XBee Cellular

Couldn't find any information on the forums, and I don't know why it hasn't been brought up yet.

But this module may be the answer to an alarm system problem I have, no land line = no connectivity.



Digi XBee Cellular embedded modem

https://www.digi.com/products/xbee-rf-solutions/embedded-rf-modules-modems/digi-xbee-cellular

https://www.digi.com/news/press-releases/digi-reshapes-embedded-cellular-market

Comments

  • 18 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 1,977
    edited February 15 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Digi offers six months free service with the purchase of their development kit. Not sure what network, it would have to be more dependable than what I have now.

    EDIT: This is on the Verizon 4G LTE network.
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  • I have one of these development kits in my hands and I'd like to make it go with Blockly.

    I don't have time to do this, but if there's a capable forum member who'd like to get this up and running for us I'd send them my development kit. Post your interest here and don't use PMs to reach me - I don't have time to read them anymore (and I'm very sorry for that - it's just a consequence of running thinner at Parallax).

    I know you guys can figure this out much faster than I can, which would let me focus on the Blockly and Robotics Professional Development courses we're about to launch.

    Thanks,

    Ken Gracey
  • No bites, eh? Are you all intimidated by this project and Blockly?

    If somebody can do it I'd also need the XBee cellular module back when finished (but I'd happily thank you in other hardware).

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken,

    It may have passed by the time the post is read, but there is a Webinar that describes the Digi XBee Cellular product right now:
    globalspec.com/events/eventdetails?eventid=1177&evtsrc=MouserElectronics_170215_Inv1&et_rid=202350441&et_mid=83408027&cid=webinar

    Although I would love to help out with getting XBee cellular up and running with Blocky, but I'm not sure if I have the knowledge or experience with Blocky to get this up and running for you. Sorry.

    One note, the cellular carrier associated with this product is Verizon.
  • Also, for those that seen the webinar, there was an offer for the XBee cellular device for only $49.00 through Mouser while supplies last. The kit does come with 6months free cell service through Verizon. Sorry, no ATT at this time.
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    edited February 15 Vote Up0Vote Down
    My current alarm system uses a GSM module to send me text messages if there's an issue. Prior to that it used the PINK module to send an email to a special phone number that sent me a text. For example, on the Verizon network if you send an email to 5551234567@vtext.com it will send that message as a text to 555-123-4567. Unfortunately the PINK module required an Ethernet connection at the location as well as working internet (sometimes down). The GSM module is a lot more reliable and runs on a battery backup if power is out.

    I was going to try out the XBee Kit if they had sent me one. But I don't have a need for it at the moment, so for $200 it can wait. :cool:
    Chris Savage | Engineering Tech | Main Office: (916) 624-8333 | Direct to Tech Support: (888) 997-8267 | Website | Twitter | Google+
  • Chris, I think that monitoring your own alarm is better than a paid service. I done the paid service route when my parents were alive, though it was more comforting to know someone else was looking out for them, as I was an hour away. But false alarms can be a pain, and also the city required a license to even have a monitored system. They don't like false triggers.



    These are the latest coverage maps that I could find for the Verizon network, as in this contiguous US map, coverage may not be complete for each country.

    The bottom map only shows that the particular country is investing in 4G LTE service.
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  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    Mine sends me a text message and I have video cameras (Swann) so I can see what's going on to verify. Costs me $10.00/month for unlimited texting SIM card through Sprint.
    Chris Savage | Engineering Tech | Main Office: (916) 624-8333 | Direct to Tech Support: (888) 997-8267 | Website | Twitter | Google+
  • Mine sends me a text message and I have video cameras (Swann) so I can see what's going on to verify. Costs me $10.00/month for unlimited texting SIM card through Sprint.



    When all else fails, this may get some attention. I have mine out of site and reach close to the road. Kind of embarrassing when a low sensor battery keeps it blaring till you get home. ;)
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,021
    edited February 15 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Transmit and receive currents are 860mA and 530mA, respectively, so it's not going to work in XBee sockets that can't provide that much power.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    MikeDYur wrote: »
    When all else fails, this may get some attention. I have mine out of site and reach close to the road. Kind of embarrassing when a low sensor battery keeps it blaring till you get home. ;)

    Remind me to post a photo of the two I use...I got them from Radio Shack back in the day. Each has three (3) piezo elements in it, runs at 12V and is so loud that I can't be in the same room with it. Hurts my ears...very painful. But false triggers while developing the system forced me to install a quick-kill-switch as you can see on the prototype linked below.

    http://savagecircuits.com/index.php/projects/basic-stamp-projects/19-prototype-alarm-system

    Chris Savage | Engineering Tech | Main Office: (916) 624-8333 | Direct to Tech Support: (888) 997-8267 | Website | Twitter | Google+
  • Chris, That is a totally cool use for a BS2.

