Zigbee-Based Wireless Arduinos, Demystified

Hackday regular [Akiba] is working on a series of video tutorials guiding newbies into the world of the 802.15.4 wireless protocol stack — also known as ZigBee. So far, his tutorials include a “getting started with chibiArduino”, his own Arduino-based wireless library, as well as a more basic tutorial on how radio works.

[Akiba] already made a name for himself though a large number of wireless projects, including his Saboten sensor boards, which are ruggedized for long-term environmental monitoring. The Saboten boards use the same wireless stack as his Arduino-compatible wireless development boards, his Freakduino products. The latest version features an ATmega 1284P with 8x the RAM and 4x the flash of the older, 328P-based Freakduinos. It comes in both 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz and there’s also a special 900 Mhz “Long Range” variant. The boards include some great power-saving features, including switchable status LEDs and on-board battery regulation circuity allowing one to run a full year on two AA cells while in sleep mode. They also have a USB stick configuration that is great for Raspberry Pi projects and for running straight from the PC.

For more [Akiba] goodness, check out our colleague [Sophi]’s SuperCon interview with him as well as our coverage of his Puerto Rico lantern project.

15 thoughts on “Zigbee-Based Wireless Arduinos, Demystified

    1. Xbee is a cool low power long range low bandwidth serial but yes, so damn expensive despite being something like 15 years old or more. Hey Atmel, unless it gets cheap your standard won’t get very standard even if you have leverage being the source for much of the microcontroller market. I have rarely seen xbee in anything except Atmel catalogs despite its very cool capabilities.

    2. The original imported XBee modukes are really expensive. But you get CC2530 based modules for $4-5 and NRF51822 based modules for <$3. Although I do not know how good they are or if there are features unsupported by this cheap modules.

    3. Zigbee would sound interesting if there were cheap modules including micro (or SOC) that could do a lot of things out of the box without a lot of programming. But you cannot get cheap stuff because of licensing reasons and because the protocol is so complicated that it requires strong micros.
      For hobby level, i think it is hard to beat RFM69 + whatever micro you prefer.

    1. I just came to say the same, IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee isn’t the same. IEEE is a standard protocotol and ZigBee is a set of specifications based in IEEE 802.15.4. Can be said that the ZigBee is a layer over the IEEE 802.15.4, but isn’t the same

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