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Old 27-09-2016, 15:17   #1
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Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Hello,

I would like to announce a mobile Signal K app I have developed. It is free and open source. Source code is available at https://github.com/itemir/signalk-mobile

Main features are:

* Developed with Ionic2/Cordova (javascript/typescript)
* Supports both iOS and Android. Can be ported to other platforms Ionic supports (possibly without Bonjour/mDNS support) fairly easily.
* Available on Apple App Store and Google Play for free.
* Detects Signal K server on the network using Bonjour/mDNS. If the server does not advertise itself, an address can be provided manually.
* Displays AIS vessels on Google Maps (requires Internet connectivity for the base map).
* Displays depth, speed, course, wind speed and direction (both apparent and true).
* Re-connects automatically if the server connection goes down and visually indicates if the connection is up or down.
* IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a navigation app and should not be used for such purpose. It needs to mature more.

It has a lot on the TODO list. So if you want to test, play with it, help development you are very welcome.

Feedback and suggestions welcome.
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Old 27-09-2016, 17:21   #2
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Not sure when I'll get to use it, but I'll give it a try. Thanks!
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Old 27-09-2016, 18:08   #3
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

So, plz tell me about signal K. Looked it up and looks kinda cool.
Is it easy to get reception, or is this in its infancy?
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Old 27-09-2016, 18:25   #4
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningCool View Post
So, plz tell me about signal K. Looked it up and looks kinda cool.
Is it easy to get reception, or is this in its infancy?
I am also fairly new to it. First of all, the idea is really cool, we definitely need an open standard like Signal K. That's one of the reasons why I developed the app and made it open source, I think more development on open standards is a good thing and reference implementations help a lot, even if they are not the end game themselves. My app i not an end game for me, I am hoping it to seed further development and interest.

From a maturity perspective, I think the verdict is still out. There are two reference implementations, one written in Java another written in Node.js. And right of the bet, they have some differences. Nothing that can't be overcome but it is also a bit confusing. Then there are two commercial implementations, one is iKommunicate from Digital Yacht and there is also vYacht support for it. I don't have iKommunicate so don't know what the implementation looks like. From an interview, I understand that vYacht version uses a self developed implementation that is based on Node.js version.

I got a bit puzzled with the documentation, there is information but you need to go and dig into it, it is not very clear. But I have never been a good documentation reader so it may just be me ;-)

I'd recommend reading this blog post/interview with Bernd from vYacht: Water and Electrickery: vyacht router: Now with Signal K It is not only about Signal K but I think he wraps it up really well, its potential and challenges.
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Old 28-09-2016, 10:26   #5
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

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Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
Hello,

I would like to announce a mobile Signal K app I have developed. It is free and open source. Source code is available at https://github.com/itemir/signalk-mobile

Main features are:

* Developed with Ionic2/Cordova (javascript/typescript)
* Supports both iOS and Android. Can be ported to other platforms Ionic supports (possibly without Bonjour/mDNS support) fairly easily.
* Available on Apple App Store and Google Play for free.
* Detects Signal K server on the network using Bonjour/mDNS. If the server does not advertise itself, an address can be provided manually.
* Displays AIS vessels on Google Maps (requires Internet connectivity for the base map).
* Displays depth, speed, course, wind speed and direction (both apparent and true).
* Re-connects automatically if the server connection goes down and visually indicates if the connection is up or down.
* IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a navigation app and should not be used for such purpose. It needs to mature more.

It has a lot on the TODO list. So if you want to test, play with it, help development you are very welcome.

Feedback and suggestions welcome.


Where does one get the Signal K address?
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Old 28-09-2016, 10:28   #6
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

You mean the server address? If so, it is the IP address of the device signal k server is running on and the port number, like 192.168.1.2:3000.

192.168.1.2 would be the IP address and 3000 is the port number which is default for Signal K but can be changed from configuration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailguy98245 View Post
Where does one get the Signal K address?
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Old 28-09-2016, 18:59   #7
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Dam,it wont work on my samsung HTC or my in dash touch screen with andriod 4.0.
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Old 28-09-2016, 19:24   #8
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Can anybody point to any Signal K sensors? I am googling but can't find any.

Thanks,
b.
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Old 28-09-2016, 22:08   #9
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

I am in the process of building some DIY Signal K sensors for using on my own boat. Here is my somewhat prioritized list:
  1. Temperature, humidity and pressure sensors
  2. Energy usage from shore power
  3. Bilge pump activations
  4. Battery charge status

These will all work on a Raspberry Pi with some $5-15 components each. It will be all DIY requiring at least some level of soldering, tinkering etc.

I may also need to develop the corresponding Signal K server code and then definitely the enhancement for my Signal K Mobile app to consume the input from those. So the net result is, it will all show up on the app somehow.

If you or anyone else have interest, let me know and I can post details once they become available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Can anybody point to any Signal K sensors? I am googling but can't find any.

Thanks,
b.
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Old 29-09-2016, 08:03   #10
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post

I am in the process of building some DIY Signal K sensors for using on my own boat. Here is my somewhat prioritized list:
  1. Temperature, humidity and pressure sensors
  2. Energy usage from shore power
  3. Bilge pump activations
  4. Battery charge status
(...)



If you or anyone else have interest, let me know and I can post details once they become available.
Off course!

Yesterday I was searching the web for Signal K sensors and found NONE.

So building protocols etc around non existent sensors is ... an exercise in vain?

I believe that much more exposure can be gained by open source'ing hardware like:

- depth, speed, positioning, wind, etc.

to talk with Signal K devices.

