XBee3 Thing Plus Hookup Guide

Contributors: Alex the Giant, Ell C
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Hardware Overview

Whether you're using the u.fl version or trace antenna version , the XBee3 Thing Plus is chock full of functionality. The XBee3 module itself measures 13 mm x 19 mm and supports multiple protocols, including ZigBee, 802.154, DigiMesh, and BLE. Add into that the capabilities of SparkFun's Thing Plus and we're looking at an amazing amount of functionality.

XBee3 Features

  • Voltage Range: 2.1-3.6V
  • 2μA Power-down current
  • 1MB of flash, 128kB of RAM
  • +8dBm transmitting power (Up to 135mA)
  • -103dBm receiving sensitivity (17mA)
  • Supported protocols: 802.15.4, Bluetooth v4.0, Zigbee
  • RF Data Rate: 250Kbps
  • UART Data Rate: Up to 1Mbps
  • Indoor range: Up to 200ft (60m)
  • Outdoor (Line-Of-Sight): Up to 4000ft (1200m)

Board Highlight

Click the image for a closer look.

Peripherals and I/O

The XBee3 Thing Plus features your standard fare of hardware peripherals including:

  • 20 general purpose input/output pins
  • Up to four 10-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) channels (see note 1)
  • Up to two 10-bit pulse width modulation (PWM) channels (see note 2)
  • UART
  • I2C
  • SPI (see note 3)

1. There are three dedicated ADC channels, with the fourth connected to IO pin 1/SCL if I2C is not being used.

2. There is a dedicated PWM channel connected to IO pin 10, with the second connected to IO pin 11/SDA if I2C is not being used.

3. SPI is currently still under development from Digi and is not yet supported in MicroPython.

Powering the XBee3 Thing Plus

The two main power inputs to the XBee3 Thing Plus are USB and a single-cell lithium-polymer (LiPo battery. If both USB and the LiPo are plugged into the board, the onboard charge controller will charge the LiPo battery at a rate up to 500mA.

⚡ The XBee3's operating voltage range is 2.1 to 3.6V. Under normal operation the XBee3 Thing Plus will power the chip at 3.3V. The I/O pins are not 5V-tolerant! If you interface the board with 5V (or higher) components, you'll need to do some logic level shifting.

The 3.3V regulator on the XBee3 Thing Plus can reliably supply up to 600mA, which should be more than enough overhead for most projects. The XBee3 can pull as much as 135mA during RF transmissions. The output of the regulator is also broken out to the side of the board -- the pin labeled "3V3". This pin can be used to supply external components.

XBee3 power inputs/outputs

In addition to USB and battery connectors, the VBAT, and VUSB pins are all broken out to the sides of the board. These pins can be used as an alternative supply input to the Thing Plus. The maximum, allowable voltage input to VUSB is 5.8V, and VBAT should not be connected to anything other than a LiPo battery. Alternatively, if you have a regulated voltage source between 2.1V and 3.6V, the "3V3" line can be used to directly supply the XBee3 and its peripherals.