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Old 06-05-2017, 03:37   #1
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Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Firstly I would like to praise everyone who has been involved with OpenCPN. I think it's brilliant and the support is second to none! Excellent!

QUESTION!
Does anyone know of a low cost way to communicate with serial devices from an Android Tablet running OpenCPN, possibly using WIFI or BLUETOOTH?

BACKGROUND
I have been using OpenCPN successfully for a number of years on a small notebook running LINUX (Ubuntu) with NMEA AIS & GPS (from NASA AIS3 engine) through a serial to USB converter.
This has been my backup to an ageing Raymarine C80 classic with ST60's and ST6000 autopilot. The laptop is inside the boat, the C80 etc outside.

I now also have an Android tablet, running OpenCPN with CM93 charts loaded on SD using the built in GPS - seems to work fine. I would like to use this both inside and outside (portable).

I would be nice to be able to view AIS info on the tablet and/or possibly use the tablet to drive the autopilot. I know that AIS output is 38400 baud and the autopilot is 4800 baud (hence the and/or).

I know it may be possible to use USBOTG but this would not give the portability so would prefer bluetooth.

I have seen some low cost Arduino RS232-bluetooth converters - postage stamp priced! but I have no Arduino knowledge. I have a fair bit of electronics background and have done some work with PIC micro's.

Many thanks
Brian
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:50   #2
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Think about getting AIS data via Ethernet on wifi. Then baud rate becomes not an issue. There are devices that convert NMEA serial data into wifi. There are AIS devices that can send/receive data via wifi.
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:23   #3
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Openplotter on a Rasperry pi 3 can do just that and much more for not much cash, you can set it up without a monitor, mine sends out gps, ais plus a thermometer on the engine converted to a mtw water temperature so it can be seen at a glance in the tablet Opencpn dashboard in the cockpit.

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Old 06-05-2017, 09:26   #4
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

If you are good with computers you could install kplex (one of the components of openplotter) on a Pi zero for even less cost and power consumption. It can talk NMEA over WiFi and RS422, the latter with a USB adaptor.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:52   #5
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by AedanC View Post
If you are good with computers you could install kplex (one of the components of openplotter) on a Pi zero for even less cost and power consumption. It can talk NMEA over WiFi and RS422, the latter with a USB adaptor.
Maybe I need to do a bit of investigation into Pi and/or Arduino. I have heard of Raspberry Pi but never looked into it and have "0" knowledge there, wouldn't know where to start!
As for Arduino, until yesterday I had never heard of it, I was looking in fleabay for an RS232 or serial to bluetooth adapter and up popped loads of Arduino modules for a couple of s.....I had to google arduino to see what it was!

My thinking is basically, I have AIS at 38400 coming out of my NASA AIS engine (which I also feed an old NMEA GPS into), This currently goes into my palmtop PC running OpenCPN on Ubuntu via an RS232 to USB converter (which works, but I always have to plug/unplug it's USB connection a few times before OpenCPN sees it, - a tad annoying, but works and gives OpenCPN (on my palmtop) position and AIS). I also have NMEA 4800 i/p available at my autopilot computer (Raymarine S3) so I should be able to control my autopilot by inputting here at 4800, this would need a 2nd RS232 connection because of the different baud rate.
To use my Android tablet I could use Bluetooth or Wifi to control some other unit (Pi or Arduino) which talks via 2 rs232 ports to receive AIS at 38400 and talks at 4800 to the S3.
Problem is I don't know where to start with Pi or Arduino.

I'm an old school (retired) electronics engineer who grew up with valves (tubes), and discrete components and all the 7400 series of logic IC's. I have dabbled with a few PIC micro's. I also have a wife who frowns if I buy elecronic bits costing more than a few quid ('s).

Research needed first before spend I guess!
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Old 27-06-2017, 15:18   #6
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Apparently a device like this:

http://comarsystems.com/wp-content/u...MEA-2-WIFI.pdf

will do exactly what you want.

