SOLVED - Wireless Communication between PC and Arduino

I found what should work Cheap and Easy.


I need some help with a project. I basically want to wirelessly communicate between my computer and an Arduino UNO, over a maximum range of about 30 metres. What is the best way of doing this?

This is what I have so far: - Get two XBee modules. - Connect one of them to my computer using a USB to Serial Base Unit ( ) - Connect the other to an Arduino using a 'Wireless SD Shield' or 'XBee Shield' (Which should I use?) - Use Serial to communicate XBee to XBee

Will that option work, and is it the best way of doing this? And also, does XBee only communicate to XBee or can I only use one XBee to communicate to my computer?

EDIT: I also found this APC220 for $40 with 2 modules, 2 antennae, 1 TTL-USB Convertor. Will that work? It looks cheaper and includes everything.


I don't know the "best" solution, but I've used Wixel from Pololu before, and it's dead simple. It's wireless usb.

Thanks for the quick reply. It looks great. DO you need two modules then? ($40!) And what is the range for the Wixel (from your experience)? And what is that about programming it? Does it act like an Arduino or do you have to connect it to a microcontroller?

Yep you need two: one goes in the PC USB and the other is hooked up to the Arduino- I used breadboard. It's basically wireless USB.

You might like to have a look at this thread from last year when I was figuring it all out. On Pololu's site you can download the pdf Wixel manual.

EDIT: I have no idea about the range. When I was testing I was following the robot round the house, probably never more than 2-3 metres away.

Hmmm, it says range is approx 15 metres, which is alright. But I/O lines are NOT 5V-tolerant. I suppose that can be dealt with though. And then you need to get a shield seperately as well.

I read your post, and I am confused :~ It looks really hard. Not looking too good. That's about £33 so far.

I want something like this: I can just open some sort of Serial Monitor, type 'blink', the transmitter sends it to the receiver. The Arduino grabs it from the receiver, processes it, makes an LED blink. Should be simple enough.

Do you think this will work? Has anyone tried it?

Thanks again.

Hi ivisualhack,

If cost is an important factor then the cheapest option may be to use nrf24l01+ modules (<£5 a pair). You will need an arduino at the pc end, but this could be an inexpensive Pro Micro clone or Nano 3 clone (<£10). Cheaper still if you can wait for them to arrive from China/Hong Kong.

However, the nrf modules run on 3.3V. Pro micro does no provide this, and Uno/Nano will only provide it if you power them the right way, so one of these may be needed.

Do you need to download sketches remotely? Does this 30m include any walls (what construction)?


Hi, I need a range of about 5-10 metres indoors, with walls in the way. I don't need to download sketches remotely, I just want to send simple commands which can be interpreted by an Arduino UNO, pre-programmed. For example, I want to send the command 'blink' to make an LED blink on an Arduino in the next room. Cost is important because I am a beginner and don't want to spend much on something that may not work, or I may not decide to use.

I can't find 'lrf24l01+' on Google for some reason?

Yeah those Wixels are not a cheap solution- I was reluctant to spend the money too. Sorry I can't advise better on their range, especially through walls.

But that said, they are very easy to use, since all they are is a wireless usb. My Arduino sketch just reads a character from the serial input, and uses "if" to decide what to do. On the PC I use PuTTY to send characters.... so you could have "b" for blink and "s" to stop.

Tell you what though, I'll set them up this afternoon or tomorrow and do a quick test. I'll try various things like in the house (ie through walls) and out in the open. Always assuming I can find them.... (EDIT: Ok, I found them, so that's a start)

Do you have a home WiFi network? If so, consider using a WiFi-capable Arduino clone such as the Spark Core ( or WiFi Redback, or add a WiFi shield to a standard Arduino.

Yes, I have a home WiFi network. I don't want to get another Arduino, though. Unless it's mega cheap. Because I don't really need it. I do not understand how to use a WiFi shield to communicate though. I have a single Arduino. How do I send commands remotely, from my Computer? How do I setup the shield. I have read some articles and instruction, but I really am confused. Could you explain the steps and everything I will need?

iVisualHack: I can't find 'lrf24l01+' on Google for some reason?

Sorry, my bad. I corrected my earlier post and included some links.

IMAGINE THIS: I have an Arduino UNO with a Wifi Shield and a light sensor and a temperature sensor. I have the code for reading the temperature and light on the Arduino. What I want to do is be able to send 'read light' command from my Computer and the Arduino reads the light input and sends it back to my computer. If I send a command to 'read temperature' then it reads the temperature and sends it back to me. ALL of this should be done wirelessly. Is it possible?

Yes, any of the above suggested solutions would enable you to do that. Although it would be simpler to get the remote Arduino to keep sending the readings every second or so, rather than waiting to be asked.

So it is possible with a WiFi shield? And what about If I wanted it to record data in an SD card simultaneously. Is it possible. I would like to be able to send commands wirelessly form my computer too. How should I go about doing this?

Yes, all that's possible too. One thing to bear in mind with any Wifi based solution like wifi shields or Spark Core is that if you want to run the remote Arduino on batteries, they won't last ten minutes! Spark Core, for example, needs about 150mA to run, around 5 times what an Arduino with an rf module.

Ah, I knew there would be a problem. So I can't use a Wi-Fi shield on a robot... What do you suggest for a simple, small robot. Easiest option please, and price really matters.

Well, I said "ten minutes" but of course it really depends on how big the batteries are and how long you need them to last between recharging. A robot has motors and these will consume power at an even greater rate than a wifi device, when they are running.

If you want the remote device to be small and low power and cheap then wifi is probably not the way to go. But then neither is a robot!

If you have big enough batteries and are ok with frequent recharges, then motors and wifi will be ok.

To keep costs at a minimum I would still recommend those nrf modules.

Two projects 1 - wirelessly control an arduino to get sensor data. 2 - Wirelessly control a simple robot to rotate or move,without conn What is the easiest cheapest way to do each of these?

Right, tested the Wixel range.... seems to work over 15-20m or so and more important through a number of brick walls. I had the remote Wixel's Tx and Rx pins jumpered for a loopback, and walked around with laptop. Characters typed in were loopedback until I got out of range out in the garden.

Well, you obviously don't like my answers so I'll shut up now, except to make one final suggestion