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Arduino Wireless Proto Shield, XBee Socket US$15.90

Arduino Wireless Proto Shield, XBee Socket

The Wireless Proto Shield allows an Arduino board to communicate wirelessly using a wireless module. It has a socket for you to plug in an XBee module or any other module with the same footprint. Use an XBee module as a serial/USB replacement or you can put it into a command mode and configure it for a variety of broadcast and mesh networking options. The shield breaks out each of the XBee's pins to a through-hole solder pad.

This shield is a great way to prototype wireless applications with Arduino. You can use multiples of these with XBee modules to create a network of Arduino boards, and solder parts to the prototyping area to create your project.

There are two versions of this shield. This version of the shield gives you more prototyping space. The other version, A000065, uses some of the prototyping space for a microSD card slot.

Communicates with Arduino or Attached PC

An on-board switch allows the wireless module to communicate with your Arduino's USB-to-serial converter or with its microcontroller.

With the switch in the Micro position, the DOUT pin of the wireless module is connected to the RX pin of the microcontroller, and DIN is connected to TX. The wireless module will then communicate with the microcontroller. Note that the RX and TX pins of the microcontroller are still connected to the TX and RX pins (respectively) of the USB-to-serial converter. Data sent from the microcontroller will be transmitted to the computer via USB as well as being sent wirelessly by the XBee module. The microcontroller will not be programmable via USB in this mode.

With the switch in the USB position, the DOUT pin of the wireless module is connected to the RX pin of the USB-to-serial converter, and DIN on the wireless module is connected to the TX pin of the USB-to-serial converter. This means that the module can communicate directly with your computer. The microcontroller on the board will be bypassed. To use the shield in this mode, you must program the microcontroller with an empty sketch or remove it from the board. Here's an example empty sketch:

void setup() { }
void loop() { }

Networking Overview

The Wireless Proto Shield can be used with different modules with the same footprint as the XBee modules. The instructions below are for the XBee 802.15.4 modules (sometimes unofficially called "Series 1" to distinguish them from later modules) and also for the XBee ZNet 2.5 or XBee ZB modules, both of which are known officially as "Series 2" modules. All the modules basically have the same type of configuration parameters, but differ by the function that they implement and the topologies of networks that they can create. Only modules of the same family can communicate with each other.


There are multiple parameters that need to be configured correctly for two modules to talk to each other (although with the default settings, all modules should be able to talk to each other). They need to be on the same network, as set by the ID parameter (see Configuration below for more details on the parameters). The modules need to be on the same channel, as set by the CH parameter. Finally, a module's destination address (DH and DL parameters) determine which modules on its network and channel will receive the data it transmits. This can happen in a few ways:
  • If a module's DH is 0 and its DL is less than 0xFFFF (i.e. 16 bits), data transmitted by that module will be received by any module whose 16-bit address MY parameter equals DL.
  • If DH is 0 and DL equals 0xFFFF, the module's transmissions will be received by all modules.
  • If DH is non-zero or DL is greater than 0xFFFF, the transmission will only be received by the module whose serial number equals the transmitting module's destination address (i.e. whose SH equals the transmitting module's DH and whose SL equals its DL).

Again, this address matching will only happen between modules on the same network and channel. If two modules are on different networks or channels, they can't communicate regardless of their addresses.

For the "Series 2" modules, you must chose which firmware to put on the module to give it Coordinator, Router or End Device functionality. Series 2 modules use only serial low (SL) and serial high (SH) for addressing.


Here are some of the more useful parameters for configuring your XBee module. For step-by-step instructions on reading and writing them using AT commands, see the: Make sure to prepend AT to the parameter name when sending a command to the module (e.g. to read the ID parameter, you should send the command ATID).

Command Description Valid Values Default Value
ID Network ID of the XBee module 0 - 0xFFFF 0x3332
CH Channel of the XBee module 0x0B - 0x1A 0x0C
SH and SL Serial number of the XBee module read-only
(SH gives high 32 bits; SL gives low 32 bits)
(for both SH and SL)
Varies by module
MY 16-bit address of the module 0 - 0xFFFF 0
DH and DL Destination address for wireless communication
(DH is high 32 bits; DL is low 32 bits)
(for both DH and DL)
0 (for both DH and DL)
BD Baud rate for serial communication with Arduino or PC 0 (1200 bps)
1 (2400 bps)
2 (4800 bps)
3 (9600 bps)
4 (19200 bps)
5 (38400 bps)
6 (57600 bps)
7 (115200 bps)
3 (9600 bps)

Note: Although the valid and default values in the table above are written with a prefix of 0x (to indicate that they are hexadecimal numbers), the module will not include the 0x when reporting the value of a parameter, and you should omit it when setting values.

Here are a couple more useful commands for configuring your XBee module (you'll need to prepend AT to these too).

Command Description
RE Restore factory default settings (that like parameter changes, this is not permanent unless followed by the WR command)
WR Write newly configured parameter values to non-volatile (long-term) storage (otherwise they will last only until power-down)
CN Exit command mode immediately (if you don't send any commands to the module for a few seconds, command mode will timeout anyway and exit even without a CN command)

For more details on configuring your XBee module, please refer to its user manual.

Arduino Wireless Proto Shield Resources

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 22 April, 2014.


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