Saturday 29 November 2014

Kobo Glo Install

I finally got around to installing the BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS_v10 in a Kobo Glo. Most of the install procedure is the same as the Kobo Mini using earlier versions of the Bluefly. Unfortunately, the Kobo Mini is becoming hard to find. I choose the Glo instead of the Touch as the bezel has more room for the Bluefly. Also, I think the battery is larger to power the LED backlight on the Glo; although we will not use that light for XCSoar

What you will need

Gather the following things:

  • A BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS_v10 module. You will not need header or Dupont connector that comes with it; but you will need the small piece of neoprene, some wires and some heatshink if you do not have a case. 
  • A Kobo Glo.
  • A Bluefly Kobo Glo Simple Case, you can download this solid design from Thingverse. Find a friend with a 3d printer or order a copy from an online 3d printing service. I had to update the older Kobo Mini Simple Case as it did not fit well on the Kobo Glo. [The case is not really needed, it makes the install look nice. You can of course just use the heatshrink]
  • Some countersunk M3x6mm screws and hex nuts to attach the case to the Glo. 
  • A good soldering iron and some skill using it. 
  • A drill and the right size drill bits. 
Step 1 - Set up XCSoar on the Kobo

This procedure starts pretty much the same as Steps 1 to 3 in this earlier post. Get the Kobo, make sure it works as a standard eReader, then remove the back cover and back up the internal SD card. Note the back cover of the Glo just pops off (with some uncomfortable force), there are no screws. After the SD Card is backed up install XCSoar as described on the XCSoar download page. When XCSoar is working power off the Kobo. 

Note these funny things about the Glo:
  • The power button on the Glo is a bit weird when the back cover is removed. You might have to squeeze the PCB towards the power button to get it to work. 
  • When the Glo has been powered off, from either XCSoar or Nickel, you need to wait about 20 seconds until the power button will work again. 
  • Sometimes Glo freezes at the start-up screen. A short press on the reset button (the hole near the USB connector) will restart it back to the XCSoar menu. 
Step 2 - Solder the BlueFly module to the Kobo

Start by soldering the four wires to the front of the Bluefly module. The wires will wrap around the edge of the module and through a hole in the front of the bezel. There is much less room behind the bezel on the Glo compared to the Mini. Position the case and module and it should be reasonably easy to work out where to drill the holes for the wires. You might use a bit of double sided tape to hold it in position. 

Trim the wires then solder them to the Kobo. Make sure to connect the Bluefly-Tx to the Kobo-Rx and vice versa. 

Note that there are two other serial ports on the Glo which you might be tempted to use - don't. For some reason any data on these ports causes the Glo to freeze. 

In this install we are not going to use the VBACKUP for the GPS as it is tricky to pick up clean power without damaging the Glo. If you really want to connect it then spend some time Googling and find examples of soldering it to capacitor C12. 

Step 3 - Install the Simple Case

After drilling the holes make sure to put the neoprene over the pressure sensor. Secure the case to the bezel using M3 screws and nuts. 

You will need to trim some of the plastic fins from the back cover and around the nuts to make sure it all fits together. 

Step 4 - BlueFly Configuration

Follow Step 8 from here to configure the hardware settings. I think it is best to set the Bluefly to output mode 2 at five updates per second, then adjust the settings in XCSoar to use the LX driver. This minimizes the amount of data. 

Using it

Note that by default the Bluefly will only power on and off based on button presses. If you wanted the Bluefly to switch on and off as the Kobo is powered on and off then you can close the solder jumper on the Bluefly module.