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Playing with the Zigbee PRO S1 RS-232 Modules

    We were discussing in house how to make the lowest cost point to point wireless RS-232 link to push data one mile or so.

  • Most times we offer the Digi range of XBEE 900MHZ NZ Certified and Registered products.
  • However just for fun:- We had a three Digi Zigbee PRO 2.4GHZ 802.15.4 Series one RS-232 modules in stock.
  • So I pulled them out plugged them into DC power and connected up to my development PC and used the Digi X-CTU software to bring each module up to the same software revision ( You do this across the RS-232 link and reflash the S1 PRO modules very quick and simple – actually you use this software for all Digi Wireless reflashing and testing – very helpful software ).
  • I am up LabVIEW, wrote a simple little VI set I called Zigbee Play that send and receives ASCII data over the RS-232 port.
  • One of the S1 modules I plugged into the PC side RS-232 Com1 and one of the other S1 modules I walked across the room and plugged into DC power, free standing not connected to anything, but with a loop back on the RS-232 port.
  • My Zigbee Play VI worked a treat and data bounced back and forward at 9600 baud nicely.
  • So if you want to send data up to 1 mile out side — use a Series One Zigbee pair, antennas included, either the industrial wide temperature module or the commercial grade module.
  • ( as above ) Excellent price.

Technical…Application Notes

with the Zigbee PRO S1 RS-232 Modules
with the Zigbee PRO development kit.
development kit requires a PC to have auto IP addressing – not
fixed IP??!! Why??
your Digi Zigbee radio to the latest mesh revision
your Digi 900MHZ radio to a mesh radio
camera specs
— PT100 etc Temperature Measurement
Gauge Measurement
in Signal Conditioning

Upgrade your Digi XBEE 900MHZ radio to a mesh radio

  • Q. How do I upgrade the firmware on my Digi XBEE 900MHZ modem if I want to take advantage of the new mesh networking feature?
  • A. This upgrade will be available very soon

Understanding camera performance specs

  • Performance specifications and actual performance should be clearly understood when integrating sensors and cameras into vision systems.
  • Read this very good article before deciding.

RTD — PT100 etc Temperature Measurement

  • Dataforth has an excellent 3 page article on RTDs a must read for engineers.
  • To get exact temperature readings from RTDs requires carefully design and layout. This article covers, 2, 3, and 4 wire systems with all th emath exposed to show how the Data forth modules work with RTDs. link

Strain Gauge Measurement

  • Dataforth has an excellent 6 page article on Strain Gauges a must read for engineers.
  • Very complex design work accompanies each strain gauge installation, from prperation, fixing or mounting, wiring, cabling, balancing, calibrating, conditioning, filtering, excitation and much more. link

Filtering in Signal Conditioning

  • Dataforth has an excellent range of Technical Articles for Education. see below.
  • Signal conditioning modules, SCMs, used for measuring process control variables such as temperature, pressure, strain, position, speed, level, etc. are always subject to externally induced noise signals. Electrically and magnetically induced noise voltages or currents are inevitable. Field sensors with output voltages in the millivolt range are certainly degraded by induced noise levels on the order of volts. Consequently, signal conditioning modules must provide filtering to eliminate induced noise components.
  • Hundreds of articles and text books have been written on filters that provide a multitude of frequency characteristics such as the Bessel, Butterworth, Chebyshev, Cauer, etc. The objective of this 5 page application note is a brief review of filter fundamentals primarily focused on the amplitude response of low-pass (LP) filters needed in industrial signal conditioning modules. link

Playing with the Zigbee PRO development kit

This kit is a well worthwhile buy if you are serious about learning Zigbee technology. It is a big kit – big box and big contents – lots of bits that is and they are all small in size.

