Official Arduino Wireless Proto Shield

Official Arduino Wireless Proto Shield
Official Arduino Wireless Proto Shield
Official Arduino Wireless Proto Shield

Official Arduino Wireless Proto Shield

Give your projects wireless capabilities! Designed to work with Xbee (or same footprint modules).


The Official Arduino Wireless Proto Shield is the easiest way to add Xbee modules to your Arduino. This simple shield is designed to work with Digi Xbee Modules (or other modules with the same footprint) to give your projects wireless capabilities. The handy prototyping area lets you add circuits and sensors so you can relay data without wires or separate protoshields.

One great feature on this shield is the onboard serial select switch. It allows you to A) let the microcontroller communicate to the module, or B) let you configure the module with your computer through the USB port on the Arduino, eliminating the need for other adapters and cables. Very nice!

  • Compatible with Digi Xbee Modules
  • Serial Select Switch allows for Xbee configuration
  • All Xbee pins are broken out to solder pads
  • Onboard TX, RX, Power, and RSSI LEDs
  • Handy prototyping area
  • (Xbee module and Arduino not included)
  • Switch Settings

    The Wireless Proto shield has an onboard switch labelled Micro and USB. This determine how the Xbee's serial communication connects to the serial communication between the microcontroller (ATmega8 or ATmega168) and USB-to-serial chip on the Arduino board.

    When in the Micro position, the DOUT pin of the wireless module is connected to the RX pin of the microcontroller; and DIN is connected to TX. The wireless module will then communicate with the microcontroller. Note that the RX and TX pins of the microcontroller are still connected to the TX and RX pins (respectively) of the USB-to-serial converter. Data sent from the microcontroller will be transmitted to the computer via USB as well as being sent wirelessly by the wireless module. The microcontroller will not be programmable via USB in this mode.

    With the switch in the USB position, the DOUT pin the wireless module is connected to the RX pin of the USB-to-serial converter, and DIN on the wireless module is connected to the TX pin of the USB-to-serial converter. This means that the module can communicate directly with the computer. The microcontroller on the board will be bypassed. To use the shield in this mode, you must program the microcontroller with an empty sketch (shown below), or remove it from the board.

    Empty sketch:

    void setup() { }
    void loop() { }


    The Wireless Proto shield can be used with different modules with the same footprint as the XBee modules. The instructions below are for the XBee 802.15.4 modules (sometimes called "Series 1" to distinguish them from the Series 2 modules, although "Series 1" doesn't appear in the official name or product description) and also for the XBee ZNet 2.5 or XBee ZB modules, both known as "Series 2" modules. All the modules, basically have the same type of configuration parameters, but differ by the function that they implement and the topologies of networks that they can create. Can communicate with each other only modules of the same family.


    There are multiple parameters that need to be configured correctly for two modules to talk to each other (although with the default settings, all modules should be able to talk to each other). They need to be on the same network, as set by the ID parameter (see "Configuration" below for more details on the parameters). The modules need to be on the same channel, as set by the CH parameter. Finally, a module's destination address (DH and DL parameters) determine which modules on its network and channel will receive the data it transmits. This can happen in a few ways:

    • If a module's DH is 0 and its DL is less than 0xFFFF (i.e. 16 bits), data transmitted by that module will be received by any module whose 16-bit address MY parameter equals DL.
    • If DH is 0 and DL equals 0xFFFF, the module's transmissions will be received by all modules.
    • If DH is non-zero or DL is greater than 0xFFFF, the transmission will only be received by the module whose serial number equals the transmitting module's destination address (i.e. whose SH equals the transmitting module's DH and whose SL equals its DL).

    Again, this address matching will only happen between modules on the same network and channel. If two modules are on different networks or channels, they can't communicate regardless of their addresses.

    For the "Series 2" modules you must chose which firmware put on the module to give it Coordinator, Router or End Device functionality. Series 2 use only serial low (SL) and serial high (SH) for addressing.


    Here are some of the more useful parameters for configuring your Xbee module. For step-by-step instructions on reading and writing them using AT commands, see the:

    Make sure to prepend AT to the parameter name when sending a command to the module (e.g. to read the ID parameter, you should send the command ATID).

    Command Description Valid Values Default Value
    ID The network ID of the XBee module. 0 - 0xFFFF 3332
    CH The channel of the XBee module. 0x0B - 0x1A 0X0C
    SH and SL The serial number of the XBee module (SH gives the high 32 bits, SL the low 32 bits). Read-only. 0 - 0xFFFFFFFF
    (for both SH and SL)
    different for each module
    MY The 16-bit address of the module. 0 - 0xFFFF 0
    DH and DL The destination address for wireless communication (DH is the high 32 bits, DL the low 32). 0 - 0xFFFFFFFF
    (for both DH and DL)
    0 (for both DH and DL)
    BD The baud rate used for serial communication with the Arduino board or computer. 0 (1200 bps)
    1 (2400 bps)
    2 (4800 bps)
    3 (9600 bps)
    4 (19200 bps)
    5 (38400 bps)
    6 (57600 bps)
    7 (115200 bps)
    3 (9600 baud)

    Note: although the valid and default values in the table above are written with a prefix of "0x" (to indicate that they are hexadecimal numbers), the module will not include the "0x" when reporting the value of a parameter, and you should omit it when setting values.

    Here are a couple more useful commands for configuring the XBee module (you'll need to prepend AT to these too).

    Command Description

    RE Restore factory default settings (note that like parameter changes, this is not permanent unless followed by the WR command).

    WR Write newly configured parameter values to non-volatile (long-term) storage. Otherwise, they will only last until the module loses power.

    CN Exit command mode now. (If you don't send any commands to the module for a few seconds, command mode will timeout and exit even without a CN command.)