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Dec 2, 2010 7:44am
37 posts

This topic is to discuss the xbee wireless problems myself and @martymoose69 are having with Xbee comms and have been discussing with @samotage and @paulzee on twitter.

I am using series 1 Xbees, one with an external antenna (segmeter side) and one with a small whip antenna (segbox side) and I can only transmit 3-4 meters. 

I also seem to have some odd issues with readings in the evenings for a few hours for the last two nights, as seen in this stream:


Thu, 02 December 2010 18:31:51 11.46  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:24:44 11.88  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:23:42 11.61  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:22:47 11.81  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:18:41 11.68  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:17:46 11.82  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:16:41 11.53  
Thu, 02 December 2010 18:15:40 11.5  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:29:04 11.87  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:21:58 11.87  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:19:01 11.8  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:07:48 11.72  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:04:45 11.71  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:03:49 11.91  
Thu, 02 December 2010 17:01:46 13.16  
Thu, 02 December 2010 16:55:41 14.24  
Thu, 02 December 2010 16:48:36 14.18  
Thu, 02 December 2010 16:31:22 11.8  
Thu, 02 December 2010 16:29:20 13.7  
Thu, 02 December 2010 16:26:17 13.63 


there should be readings every minute, but i have big gaps. during the day it was working fine, and nothing changed in my setup, except for the location of the sun in the sky :)

Dec 2, 2010 9:10am
555 posts

Hey Kayne,

What power supply are you using to power the SEGmeter?  I’ve found notorious problems with non switch mode plug packs, particularly with Series 1 1mW.  In fact, I had some of these within 2 meteres only going through some MDF and they started failing miserably.  Range should be Ok for a 3-4 metre distance, though this model doesn’t seem to be too good getting thorough brick walls.


Dec 2, 2010 9:30am
37 posts

i was using a DC 6V 1500mA plug pack. Just changed over to an adjustable type – set it to DC 9V (it can do 12V) and its max 500mA, and will see if that helps

Dec 2, 2010 9:33am
555 posts

I’ve had best results with switch mode plug packs.  6V at this amperage is fine.  The unregulated ones sometimes have dropout issues I’ve found.

Dec 2, 2010 10:59am
37 posts

just switched over to a regulated plug pack, its only 5V – will see if it helps.

Dec 2, 2010 9:02pm
37 posts

@samotage – could you add an interface to SEG so we can see whats coming into the API? My segmeter mysteriously came back online overnight, however the values are whacked – 140W to 150W for each of the oven, ac and lights circuits, but none of these circuits are on (the ac is switched off in the meter box!)

would be great to be able to see what the segmeter is saying.

thanks :)

Dec 3, 2010 7:12am
37 posts

seems the 5v plug pack was even worse! switched back to the 6V 1500ma plug pack and now my transmissions look good. will keep an eye on it.

Jan 3, 2011 11:20am
4 posts

Happy New Year folks!

Kayne, my main reason for suggesting the external aerial was to get the Zigbee aerial outside the metal casing of your meter box. I guess that might have helped, but from what you’re seeing, certainly not enough. Ultimately, it may be the series 1 (vs. series 2) radios just aren’t strong enough in your situation. The reports I can find on Zigbee aerials mainly focus on Chip vs. Wire, with little data on external so its hard to say whether doing the same to your gateway router will help much. 

If you’re still wanting to persevere with the series 1’s, a couple of additional things you might try:

1) a directional, rather than omni-directional aerial. From what I’ve read, this can give better (increased) range in the chosen direction rather than a general boost in all directions.

2a) run an aerial extension cable from your meter box to get the aerial to the outside of a window or otherwise closer to where you think it will operate better.

2b) of course, if you’re going to run cable over any distance, there might be other options to consider, such as running the cable through the wall or roof, and possibly even using a direct serial connection between the SEGmeter & SEGbox (rather than Zigbee). Of course, the latter negates the need for either Zigbee.

Let us know how you get on.



Feb 12, 2011 1:32am
37 posts

i just upgraded my 3 xbees (segmeter, segbox and weather receiver) to Xbee PRO series 2 modules. I believe these puppies are 50mw (XZBP24-Z7WIT-003, "Model: XBEEPRO2"), and i have had a very noticeable improvement with the range of these modules. The segbox and seg meter are now at other ends of the house, the seg meter no longer has an external antenna (just the xbee small whip antenna) and as far as I can tell, there are no transmission problems.

I will continue to monitor, but for now it looks like the pro modules have done the trick.

@samotage - could you please provide some info on how you configure xbees for segmeter? i dont think my relay commands are getting through with my current setup.

@paulzee - thanks for your help with this, your help with the external antenna was great and kept my segmeter going until i found affordable pro modules :)

Feb 12, 2011 4:09am
555 posts

Hey Kayne,

Good to hear that you are getting win with better range.

For some reason when running the SEGbox code via Lua on my Mac, I can't get comands out.  I suspect this is because of port blockages with the system.  Command sending via the SEGbox gateway runs just fine from the OpenWRT platforms.

Have you tried sending the commands via the telnet or minicom straight down the gateway Zigbee?

We config Zigbees so that one is the gateway/controller and the nodes are the endpoint.  It's also necessary to set the JV parameter for verification that the node has joined a network when the zigbee boots.

Also, are you using the latest node and gateway codes up on the gitubs?


Feb 23, 2011 9:51pm
555 posts

Hey Kayne,

Did you work this one out?


Feb 27, 2011 8:42am
37 posts

Sorry for taking a while to report back - been busy with other chores :)

I just tested then, and the relay is switching nicely. I'm yet to bring my fleet of xbees in for the JV parameter change though - another weekend awaits for that task!

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