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Thread: Xbee Pro on Arbotix M board

  1. Question Xbee Pro on Arbotix M board

    Hi everyone,

    I enter a subject that many people would like to resolve : Change the standard Xbee by a Pro version on Arbotix boards.

    The Arbotix pro board, directly developped for xbee pro is no longer available and not produced anymore. So I have no choice than to keep my Arbotix M mounted on my hexapod running PhantomX code. But I was wondering if I could fit an xbee pro S3b on it because I need to extend my range at about 500m indoor/outdoor. I did range tests with xbee pro S3B and it is ok for the range desired. Now time to implement it on the Arbotix M board.

    Space for xbee is not suffisent to fit xbee pro on the arbotix M because the xbee pro module is slightly bigger than standard xbee. That is the first point I have met. Not a problem, I made extension cables so I could connect my Xbee Pro to both radio and hexapod. Using XCTU, I configured both my xbee pro to communicate and set the baud rate at 34800 as specified in phoenix code.

    It is important to know that xbee pro is powered with 3,3V like stdrd version but it needs more current to get the full transmission power (xbee pro needs up to 290mAh instead 120mA for stdrd Xbee (S2C)).
    So I had 2 choices :
    - On XCTU, change PL (Power Level) of the Xbee pro and set it on choice 0 or 1 or 2. I choosed choice 2 :120mA
    - Power the xbee pro by a separate power source of 3,3V 2A (using a DIATONE BEC)

    Both solutions are not working....

    It seems that the communication protocole is not the same between Xbee pro and stdrd xbee.
    This is where I am on my project. I need to find a solution to extend my range on my hexapod but I only have this idea.

    If someone already found a way to mount a xbee pro on an arbotix M module (perhapse it is just totally impossible) I am listening carefully to your advices



  2. #2

    Re: Xbee Pro on Arbotix M board

    The data rate of the Xbee may not be sufficient to support the communication protocol of the controller.
    I forget what the rate of the controller is.
    Note that I'm talking about total-bytes-sent-per-second, not just the bit-rate.

    Also, when you try to power the Xbee separately, make sure you still connect the ground of the BEC to the ground of the controller board.

    The "communication protocol" of the long-distance and regular Xbees are "just a serial wire" -- assuming you can connect between them using a serial console on each end, it should "just work" similar to if you provided cables between the RX/TX of the sides.

  3. #3

    Re: Xbee Pro on Arbotix M board

    Sorry I just noticed this thread as well as the duplicate...

    My personal suggestions include:
    Use a different board other than Arbotix, which has more support. Like an official Arduino installation for current releases of Arduino...

    Like use an OpenCM9.04 or OpenCR board from Robotis. Or I make my own boards for processors sold by PJRC (Teensy 3.x or T4).

    Note: I do have versions of Phoenix code up on Github for OpenCM...

    But if I were to stay with Arbotix-M, I would use an external XBee adapter. I don't know if for example the Sparkfun Regulated XBee explorer will source enough 3.3v for your PRO or not. If not, I would probably get a simple breakout board and use some external regulator with enough current to run your pro. You can then use the pin connector that the FTDI cable plugs into in order to communicate with your adapter.

    And if I remember correctly the XBee and XBee Pro do not talk with each other, at least back when I tried out a couple of pros, but that was several years ago now, so don't know if by chance there is now a common protocol you can setup between them.

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