Configuring XBee Radios with X-CTU

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When you’re working with XBees, you may need to update or change the firmware on the radios occasionally. For example, if you’d like to switch a ZigBee radio from router to coordinator or switch between API and AT modes, you’ll need to upload the appropriate firmware to the radio. To do that, we’ll use X-CTU.

X-CTU is a Windows-based application provided by Digi. This program is designed to interact with the firmware files found on Digi’s RF products and to provide a simple-to-use graphical user interface to them. X-CTU is designed to function with all Windows-based computers running Microsoft Windows 98 SE and above. For non-Windows users, you can try one of Moltosenso’s products to update the firmware on your radio. Another option is to use Wine or a virtual machine such as VirtualBox to run X-CTU on non-Windows computers.

  • Download and install X-CTU from The download link can be found under the title “Diagnostics, Utilities and MIBs.”
  • Connect your radio to an XBee Explorer or similar and connect the explorer to your computer.
  • Note: In order for your XBee Explorer to appear as a COM port, you’ll need to install the FTDI drivers for your system.

  • Open X-CTU. Select a COM port and click “Test / Query” to see if X-CTU can communicate with the radio.
  • You should see a window that says the communication with the modem was OK and some additional information about the radio. If not, try another COM port and troubleshoot your serial connection to the radio. Does it work with CoolTerm?
  • If the test works, click the “Modem Configuration” tab on the top and then drop down the “Modem:” list. Select XB24 for 802.15.4 (Series 1) radios and XB24-ZB for ZigBee (Series 2) radios.
  • Choose the appropriate configuration from the “Function Set” list.
  • Click the “Write” button towards the top of the window to upload the firmware.
  • As the firmware uploads, the status of the process will be displayed at the bottom of the window.
  • If you’d like to update any other settings, click “Read” to load the modem’s current settings.
  • Update any of the settings in the list and click “Write” to upload those settings to the modem

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