Introduction: How to Switch an Arduino Output on and Off From Your Android Mobile. Arduino for Beginners

Picture of How to Switch an Arduino Output on and Off From Your Android Mobile.  Arduino for Beginners

Update: See Andriod/Arduino for Beginners - Design Custom Andriod menus to switch Arduino outputs on and off. Absolutely No Programming Required for an alternative that does not require any programming at all.


How Beginners can switch an Arduino output on and off from their Androd mobile using pfodApp
No Soldering Required, No Android Coding Required.

Also see Single Click on/off from your Android mobile using Arduino and pfodApp for an alternative that does not use a menu.

Introduction

This instructable follows on from Arduino for Beginners, controlled by Android, and explains a simple Arduino sketch that lets you switch a digital output on and off from your Android mobile phone. This instructable also covers debugging your sketch while connected to your mobile.

Once you understand this basic sketch you can use it a basis for your own projects. No Android programming is required, but using pfodApp you can easily customize the mobile's display by changing text strings in your Arduino sketch.

This project uses the same parts as Arduino for Beginners, controlled by Android and assumes you have already built that project.

Note: In this instructable we are switching the Uno Led on and off (D13), if you want to switch your own led connected to D3 on and off just change the line int led = 13; to int led = 3; in the code samples.

Step 1: The First Sketch

Picture of The First Sketch

Here is modified version of the standard BLINK example. This version lets you turn the Led on and off from your mobile.
The sketch source is here, copy and paste it into the IDE and load it on to you Uno board.

You also need to download the pfodParser library zip file and unzip it to your arduino/libaries directory. (Open the Arduino IDE File->preferences window to see where your local Arduino directory is).

NOTE: remove the bluetooth shield before uploading the sketch because the bluetooth shield uses the same pins the USB connection does and the programming get confused.

The first example sketch is (FirstDigitalOutputSketch.ino). (See http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage for the basics of Arduino coding)

#include "pfodParser.h" // include the library
pfodParser parser; // create the parser

// Pin 13 has an LED connected on most Arduino boards.
// give it a name:
int led = 13;

// the setup routine runs once when you press reset:
void setup() {
Serial.begin(9600);
for (int i=3; i>0; i--) {
// wait a few secs to see if we are being programmed
delay(1000);
}
// initialize the digital pin as an output.
pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
}


// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {
byte in = 0;
byte cmd = 0;
if (Serial.available()) {
in = Serial.read();
// read the next char
cmd = parser.parse(in); // pass it to the parser returns non-zero when a command is fully parsed
if (cmd != 0) { // have parsed a complete msg { to }
if ('.' == cmd) {
// pfodApp sent {.} it is asking for the main menu
// the complete messages is {.Turn Led On or Off |o~Toggle Led}
Serial.print(F("{." // {. msg tells pfodApp to display a menu screen
"Turn Led On or Off" // this is the title of the screen
"|o~Toggle Led" // this is the menu, cmd is o text is Toggle Led
// you can add more menu items here
"}")); // this finishes the msg
} else if ('o' == cmd) {
// pfodApp sent {o} i.e. user clicked on On/Off menu item
// note o was the cmd associated with the Toggle Led menu item above
boolean ledState = digitalRead(led);
if (ledState == LOW) {
digitalWrite(led,HIGH);
// was off turn on
} else {
digitalWrite(led,LOW);
// was on turn off
}
Serial.print(F("{}"));
// always return a response otherwise pfodApp times out and disconnects

// you can add more command handlers here match the cmd to the menu cmd above
} else {
// don't recongnize this command just ignore and return empty response
Serial.print(F("{}")); // otherwise pfodApp times out and disconnects
}
}
cmd = 0;
// have processed this cmd now
// so clear it and wait for next one
} // else no serial chars just loop
}


Note: in the code above all the strings are enclosed with F(“ “) This macro makes sure the strings are placed in the program FLASH where you have much more room. (See What fails when you add lots of Strings to your Arduino program.)

Install pfodApp on your mobile and set up a connection to your bluetooth shield as described in the pfodAppForAndroidGettingStarted.pdf. I called my connection Uno. Click on the connection to connect and the sketch above will return the menu shown above.

Clicking the “Toggle Led” menu turns the Uno led on and off. (The led is near the USB connection and partially hidden by the bluetooth shield.) If you want to switch your own led connected to D3 on and off just change the line int led = 13; to int led = 3; in the code samples and plug you led (with a resistor) into D3.

The next step will have a closer look the messages that produce the menu and control the led.

Step 2: The Pfod Messages

Picture of The Pfod Messages

Lets have a look at the messages being sent to and from the pfodApp on your mobile. Open the Debug View from your mobile's menu button.

The Debug View shows all the messages to and from the pfodApp.
The < indicates messages from the pfodApp on your mobile to the pfodDevice, the Uno.
The > indicates messages from your Uno sketch to the pfodApp on your mobile.

As you can see from the screen shot above. The first message the pfodApp sends, once it connects, is {.} This is the request for the pfodDevices main menu. In the sketch the parser parses this message and once the closing } is seen the parser returns the command, . (dot). The sketch then returns its main menu
{.Turn Led On or Off||o~Toggle Led}

This tells the pfodApp to display a menu screen with the menu item “Toggle Led” The command associated with this menu item is 'o'. See the pfod Specification for the details and examples of all the pfod messages and their formats.

