Xbee Pro long range made affordable until end of February 2009

Looking for telemetry transmission hardware, I came across following offer made by Digi (ex-MaxStream):

XBee-PRO 868 OEM Development Kit w/ 2 XBee-PRO modules


Apparently, the kit is available for a promotional price of only 99 USD until end of February 2009.

The package contains following:
(1) XBee-PRO 868 w/ RPSMA Connector
(1) XBee-PRO 868 w/ Wire Whip antenna
(1) RS-232 Development Boards
(1) USB Development Board
(1) RS-232 serial Cable
(1) USB Cable
(1) 868 MHz RPSMA Antenna
(1) Power Adapter
(1) 9V Battery & Clip
Various Adapters

This 868 MHz short range device has software selectable transmission power (1 mW (0 dBm) to 315 mW (+25 dBm)).
RF data rate is 24 Kbps (10% of duty cycle).
Incredible Outdoor/RF Line-of-Sight Range up to 25 miles (40 km) with dipole antenna.
Serial data rate of 1.2 Kbps to 230.4 Kbps.
It needs 3.0 – 3.6 VDC power supply and transmitter burns 500 mA typical at 3.3V (800 mA max), receiver only 65 mA typical.

Apparently, for the moment it is ETSI approved for Europe (without special license), but no FCC approval yet for the US.

I think of it as a must have... Can't wait for the Swiss reseller to send me my quote to confirm my order.

More infos on Digi web site.

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Did anyone try to cool the modules? I am thinking it should not be hard to keep the thing under 60C if that is the cause of the issue...
Some heat transfer paste and a reasonable bit of aluminium should do it I think.
I did not try cooling them for now, but I'll surely place an aluminium cooler from a burnt ESC on top of it. But take care not shorting the solders on the board, the chip is not thicker than them!
But for indoor/office testing purposes, cooling them down is probably not ideal. For sure I want to know what their limits are and have some software way to keep track of their duty cycle/temperature states. I don't want them to work only in cold days...
It's what we want to find out. The RF power is not an issue for now (though it could become too, because higher power consumption means higher module temperature). It is the data quantity and rate the module can send while keeping under the 10% duty cycle and 60°C temperature that seems limited. The modules are not meant for sending continuous streams of data, but rather to send data at regular frequency or when triggered by some sensor.
As per the specifications table in the PDF the max throughput of the modules is 2.4kbps.
RF Data rate is 24kbps, 10% duty cycle indicates that you can put a maximum of 2.4kbps serial data through it over a one hour average.
Incidentially this is about 307 bytes / second so should still be useful for moving map etc
Sounds great, you're saving me pulling mine out of the boxes :) If it doesnt work I think Digi owe us all a refund!
Ahh - just got my order confirmation from Digi :) I hope mine will process as quickly as yours Reto.
I have tons of cooling gear (pastes, sinks, fans, temp probes) so I'm definitely going to test if cooling it makes a difference as soon as I have it.
Well, that should be right. Thus (if I remember well) 2400bps = 2400 bits/sec = 300 bytes/sec including stop bits = 266 bytes/sec without stops.
I just started a new "long run" test:
- Xbees at 2400 bauds
- 120 bytes from GPS every second to the Xbees (less than half theoretical max serial throughput as calculated above)
I think it will last for a while, but not holding the long run. But let's wait...

TEST RESULT:
1604 sentences x 127 bytes = 203'708 bytes were sent and received through RF before Tx HUNG !
The RF transmission ran for 1604 sentences / 60 sec = 26.7 minutes before it HUNG.
Please read my reply here: I do not think my Xbees are fast... But I still hope I can use them.
Thats disappointing Reto, they should be able to support more than twice that data rate.
Reto: I did not mean the modules being fast but the order process :-) I think you got yours rather quickly considering 4-6week listed wait no?
Did you update the Digi support ticket with the result of your test? Would be interesting to get some feedback from them on it.
I mean they must've tested this stuff to work before launch, so there should be a way to get the 2.4Kbps transmission at least.
@Noth666: ok, I understand: digi seem fast at processing orders. And for now, my Xbees are slow.
i did not update the support ticket since Digi closed the case with their reply ("not meant for streaming data, etc.".
Hey, we're going to be a few guys playing with those modules. We'll find a way.
Yep, but those results were hard facts! Unfortunately. I think we'll have to find a way going around these out of the box rates with some software intelligence.

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