In the previous post we received a stream of data from the Arduino and displayed it inside a Visual Basic text box. This is all well and good but we did not know what the data was, we simply received it and displayed it.
The next step is to send data that has some kind of meaning and display it in an appropriate field. This could be a temperature, a wind speed, a switch state or anything else. In the following example I am using a 1 wire temperature probe (it’s actually got 2 wires…), a potentiometer and a button switch.
After creating the dropControllerBT app and realizing how much easier controlling the dropController device is through the app I started to think about creating a PC app. I haven’t done any PC programming for many years and so I looked at what various options are currently available. Visual Basic kept being recommended for ease of use and quick development. Visual Basic comes as part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Suite and I initially download and played with Visual Studio Express which in turn lead to Visual Studio Community. Both are free for personal use.
Controlling an Arduino over Bluetooth from Android using App Inventor 2
Here is an example of controlling the Arduino over Bluetooth using a HC-06 bluetooth module and an Android app. The example uses an Arduino Nano but other Arduinos will work just as well. A HC-05 module can be used stead of the HC-06.
The Android app was created in app inventor and the aia file can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
This is a very old guide and things have moved on a lot since this was written. One of the main advances is the ESP8266 core for the Arduino IDE. This means the ESP8266 can now be programmed like an Arduino and this is how I use them now, no more messing around with AT commands. For a general overview and examples of using the ESP8266 with the Arduino core see ESP8266 and the Arduino IDE.
Here is my first attempt at a web server using the ESP8266. It includes a request count and also a text input field.
Just started to play with the ESP8266-01 modules. Purchased from Taobao.
These, I believe, are version 2 and have the LEDs near the antenna. When first started they identify themselves as [Vendor:www.ai-thinker.com Version:0.9.2.4] and are version 018000902-AI03. This is a custom firmware from ai-thinker.
There seems to be quite a few different versions of similar modules. And the same module could have one of several firmwares.
In a previous post I showed how the HC-05 can auto connect to other Bluetooth devices by setting the HC-05 to pair with any device using CMODE=1. This is quick and easy but does not give any control over which other device the HC-05 connects to.
In this post I show how to set up the HC-05 to always connect to the same HC-06 (or HC-05 in Slave mode). For this we use PAIR, BIND, and LINK.
NOTE: There are now newer modules that use a 3.0-20170601 firmware. This guide does not work for these modules (AT+INQ gives an error). I do not have any of the new modules and cannot find a reliable supplier. I have ordered 3 sets of BT modules believing they were the newer ones only to receive old ones.
If you have not yet bought BT Classic modules. I recommend buying the original HC ones. These are slightly (just a little bit) more expensive but are well supported and full documentation is available. Original HC modules have the HC logo screen printed on the main BT board and the current boards have a blue LED top left.
I am using 2 separate Arduino IDEs; version 1.6.3 which is installed, and version 1.0.5 which I run from a folder (it is the non install version). This allows me to use 2 IDEs at the same time, each connected to a different Arduino. It also gives me 2 serial monitors, one for each Arduino.
The modules used are the zs-040 versions of the HC-05 and the HC-06. The HC-05 has the Wavesen/HC firmware 2.0-20100601 and any any module running the same firmware will be the same.
The HC-05 has 2 AT command modes which I refer to as “mini” AT mode and “full” AT mode and some commands only work when in “full” AT mode. To enter “full” AT mode pin 34 needs to be HIGH and kept HIGH. To accomplish this I have made a connection from pin 34 to +3.3v. See the diagram below (or after the jump).
Making a connection Between a HC-05 and a HC-06: Method 1
Using the CMODE command we have an easy way to connect the HC-05 and the HC-06 (or 2 HC05s). When the HC-O5 is configured to pair with any address (AT+CMODE=1) it should connect to a Slave module automatically. No binding etc is required.
I am using the zs-040 modules with firmware 2.0-20100601 and other modules with the same firmware will be the same. If you have issues check the data sheet for your module.
