.

      It works great.

  • pdp8 / about 8 years ago / 1

    This may be the first time Sparkfun has let me down. Besides for the price ($30?! Really?!), the physical size (again, really?!), the location of the RSSI/DIN/DOUT LEDs (this huge board and you put them under the xbee?) and the placement of the power adapter on the same side of the board as the DB9 (thus preventing you from just plugging it directly into a router or computer without using a cable), lack of a silkscreen or other easy marking to determine how to orient an XBee in the socket, not to mention not mentioning whether this is DCE or DTE (hint: it's DCE - so you need a straight through cable to connect to a computer), the thing was broken when it arrived. The power LED's SMD resister was only soldered to the board on one side. Fortunately I can do hot air rework and was able to fix this, but, really, this seems like something SFE QA should have caught. And to think I was complimenting SFE on the extremely high production quality of their products the other day! You can do better - this board is due for a redesign, ideally with a DTE and a DCE version produced (or, even better, switchable, maybe via jumpers - if you have a big board, use it!). Alternatively, post the Eagle files for this and I'll fix it for you. :) From the comments on this thread, it is also clear that people are not aware that this needs a power supply, even when cabled to a remote RS232 port - you might want to update the description - I can see where someone might not understand that you need the power adapter. I am still waiting on a cable (from a different supplier) so I don't know if this actually works as a serial adapter yet - hopefully that part works good. :)

    • Thanks for pointing this out! I just filed a bug to get a revision into the cue. We also will get the Eagle files posted soon.

      • pdp8 / about 8 years ago / 1

        Awesome! I'll keep watch for the new board - I certainly will be interested in a few. This kind of responsiveness to customers is one reason you have loyal customers (the other is your effort at education - I learned enough to be comfortable with the Xbees and their datasheets from the Sparkfun Xbee course).

  • Member #552236 / about 8 years ago / 1

    This board is not at all working for me.. i am using 12V adopter with 1A current. please help

  • Member #367097 / about 10 years ago / 1

    can anyone tell me which transistor is used between dtr and rs232. And is there any use of cts dtr and rts when hooking xbee to PC, meaning do these pins take part in configuring the module? anyone please

  • Member #145624 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Link to the schematic is broken. (404 error)

  • Member #235351 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Does anyone have Eagle file for this PCB?

  • brett p / about 11 years ago / 1

    OK, have a design suitability question for you all. I need to seamlessly bridge a PC device at one end of a house to a serial device (solar inverter) at the other. I need what output would normally appear at the DB9 connection on the inverter to magically appear at the DB9 or USB port at the remote end.
    So if I have two xbees, and use this device at one end, and either another of them or a USB explorer at the other, will that work? I guess my main concern is whether the serial bridge will just take input from the inverter and push it over the xbee network; but when I break it down to that it seems like it should..... but if anyone could confirm that'd be awesome ! :)

  • pubdc / about 12 years ago / 1

    What a big mess this xbee stuff turns out to be ! Here's what I want to do : some arduino (preferably mega for the extra serial pots) as a node, connecting to a remote server over a distance of 2 or 3 km (mostly open air, from a rooftop to a car driving around the area). The XBee 900 high power would do, but is there any way to connect this to the arduino while having enough juice to use the full range (power would come from car battery / lighter) ? Can I use this serial board but connect one of the mega serial ports to the XBee, while using the boards power supply to maintain full range ? Do I need to desolder the serial connector ?
    Also on the server side, do I really HAVE to go to a serial port ?? Is there any usb based connector that carries enough juice for a 900 high-power ?

  • tasiv / about 12 years ago / 1

    I was looking at the schematic, it appears that you'll need a null adapter. I'll get some tomorrow and let y'all know what I find out

  • josdavlar / about 12 years ago / 1

    also remember to have the xbee oriented properly.
    the pointy part points away from the serial jack.
    see sparkfun's picture if you're in doubt.

  • josdavlar / about 12 years ago / 1

    mine didn't work, then i realized that the board needs power. the board says 5-16vdc. pretty sure serial doesn't deliver power, and a USB to serial adapter probably doesn't deliver power either.
    red LED should come on by the on/off switch.
    just to be safe, i set it to off before i connected everything.
    digi recommended a straight up serial connection, so i bought this board instead of the USB. i was having issues with XCTU thru my Xbee --> Xbee arduino shield --> arduino, so that's also why i bought this.

  • Antonio Gonzalez / about 12 years ago / 1

    I just bought one of this Xbee explorer serial but can't still make it work with X-CTU, it always appears Unable to communicate with modem. Any one can help???

    • FlippinBits / about 12 years ago / 1

      I'm having the same issues. I'm using a prolific USB to serial cable, and I'm beginning to believe that is the problem. I had a friend test my modules in the USB explorer and they are fine. I think that this will only work with a real serial port.

Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

Based on 1 ratings:

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Solved immediated connectivity problem

I needed to get my pair of XBees up and running FAST. This fine little product solved that issue cleanly and simply. Other than trying to get to the documentation that gave a clear orientation of the XBee unit on this board, this thing works great.