Monday 14 October 2013

Working with other apps

The BlueFlyVairo prototype hardware is now compatible with at least three apps that I know of (other than my own BlueFlyVario Android app). XCSoar and XCTrack have been able to read the pressure stream from the BlueFlyVario for months now. Variometer - Sky Land Tracker is new. In this post I offer a few tips to get your device working with them. I don't control the ongoing development of these apps and can not provide support or endorsement. The purpose of this post is to let BlueFlyVario uses know of app choices they have.


XCSoar was the first app that the BlueFlyVario was compatible with. It is perhaps the most popular open source glide computer available. Here are a few tips to getting it working:

  • Use the following procedure:
    • Pair with the BlueFlyVario device in your Android device bluetooth settings (not from in the BlueFlyVario app). 
    • Turn off the vario and restart your device again (this might not be needed, but it can't hurt).
    • Install XCSoar from the Play Store
    • Ensure Bluetooth is turned on your Android device and open XCSoar. 
    • Ensure the BlueFlyVario is turned on (the next step must be done in 180 seconds or the blue flashing light will go off and you will need to restart the BlueFlyVario - you can alter this time in the hardware settings). 
    • Open XCSoar (click Fly) and go to the devices menu (Config|Config 2/3|Devices). 
    • Select device A: and click Edit. Select the BlueFlyVario device you paired with (It will be BlueFlyVario-XXXX, where XXXX are the last four digits of your mac address). Change the Driver to 'BlueFly Vario'. Keep K6Bt Off and Ignore checksum Off (I have not played with these settings).  
    • Select device B: and Edit it to Built-in GPS & Sensors. This is what Device A was before you changed it in the last step. The order of devices is important. If you did not do this then XCSoar would connect with an internal barometer (if present) instead of the BlueFlyVario. 
  • It should now be working. If not, then continue as follows:
    • Exit XCSoar and restart your Android device. 
    • Restart the BlueFlyVario.
    • Open XCSoar. 
    • Go back to the devices menu and see if it is connected. Also, does the blue light on the BlueFlyVario change from flashing to solid. If it is connected (solid blue light) but the data does not seem to be registering baro or vario you might also want to look at the Monitor from within XCSoar to see what is being streamed. 
  • Ali got this far and still could not get it working on a particular model of tablet (even though the BlueFlyVario app worked well). He managed to get it working by installing BluetoothBridge from the Play store. The bridge connects to the BlueFlyVario, then in XCSoar he connects to the bridge using TCP/IP. A novel solution to what I suspect is some kind of incompatibility between XCSoar and the bluetooth system on his device. 

XCTrack is more focused towards paragliding competitions. You can get it from Play here. To get it working with the BlueFlyVario you will then need to upgrade to the developmental version from within the app using Menu|Preferences|Testing and Debug|Update XCTrack. Once you have the new version installed change the 'Sensors' preference 'Use external bluetooth'. 

Variometer - Sky Land Tracker

This app is from the Korean developer SuengHo. Get it from the Play store here. There are many features I have not tested. To get it working with the BlueFlyVario click on the bluetooth icon on the main screen and follow the instructions in the app. 

If you know of other apps the BlueFlyVario is compatible let me know and I will update this blog post.