Again from Building Wireless Sensor Networks, a project makes use of the Digi ConnectPort (see ConnectPort X family user guide). There are a range of devices available, but which one is best for you? How about other manufactures such as AMX Trade Site : NXR-ZGW-PRO : NetLinx® ZigBee Pro Gateway?
A look at the devices
The X2 is the cheapest*, industrial, option, and can go for between £10 and £50 on eBay, if you are lucky, but are around £200 new on eBay.
The X4 is a more fully featured option by costs around $500!
ZigBee gateway and ConnectPort X2e
There is also the cheapest of the lot, a XBee ZigBee gateway,
and the similar looking X2e (User Guide), but this is for Smart energy devices. Compare the two devices. Whether it is flashable to make it in to a ZigBee gateway, and XIG (examples) is another matter, and seems difficult to do, see ConnectPort X2e:
The ConnectPort X2e SE cannot be converted to an X2e ZB in the field.
– There is no telnet functionality built into the ConnectPort X2e
– The Web UI is disabled by default, a press of the white button on the front of the unit will enable it for the next 5 minutes
– The device is discoverable using the Digi Device Discovery tool, but can not be configured unless the white button is pressed on the front of the unit
– Devices running the 18.104.22.168 firmware by default point to my.idigi.com, devices running 22.214.171.124 by default point to developer.idigi.com. Updating the firmware alone will not change which hostname the device tries to connect to, a factory default is needed (or a reconfiguration)
The ConnectPort X2e SE gateway for Smart Energy does not have the Web Interface enabled by default. However, if you push the little button on the corner of the face plate. You have about 10 seconds from the time you press the reset button to open the web interface, after which it becomes inaccessible again. After the button is pushed, you can navigate to the IP address of the gateway using your web browser.
See also the Digi Wiki entry for the X2e for incompatabilities:
Unlike the older ConnectPort X2 or X4, the X2e is designed for use primarily with the iDigi Device Cloud. The core operation system is Linux, however as of June 2012 none of the models give customers access to add or modify the code directly.
- The X2e has no CLI or Commandline interface. Python code using the Module:digicli will not run on the X2e.
- The X2e uses Python 2.7.1, whereas the X2/X4 use 2.4.3. In general, this won’t cause a problem porting X2/X4 code to the X2e, but may cause problems porting in the other direction.
- The X2e SE cannot be used for development purposes. The X2e ZB has an SSH login, which does not offer root access.
- Since the X2e always uses SSL/TLS to iDigi, NTP access is required to validate security certificates, and therefore NTP is required for device operation.
In general, the ConnectPort X2e supports a larger set of common Python modules.
Digi-Specific Modules NOT supported
The ConnectPort X2e does not support these commonly used modules, plus any not listed as supported should be assumed unsupported:
- Module:cwm (this module is obsolete)
- Module:digicli (Programmable X2e have a linux login, not a digi command-line)
- Module:digipowercontrol (The X2e has no ability to sleep or power off sections of hardware)
- Module:digiwdog (The X2e has no external hardware to make this reliable, so it is disabled)
- Module:digiweb (The X2e does not have a custom Digi-specific web server such the X4 does)
Note: the X2e is a superior product to the X2, greater security, reliability, uses Linux as an OS, instead of the Digi proprietry OS. From the User Guide:
Product differences from predecessor ConnectPort X products
ConnectPort X2e ZB gateways differ from predecessor ConnectPort X products. These differences are of importance to programmers and integrators who are familiar with the predecessor devices and need to develop applications and install or manage the gateway. This list of differences assumes that the reader has knowledge of the features and functions of predecessor ConnectPort X products.
- Operating system: The ConnectPort X2e ZB is built on the industry-standard Linux operating system, versus a Digi-proprietary embedded operating system.
- Memory: The ConnectPort X2e ZB has 64MB of RAM and 128MB of Flash memory. Users have access to up to 20MB of RAM and up to 20MB of Flash memory. Predecessor devices had less RAM and Flash available for custom Python applications.
- System date and time: The ConnectPort X2e ZB, for reasons of improved security, has a greater dependence on time synchronization than predecessor products. In so doing, the ConnectPort X2e ZB expects to use the standard Network Time Protocol (NTP), requiring connectivity with an external NTP time server. Without a proper sense of time, the device will be unable to correctly validate security certificates, disabling the ability to connect to iDigi, as well as disabling the ability to update the firmware.