Fred Roswold, svwings, Mexico
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Old 28-06-2017, 11:28   #7
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

This may be somewhat off topic, but I have been intending to add it to the manual.
"Using Older Android (ver 4.3 Jelly Bean and up) Phones to provide GPS to a Computer" by Phillip [Careknot]

Some may find this useful.
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Old 28-06-2017, 12:51   #8
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Also added to Opencpn Supplementary Software Manual
https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do...apps:share_gps
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:17   #9
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

I currently use Open CPN on my Windows10 PC with USB connected to the BU353S4 GPS antenna and the dAISy AIS receiver and have been very happy with this simple setup except for a few drawbacks.
1. Having to link both receivers via cable to the PC
2. Keeping the PC protected from the elements and safe from other abuses below decks
3. Charging the PC
4. Having to go below to see the plotter.

I'm pretty old school but smart enough to grab at anything that makes navigation easier and more accurate and love AIS as an alternative to radar. I don't have my own boat but I'm called on frequently enough to help out on others. Some of these are unknown factors so I like to carry my own easily transportable essentials. Ideally I would like a Tablet that I can easily protect and use on deck and still use my AIS receiver and possibly my external GPS. Any advice would be most welcome.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:33   #10
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

On W10 Pro you have RDP (remote desktop server).
Enable it and configure your W10 system as a WiFi access point or connect he W10 to a WiFi network.

Run the system downstairs and get a tablet - what ever is useful for you with a RDP client. Available for Window, Linux, macOS, Android..
Connect via WiFi

Now you have exactly your desktop with openCPN on the tablet and can use it from the cockpit, the forepeak or from the dock. Or from the mast top.

Hubert
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:06   #11
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH
RGleason, This is excellent, both of your posts, plus the instructions and the manual update. Nice work.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:17   #12
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by silentwings39 View Post
I would be nice to be able to view AIS info on the tablet and/or possibly use the tablet to drive the autopilot. I know that AIS output is 38400 baud and the autopilot is 4800 baud (hence the and/or).
Past few days I've been playing around with these devices esp8266 / node-mcu -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NodeMCU


With cheap rs232 - TTL chips to go from NMEA level down to the Esp levels. Successful so far, I've yet to make one create it's own network & multiplex a GPS & AIS feed but should be possible, one has been reading ais and spitting it out to a raspberry pi stable for a few days plus another on hase been running easyEsp reading very accurate thermometers & voltage using ds18b20 & ads1115 boards, all really cheap off ebay & draw next to no power.
https://www.letscontrolit.com/wiki/index.php/ESPEasy

Looks like it should do what you want with some tweeking. EasyEsp is great as it needs no codeing, all drop down menus & text boxes in a web site the Esp creates. When I get it all tidied up a bit I'll share on here. But looks very positive so far, been running for a couple of days stable.

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Old 09-11-2017, 22:18   #13
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcn View Post
On W10 Pro you have RDP (remote desktop server).
Enable it and configure your W10 system as a WiFi access point or connect he W10 to a WiFi network.

Run the system downstairs and get a tablet - what ever is useful for you with a RDP client. Available for Window, Linux, macOS, Android..
Connect via WiFi

Now you have exactly your desktop with openCPN on the tablet and can use it from the cockpit, the forepeak or from the dock. Or from the mast top.

Hubert
Thanks BCN for the prompt response and suggestion.
I was rather hoping not to have to cart the PC around just to provide the link from the two antennae USB connections I currently have. Do you know of any magic BT or WiFi box that can be kept down below to receive a signal from the AIS and GPS via USB then transmit to the Tablet on deck?
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Old 10-11-2017, 00:15   #14
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyP45 View Post
. Do you know of any magic BT or WiFi box that can be kept down below to receive a signal from the AIS and GPS via USB then transmit to the Tablet on deck?
Raspberry pi running openplotter.
No need for a monitor, control it from your tablet though might be handy to have a monitor to set it up initially at home. Then it outputs a multiplexed nmea stream over wifi of any nmea coming in over usb plus a outputs a signalk stream of the same. Runs off usb power and needs a micro sd card nas hard disk.
https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Mod.../dp/B01CD5VC92

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Old 27-02-2018, 12:52   #15
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Re: Android Tablet - NMEA - BLUETOOTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Raspberry pi running openplotter.
No need for a monitor, control it from your tablet though might be handy to have a monitor to set it up initially at home. Then it outputs a multiplexed nmea stream over wifi of any nmea coming in over usb plus a outputs a signalk stream of the same. Runs off usb power and needs a micro sd card nas hard disk.
https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Mod.../dp/B01CD5VC92

Conachair,
Can you point to where it is explained how to set up using a tablet as a monitor for the OPENcpn Rbpi?
Thank you...J
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