  • X2 ZigBee Gateway – Zigbee mesh gateway + Ethernet port + Web server + programmablitiy with Phython – love it.
  • USB Development board and ZigBee Pro Chip set set to ZNET 2.5 Router level.
  • RS-232 Development board and ZigBee Pro Chip set set to ZNET 2.5 Router level.
  • RS-232 Development board and ZigBee Std Chip set set to ZNET 2.5 Router level.
  • Wall Plug Pack ZigBee Router PRO Chip set set to ZNET 2.5 Router level – measure temperature and light level.
  • And a very good CD with all the software + a manual that is OK but not super yet, usable and everything works- yes!

You will learn :

  • How to measure signal strength with your PC using Digi Tools.
  • How to Discover the X2 Gateway.
  • Open the Gateway Web Page.
  • How to Discover the complete ZigBee Mesh.
  • Use Digi’s Tools to read ZigBee Chip program level and status.
  • Reprogram/Flash ZigBee Chip sets with the latest auto feed from the Digi Website.
  • Read data across the Mesh.
  • Pump Serial data through the mesh.
  • Start Python in the Gateway.
  • Python in the ZigBee Chips

The Kit is low cost but you will be a little expert in no time and feel very comfortable with this new technology.

Zigbee development kit requires your PC to have DHCP network not fixed IP??!!

  • Using the Network discovery tool to find the Digi Gateway will not work with a fixed IP. The gateway is a local web server and you must ask it for its IP.
  • This is important for all those who are using the Digi Zigbee Development Kits.
  • Go the Control panel, open network connections, double click local area connection and select properties TCP properties, highlite TCP Protocols TCP and right click to properties, click the radio button saying Obtain an IP adress automatically.
  • You may need to reboot but try before doing this.
  • You will now be able to find the Digi gateway, either X2 or X* model using the discovery tool on the development tool

Upgrade your Digi Zigbee radio to the latest mesh revision

Q. How do I upgrade the firmware on my zigbee modem if I want to take advantage of the new mesh networking features?

A. If you have a zigbee chip, either a PRO or Std version you can mount this on one of Digi’s protyping PCBs with either serial port or a USB connection. I like the USB one as it is self powered and the connection is so easy.

Upgrading modules to the latest firmware Digi radio modems support field firmware upgrades. The upgrade process requires the Digi interface board (supplied in a development kit or a PKG product) and a PC with a Windows OS use XP if you can.

One of the reasons you might want to upgrade the firmware is because the XCTU software reported the following error message:

Unable to find configuration file for modem (firmware version B43B). Please check website or call technical support for updates. Read parameters..Failed.

Instructions for upgrading the radio modem firmware:

  • Remove any old copies of XCTU you may have installed on your computer.
  • Install new X-CTU software from the X-CTU Software Page.
  • Connect the MaxStream radio modem to an available COM port on the PC.
  • Run X-CTU.exe program, (there is an Icon on the Windows desktop.).
  • On the “PC Settings” tab of the software: select the correct COM port, select the baud rate that matches the baud rate of the module and leave the other settings at their defaults (None, 8, None, 1, from top to bottom).
  • Select the “Modem Configuration” tab and press the “Read” parameters button to automatically detect the modem type. (If the software is unable to find configuration file then manually select correct modem type from the pull-down menu). Select desired firmware version from the “Version” pull-down menu.
  • Press the “Write” parameters button to load new firmware.
  • Press “Restore” module defaults – to reset the module.
  • Firmware update is now complete.
  • Do not hesitate to contact MasTec with any questions.

Note: XStream radio modems with firmware versions 4.28D and higher are field-upgradeable. XCite modems with firmware versions that end in B and higher are field-upgradeable. XTend radios greater than 121 are field-upgradeable. All XBee/XBee-PRO modems are field-upgreadeable.

I have successfully upgraded Zigbee chips using this method.

If you have OEM Zigbee modules, open the module and pull out the chip and mount in the digi PCB and reprogram it an replace in OEM module, this is the only way for some modules as they do not have serial or USB connection only wireless.

Some products like the wall mount router cannot be reprogrammed at present but tools will soon allow this.