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Old 24-11-2015, 01:54   #1
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Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Hi Folks,

my OpenCPN works fine with a regular external GPS device.

But, as the title says, I would like to use OpenCPN for MacOSX with my Android Phone as a GPS device.

I wasn't lucky with the GPSviaBluetooth Apps available. Perhaps it's not that easy with OSX?!

Any help appreciated,
Christian
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Old 24-11-2015, 02:08   #2
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

OS X supports the Bluetooth SPP protocol. Perhaps the Bluetooth device was not paired correct with your Mac?

Gerhard
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Old 24-11-2015, 02:43   #3
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

May be. But I don't know how to pair the phone "more correctly" with my mac. I paired them making both visible, confirming the pairing code and all that. On my phone, it says 'paired'. Well on the Mac, it says 'Not connected/Nicht verbunden', but I thought this means only the network. However, I am able to send an receive files.
See the following screenshots. It's a german system, hope you understand the essential points anyway.
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Old 24-11-2015, 04:49   #4
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

The BT services shown do not contain the serial access protocol. Your phone does not support serial via BT.
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Old 24-11-2015, 06:08   #5
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

What Hubert wrote is correct: Your Android phone doesn't support SPP (serial data transmit).
I have no knowledge about Android but what I read of another tool to use its GPS data it seems that SPP was supported only up to Android version 2.x. This tool allows however to use TCP also. So this might be a solution. OCPN can be configured to receive GPS and other NMEA0183 data also via TCP.
See: Index of /download/blue-nmea/ (BlueNMEA).

Gerhard
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Old 24-11-2015, 06:13   #6
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

We have a simple Motorola with Android 4.something and this one has SPP.
Had to search a while and reading the fine print to find a phone with SPP.

Hubert
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Old 25-11-2015, 00:33   #7
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Surprised my phone doesn't support SPP. I thought those RFCOMM channels would be the same as COM ports. I tried the blueNMEA app. But things don't work...
After all, I'm not that much into computers, so I'll just accept that it doesn't work and continue with the GPS mouse.
Thank you for the information and help so far.
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Old 26-11-2015, 04:42   #8
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Look on the website Supplimentary Software / Hardware. I have written about sharing android S4 w O and several apps needed, via BT. One might work w mac
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Old 26-11-2015, 15:58   #9
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

I have used an android phone gps to send gps data wirelessly with 4 ways:

1) bluetooth serial port
2) bluetooth network
3) wifi network
4) usb network

I am receiving from linux, not a mac, but at least for network mode I don't see much difference. For some horrible reason #1 only works if the user is root, so it's impossible to receive for opencpn unless I relay it again using netcat. I think it's a bug in the drivers.

Anyway, I recommend not messing with the bluetooth serial port as the other ways all work perfectly.
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Old 13-02-2016, 19:02   #10
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Question for Boat_Alexandra - I am also trying to get gps data from my Android phone to OpenCPN on a Mac. Is there some Android app that pushes the GPS coords or does OpenCPN pull from the phone?

Thanks
Pat
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Old 14-02-2016, 04:50   #11
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Pat read the wiki link i posted!
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Old 14-02-2016, 05:26   #12
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Wouldn't it pay to just get a USB GPS puck instead?

Frankly I'm a bit wary of using separate Bluetooth sources for GPS (usually dependent on battery life in that device). I say that as I ran a BT GPS receiver years ago, supplying the data to my Nokia phone of the time, which ran great European maps (free download off Nokia), which were far better than my old Garmin, with much better spoken directions (I only used speech directions on a motorbike, as you really didn't want a distracting screen on your handlebars - both the GPS receiver and phone lived happily out of the rain in my tank bag).

I did have the GPS receiver battery go flat a couple of times (and using your phone for GPS will hammer the battery very fast, even if in flight mode), so figured it was better(for me anyway) to have stuff driven off the same battery.

The USB GPS Sirfstar IV puck is pretty cheap too (about 28 for the one I just bought, to be plugged into the new laptop when I get it).

Good luck getting it sorted though.

eta: I picked up a cheap LG Leon phone when on offer before Christmas, to check out Android 5. SPP is available with it running Bluetooth 4.1.
Hope that helps some.
eta2: You may have turned off permissions for the necessary data to be sent from the phone? What phone do you have, and what version of Android is it running, are probably the most important basics that need knowing?
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Old 14-02-2016, 05:51   #13
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Don't forget that an USB GPS devices always needs a driver for the particular operating system. Many users have had problems with these GPS devices when they changes e.g. the Windows version. Reason was mostly the Prolific driver.
This never happens with a Bluetooth device, it works with any OS and any OS version. Furthermore when using a laptop you have no cables disturbing you. My Bluetooth GPS device has a battery life for 24 hours but it is attached in the cabin of the boat onto a power converter 12V to 5V.

Gerhard
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Old 14-02-2016, 07:32   #14
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

Battery life using android cell Gps and BT is limited, agreed. Plug it in. I have a BT gpsSlim and really like it. Works great with windows 8 & 10
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Old 14-02-2016, 08:32   #15
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Re: Using Android Phone as GPS device for OpenCPN on a Mac

I'm told that "for user security" the nice folks at Apple require developers to use a special Bluetooth mode, requiring a $1 chip and a $4 per-gadget license fee, i.e. the gizmo maker has to spend an extra $5 on each gizmo if they want to use the Apple special BT data protocols. No license? Sorry, standard BT data streams aren't accepted, because they might not be secure.


Or so they say.


Feel free to look into whether that's true, but I've heard it often enough to suspect you'll need a different way to get the GPS into the Mac.
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