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Old 14-03-2011, 16:44   #1
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OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

On my boat I have an AIS Transponder with a serial interface.


My Netbook, running Windows 7 Starter does not have a serial interface, but it has bluetooth.


I have installed a serial to bluetooth adapter connected to the AIS transponder serial port. The AIS transponder provides AIS and GPS feed.


The bluetooth adapter is seen by Windows as COM9 port.


Using a serial terminal programme (like putty) I can open the COM9 port and see the NMEA feed.
Also using the AIS transponder configuration programme, I can open COM9, see the AIS feed (on a basic AIS radar window), the GPS status, and communicate with the AIS transponder for configuration. The port can be configured to any bps rate, it does not matter which because the bluetooth adapter matches the serial port bps.


OpenCPN instead fails to receive any data from COM9. I tried several configuration combinations. I configured COM9 in the GPS tab at 38400 bps. I tried also other speeds without success.
I configured also COM9 in the AIS tab. Then I configured the GPS tab to link to AIS, I also tried without the link, still no success. Once on the GPS tab I can tick to show the NMEA window which remains blank. No error is shown by OpenCPN, which means the port is open successfully (to double check I tried too with a non existent port, and with the bluetooth adapter turned off, in which case OpenCPN shows an error that it failed to open the port).


I tried also using a bluetooth GPS (the one I use on my car), which is seen by Windows as COM7. In this case I could get a GPS fix on OpenCPN once or twice, but most of the times, it just does not show any NMEA feed, whilst again, opening the COM port with a serial terminal tool I can receive the GPS feed.


Clearly there is something wrong with OpenCPN and bluetooth COM ports.


I was wondering if this issue is being addressed and if there was a workaround.
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Old 15-03-2011, 05:25   #2
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Has everyone been successful in using a bluetooth feed?
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Old 15-03-2011, 05:45   #3
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Hi,
did you have a look at How to Transmit to Autopilot on COM40 ? ? Quite a few Bluetooth dongles part of the discussion, so could have some useful info.

Pavel
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Old 15-03-2011, 06:01   #4
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Quote:
Originally Posted by nohal View Post
Hi,
did you have a look at How to Transmit to Autopilot on COM40 ? ? Quite a few Bluetooth dongles part of the discussion, so could have some useful info.

Pavel
Thank you Pavel, yes I read the thread, but I could not find any clue on how to solve my issue. What is particular is that with a normal serial terminal programme like putty I can connect to COM9 any time and get the NMEA feed. With OpenCPN instead i get just silence. No errors, just nothing coming through.

I tried also to rename the port to a more "standard" COM2, using the Device Manager properties, but still the same results.

Clearly there is something wrong with how OpenCPN deals with the "virtual" serial port.

How do I report this as a bug?
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Old 15-03-2011, 06:13   #5
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

The right way is to create an issue in OpenCPN::Tracker All Projects: Tasklist
The more info you can provide, the better of course - hardware involved, recorded NMEA stream etc.
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Old 15-03-2011, 07:34   #6
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Quote:
Originally Posted by haydudeTake4 View Post
What is particular is that with a normal serial terminal programme like putty I can connect to COM9 any time and get the NMEA feed. With OpenCPN instead i get just silence. No errors, just nothing coming through.
Have you tried PolarCOM? It is for free and you might check with PolarCOM if it is hardware or driver failure or a matter of OpenCPN. When PolarCOM works with your Bluetooth configuration than it might be caused by OpenCPN although my Bluetooth systems works perfectly with OpenCPN. Otherwise there is something wrong with your Bluetooth systems.

Gerhard
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Old 15-03-2011, 14:13   #7
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarCode View Post
Have you tried PolarCOM?
Just downloaded and installed PolarCOM, it detected the port and installed it automatically within seconds. It receives the NMEA feed.

This confirms that something is really wrong with OpenCPN!
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Old 15-03-2011, 14:17   #8
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Thank you for your report. This should help the OpenCPN developers to debug their code.

Gerhard
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Old 17-03-2011, 06:42   #9
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

as reported here, my bluetooh/gps device (globalsat BT-821) also fails to be read/heard by OpenCPN while functioning properly in the same platform with Google Earth.
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Old 17-03-2011, 06:47   #10
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hayes View Post
as reported here, my bluetooh/gps device (globalsat BT-821) also fails to be read/heard by OpenCPN while functioning properly in the same platform with Google Earth.
Thank you for your report! One might be an exception. Two bluetooth devices of different makes begin to be a rule.

Are the developers following this thread?
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:03   #11
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

I have made a note in OpenCPN::Tracker All Projects: Tasklist for the developer.

Gerhard
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Old 17-03-2011, 07:33   #12
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

CarCode, thank you for doing that. I registered to that site to add more information, but could not do it.

Please could you add the reports in this thread, in particular my initial message, to the notes? Also please could you clarify in the report that it does apply in general to serial bluetooth devices and not just GPSes? In my case I have a Brainboxes BL-819 Serial/Bluetooth interface and a Fuzion Solar Bluetooth GPS (neither work with OpenCPN, but they do with other programmes and simple serial terminal emulators like putty and hyperterminal), another user reported the same issue with a Globalsat BT-821.

Also in my case I am using the stable 2.3 version, not 2.4
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Old 17-03-2011, 08:19   #13
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

I will update the FlySpray entry with your further informations. I guess however it is a matter how OpenCPN handles COM ports in general and better routines are needed for it. Usually there are two virtual COM ports generated for a serial Bluetooth device. But the average user does not know which one of them to use. Self detecting software as e.g. PolarCOM or others you have mentioned search and connect mostly to the right one without any user interaction. OpenCPN should do this also. It is not state of the art to fiddle through Windows or other operating systems internals to find out all that.

Gerhard
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Old 17-03-2011, 09:05   #14
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

It is not just a matter of finding the ports. In my case the BT GPS only has one port, the BT BL-819 has two, one being the configuration port.

But I know which port to use and I configure it correctly into OpenCPN. Despite that, from OpenCPN I get only total silence.
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Old 17-03-2011, 14:37   #15
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Re: OpenCPN Fails to Receive Bluetooth Data Feed

Yes, I know, it is not so easy. It depends also to the used Bluetooth stack on a Windows PC. Meanwhile the Microsoft Bluetooth stack is not so bad as before but its configuration is still ugly.

We have once manufactured our own Bluetooth devices using Bluetooth parts from Gridconnect. First ones runs also with virtual COM ports and the users have had the known configuration problems. Then our programmer was able to use direct Bluetooth for our soft without virtual COM ports for the Bluetooth stacks of Microsoft, BlueSoleil, Toshiba und Widcomm. There was no user complaints anymore then. But this does not help you, only mentioned by me for curiosity.

Gerhard
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