    How does it handle a triggered situation? Say a door is opened and closed. Does it halt on the event, and keep sounding the alarm, or is it still monitoring zones, and have a record of activity beyond the first text messages you receive. In other words, does it know any activity past the initial event.

    What a great alarm system a Propeller would make. With it's multi-tasking ability you could protect a very large building, simultaneously monitoring multiple zones. And still notifying you of current conditions.

    And the QuickStart would be a perfect board for the task. You could easily replace the large board that is in my system. And not have that learning curve it took to install it. If I ever have to make changes, I will have to go through that curve again.


    We better get this thread back on track, Ken needs someone to tackle Blocky coding pertaining to XBee Cellular. If I was proficient in spin, I would be confident enough to take it on. Blocky looks easy enough after the librarys are established.
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  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    edited February 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    MikeDYur wrote: »
    We better get this thread back on track, Ken needs someone to tackle Blocky coding pertaining to XBee Cellular. If I was proficient in spin, I would be confident enough to take it on. Blocky looks easy enough after the librarys are established.

    Apologies...this forum software does some very weird things...for example, Ken's message looks like a reply halfway down the thread to me, rather than the original post. To that end (getting things back on topic), please post your questions to my "wall" and I will answer them there.

    Chris Savage | Engineering Tech | Main Office: (916) 624-8333 | Direct to Tech Support: (888) 997-8267 | Website | Twitter | Google+
  • Despite drawing higher current than other XBees, (greater than 1 amp instantaneous during transmit) the Digi cellular does operate down to 3.0 volts and it does offer a 10 microamp sleep mode. That is in contrast to a lot of embedded modem modules that require 3.5v or higher and can't really get down to micropower levels on their own. With a 3V minimum the Digi cellular will be easier to integrate into a system powered by a single LiPo.

    It is a bit worrisome to have it tethered to one carrier. FWIW I'll link to another embedded modem compatible with the XBee footprint and interface, from the Nimbelink skywire. It can be an advantage to have a modem capable of dropping back to 3G service. Nimbelink also offers low-usage data plans.
  • MikeDYurMikeDYur Posts: 1,977
    edited February 16 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Apologies...this forum software does some very weird things...for example, Ken's message looks like a reply halfway down the thread to me, rather than the original post. To that end (getting things back on topic), please post your questions to my "wall" and I will answer them there.

    No apologies needed, from my posts it looks like I had specifically posted this thread to deal with my problem.

    Not the case, I just wanted to bring attention to the XBee Cellular product. And after talking to you, I relized that would be overkill for my needs. So you were not off topic, I was.

    And if Ken see's promise in this product for Blocky development, I hope there will be more constructive input like Tracy's. As I said this is more than I need.

    I had tried to get a price on the the product Tracy posted, but I come to the conclusion that it is locked into a plan with the manufacturer, with an option for direct carrier billing down the road.

    I'm going to check out your BS2 project more closely Chris. As all I need is text messaging.

    The XBee is 4G, Verizon only, it's not for me. I don't like the Verizon that much anyway.
  • What about this with a Propeller ASC for Blockly?

    https://starterkit.att.com/

    e155e6e3331db02eb63c8ae91ab5ed00.png
    Andrew Williams
    WBA Consulting
  • It is a bit worrisome to have it tethered to one carrier. FWIW I'll link to another embedded modem compatible with the XBee footprint and interface, from the Nimbelink skywire. It can be an advantage to have a modem capable of dropping back to 3G service. Nimbelink also offers low-usage data plans.

    Why can't you just use another carrier sim card that uses same technology as Verizon? I'll bet you could.
  • Don M wrote: »
    Why can't you just use another carrier sim card that uses same technology as Verizon? I'll bet you could.

    Not if the xbee cellular module has a provider lock on it- so that only Verizon sims can be used.

    Although without trying a different SIM, who knows!! :)

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