Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino

Ciseco Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
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Model: XBS
Manufacturer: Ciseco
Average Rating: Not Rated


Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino

This is another take on popular Arduino Xbee shields. Instead of a small prototyping area to fill available space on the board. this one has additional component sockets for optional DS1307 Real Time Clock, DS18B20 temperature sensor, LED, LDR, Buzzer and a Secondary XBee socket allowing the unit to be used as a gateway.
The board has additional tracks that can if desired be used for the easy addition of a range of basic devices to complete a fully functioning wireless sensor.

The shield comes pre-assembled. To use it like this, simply plug in a radio unit, plug the shield on to your Arduino, add a line of code to your sketch to turn pin 8 high (this controls the XBee power) and you are up and running.

Unlike most other shields you can still program your Arduino with the radio module installed due to some clever circuitry.  Additionally there is support for a 2nd XBee shaped module (WiFi, Bluetooth etc) and a real time clock with battery backup. Various sensors, LEDs or buzzers can be installed to make instant demo devices.  If using it with the Ciseco XRF it can also be used to remotely program the Arduino up to 1000 meters away.

NOTE: THIS IS FOR THE SHIELD ONLY no XBee/XRF module is included.


  • Supports 3.3v and 5v microcontrollers.
  • Secondary XBee socket may be added, allowing gateway type operation.
  • Support for DS1307 Real Time Clock and battery backup.
  • Support for DS18B20 temperature sensor, LED, LDR, Buzzer etc.
  • No need to remove the board when doing a download (YES! no more unplugging! or changing jumpers or flipping switches like all basic shields do) the RX/TX lines are automatically isolated. You don’t need to do anything, it does it for you.
  • Sleep function that completely powers off the XBee, concurrently isolates RX/TX too (this facility seriously helps in debugging over a terminal window)
  • Takes power from the left hand connector rather than the AVR programming header, this means any Ardunio shaped board should be supported, Cortino, Amicus, Xduino, Illuminato Genesis, Metaboard, Wiseduino, ARMmite PRO, Unduino, and probably anything else we don’t know about.
  • Just 3 pins in use, RX/TX and pin 8 to wake/sleep. (can be modified to use other pins by removing the 0R resistor)
  • XBee power on/sleep status indicator LED.
  • RSSI or Assoc. indicator LED (ASSOC is default).
  • Every I/O pin has a secondary solder pad to allow for easy modification and construction of your projects.

Standard use

Power to the first XBee socket is derived from pin 8.  If pin 8 is high, the socket is powered.  If pin 8 is low, floating, or an input, then the socket is not powered.  This ensures that the Arduino is still programmable over USB or FTDI cable with a radio module attached.  Arduino Pins 0 and 1 (Rx and Tx) are connected to socket pins 2 & 3 respectively through a switch.  With most modules this will simply mean that whatever data is sent to the Arduino serial port (TX) is simply broadcast out of the radio, and whatever is received on the radio comes in to the Arduino serial port (RX).  Please check the data sheet for your specific radio module some devices like the series 2 XBee need configuration before they will converse.

XBee / XRF Shield

Using 2 XBee shaped modules

 The XBee shield has space to add a second set of XBee header sockets.  This will allow the Arduino to communicate via two different radio mediums, making it, perhaps in to a gateway type device.  For example, you could have a Roving Networks XV in the primary socket and an XRF  in the secondary socket.  That way the Arduino could potentially receive data from LLAP devices via the XRF and post that data onto a cloud provider such as Pachube via the WiFly XV module.

Pin 1 on the secondary socket is connected to 3v3, and pin 10 is connected to ground.  In order to use the secondary socket you will also need to connect the appropriate communication pins from the XBee socket to the appropriate Arduino pins.  Please refer to the datasheet of the module you are using.  All of these pins are broken out to solder pads next to them to make it easy to wire them up.  For the example above, connect XBee socket pin 2 to Arduino pin 3 and XBee socket pin 3 to Arduino pin 2.  This allows Software Serial 2 & 3 to talk to the XRF module.
Example Gateway Code

Arduino Gateway code (see Documents at bottom of page for link) assumes an XRF is plugged in to the secondary XBee socket, and a Roving Networks XV is plugged in to the primary socket.  It will use software serial to listen for LLAP commands sent to the XRF, and upload the data to Pachube.  You will need to add your Pachube feed, Pachube API key, wireless SSID and passphrase on the credentials.h file to match your settings.  The sketch is set to listen for various types of information from a few different LLAP sensors.  You will probably need to change these to match your sensors.

XBee / XRF Shield as Gateway

Real Time Clock (RTC)

The XBee shield has provision for a DS1307 RTC to be added.  This will require a 8 pin DIP socket, DS1307, 32.768Mhz crystal, 100nf capacitor and (if required) a coin cell holder and coin cell for battery backup.  Mount the chip socket, capacitor and crystal as per the legend on the board.  The battery holder can either be mounted on the top of the board (if you are not using the secondary XBee socket), or underneath the board (if there is sufficient clearance from the board below).  SCL and SDA on the DS1307 need to be connected to the SCL and SDA pins (A5 and A4) on the Arduino. Connecting an off board battery is fine just dont exceed a nominal 3v.


For full documentation and details on configuration for the various options discussed above and for details on configuration for Arduino remote programming

XBee Shield Documentation


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Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
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Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
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Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
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Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
Click to enlarge
Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
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Xbee/XRF Shield for Arduino
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