In this project a serial Bluetooth module is used to create a connection between Arduino Uno and an Android app that I created with MIT App Inventor.

Arduino listens for commands to light some LED's or show its status. In addition, a timer interrupt makes it check for temperature via a TMP36 sensor: if temperature is greater than a threshold a LED is lit; every n seconds (where n is a parameter set through the app) a status report is sent to the app. A simple command structure enables the app to send parameters and values to Arduino and the other way round. There are many Bluetooth modules and even Arduino shields: my choice has fallen on JY-MCU that I bought from Hobby Components in the UK. The JY-MCU is a class-2 Bluetooth module that acts like a serial port with no need of any software configuration on the Arduino. This module is available in several configurations, and this has been the first hurdle to overcome. The one we need to make the connection between Arduino and the Android phone is a Slave Module. To make things very simple, there are two types of devices: Master and Slave; a Master can communicate with more than one Slave while a Slave can communicate with a single Master at a time, Master-Master and Slave-Slave communication is not allowed. Since the Bluetooth module in all smartphones is of Master type, the one we need for Arduino must be a Slave (this has nothing to do with client-server communication as we'll see later in the app description).


  • 1 x Arduino Uno
  • 3 x 220 Ohm Resistrors
  • 1 x Green LED
  • 1 x Yellow LED
  • 1 x Red LED
  • 1 x TMP36 Temperature Sensor
  • 1 x JY-MCU Bluetooth Slave Module (see introduction)
  • 1 x Breadboardwires



Step 1): Connect Ground and 5V from Arduino to breadboard. Step 2): Place the LEDs on the breadboard and connect their catodes to ground; connect their anodes to Digital Pins through a 220 Ohm resistor each: Yellow to Pin 3, Green to Pin 4 and Red to Pin 5. Step 3): Place the TMP36 sensor on the breadboard and connect its pins to 5V, Ground and A0 Arduino Pin. Step 4): Connect the provided cable to the JY-MCU Bluetooth module on one side and to the breadboard to the other side; connections are as follows: VCC <--> 5V GND <--> GND TXD <--> Pin 0 (Rx) RXD <--> Pin 1 (Tx) The sketch will also make use of Arduino built-in LED on Digital Pin 13. The connections of the Bluetooth module can be a little confusing since TXD goes to Rx and RXD goes to Tx: here's an explanation. Transmit and Receive refer to each device, therefore a transmission coming out of TXD pin of the Bluetooth module must be received by Arduino on the Rx Pin 0; similarly a transmission going out of Arduino Tx Pin 1 must reach the JY-MCU Bluetooth module on its RXD pin. Warning: The Bluetooth module may interfere with PC to Arduino communication: disconnect VCC when programming the board. (in my tests this has not been the case, but for sure it won't do any harm).

Step 3: CODE:-

// Serial Parameters: COM11 9600 8 N 1

// \r or \n to end command line // Bluetooth is on Pin 0 & 1 @ 9600 speed // Command structure // CMD RED|GREEN|YELLOW=ON|OFF // CMD TMAX|SECONDS=value // CMD SECONDS=value // CMD STATUS // Status message structure // STATUS RED|GREEN|YELLOW|TMIN|TMAX|SECONDS|TEMP|THIGH=value Initialization of variables needed for temperature control float maxTemp = 30.0; // switch on led when temp > maxTemp int maxTempSensor = (int) ((maxTemp / 100 + .5) * 204.8); float temperature = 0.0; maxTemp can later be changed, but the program needs a default value to start with. maxTempSensor is the conversion of maxTemp to the 0-1023 range provided by Arduino ADC converter; temperature comparison will be performed by an interrupt routine that we want as fast as possible: it is more efficient to directly compare the integer Pin output value rather than the float temperature. We still want to report the temperature and the program will store it in the variable with the same name. If you are not familiar with the temperature conversion formula, you can have a look here. maxSeconds can also be changed with a command but again we need a default int maxSeconds = 10; // send status message every maxSeconds Declarations of Pin constants const int ledPin = 13; // temperature led const int tempPin = A0; // T36 temperature sensor analog input pin const int led1Pin = 3; // Yellow const int led2Pin = 4; // Green const int led3Pin = 5; // Red Variables used in the interrupt routine and accessed from outside of it volatile int tempVal; volatile int seconds = 0; volatile boolean tempHigh = false; volatile boolean statusReport = false; Volatile is a special keyword that prevents the compiler from performing certain optimizations: all variables that are modified within an interrupt routine and are also accessed outside of it must be declared as volatile to signal that their value can change at any time and to make sure the latest, correct, value is read from memory when needed. Command string variables (they will be explained later) String inputString = ""; String command = ""; String value = ""; boolean stringComplete = false; The setup() function void setup(){ //start serial connection Serial.begin(9600); Serial.print("Max T: "); Serial.print(maxTemp); Serial.print(" Sensor: "); Serial.println(maxTempSensor); inputString.reserve(50); command.reserve(50); value.reserve(50);

pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW);

pinMode(led1Pin, OUTPUT); pinMode(led2Pin, OUTPUT); pinMode(led3Pin, OUTPUT); digitalWrite(led1Pin, LOW); digitalWrite(led2Pin, LOW); digitalWrite(led3Pin, LOW); The reserve method of a string allocates the number of bytes provided as argument. The following code is needed to initialize the timer interrupt and set it to fire every second, the slowest that Arduino can do; for detailed information see here. cli(); // disable global interrupts

// initialize Timer1 for interrupt @ 1000 msec TCCR1A = 0; // set entire TCCR1A register to 0 TCCR1B = 0; // same for TCCR1B

