How to improve xbee range?

Hi all,

I have made a Wii nunchuck wireless by xbee, and one of the applications is a garage door opener. It all works, but the range is terrible. The receiver part is inside a plastic enlosure on the wall in the garage, and I am trying to use the nunchuck from my car. Both xbees are series 1, 1mW. They should be a few hundred meters in open air, but I can barely open the garage from outside the garage door, and certainly not from inside the car. I have to walk out to 1-2 m from the door and hope it opens. Any ideas on how to extend the range? I have not seen any series 1 xbees with more than 1mW, and the battery in the nunchuck is only 100mA.

Joachim

This is a Series 1 60 mW, with considerably better range:

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8742

It's a plug-in direct replacement for the one you're using, except as far as power goes. It takes 215 mA during transmit. Your transmitter may need a better battery (did you mean 100 mAH?), and you'll want to make sure that the rest of your power supply can provide that much current as well.

Oh, it's also a little longer (.21") from the pointy end to the flat end, and if you're mounting it inside a Nunchuck, that might be an issue.

Each of the zigbees comes in regular and pro versions. The pro versions are higher powered, so they have longer range. The tradeoff is battery life for portable devices.

In the regular or pro versions, there are 3 different antenna configurations. The chip antenna version has the shortest range. The on-board whip antenna version has a longer range. The external antenna version has the longest range.

Which version are you using?

Using the regular version with the on-board whip antenna, we get communication between two zigbees from 100 feet part, with one in the back of the house and one outside the front of the house.