RF reading for arduino

what is the easiest way to read RF being transmitted by arduino? I am building an arduino with Triple-Axis Gyro that will be wearable and am trying to figure out the best way to cost effectively(and reliably) transmit the signal to a computer. I was thinking xbee, but I also read a few things on RF transmitters and they seem more affordable. Not sure how I would read the signal though, probably another arduino with a receiver...?

hilukasz:
what is the easiest way to read RF being transmitted by arduino? I am building an arduino with Triple-Axis Gyro that will be wearable and am trying to figure out the best way to cost effectively(and reliably) transmit the signal to a computer. I was thinking xbee, but I also read a few things on RF transmitters and they seem more affordable. Not sure how I would read the signal though, probably another arduino with a receiver...?

Over what distance...?

The Bluetooth modules on eBay are cheap and easy to use for distances up to 10m or so.

fungus:

hilukasz:
what is the easiest way to read RF being transmitted by arduino? I am building an arduino with Triple-Axis Gyro that will be wearable and am trying to figure out the best way to cost effectively(and reliably) transmit the signal to a computer. I was thinking xbee, but I also read a few things on RF transmitters and they seem more affordable. Not sure how I would read the signal though, probably another arduino with a receiver...?

Over what distance...?

The Bluetooth modules on eBay are cheap and easy to use for distances up to 10m or so.

ideally It would be across a theatre, maybe off stage or in back possibly too. so anywhere from 100ft to 1k...? that is just a guess. I've seen some RF transmitters go up to 1.3 miles, which is why I was learning towards that route.

hilukasz:
ideally It would be across a theatre, maybe off stage or in back possibly too. so anywhere from 100ft to 1k...? that is just a guess. I've seen some RF transmitters go up to 1.3 miles, which is why I was learning towards that route.

Sounds to me like the sort of application where trying to save $20 turns out to be a big mistake.

Get xBee.

sure, sometimes that $20 less is only because its a less used technology that is harder to use...which I am ok with. xBee seems like it could have same problems?

im looking into the xbee and I see you can get a shield for it. what exactly does that do for you? is it even necessary. I think I've seen them used for breakout, but in this case it goes right on top of it, so I am not sure what it does.

hilukasz:
im looking into the xbee and I see you can get a shield for it. what exactly does that do for you? is it even necessary. I think I’ve seen them used for breakout, but in this case it goes right on top of it, so I am not sure what it does.

XBees modules are 3.3 VDC devices, so the serial communication signals going into them need to be at that voltage level and the ones originating from them will be at that voltage level. The XBee shields I’m familiar with include bidirectional 3.3 to 5 VDC level shifting to make sure a 5 VDC microprocessor (like most Arduinos) can successfully communicate with them. That is of course in addition to functioning as a breakout board.

While most of those RF devices can transmit over long distances, keep in mind that the distance is based on line of sight. Once you go around a corner, it starts degrading. Go through a wall and it gets worse. Same thing with your standard household wireless network router. Stick it in one room, and walk to a different room and your signal will start to suffer.

KirAsh4:
While most of those RF devices can transmit over long distances, keep in mind that the distance is based on line of sight. Once you go around a corner, it starts degrading. Go through a wall and it gets worse. Same thing with your standard household wireless network router. Stick it in one room, and walk to a different room and your signal will start to suffer.

Which is exactly why you can get a greater effective range from XBee devices versus Blue Tooth. XBee modules can easily be setup in a network that allows transmission through intermediate transceivers. So the initial and final modules don't have to be in line-of-sight of each other, provided they are both within line-of-sight of other modules in the same network. In this case, three or four modules would probably give very strong and uninterrupted communications link; one on the actor, one some where on the stage, and one or two backstage (or wherever else they need to be to get the signal to where it needs to be).

hilukasz:
I was thinking xbee, but I also read a few things on RF transmitters and they seem more affordable.

You are mixing ideas and terms. Xbee is RF...

XBee is a powerful, well-engineered solution that is easy and simple to interface with. Short development time, newb friendly, but comparatively expensive.

Those 315 and 433MHz modules you see for $2-4 are made with price, not performance nor reliability, in mind. Further, they are fiddly to work with in both hardware and software. This means a bigger time investment before your communications are on the air. The VirtualWire library is pretty much the only game in town unless you already know what Manchester encoding is and why you need to use it. And even if you do use VirtualWire, it's better if you know the science behind it. Not newb friendly, but pretty darn cheap.