So. No doubt: if you are building any signal K sensors and if you want and can share the build, this will be pushing things forward.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 29-09-2016, 11:35   #11
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

I share your sentiment. I think it is also a vicious circle. When there is no starting point, it is much harder to advance. So I greatly value open tools and standards, including OpenCPN, Signal K, vYacht and others. That is also one of the reasons why I developed an open source app. Mobile apps are important these days and having reference implementations help a lot, I hope it gets leveraged in other projects.

On the sensor note, I will definitely share what I come up with.

Also check out the Kbox project (https://hackaday.io/project/11055-kbox). It is an open source hardware platform that can use Signal K among other things. I am trying to get one from Thomas and maybe do some development on it.

For sensing depth, speed, position, wind specifically, Signal K server (both Java and Node implementations) can do that by integrating with your existing instruments over NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2k. vYacht and Kbox can also get it via Seatalk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Off course!

Yesterday I was searching the web for Signal K sensors and found NONE.

So building protocols etc around non existent sensors is ... an exercise in vain?

I believe that much more exposure can be gained by open source'ing hardware like:

- depth, speed, positioning, wind, etc.

to talk with Signal K devices.

So. No doubt: if you are building any signal K sensors and if you want and can share the build, this will be pushing things forward.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 29-09-2016, 16:48   #12
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post

(...)

For sensing depth, speed, position, wind specifically, Signal K server (both Java and Node implementations) can do that by integrating with your existing instruments over NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2k. vYacht and Kbox can also get it via Seatalk.
If I have SeaTalk or 183 or N2K sensors, I do not need Signal K server.

I understand over the net and for remote sensors Signal K makes good sense.

But if I were to use Signal K onboard, I would expect Signal K sensors.

Translating something that can be read does not tick the box.

I am very much interested in Signal K sensors, esp. if they come Open Hardware style.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 30-09-2016, 13:19   #13
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

I wrote a signalk server in python for my own personal use and it is working.

Also, I considered signalk sensors, but I would not recommend them for high bandwidth usage or on unreliable links as there is no data checking. nmea183 is superior to signalk in both of these.

Consider at 115200 baud uart link to avr over usb. A typical signalk message is going to take at least 8 milliseconds, where with a normal binary protocol the latency would be < 1ms and include crc checking.

Considering you need messages from gyros, accels, magnetic sensors and other sensors, either you need many ports, or you have to accept a huge amount of latency. The fusion filter needs to integrate all of these sensors at a a high rate (20-50hz minimum) to produce the most accurate results. This latency compounds and makes the fusion filters as well as whatever you are doing with the data (ie: autopilot) run less efficiently and consume more power and cause more wear to the actual mechanical systems as well.

I think signalk is only good for reliable tcp connections with faster processors. It's basically unsuitable for:

1) serial port connections
2) low latency requirements -- wind direction, gyroscope etc..
3) high bandwidth -- radar, compute vision etc..

For serial ports (or usb serial ports), you can use a normal binary connection to the device, and a server program that translates this to signalk for the network which mostly solves it.

signalk should be fine for tank level sensors, temperature sensor etc.. non-critical sensors should be ok


I tried to explain to the signalk group that they didn't need to put the same identical timestamp 8 times in the same message and at minimal should support some kind of "ditto" but they didn't care they said just to get a faster wifi and faster processor so that it could handle this inefficient protocol. They are also java developers. The "example" code is pathetic given all the hype of this protocol.
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Old 30-09-2016, 14:46   #14
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

Quote:
Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post

(...)

signalk should be fine for tank level sensors, temperature sensor etc.. non-critical sensors should be ok

(...)
OK. This is also my impression from quick reading of Signal K 'homesite'.

Considering that tank level sensors and temperature sensors can be easily read by direct readout (or else sent over the web in the T0030C form) I fail to see the use of the protocol on a single boat. It must be something about big networks and remote sensing. But why make such a protocol human readable is beyond me then.

I must re and re read the site. Maybe then.

BTW Have you seen anything like say a comparative table telling this and that can be done and this and that can't for n183/N2K/SIgnal K ???

Maybe I will make such a table and post it and then we could bring it up to reflect reality. It is easier to discuss things when the picture of what we are talking about is clear.

b.
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:43   #15
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Re: Signal K Mobile App - Open Source

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Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
I share your sentiment. I think it is also a vicious circle. When there is no starting point, it is much harder to advance. So I greatly value open tools and standards, including OpenCPN, Signal K, vYacht and others. That is also one of the reasons why I developed an open source app. Mobile apps are important these days and having reference implementations help a lot, I hope it gets leveraged in other projects.

On the sensor note, I will definitely share what I come up with.

Also check out the Kbox project (https://hackaday.io/project/11055-kbox). It is an open source hardware platform that can use Signal K among other things. I am trying to get one from Thomas and maybe do some development on it.

For sensing depth, speed, position, wind specifically, Signal K server (both Java and Node implementations) can do that by integrating with your existing instruments over NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2k. vYacht and Kbox can also get it via Seatalk.
Thanks for sharing your app, looks interesting. Also the kbox , though you can do a lot incredibly cheaply with an esp8266 board, wifi existing data from sensors either in nmea0183 if there are sentences available or signalk back to a Raspberry Pi to act as a man server. So have access to the wide range of cheap sensors available very wireless if you want, a little box next to the batteries measuring voltages and temperature , many temp sensors around the engine, alternator, exhaust,stuffing box....
Have you checked out openplotter? V0.9 looks to be very powerful in signalk options. I set up rrdtools on the boat's pi as well so it records everything into a database once a minute. Just nmea at the moment but should be easy to parse signalk data as well.
I think with signlak it's a bit slow to really get going and very early days but potentially very powerful, anyone who knows what they are doing can write some php or whatever to create a custom display available for any device capable or displaying a web page.

Interesting times, and open source away from the nmea stranglehold.
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