Digi International XBee 3 Modules | Symmetry Blog

Jan 20, 2021

1. What are the different form factors available for Digi XBee® 3 modules?

XBee 3 comes in three different form factors: Through-hole (TH), surface-mount (SMT), and micro-mount (MMT). Their dimensions are:

  • Through-hole: 2.438 x 2.761 cm
  • Surface-mount: 2.199 x 3.4 x 0.368 cm
  • Micro-mount: 1.36 cm x 1.93 cm x 0.241 cm

2. What are the different antenna options available for Digi XBee 3 modules?

XBee 3 offers PCB antenna, chip antenna, RF pad, U.FL connector, or RPSMA connector depending on the form factor of the module:

  • Through-hole: PCB antenna, U.FL connector, RPSMA Connector
  • Surface-Mount: RF pad, PCB antenna, or U.FL connector
  • Micro-mount: U.FL antenna, RF pad, chip antenna

3. Can you change protocols at the customer end?

You can change the firmware loaded onto the XBee 3 hardware to run any of the following protocols: ZigBee®, 802.15.4, DigiMesh, and Bluetooth. To change protocols, use the “Update Firmware” feature in Digi’s XBee Configuration and Test Utility (XCTU) program and select the firmware. Reference Digi’s XCTU User Guide for more information.

4. What is the difference between Digi XBee 3 and Digi XBee 3 PRO?

The difference is transmit power. Digi XBee 3 has +8 dBm output transmit power, whereas Digi XBee 3 PRO has +19 dBm, which helps to increase effective communication range. Additionally, the transmit current consumption for Digi XBee 3 PRO is higher in comparison to Digi XBee 3.

5. Are Digi XBee 3 modules pin compatible with S1 and S2C modules?

The SMT and TH versions are pin-compatible with existing XBee/XBee-PRO (S2C) SMT and TH

hardware. This hardware is drop-in replaceable. To fit all necessary pin connections on the XBee 3 Micro, three pins on the SMT were removed and the remaining pins have been shifted. These pins were unused on the SMT module. See the Digi XBee® 3 Hardware Reference Manual for more information.

6. Can Digi XBee 3 modules communicate with older modules?

Yes, Digi XBee 3 modules are fully backward-compatible with Digi XBee S2C modules and a network can be formed utilizing both variants. Compatibility reports can be requested to show how Digi XBee 3 integrates into an existing S1/S2C network.

7. What are programming capabilities of Digi XBee 3 modules?

Digi XBee 3 eliminates the need for an external microcontroller and creates smart end nodes using MicroPython. It includes 1 MB / 128 KB RAM (32 KB is available for MicroPython code).

Note: MicroPython is an open-source programming language that includes much of the same syntax and functionality as Python 3.0 but has been modified to fit on small devices with limited hardware resources, such as an XBee 3 RF Module.

8. How do you get started with MicroPython for Digi XBee 3 modules?

You can refer to the Get Started with MicroPython for a quick start user guide. For more details on how to use MicroPython with the XBee 3 RF Module and more complex code examples, refer to the Digi MicroPython Programming Guide.

9. What tools are available to work with Digi XBee 3 RF modules?

Customers can use XCTU for XBee 3 configuration. XCTU is a multi-platform program that enables users to interact with Digi RF devices through a graphical interface. The application includes built-in tools that make it easy to set up, configure, and test Digi RF devices. For instructions on how to download and use the XCTU program, see the XCTU User Guide.


Interested in integrating the Digi International XBee 3 modules into your design? Browse the XBee 3 product family at Symmetry Electronics.



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Why partner with Symmetry Electronics? Symmetry's technical staff is specially trained by our suppliers to provide a comprehensive level of technical support. Our in-house Applications Engineers provide free design services to help customers early in the design cycle, providing solutions to save them time, money and frustration. Contact Symmetry for more information.


Written By: Anuja Upale


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