The Set Up
I am using 2 different Arduino IDEs; version 1.0.5 and version 1.6.3. This gives me 2 separate serial monitors. The Arduino connected to the HC-05 is on COM8 and the Arduino using the HC-06 is on COM17
Since writing the below many more modules have been released using the zs-040 breakout boards. Some of the newer ones include modules with a version 3.0-20170601 firmware that work in a slightly different way. I still do not have any of these and so cannot help directly but searching for the firmware should get plenty of hits online and a good place to start is stack overflow and the Arduino forum.
The zs-040 breakout boards are now being used for many different modules and you may not have the exact same boards as those shown below. The modules I am using here use the EGBT-045MS Bluetooth module and have the HC/Wavesen 2.0-20100601 firmware. They also have an EN pin rather than a KEY pin and they have a small button switch just above the EN pin.
There are now newer zs-040 modules that use the real HC SMD modules, these have a newer firmware and include a blue LED at the top right of the SMD daughter board.
There are now newer HC-06s and HC-05s that use the zs-040 breakout boards. These new modules have a LED (usually blue) at the top left of the Bluetooth daughter board and have a different firmware to the below. See HC-06 hc01.comV2.0 for an introduction to the HC-06. I haven’t written up details on the HC-05 yet.
Here is the zs-040 version of the popular HC-05. The HC-05 is based on the EGBT-045MS Bluetooth module. It can operate as either a slave device or a master device. As a slave it can only accept connections. As a master it can initiate a connection.
The EGBT-045MS Bluetooth modules (the smaller daughter board) is a 3.3v device. The HC-05 break out board has a 3.3v regulator that allows an input voltage of 3.6v to 6v but the TX and RX pins are still 3.3v. This means you can use the 5V out from the Arduino to power the boards but you cannot connect the Arduino directly to the HC-05 RX pin.
For the HC-05 RX pin (data in) we need to convert the Arduinos 5V to 3.3v. A simple way to do this is by using a voltage divider made from a couple of resistors. In my case I use a 1K ohm resistor and a 2K ohm resistor.
As a quick guide to the voltage divider; 1K + 2K = 3K. 1K is a third of 3K so it reduces the voltage by a third.
One third of 5V is 1.66 and 5-1.66 = 3.33 which is what we want. Putting the resistors the other way would reduce the voltage by 2 thirds.
For more information on voltage dividers have a look at the Sparkfun tutorial
Since the Arduino will accept 3.3 volts as HIGH you can connect the HC-05 TX pin (data out) directly to the Arduino RX pin (The 5V Arduino takes a voltage of 3V or more as HIGH).
In the first part I showed how to control a single LED from an app created in App Inventor. This worked OK but was very limited. You could control only 1 LED and the control was one way; from the app to the Arduino. What if you want to have 2 way control of the LED and to be able to also control the LED from the Arduino side? What if you want to control more than 1 LED?
In this guide we look at adding two-way communication. Here we control an LED but you could have it doing anything.
In first example you could only control the LED from the Android app, here we extend the example so that we can also control the LED at the Arduino side. When the LED is turned on or off by the Arduino we want the button in the app to update to show the correct LED status.
The first example used methods only suitable for controlling one LED, this time we will try to make it so the Arduino sketch and also the AI2 app can be easily scaled and so once you have the basic app in place adding extra buttons and controls should be fairly straight forward.
Although I use a HC-06 in the below examples the HC-05 in slave mode can also be used.
Using MITs app inventor it is fairly easy to create an app that can turn a LED on and off from an Android device.
This is a fairly simply example of sending commands to the Arduino to turn a LED either on or off. The Android app sends ascii codes to the Arduino via the HC-06 BT module; “ON” for on and “OF” for off.
Load the app, connect to the HC-06 and then use the LED button to turn the LED on and off.
You can also open the serial monitor to see the commands as they are received
The HC-06 is a slave only BT module that is fairly easy to use with the Arduino using serial communication. Once it is connected it simply relays what it receives by bluetooth to the Arduino and whatever it receives from the Arduino it sends to the connected device. There are several slightly different versions of the HC-06, however, all seem to use the same firmware and have the same AT commands. The ones I have are labelled as zs-040. I also have some HC-05s which share the same PCB and are also labelled as zs-040.
The HC-06 defaults to AT mode at power on. This is indicated by a rapidly flashing LED. After the HC-06 is connected to another device the LED stops flashing and is constant on. Continue reading →