I want to use bluetooth to grab the info off my 3pi rather then have it display on the small LCD. Pololu provides a lib for serial communication.

I'm wondering what the best bluetooth/serial module to use is?

A friend recommended the Xbee module - Any thoughts?


3 Answers 3


I would use bluetooth, it is easier to communicate with a computer. All you need for bluetooth is the module such as the BlueSMiRF from sparkfun and a Bluetooth usb dongle. Then all you would do is use the serial capabilities on the 3pi to communicate with the computer through the Bluetooth serial connection with a program like Hyperterminal. On the other hand, with the xbee you would need two transmitters and a way for the data to be read by a computer. One way to do this is through the Xbee Explorer. Both options would be the same cost but the Xbee route takes more components and is more complex. This page shows you how to establish the virtual serial port, and this page shows the connection, although it is for the Lillypad. You connect the VCC and Grounds of the 3pi and the Bluetooth then connect the RX and TX of the 3pi to the TX and RX of the Bluetooth module respectably. Hope this helps. Also Here is the tutorial for the 3pi serial communication.


For the most part I agree with Hristos, but must disagree about Xbee. I have done this with both devices and there was not a significant difference in complexity.

I would point out, there is a good rule to remember here, like occam's razor for electronics, try to stick with the most common and accessible technology. Many computers have bluetooth removing the need for a dongle, it is a very common tech, and by that fact has more available in development.

Range relation, most people think Xbee has greater range, but bluetooth also can have radiated power of up to 100mW in class 1, although saying a device is class 1 does not imply this to be true, it just defines a maximum, if you want range you MUST read about the devices actual radiated power. Most people also overlook receiver sensitivity, you will find out with testing it often has more to do with range than the radiated power, although both are important.

Hope I helped. -Max


Depends on your requirements but Xbee's wouldn't be a bad choice. They have a better range than Bluetooth

  • \$\begingroup\$ all I want to do with it is to grab the info that displays on the lcd - so battery life, onboard sensor, speed... I guess ultimatly I would want to do some wireless controlling with it too....this may change my requirements a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – SaM
    Nov 13, 2009 at 0:39

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