The NXTBee wireless module from Dexter Industries allows interfacing the famous RF modules Digi Xbee to the Lego NXT system in order to communicate wirelessly up to 600m. The Xbee communication protocol is a robotics common standard and will allow you to develop projects with many different devices.
The NXTBee sensor is available in three different versions:
- Naked NXTBee sensor. In this case, you have to plug and configure your own Xbee module.
- NXTBee sensor with Xbee radio module (range: 100m).
- NXTBee with Xbee Pro radio module (range 600m in open area)
If you want to communicate with your robot from your PC, you will need a NXTBee USB which is a chip that connects to your PC via USB.
The PRO version of the NXTBee module for Lego Mindstorms NXT
The NXTBee board allows interfacing the Lego Mindstorms NXT programmable robot with the Xbee radio modules from Digi and using the 802.15 standard that describes a communication protocol used in many areas (home automation, industry, and robotics).
The Lego Mindstorms embedding the NXTBee module can communicate wirelessly with many different devices having the same wireless link. The protocol used by the Xbee modules has in addition much better performance than Bluetooth or infrared.
The NXTBee sensor uses the RS-485 port of the NXT Brick. It has to be plugged on the sensor port number 4 in order to take advantage of the high speed communications capabilities of the NXT.
The Xbee modules can use a point to point, point to multipoint or peer to peer protocols.
The most interesting usage of the NXTBee is that can be used to create a mesh network. In such a decentralized network, every single module can be emitter, receiver or simple relay for the data packets.
The discovery of other NXTBee modules (or any other Xbee based hardware) is in that case automatic as well as the data transmission between the different elements of the mesh network that can include up to 65000 devices.
Technical features of the NXTBee for Lego Mindstorms NXT
- Power output: 10 mW (+18 dBm)
- Indoor/Urban range: Up to 300m
- Outdoor/RF line-of-sight range: Up to 600m
- Operating frequency: 2.4 GHz
- Receiver sensitivity: -100 dBm (all variants)
- Networking topology: Point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, & peer-to-peer
- Error handling: Retries & acknowledgements
- Filtration options: PAN ID, Channel, and 64-bit addresses
- Channel capacity: 12
- Addressing: 65,000 network addresses available for each channel
Videos showing the NXTBee for Lego Mindstorms NXT
A Lego Mindstorms NXT robot wirelessly guided by an Arduino board
Project ideas using the NXTBee for Lego Mindstorms NXT
The NXTBee can be used for the following projects:
- Remote control: Remote control of a NXT robot from a PC or a remote control device equipped with an Xbee Module
- Network of sensor: Simulation of a network of sensors with centralization of the measures on the NXT brick and data upload.
- Home automation: Control of various devices wirelessly directly from a NXT brick.
Resources and downloads for the NXTBee sensor for NXT
- User manual
- Robot C Hello World
- NXTBee configuration
- Flag Waiver example
- RC Car example
- Arduino controlled car example
- Secure networking implementation
- NXTBee setup and initialization in NXC
- NXTBee raw communications
=> All resources have been archived here.