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My project is autonomous ground based in nature and during the development phase I would like to collect real time (as real time as I can get that is) sensor data without it being tethered so I can test/debug the code while it is in operation. I've looked at some small RF type transmit and receive modules that might work, so one idea I have is to use an rf receiving Arduino attached to my PC so I can gather sensor data and monitor responses. I do not plan to leave the RF transmitter in the project once I'm finished. So my question; is there a better way?

What I think would be the ultimate solution would be a way to treat the communications just like my USB COM connector, that is, download sketches, reboot and receive serial data directly from the remote project through some USB RF (other?) module.

Thanks - ddm
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If you want easy to use, reliable communications, the XBees can't be beat. They simply replace the wire between the PC and the Arduino. You can use an XBee and USB Explorer at the PC end, rather than another Arduino, XBee shield, and XBee.

Uploading sketches wirelessly is going to be a challenge, regardless of which hardware you select. Most radios have a hard time pushing the reset switch at just the right time. Pressing the reset switch via a wire is a lot simpler. The same issue applies to rebooting.
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Sorry, I have about a week's worth of Arduino platform and components experience so please excuse my ignorance. I briefly looked at the XBee components a week ago and thought they were yet-another-RF-component, but at your suggestion, I see they are a lot more. Thanks. I also googled "USB Explorer" and that has me looking at USB protocol snooping software. I'm not sure that is what you meant. If it was that's ok, I frequently use an Ethernet packet sniffer so that wouldn't be a big deal.

So my new XBee research took me to a SeeedStudio UartSBee and it has the following writeup:

Quote
UartSBee V4 is a compact USB to serial adapter equipped with BEE (20pin 2.0mm) sockets. With integrated FT232 IC, It can be used for programming or communicating with MCU applications. On the other hand, you may connect your PC to various wireless applications via the BEE compatible modules.

It reads like I could replace my USB cable with two UartSBees and two XBee RF modules but I'm not sure I'm reading this correctly. As for the reset button, I'm not sure what you mean. So far I just send my program to the board and it loads and reboots without me doing anything. Unless I'm missing something, I'm hoping this would also be the case if I used the XBee/UartSBee.

I'm using a Seeeduino Duemilanove board right now.

Thanks for the nfo, this is very helpful.
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and that has me looking at USB protocol snooping software. I'm not sure that is what you meant.
No, it wasn't. This is:
https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8687?

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o far I just send my program to the board and it loads and reboots without me doing anything.
Right, because with the cable in place, the PC can, by sending the right signal to the right wire, pull the reset line HIGH, triggering a reset. No wires means you can't do that. There was a time when every Arduino needed to have the reset key pressed at just the right time to upload a sketch. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.

But, in order to upload a sketch wirelessly, the human must push the reset switch at the right time, rather than the PC doing it.
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This article may be of interest http://www.ladyada.net/make/xbee/arduino.html
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Thanks folks - This has been really helpful. If I can get something working I post my results here for other that might want to do the same.
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