// set compare match register to desired timer count: OCR1A = 15624; // turn on CTC mode: TCCR1B |= (1 << WGM12); // Set CS10 and CS12 bits for 1024 prescaler: TCCR1B |= (1 << CS10); TCCR1B |= (1 << CS12); // enable timer compare interrupt: TIMSK1 |= (1 << OCIE1A);

sei(); // enable global interrupts } The timer interrupt routine: we cannot change its name, but the content is entirely customizable. ISR(TIMER1_COMPA_vect) { tempVal = analogRead(tempPin);

if (tempVal > maxTempSensor) { digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); tempHigh = true; } else { digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); tempHigh = false; } The temperature value - or, as discussed above its 0-1023 integer representation - is read from the sensor and is compared with the the threshold value: when above the built-in LED is lit and tempHigh is set to true, otherwise the LED is switched off and tempHigh is set to false. if (seconds++ >= maxSeconds) { statusReport = true; seconds = 0; } } Remember that the interrupt is fired every second, but we want to report the system status less frequently: the seconds variable is incremented at each iteration until it reaches the values when the report is due; this will be done later in the main loop by checking statusReport flag. As a rule, never never perform something so slow such writing data to serial from within an interrupt routine. The loop() function interprets and executes commands when received, it then reports status if flag is raised by timer interrupt. In order to read a string from the serial buffer, loop() relies upon the serialEvent() function that will be defined at the end: this routine is run between each time loop() runs. It is not widely documented and it probably doesn't apply to all Arduino models; in any case, it's not difficult to nest its content within the main loop (see the end of thi step). void loop(){ int intValue = 0;

if (stringComplete) { Serial.println(inputString); boolean stringOK = false; if (inputString.startsWith("CMD ")) { inputString = inputString.substring(4); First we check if the received string starts with "CMD ": if so we can discard the first four characters, otherwise we'll later raise an error.

int pos = inputString.indexOf('='); if (pos > -1) { command = inputString.substring(0, pos); value = inputString.substring(pos+1, inputString.length()-1); // extract command up to \n exluded There are two types of commands: those setting a value, where we'll find "=" separating the variable+value pair, and those where the command is a single directive (STATUS). If "=" is present at pos, the string is split into command (left part) and value (right part), dropping both the "=" in between and the end-of-line character at the end.

if (command.equals("RED")) { // RED=ON|OFF value.equals("ON") ? digitalWrite(led3Pin, HIGH) : digitalWrite(led3Pin, LOW); stringOK = true; } else if (command.equals("GREEN")) { // GREEN=ON|OFF value.equals("ON") ? digitalWrite(led2Pin, HIGH) : digitalWrite(led2Pin, LOW); stringOK = true; } else if (command.equals("YELLOW")) { // YELLOW=ON|OFF value.equals("ON") ? digitalWrite(led1Pin, HIGH) : digitalWrite(led1Pin, LOW); stringOK = true; } We examine and execute the LED commands; note that the code only checks for value ON: if you write GREEN=ASD it will be interpreted as GREEN=OFF. It's not perfect, but it keeps things a lot simpler. stringOK=true is set every time a command is recognized and executed so that wrong commands will be flagged later.

else if (command.equals("TMAX")) { // TMAX=value intValue = value.toInt(); if (intValue > 0) { maxTemp = (float) intValue; maxTempSensor = (int) ((maxTemp / 100 + .5) * 204.8); stringOK = true; } } else if (command.equals("SECONDS")) { // SECONDS=value intValue = value.toInt(); if (intValue > 0) { maxSeconds = intValue; stringOK = true; } } When value should be a number, we need to convert it and test it really is a number. In the case of MaxTemp, we also compute the sensor value as explained in the variable definition section

} // pos > -1 else if (inputString.startsWith("STATUS")) { Serial.print("STATUS RED="); Serial.println(digitalRead(led3Pin)); Serial.print("STATUS GREEN="); Serial.println(digitalRead(led2Pin)); Serial.print("STATUS YELLOW="); Serial.println(digitalRead(led1Pin)); Serial.print("STATUS TMAX="); Serial.println(maxTemp); Serial.print("STATUS SECONDS="); Serial.println(maxSeconds); Serial.print("STATUS TEMP="); Serial.println(temperature); Serial.print("STATUS THIGH="); Serial.println(tempHigh); stringOK = true; } // inputString.startsWith("STATUS") If command is STATUS, the program simply outputs all information to serial.

} // inputString.startsWith("CMD ") stringOK ? Serial.println("Command Executed") : Serial.println("Invalid Command"); Signal if a valid or invalid command has been received.

// clear the string for next iteration inputString = ""; stringComplete = false; } // stringComplete Variable housekeeping for the next command iteration.

if (statusReport) { temperature = (tempVal * 0.0048828125 - .5) * 100; Serial.print("STATUS TEMP="); Serial.println(temperature); Serial.print("STATUS THIGH="); Serial.println(tempHigh); statusReport = false; } } If the interrupt routine has raised the statusReport flag, some information is printed to serial and the flag is cleared. Note that the current temperature value is calculated at this point: therefore, if you issue a STATUS command in between the statusReport interval, you'll get the old temperature value. As already noted, serialEvent() occurs whenever a new data comes in the hardware serial RX. This routine is run between each time loop() runs, so using delay inside loop can delay response. Multiple bytes of data may be available. void serialEvent() { while (Serial.available()) { // get the new byte: char inChar = (char)Serial.read(); // add it to the inputString: inputString += inChar; // if the incoming character is a newline or a carriage return, set a flag // so the main loop can do something about it: if (inChar == '\n' || inChar == '\r') { stringComplete = true; } } }

Step 4:

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