Saturday, October 22, 2011

Xbee as an RF Trigger - Main Findings and Observations

During my Xbee project I have made jumps in my own knowledge of simple radio communication and how to use the Xbee, series 1, as part of a system. I hope that this blog can be used to help beginner Smart Systems makers and hobby electricians to become better equipped to use Xbee or make choices as to the applicability of this tech for their own projects.

I dont count myself as an amazing user/maker of smart systems but enjoy tinkering away, making sensors sense, actuators actuate, or lights and buzzers whir into life.
In most examples on this blog you will still have to trouble shoot a bit when trying to use in your own systems. This is to be expected and must be met with patience. I hope this blog has helped.

The following is a list of my main findings. They are intended only as a guide and represent my opinion, based on what I have observed while using Xbee in this project.

Main findings and observations;
  • Xbee, series 1 is very dependent on line of sight for steady signal.
  • You can expect 20-25m strong signal range when sender and receiver units are in line of sight.
  • 60m+ can be expected with clear line of sight
  • Variable, 10-20m range likely when used inside. May be very useful for a RF trigger intended for single room proximity.
  • Components costs add up very quickly so you should seek advice so that you get the right components for your application.
  • Xbee runs happily on a 3V power supply
  • A 3.3 or 3.7V lipo is a good option for repeated use and rechargablity.
  • There are plenty of other options you could choose to use, such as wifi (e.g. wiFly), web feed, RFID.
  • Xbee is a good starting point for beginners who want to use wireless communication or control in their smart systems.

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