Grove - XBee Carrier

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The Grove - XBee Carrier is a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) base board designed for Bee series and Grove units. It is primarily suitable for standalone Bee Nodes like RFBee, Wifi Bee which have ATMega328 onboard and XBee (Zigbee) modules. It is compatible with RFBee, Wifi Bee, XBee and Bluetooth Bee. Besides a Bee receptacle, there are also two Grove connectors. The board can be powered by a lithium battery or through USB cable. You can use a Wireless charger, Solar Panel or the USB cable to charge the battery. The FT232RL chip onboard helps in downloading the program to Bee Module directly.

Bees which do not have ATMega328 like Bluetooth Bee can only be configured by using on-board FT232RL (USB to UART). Theses Bees are not suitable for standalone applications.

The on-board FT232RL can be used like any other 3.3V USB to UART interface when not connected to any Bee Modules. This is useful for programming a 3.3V MCU through Serial Port.

Bee Stem.jpg


Bees Compatible Receptacle Two Grove Connectors Two Grove Place Holders LEDs for PWR, Charge Indication and UART transmission. Power Switch Reset Button Application Ideas

Wireless Sensor Network with Standalone Bee Node like Wifi Bee. As a configuration aid for Bees using FT232RL. Charger for Lithium Ion Cells using on-board charge controller. As a FT232RL based 3.3v USB-UART. Cautions

Insert the Bees in the proper direction. Use the Bee outline on the silk-screen.


Item Min Typical Max Unit Voltage 3.0 3.3 3.6 VDC Charge Controller CN3063 CHARGER (Charging Voltage for LiPo Battery) 4.4V to 6V (as per CN3063 Spec) 3.3V LDO Low Noise and Micropower type. Suitable for Battery Application. I/O Logic 3.3V Logic Interface Function

Xbee Carrier Interface.jpg

U2: RT9167A_33PB IC, 3.3V LDO Lownoise Micropower Regulator U3: CN3083 IC, Charger controller for Lithium batteries (charging using solar panel) U4: FT232RL IC, USB to serial UART interface


When using an RFBee, the following pinouts of ATmage168 on RFBee apply for using the Arduino IDE

Pin 5 is the Grove connector for I/O - Yellow wire Pin 6 is the Grove connector for I/O - White wire

Pin 16 may need to be driven low to provide enough power to the I/O Grove [via mosfet] Pin 17 may need to be driven low to provide enough power to the I2C Grove [via mosfet]

Note: you can use the x2 Grove cable with the white and yellow wires swapped on one to access both I/O.

Hardware Installation Charging Now you can choose a suitable battery for your application from Batteries and Chargers

Connect a 3.7v LiPo battery to BAT JST-socket. Connect a power source like Solar Panel to CHARGER JST-Socket. The Battery will be continuous charged. The end of charging would be indicated by LED marked 'OK'.

Bee Stem with LiPOBattery Being Charged By SolarCell.jpg

Working with Standalone Bee Nodes Bee Nodes are standalone Arduino Compatible Wireless Nodes. has two such Nodes - Wifi Bee and RFBee.

The following image illustrated the connection of WiFi Bee to Grove - XBee Carrier. Any Groves can be connected to the Grove sockets provided. The programming of WiFi Bee's onboard AtMega328P is carried by connecting to PC through USB port. (FT232RL is used)

Bee Stem Connected to Wifi BEE and A Grove.jpg

Refer Wifi Bee usage documentation for programming examples

Bee Stem Connected To RFBee And TwoTwigs.jpg

Working with Bee Modules This section is about those Bee modules which do not have a MCU pre-programmed with Arduino bootloader. They mostly act just like a wireless trans-receiver. These Bee Modules like Bluetooth Bee, etc.. can communicated with PC as well. In this case, Grove - XBee Carrier acts as a carrier for these Bees providing necessary power, communication interface with PC through FT232RL USB to UART.

In the below example Bluetooth Bee is connected to Grove - XBee Carrier and configured using USB-UART

Stem XBee Carrier Connected to BluetoothBee.jpg

The communication of Bluetooth Bee and PC is captured with a serial port terminal application. You can see the commands and their reply in the screenshot below. The Bluetooth Bee was put into INQ mode and it even has detected a Bluetooth device in the vicinity.

Stem XBee Carrier BluetoothBee Commands.png

For more information on using Bluetooth Bee, consult the Bluetooth Bee Commands documentation. Programming /*

 Test code for use with an XBee Carrier & an RF Bee
 Turns on PD5 (eg: grove relay) on for one second, then off for one second, repeatedly.
  • /

void setup() {

 // initialize the digital pin as an output [Pin 5 is the Grove connector for I/O
 pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
 // These lines are needed to ensure that the relay will pull in [provides power to the Grove]
 pinMode(16, OUTPUT);
 digitalWrite(16, LOW);


void loop() {

 digitalWrite(5, HIGH);   // set the LED on
 delay(1000);              // wait for a second
 digitalWrite(5, LOW);    // set the LED off
 delay(1000);              // wait for a second

} Version Tracker

Revision Descriptions Release v0.9b Initial public release 13th July 2011

File:Bee Stem v0.9b.pdf