- Button: The ConnectPort X2e ZB features a programmable button. The button can be configured to activate some Digi native features (such as returning a device to its factory defaults), and can also be used by custom applications. For more information on the button see page 25. This button behavior differs from the Reset button behavior on the ConnectPort X2.
- LED behaviors and meanings: The ConnectPort X2e ZB has some differences in LED behavior and meaning from predecessor ConnectPort X products. See page 21 for descriptions and page 89 for programming example.
- User interfaces:
- The ConnectPort X2e ZB has a web user interface for both network configuration and access to the log file for troubleshooting the initial connection to iDigi. For more information on the web interface, see “Configuration” on page 34.
- Command-line interface differences: The ConnectPort X2e ZB allows access to the Linux shell using SSH. This shell and common operations are described on page 95. Access to the gateway is at the user level; the user is named python and the password is dbps. Access to a command-line interface through Telnet is not supported for network security reasons. Commands in the command-line interface for predecessor ConnectPort X products are not supported. However, some ConnectPort X2 commandline interface commands have equivalents in the Remote Command Interface (RCI).
- Firmware updates: Due to the complexity of the Linux-based system, standard firmware updates cannot be used to downgrade a system.
- Logging: The ConnectPort X2e ZB supports continuous logging for troubleshooting. The log files can be browsed from the web interface or pulled from the device filesystem in the iDigi interface. They are stored in the Linux filesystem in the /WEB/logging directory and persist across reboots and power cycles.
- Supported Python version: The ConnectPort X2e ZB uses Python interpreter version 2.7. Many predecessor ConnectPort X products use Python 2.4. Any custom-compiled Python code must be recompiled for Python interpreter 2.7. Custom Python modules are not 100% compatible with the ConnectPort X2e ZB. Therefore, porting may be required in addition to recompiling.
See also the separate blog, ConnectPort X5.
There is the X5, which generally costs around £500.
The X5 (user guide) is designed for vehicles and vehicle Area Networks (VAN), but which can be modified for home use, with the use of a custom wired loom, using the 23 pin IP67 connector:
The connections are as follows
Creating the harness
Here is a diagram of the harness
may be sourced from:
- TE – 23 POS AMPSEAL HDR SNAP IN W/G (US)
- RS –
- AMPSEAL 23 way plug housing, black, £6.74
- PCB Connector Contact, Female, Crimp, Gold Plating 16 → 20 AWG £0.419 each (UK), or;
- PCB Connector Contact, Female, Crimp, Tin Plating 16 → 20 AWG, £0.095 each
- Farnell –
- TE CONNECTIVITY / AMP 770680-1.. HOUSING, PLUG, 3 ROW, 23 WAY, PBT, £4.74 or;
- TE CONNECTIVITY / AMP 770680-1 HOUSING, PLUG/SOCKET, 23POS, £5.83,
- Pins TE CONNECTIVITY / AMP 770520-3 Rectangular Power Contact, AMPSEAL Series, Gold Plated Contacts, Copper, Socket, Crimp, 20 AWG, £0.222 each, or;
- TE CONNECTIVITY / AMP 770854-1 Rectangular Power Contact, AMPSEAL Series, Tin Plated Contacts, Copper Alloy, Socket, Crimp, 20 AWG, £0.107 each
- Seals TE CONNECTIVITY / AMP 770678-1 Connector Accessory, Seal Plug, AMPSEAL Automotive Plug Connector & Header Assemblies, £0.0962 (note these are really necessary for indoors use)
Watch this video for a tutorial for AMP connector
The antennas are RP-TNC for the Wi-Fi, GPS and XBee (with male connectors), and TNC for the cellular (female).
For the Wi-Fi and XBee, it is, ironically, cheaper to get RP-SMA 2.4GHz antennas (£1.33),
The photo below shows the RP-TNC female to RP-SMA male. Please ignore this image.
than buy RP-TNC 2.4 GHz antennas (£3.27).
The GPS requires two frequencies; one at 1575.42 MHz (10.23 MHz × 154) called L1; and a second at1227.60 MHz (10.23 MHz × 120), called L2.
The Cellular requires a 880-960 MHz, 1850-1990MHz antenna.
See the iDigi User’s guide
As already mentioned there are other manufactures producing XBee/ZigBee gateways but again, it is unclear if they can support XIG. These include:
- Schneider Electric EER21200 Wiser Zigbee Gateway Coordinator, £60-70, which lloks a lot like a rebadged X2e