XBee S2C Replacement of XBee Series 2

The famous XBee is actually from Digi International. I wrote a few articles about XBee (Is XBee ZigBeeUsing XBee moduleRecovering Your XBeeXBee Series 2 point to point communication) to introduce the product and as you might have know, there are many wireless module that mimic XBee, tapping to the ecosystem. Example is GPS with XBee form factor, Bluetooth with XBee form factor, GSM etc. To make your module XBee compatible, the module must fit in the XBee 20-pin (2mm pitch to pitch) form factor and the module must be able to be powered with 3.3V and UART communication. That’s some of the requirement.

Anyway, this article is not meant to talk about the XBee ecosystem, is more to announce that Digi has come out with new model of XBee module and they name it XBee S2C, Cytron has carried this new replacement since end of last year (2017) and all our stock since Jan 2018 are XBee S2C.

What are the differences between XBee S2 vs XBee S2C?

  1. XBee S2C comes with bigger program memory, bigger Flash. It can be loaded with ALL Series 2 firmware/modes which in S2, you cannot do that. There is only enough program space (Flash) on XBee S2 for one mode 1 time. So you always have to come back to computer to change the mode using X-CTU like we always did  P/S: What are the modes on XBee S2? Here is it:
    1. Coordinator AT mode
    2. Coordinator API mode
    3. Router AT mode
    4. Router API mode
    5. End device AT mode
    6. End device API mode
  2. Another best part, XBee S2C can communicate with XBee Series 1 module, of course with correct firmware 
  3. I think I better illustrate the comparison through table.
 NoParameters XBee S2 (ZB)  XBee S2C
 1 Indoor/Urban Rangeup to 133 ft (40 m)Up to 200ft (60 m)
 2 Outdoor, Line of Sight Range Up to 400 ft(120 m)Up to 4000ft (1200m)
3 Transmit Power Output2mW (+3 dBm) Boost mode, 1.25mW (+1 dBm) Normal mode6.3mW(+8 dBm) Boost mode, 3.1mW(+5 dBm) Normal mode, Channel 26 max power is +3 dBm
4 Receiver Sensitivity-96 dBm Boost mode, -95 dBm Normal mode -102 dBm Boost mode, -100 dBm Normal mode
5 Operating Current (Transmit)40mA (@3.3V) Boost mode, 35mA (@3.3V), Normal mode45mA (+8 dBm) Boost mode, 33mA(+5 dBm) Normal mode
6 Operating Current (Receive) 40mA (@3.3V) Boost mode, 38mA (@3.3V) Normal mode31mA Boost mode, 28mA Normal mode.
7 SPINot supported5Mbps maximum (burst)
8 Number of End Devices12 20+

And of course the most important question, is the price affected? Nop, it is still the same price. So get the latest XBee S2C here.

For full migration, please check the migration notes from Digi International.

XBee S2 communicate with XBee S2C?

And I know most of you wanted to know how to utilize existing XBee S2 to link up with this new XBee S2C, right? Here you are:

The hardware needed:

  1. 2 x SKXBee(w/0 XBee) with USB cable
  2. 1 x XBee S2 module
  3. 1 x XBee S2C module
XBee S2C and S2 on SKXBee (XBee S2C on left, XBee S2 on right)

I will be showing the communication via a laptop using X-CTU, please download and install the X-CTU accordingly.

Assuming you have been using SKXBee before(User’s manual if you have not), the USB driver is installed, and XBee module is plug-in properly and correctly on SKXBee.

Connect both the SKXBee with XBee module to USB port of your computer/laptop, both the SKXBee. If you do not have enough USB port, do it one by one. But when it comes to verifying the communication, you will still need to power both the SXBee simultaneously. Maybe just use your friend laptop.

Open up X-CTU on your computer/laptop.

Click on the Discover Radio modules. Make sure both the XBee module is connected to laptop with SKXBee and of course the USB cable.

Select both the COM ports, or all the COM ports if you are not sure which port. Click Next to proceed.

It will need you to set the port parameters such as baud rate, data bits, just leave it as default. Click Finish to proceed.

X-CTU will further communicate with the modules via the COM ports selected earlier, all the selected ports 

And display the results: Click on “Select all” and “Add selected devices” to continue.

Now both XBee modules are added to X-CTU main window. I will factory reset my XBee module to default settings for the sack of tutorial, making it similar with yours.

