Switch USB Base and RS232 Remote on Starter Kit

I’m working with a university engineering team trying to develop a Zigbee proof of concept using the Microsoft Micro Framework and a GHI development board. We started with Jennic and abandoned them due to lack of support. We’re now using the Xbee Starter Kit and am in a time crunch with the school year ending in a couple of weeks.

The GHI board is our main processing board and it connects with Xbee via the serial port. So the RS232 Xbee dev board needs to be our Base while the USB Xbee dev board will become our Remote. How do we change the roles of these boards?

Also, I connected the RS232 Remote board to the GHI and tried to talk to it but got no response to a Supply Voltage query. Is this because it is a Remote and will not talk or could there be something wrong with the serial connection?

Thanks, - Mark.

May I start with a few questions?

First, what version of firmware is running on your XBees? I take it that they are series 1 chips, since this is the series 1 forum.

Second: have you tried connecting the serial board to a PC and talking to it with a terminal program? Out of the box, you should be able to communicate at 9600 baud with 8 data bits and 1 stop bit. Does it accept and respond to AT commands? If not, exactly what does happen?

Third: what exactly do you mean by base and remote? XBees can be coordinators or end points, but unless you want to use sleep mode they can all be end points. It’s then a peer relationship rather than master/slave.

And fourth: I don’t know of any supply voltage query on the XBee, so I assume it’s a query you send to the GHI board. Can you be more specific about the setup? (eg: query sent from PC host to GHI, via two XBees in transparent mode/API mode, or whatever)

Sorry to answer questions with questions, but a bit more detail would help us to help you.

When I got to the university, one of the students found a video tutorial that showed how to configure the unit to be a coordinator (base) and endpoint (remote). I guess I jumped the gun here. It was so easy to configure using X-CTU.

The issue with the GHI board was that I did not need a null modem and I had to set Xbee API mode on.

After many frustrating months working with Jennic, I couldn’t believe how easy Xbee was. In 5 hours we were able to accomplish what we could not do in 6 months with Jennic. My hat is off to the Xbee team and its user community.