To get started with Xbee I am flashing all the firmware on the chips and making sure my newly built kits from Adafruit Industries are working correctly. In the picture I am using an arduino board without the chip as a USB to TTL-232 converter to talk to the Xbee Chip. I later ordered a couple of cables from Adafruit Industries that do this for you. They come in real handy!
If you couldn’t tell already why I had the helping hands in the previous picture… here is a closer look. It’s holding one of the wires connected to the Xbee directly to a point on the Arduino board that wasn’t exposed on one of the connectors. Hence why I found it a little nicer to order the USB-TTL232 cables. It worked just fine… but those USB-TTL232 Cables come in handy for so many things. I often use to debug my microcontrollers by hooking a max232 chip up to the microcontroller. I would then use a USB to RS232 cable to hook my computer to the MAX232 chip. Now I just plug the USB-TTL232 into my computer and hook it up directly to my chip. Works great.