Hacking Together A Basic Remote Sensor With An Arduino, Xbee Radios, and Linux

Open Hardware
Location: D137 Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.85, 13 ratings)

The hacker community has enthusiastically embraced the Arduino microcontroller. Linux and Open Source hackers are some of the most sophisticated and forward thinking in the business. This talk with give them plenty of ideas for building highly capable, remote sensor projects.

This 40-minute presentation will explain the building blocks of a remote temperature sensor using the open hardware Arduino microcontroller, a pair of Xbee radios, and Linux. I’ll also give a short demo of how the module is programmed remotely and can be used with a variety of switches, light detectors, and other sensors to provide real-time data for research, security, and recreational purposes. The Arduino Integrated Developer Environment (IDE), used for programming the Arduino is freely available online and components can be obtained through a variety of online/offline suppliers. Projects are easily prototyped and relatively inexpensive. The talk will conclude with a list of projects attendees might want to explore and where they can find out more detailed information.

Researchers, engineers, and designers will appreciate the powerful system capabilities of the Arduino married with the convenience of a reliable remote radio link. Code for the Arduino mirrors the same basic syntax as the C programming language and requires minimal ramp-up for building new projects.

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Rob Reilly

Rob "drtorq" Reilly

Rob Reilly is a consultant and writer specializing in Linux/Open Source Software, technology media, and the mobile professional. He’s been hired for a variety of engineering, business analysis, and Web-based projects with AT&T, Intermedia Communications, Lockheed-Martin, and Pachube. As a 10-year veteran of the tech media, Rob has posted hundreds of feature-length technology articles for LinuxPlanet.com, Linux.com, Linux Journal magazine, PC Update magazine, and Nuts & Volts. He is a co-author of “Point & Click OpenOffice.org” and worked as a contributing editor for LinuxToday.com. He’s also chaired speaking committees for the old LinuxWorld – Boston and San Francisco shows. Rob has a BS in Mechanical Technology from Purdue University and his first interactive computing session was with the Unix command line in 1981.

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Rob Reilly
07/20/2012 4:10am PDT

I wanted to thank all the people who attended my talk. It really meant a lot to me, that you stayed around for questions and want to move forward with your projects. Feel free to let me know how you are doing with the Arduinos, Xbees, and Linux.

Here’s the additional info requested.

Xbee Pro Series 1 (non-mesh) module (Digi model XBP24-AUI-001) 2.4 Ghz, 250 kbps data rate (use 57600 rate), external antenna

Note: 900 Mhz version (Digi model XBP09-DPUIT-156) gives longer range.

The 900 Mhz module may not work with the Xbee regulated explorer socket – see Sparkfun page for details

A WiFi version called WiFly (Sparkfun model RN-XV) is available, but I haven’t used one yet.

Good luck.



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