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July 6, 2011
about 4 years ago
Attended both XBee classes on 23-24 July.
Rob’s a great speaker. Since he wrote the book, he knows the topic
intimately, and he kept everyone engaged. He’s one of those speakers
at a conference that, even though the topic may not be what you want,
you still go see because the presentation will be fun and interesting.
I (stupidly) had not read the book before the class (I have now bought
it and will be reading it next weekend). Rob indicated that the
material for the second class was right out of the book, but even if
so, I imagine that most would still find the class worthwhile.
If you go to this class, bring your own soldering iron. We had some
minor soldering, but the Sparkfun irons are so well-used that it took
much longer than it should have. I would also recommend looking at the
processing or python libraries for the XBee so that you can code up
some of the XBee configuration we do in class – may save you some
Debugging the XBee projects was hard, IMO, since there’s very little
feedback. As Rob explained, most likely it’s your configuration (and
he was right in all the issues I had). You may want to look beforehand
at how to wire up an LED to show when your XBee associates – a little
If you run Linux as I do, here are some tips:
- You need the Arduino IDE (there’s a bug in avr-gcc v 4.6.1 - I had
to build up an earlier toolchain to get it to work).
- You’ll need miniterm.py or minicom – serial console.
- You’ll need a windows install under qemu or other emulator to run
the X-CTU code from Digi (Rob says there is a wine setup - haven't
The Sparkfun guys were great, and if you needed something, they just
helped. The offices are very rural (I’m from SoCal, so filter that
statement as you will). Bring snacks and drinks.
I’m a hobbyist, but I sat next to two very experienced guys, and they
were engaged the entire time. Overall, a great experience.
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