Lilypad Arduino to RF transmitter and/or receiver

Hi! I'm pretty new to Arduino tinkering. I'm trying to figure out how to enable 2 Lilypads to communicate wirelessly. Initially, I wanted to use Xbee, because they provide a signal strength reading right out of the box. But now I'm leaning toward a simple RF pair like Sparkfun's WRL-07813 (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=7813).

My challenge now is figuring out how to physically connect the RF components to the Lilypad. Ideally, I guess, I would make super-simple breakout boards that connected all of the IO pins on the RF components to Lilypad-style "sew taps" so that I could tie conductive threat from the sew taps on the Lilypad to those on the breakout boards. The problem is, I don't know the first thing about PCB design -- I have Eagle (Light) and the Lilypad board file to work from, but I don't really know how to make something that would be acceptable to a fabricator.

My other thought was just to either bend the pins on the RF components into loops I could tie conductive thread to, or solder on loops of exposed hookup wire to accomplish the same thing. But I don't really know how well either of these would work. Does anyone with a clue (i.e. not me) have any suggestions on how I could do this?

Thanks! Aaron

Hi Aaron,

Xbee or Bluetooth will be a much easier solution. To talk via one of these guys, just connect tx,rx, + & - to the LilyPad to communicate. The Sparkfun RF modules are cool, but the problem with them is that to use them you have to write your own communication protocol from scratch, which is a pretty tall order ;) See http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~buechley/LilyPad/extend.html for more info on connections... Tom Igoe's Making Things Talk book (&/or web resources) also has tons of great info on this topic.

Thanks a lot for the tip and the link, Leah! That does look a lot less frightening than what I had in mind. :)

One more question on this point: is it possible to do basic configuration of the XBee using a simple serial connection to an Arduino (such as setting the device's ID), or do I need a more complex interface like the Arduino-Xbee shield?

Admittedly, my XBees have not arrived yet, so I'm asking without having actually tried, but I've searched all over for the answer to this and come up empty.

Thanks again for your help!