When you click on that menu item, the pfodApp sends the associated command to the pfodDevice, {o} The parser parses it and sets the cmd byte to 'o' once the closing } is received. The sketch then toggles the led on or off and, most importantly, returns an empty message, {}

Every message from the pfodApp to the pfodDevice must be responded to, otherwise the pfodApp will timeout waiting for a response and think the connection is broken. If there is nothing else to return the just return an empty message, {}

The next step will change the sketch to update the mobile menu as the led turns on and off.

Step 3: The Second Sketch

Picture of The Second Sketch

A limitation of the first sketch is that unless you are looking at the Uno board, you cannot tell if the led is on or off. We will fix that with this second sketch.
Open the SecondDigitalOutputSketch.ino and copy and paste it into the IDE and load it on to you Uno board. (Remember to remove the Bluetooth Shield when re-programming the Uno)

Here are the changes (in bold):-

if ('.' == cmd) {
// pfodApp sent {.} it is asking for the main menu
// the complete messages is {.Turn Led On or Off||o~Turn Led ... }
Serial.print(F("{.Turn Led On or Off|o~Turn Led "));
// here insert the appropiate word ON or OFF
if (digitalRead(led) == LOW) {
// next click will turn it on
Serial.print(F("ON"));
} else {
// next click will turn it off
Serial.print(F("OFF"));
}
// finally close the message with }
Serial.print(F("}"));
} else if ('o' == cmd) {
// pfodApp sent {o} i.e. user clicked on On/Off menu item
// note o was the cmd associated with the Toggle Led menu item above
if (digitalRead(led) == LOW) {
digitalWrite(led,HIGH); // was off turn on
// now update the menu with the menu text
Serial.print(F("{:|o~Turn Led OFF}"));
} else {
digitalWrite(led,LOW); // was on turn off
// now update the menu with the menu text
Serial.print(F("{:|o~Turn Led ON}"));
}

// you can add more command handlers here match the cmd to the menu cmd above
} else {
// don't recongnize this command just ignore and return empty response;
Serial.print(F("{}")); // otherwise pfodApp times out and disconnects
}

When the pfodApp asks for the main menu, the sketch now checks to see if the Led is on or off. If it is off (digital output LOW) the menu item says “Turn Led ON” otherwise the menu items says “Turn Led OFF”. So when you connect your mobile, the menu will tell you if the led is on or off.

The second change to the sketch is what is returned to the pfodApp after you click the menu item and send the {o} message to the pfodDevice (Uno). In the first sketch we just returned an empty messsage, {}. However if we continue to do that the menu item will not reflect the new state of the Led. So this time the sketch returns an UpdateMenu message, {: These messages do not display a new menu, they just update an existing menu.

You can update any part of the existing menu screen, the title, the individual menu item texts, etc. You cannot add new menu items but you can hide and reveal menu times by updating their text to blank to hide them and non-blank to reveal them. In this case we just want to update the text of the one existing menu item.
If we just turned the led on then we update the text to “Turn Led OFF” using the message
{:|o~Turn Led OFF}
If we just turned the led off then we update the text to “Turn Led ON” using the message
{:|o~Turn Led ON}

The screen shots above shows what the menu and debug view look like.

There are lots of other screens you can specify in your sketch, like slider menu items, multi-selection lists etc, but many projects just need a few buttons to control them and this sketch will serve as a good starting point.

The next step will cover debugging your sketch on your mobile.

Step 4: Debugging Your Sketch

Picture of Debugging Your Sketch

One last point to cover is debugging. Arduino uses the traditional method of debugging. That is adding print statements in the code to display what it is doing. When you are connected to your Uno board via the bluetooth shield all the print statements are sent to the bluetooth connection.

This is just fine because they will turn up on your mobile's Debug View in pfodApp. If you avoid the { character in your debug statements, they won't be confused for pfod messages and the pfodApp will just ignore them.

The sketch DebugDigitalOutputSketch.ino contains some extra debugging print statements. Copy and paste it into the IDE and load it on to you Uno board. (Remember to remove the Bluetooth Shield when re-programming the Uno) When you connect again the menu looks the same but if you open the DebugView you will see the extra debug statements together with the pfod messages.

There is also another screen accessible from your mobile's menu and that is the Raw Data view. This view shows just the text that was NOT part of a pfod message. In this case just the debugging printout.

When you open this screen it starts saving the Raw Data to a file on your mobile for latter downloading to your computer (see pfodAppForAndroidGettingStarted.pdf for details on how to download it). Once you have finished debugging, this raw data screen is also useful for logging measurements your Arduino is making. See Mobile Data Logging using pfodApp, Android and Arduino for an example.

One final note. A common error when using pfod messages is to forget to send the closing }. In these cases the pfodApp will timeout and close the connection, however you can still acces the Debug View after the connection times out to see just what was sent and not sent.

Next Steps

To learn more about coding Arduino see http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
To learn more about pfod check out the pfod Specification and the projects on www.pfod.com.au

Comments

drmpf (author)2014-08-29

added reference to new instructable that does all the programming for you.

Ahmedqatar (author)2013-10-22

Very simple, i liked it!

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