Select one of the module, I will choose ZIGBEE TH Reg first, it is XBee S2C  X-CTU will communicate with the XBee module and read the parameters.

And you will get the updated parameters in the right side of X-CTU. Click on “Update” icon, we want to check the firmware version of current module and I can show you the available firmware image for this latest powerful radio module.

If you notice, I have restore my module to default firmware that shows ZIGBEE TH Reg (Through Hole Regular) and if you go to Update (Firmware), it will list our the available options for the firmware images:

Product Family:

  • XB24C

Function Set:

  • 802.15.4 TH (This is actually the firmware for XBee Series 1)
  • DigiMesh 2.4 TH
  • ZIGBEE TH Reg (This is XBee Series 2)

Firmware Version:

  • 4060 (Latest at the time I write this)
  • 405F
  • 405E
  • 4059
  • 4055

Click the “Update” to update your module to latest firmware. It will take sometime, around 1 minutes or so. When it is done, just click “OK”. I twill goes back to the parameters window which will shows all the settings parameter.

Now, let’s configure the parameters for this module to become coordinator in the network:

  • ID PAN ID = 1234, same PAN ID for the other XBee module too.
  • CE Coordinator Enable = Enabled [1], make sure it is enabled as coordinator.
  • DL Destination Address LOW = FFFF which makes the Radio to BROADCAST mode.
  • NI = Coordinator, is Node Identifier which you can name it what ever you want 
  • AP API Enable =  TRANSPARENT mode[0] which is AT mode.

As you are done with the changes, please click the “Pencil” icon on X-CTU window to write those parameters into XBee S2C module.

Once it is done, we need to move on to configure another XBee module.

Now Click on the other XBee module (XBee S2), X-CTU will load the parameters of the module.

Now click on the settings & click on the UPGRADE FIRMWARE button.

Select the product family as XB24-ZB & the Function set as ZIGBEE ROUTER AT, firmware just choose the latest. Update the module with the latest firmware.

Wait for the firmware update/upgrade process.

Now, let’s configure the module to:

  • ID PAN ID = 1234, same as PAN ID of Coordinator (XBee S2C).
  • JV Channel Verification = Enabled [1], enable the XBee module joins Coordinator on power on.
  • DL Destination Address LOW = 0 which is the default address for coordinator.
  • NI = Router, is Node Identifier which you can name it what ever you want 

Again, click the “Pencil” icon on X-CTU to write the parameters that we changed into XBee S2. After it is complete, we have:

  • A XBee S2C module being configured as Coordinator with the Pan ID of 1234, transmitting in broadcast.
  • A XBee S2 module being configured as Router with Pan ID of 1234, will join the coordinator of 0 address (default).

Assuming you connect both the XBee module via SKXBee to same computer/laptop, leave the XBee S2 (Router) module on the XCTU & close the XBee S2C (Coordinator) module. For the sack of tutorial, I am showing the wireless communication on same laptop, but you can always separate the XBee modules into two different laptop.

Start another instance of X-CTU window & search for the COM port , add the XBee S2C (Coordinator) module into the new X-CTU window (Right).

As you add the XBee S2C on new X-CTU window, just the COM port, it should be different with the existing COM port on the older X-CTU window, just to make your life easier 

Place the X-CTU windows side by side. Router to the Left & Coordinator to the Right.

Click the terminal icon on each X-CTU window.

Now click on the “plug” icon to close the COM port (basically to connect the COM port).

Type any character on the left small window (At the Router X-CTU window), shown here. The Blue color text is typed and transmitted out from laptop to XBee S2C, and wireless transmitted over the air and received by XBee S2 module on another SKXBee and transmitted back to another X-CTU window on the right (At the Coordinator X-CTU window) and appears as Red color text.

Now change to another X-CTU window, the Coordinator window, type some text… you will notice it will appears as red color text on the other window…. Two ways communication, done!

Hope this article help you, there might be some update from Digi International from time to time, please do feedback to us at technical forum.

If you like to know how to enable XBee S2C to communicate with XBee S1, please email us at support@cytron.io

2 thoughts on “XBee S2C Replacement of XBee Series 2”

  1. Hello, I was hoping you could be a hero and do another post like this but about XBee 3 ZigBee vs S2C. Thanks! Nice article by the way.

  2. Hi. Can i plug in analog sensor straight to the SKXBEE board? I would like to connect moisture sensor in the board and make it send the sensor data to another Arduino via xbee module.

    Thank you.

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