Extending range of XBee pro

Hi,

I'm looking for advice or a link, to extend the range of Xbee pro. I've heard the term "Mesh", but no explanation how it works.

Background.
I have a tracking solar array controlled by an Arduino uno on the hillside behind my house 170 feet way. I have an XBee pro installed with the Arduino. I'm getting reasonable comms reception (on my laptop using a Xbee pro in a usb) from the upstairs bedroom closest to the hillside, but marginal reception anywhere else in the house.

I think I need to have some kind of mid point repeater and came across the term 'mesh' while searching, but could not find set up information.

Advice or links would be appreciated.

.....Dave

Comments

  • 9 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • My first question is what are you using for an antenna? I get better ranges than that with a stick-on PCB antenna or a little whip.

    Jonathan
  • I'm using the standard Xbee module antenna -1inch long black insulated wire soldered in place.
  • I'd try a new antenna first. I use these ones often:

    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11320

    The have 10" or so lead and the antenna can be stuck anywhere. I've also used these:

    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/558

    Have to get the right adapter for those. Either will get you much better signal strength. But also remember, as always with RF: Location, location, location. Even moving short distances can make the difference sometimes.

    I've been tempted to make a teeny tiny Yagi for these, just for fun. The measurements get really small and tolerance for errors even smaller.

    Good luck!

    Jonathan
  • You should be able to get more range than that with an xBee Pro with the 1" wire antenna. The indoor range is supposed to be 300 ft. Things that can affect the range include lots of wiring or metal pipes in the walls, wire mesh in the outside walls (like for stucco). Interference can affect the range, like from a WiFi router or other WiFi devices. An external whip antenna on one or both ends often helps. You'd need to get xBee devices with an external antenna connector.
  • Mike, I have snipped the connector off of one of the antennas linked above and soldered the coax straight to the xbee after removing the whip. Probably not recommended but...

    And I agree, he should get better reception than he is with what he's got. Location can be so critical. I just moved a 440 mHz antenna about 10 feet and could no longer hit a local repeater that I could hit with full quieting before.

    Jonathan
  • Thanks for the advice guys. I'll give this a try.

    ....Dave.
  • It appears to be working. I soldered a 4" extension wire to the end of the existing 1" antenna on the remote XBee.

    .....Dave.
  • Dave,

    Great! 5" may be some 1/4 wave multiple of 2.4gHz, but often slapping a random length antenna on can do more harm than good. May be more about moving it than your new antenna. But if it works.....

    Jonathan
  • alex2017alex2017 Posts: 1
    edited November 15 Vote Up0Vote Down
    dferneyh wrote: »
    It appears to be working. I soldered a 4" extension wire to the end of the existing 1" antenna on the remote XBee.

    .....Dave.
    I know it's an old thread, but any info will be highly appreciated.
    Dave, can you share some details about XBee wire antenna extension process?
    The original antenna on the XBee module is coax type? If so, soldering an extension might be difficult...
    What type of wire have you used for extension? I mean what should I ask for at the store.
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