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Author Topic: Can I determine which of my two XBee modules is bad?  (Read 675 times)
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Caveat - This is my first experience with setting up XBee communications.

I have two Series 1 XBees and one is not showing an RSSI indicator, but both show "ASC". If I swap the modules the symptom (no RSSI) moves so I'm sure it's one of the XBees and not a carrier. One of the XBees is on an Adafruit XBee Adapter kit that I built, the other is on a SeeedStudio USartBee board.

Is there a way to determine if one is not sending, or the other is not receiving without buying another XBee, although that's probably my only solution.

I followed the setup using X-CTU closely so I don't *think* I did something wrong. Is there a firmware setting that would cause two devices with the same PAN ID to not light up the RSSI when they are 6 inches apart and show good ASC?

I'm using Limor's wireless guide:

http://www.ladyada.net/make/xbee/arduino.html

but I am only powering the Adafruit adapter right now, it is not connected to my arduino except for 5v power.

Thanks
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For the Series 2 (ZB) modules there is a setting that can alter or turn off the RSSI signal/light. Not sure about the S1 modules, so I'd check the product manual.

The other thing to try is restoring the factory settings via X-CTU.

If these are new modules and haven't been abused, chances of a bad one would be remote.
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Yes they are brand new so I was surprised. Good idea about resetting them back to factory defaults. I didn't try them "out of the box" first, which I should have done before fiddling around re-configuring them.
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XBees have a lot of knobs to turn. My experience is that usually only a very few (a handful or less) actually need turning. Getting carried away is usually a recipe for trouble and confusion.
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Getting carried away is usually a recipe for trouble

I'm not sure what you mean if this is directed at me. I don't think I turned any knobs that I shouldn't have turned; I was very careful when I set this up. Do you think Limor's instructions are incorrect?
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Getting carried away is usually a recipe for trouble

I'm not sure what you mean if this is directed at me. I don't think I turned any knobs that I shouldn't have turned; I was very careful when I set this up. Do you think Limor's instructions are incorrect?

I haven't looked at Limor's instructions, but she usually does a pretty good job so I would certainly give her benefit of the doubt. I've just seen too many instances where XBees get all balled up because a couple dozen parameters have been changed in an uninformed shotgun approach. Often the product manual is not consulted; indeed, there may not even be awareness that such a thing exists.

No offense intended whatsoever. If my statement does not apply, please feel free to disregard it smiley-grin
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I'm not easily offended :-)

But I was concerned that perhaps you felt there was something amiss with the writeup. I'll admit that using XBees for wireless programming is an unconventional way to use them, which can easily add to my difficulty in detecting problems, especially for a "newbe" like me.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my query, you have been helpful.
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Didn't realize you were doing the wireless programming thing. Have not done that myself. Have these XBees worked in any other configurations? If it were me, to eliminate the variables and complexity associated with the wireless programming setup, I'd try configuring the XBees to just do straight transparent (AT mode) transmission, after first resetting them to factory defaults. If that works, then I'd know the XBees themselves were OK.
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wireless programming thing

Yea - nothing like being clueless AND doing some off-the-wall task that few have done.

I'm pretty sure it's one of the XBees. I reset both of them to factory defaults as you suggested and I could light up the RSSI on the receiver with the PC side transmitter when I did a X-CTU loop back test. That suggested to me the receiver was getting the ping. But when I swapped them and I could not get the receiver RSSI light. I still don't know if it's a receive or transmit problem and maybe there is no way to tell.

Anyhow, I ordered two additional XBees this morning from Adafruit. I live in NY State so hope to get them tomorrow. Right.

You mentioned abuse and it's possible I did damage one of them. I have my project bot inside a 13" hamster ball (more like a ferret ball) and it does crash into things. It's possible I broke it before I even got it powered up. I'm thinking of shock mounting the new one. Because it's relatively inaccessible I want to be able to program it and watch sensor data as it runs. Probably not entirely necessary, but certainly more fun.

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Yea - nothing like being clueless AND doing some off-the-wall task that few have done.

Try searching the forum a bit, I'd be surprised if there weren't some hits.

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I'm pretty sure it's one of the XBees. I reset both of them to factory defaults as you suggested and I could light up the RSSI on the receiver with the PC side transmitter when I did a X-CTU loop back test. That suggested to me the receiver was getting the ping. But when I swapped them and I could not get the receiver RSSI light. I still don't know if it's a receive or transmit problem and maybe there is no way to tell.

Sounds like things work, partially -- one direction and not the other. But nothing coming back from the loop back test?

Quote
Anyhow, I ordered two additional XBees this morning from Adafruit. I live in NY State so hope to get them tomorrow. Right.

I started with two as well. Found out real quickly that wasn't enough smiley-lol

Quote
You mentioned abuse and it's possible I did damage one of them. I have my project bot inside a 13" hamster ball (more like a ferret ball) and it does crash into things. It's possible I broke it before I even got it powered up. I'm thinking of shock mounting the new one. Because it's relatively inaccessible I want to be able to program it and watch sensor data as it runs. Probably not entirely necessary, but certainly more fun.

I was thinking more about electrical abuse. I'd think a few bumps inside the ball wouldn't be a problem. As long as it's not going 60mph or something, LOL! Still, some rubber bushings or something couldn't hurt.

I'd be interested to hear what happens when you get the additional XBees, good luck!
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