Jennic vs Digi


For the past 6 or so weeks I have been attempting to develop a wireless light-switch/dimmer/color changer using Jennic’s Zigbee Pro offering (JN5148).

Its designed as a one module solution, the module runs the zigbee stack and you can develop applications that run on top of a basic operating system, sharing the CPU and other resources with the stack.

I have not been hugely impressed with the development environment and real time operating system which cannot be avoided. In addition the stack appears to be buggy or incomplete in places.

So I have started looking at other options. I know Xbee is normally used as a point to point link, communicating via RS232 to a micro controller of your choice, seemingly without a user programmable micro controller on board. Such setup is not Zigbee which I require (with all the mesh routing and cluster binding that comes with it). But some XBee modules are advertised as Zigbee, can you write software that runs on top of the stack for your application?

If so what tools do you use develop the application and upload it to the module?

Does anyone have words of wisdom they can share with me about using the XBee Zigbee stack for this?

Can someone suggest which Xbee module would be suitable? Or point me to information about their features (like how they are programmed, and if any external micro-controller is required.

Anyone have experience with both Jennic and Digi and have comments on how they compare?

Thanks heaps.

Hi there,

It sounds like you may be interested in our XBee-PRO ZB Programmable modules.

Here’s a link to the page where the various models are listed:

Keep in mind that both Programmable and standard (non-programmable) modules and kits are listed there, so if you purchase one of these make sure its a Programmable variant.

These programmable modules have an 8-bit Freescale S08 microprocessor piggy-backed on the ZigBee module, so no external micro-controller would be required.

Here is a link to the datasheet for our ZB (ZigBee Pro featureset) modules, which includes the Programmable model:

The Support documentation page for the XBee-Pro ZB Programmable kit can be found here:

And here’s the page where the “Getting Started” app is located, as well as a link to where the Freescale manual, Code Warrior, etc is posted:

I hope that gives you some ideas on what Digi offers in the way of a Programmable ZigBee module. I don’t know much about Jennic’s product offerings so I have no comparison for you, but I’d have a biased opinion anyway :wink:

Thanks for that, that is really helpful. I do have a few more questions if you don’t mind. I know all the information is out there on the internet. But not knowing much about digi’s offering it is often hard to tell when you have the correct information.

As far as I can tell, all that is needed to program the XBee-PRO ZB Programmable modules is a RS232 connection (at 3.3v levels). Can you confirm this is correct?

Can you think of any limitations (in Digi’s offering) that I might run into having a Zigbee pro network, using the public profiles (most likely home automation) to control a network of lights that might have up to 500 nodes it in. For example Jennic’s Zigbee stack will not support networks greater than 50 nodes.

Is any of the software required to work with the Programmable Zigbee module paid software?

Do you know where the best place (more in terms of fast shipping, rather than price) is to get either the dev kit or individual modules? I live in New Zealand, so an Australian distributor would likely be good.

Is there a datasheet specific to the programmable module. Specifically I am looking for the pin configuration and the specifications of the S08 microprocessor. Does one just use the datasheet for the separate processor.

Do all XBee modules have the same pin configuration? It seems that way from what I have read, but I would expect some IO from the on board s08 processor to be broken out.

Thanks a lot for your help

Upon further research I have discovered that the zigbee stack used by the XBees do not support the home automation public profile. Which if I am not mistaken will mean XBees are not suitable for creating Zigbee certified lighting and light switches.

Please correct me if I am wrong, because they look fairly nice to work with.

Any update on this one? Did you contact technical support? Did they reply? I’ve something going on to integrate Digi XBee series 2 ZB Stack with another vendor that operates on ZB too. Hence, we’re all watching you for that response. :wink:

As far as I can tell, all that is needed to program the XBee-PRO ZB Programmable modules is a RS232 connection (at 3.3v levels). Can you confirm this is correct?
You need a debugger to flash a custom firmware on the MCU.

Is any of the software required to work with the Programmable Zigbee module paid software?
Digi says CodeWarrior is free. I currently own a couple of programmable units. Downloaded the General Development Software here . Haven’t mess with it though :frowning: Says there, “General”. I sure hope it don’t come with limitations.

I didn’t contact technical support about anything. I gave up on Digi because they didn’t support the home automation profile. I guess there simply isn’t the demand for them to do so.