What wireless combinations do we have now for device / robot / protocol / language

I'd like to add a unit for wireless control to our class that uses our Parallax 'bots (we use all models but Arlo). I'm not sure what to buy.

Does anyone have a list of what combinations work? I've gotten lost on what is available for:
iPads, Chromebooks, Android, iPhones, Win and Mac.
xBee, BlueTooth module and the new Parallax WiFi module.
BoeBot, ActivityBot, ActivityBot WX, ShieldBot and Scribbler3?
SPIN, PropC and Blockly (code examples or tutorials)
I think that is 6*3*5*3 = 270 combos.

n.b. for future forum searchers: info below is mock-up, not truth

First, it would be good to have some basic advice like:
If you have ActivityBots then a good route is to buy part # and download the xxx app for Android phones. Then go through the tutorial at www...
If you have S3s then a good option is ...
If your student devices are iPads then your best option is S3s and the WiFi module part #123, coded by BlocklyProp on the iPads.

Then follow with more details and options like the following, probably laid out in a table on a web page.

ActivityBot WX:
Bluetooth -- Use Parallax part #. These can be controlled by Android or iPhone (but not iPad or Chromebook). Code samples available for SPIN and ASM. Reference www.learn.parallax.com/pagexxx.
WiFi -- Use Parallax part #. These can be controlled by iPad. Code for this combination is available in ASM and SPIN but not C (www.obex...). Reference www.learn.parallax.com/pagexxx. Alternate: xBee modules will also work if you use part #x or #y (not #z) plus the footprint adapter part #a (See www.blah).

Scribbler S3...
S3 best option is the xxx controlled by yyy device. Keep your eyes open for a zzz option expected in 2017.

In the meantime, what is good option of hardware to buy for Android control of ActivityBot WX for students using PropC and BlocklyProp (not SPIN).

Thanks, John


  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,097
    edited 2017-01-23 - 03:57:56
    I like nRF24L01+ modules. These things are really fast and really inexpensive. These little modules can be purchased for less than $2 each. They require a SPI interface and aren't as easy to use as XBees and Bluetooth modules but their speed is faster. I keep a bit of information about these modules in the bottom of the first post of this thread.

    I use HC-05 Bluetooth modules in a bunch of my projects. These can be configured to be either host or slave so they can be used with Propeller to Propeller communication. I regularly use HC-05 modules combined with Android apps to monitor and control a Propeller programs. I think Bluetooth modules are as easy to use as XBee modules since both just use asynchronous serial communication.

    There are lots of nice XBee modules but these are so expensive I no longer purchase XBee units for any of my projects.

    Pololu sells Wixel modules. These aren't cheap but what's great about the Wixel is they can be used to wirelessly program the Propeller (if you have access to I/O P30 and P31 on the Propeller). The Wixels require a bit of setting up before they can be used with the Propeller. Martin_H wrote a tutorial on how to do this. (I'll edit this post with a link to the tutorial.)

    Another option I've interested in trying myself is some of the RC modules which can be configured for either transmitting or receiving (both modules actually do both). These are generally used to make long range controllers for remote aircraft but these radios can also be used for Prop to Prop communication.

    My preferred radio is the Nordic nRF24L01+ unless I want to use it with an Android (or a PC's Bluetooth radio) and then I use HC-05 Bluetooth modules. (IMO HC-05 are superior to HC-06 modules.) I don't think the HC-05 or HC-06 modules will work with iPhones.

    Edit: I think the HC-05 is the winner as far as price and ease of use is concerned. I'd only suggest using the Nordic nRF24L01+ modules if speed is important or if you want to be able to communicate among three or more Propellers (the nRF24L01+ modules have really nice addressing features).
  • Duane:

    Thanks for the info based on real-world experience. Nothing is more valuable than a guy that has actually been there, done that.

    I'm hoping to go with all Parallax products so I can advise other instructors on what to put on a single purchase order. Next step is to take your good advice, hope for other posts that focus on the device and platform side then translate that all to product numbers.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me out.

    - John
  • I'm hoping to go with all Parallax products so I can advise other instructors on what to put on a single purchase order.

    There's a lot to be said for being able to use Parallax's great tutorials.

    I think this product looks very interesting.

    I believe there are plans to make it possible to program the Propeller using these devices.

  • We're waiting for the WX wireless system to come out.

    We've had multiple ActivityBots get driven off tables due to the USB programming. Once these can be programmed wirelessly it will help save on average 1-2 broken bots per semester.
  • Thanks Keith. Idea for Parallax Product Development: BounceBot.
Sign In or Register to comment.