BCDx96XT: Android Remote Display App

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garetgarrett

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I've been working on this Android app for a little while to get a remote display on my phone (and learn some java along the way). I've got this mostly working, and thought I'd show it to you guys.

Sorry this is a bit of a tease, I haven't put it up on Google Play, so you won't be able to download it yet. You'll also need a serial-to-bluetooth adapter to make it work. I'm using it on a 396XT, although it ought to work on BCT15/15X, 346XT, 396T/XT, or 996T/XT. From what I see in this thread, It just might work on 436/536HPs (if the STS command has the same format.)

This app provides a live remote display, a simple log (can't save yet), and can send GPS updates to your scanner. It also runs in the background so you can use a navigation app and you will be alerted with an overlay window.

I'll fix up a few loose ends and try to put it up for download this weekend. This will be a free app and I'm planning on releasing the source code once it's fairly stable and with the features I have planned. It still needs to be able to save log files, and I want to be able to do some basic programming of the scanner. I've also got a bluetooth audio adapter on the way to try my hand at recording the audio on the phone.

Here's a short vid:

Bluetooth Remote Scanner Display - YouTube

And a few pics:


Equipment needed: BCD396XT, Android Phone, and serial-to-bluetooth adapter.


Main window with log.


Scanner alert overlay on a navigation app (Waze). The top blue bar is a signal strength indicator. You can tap the overlay to hold on a channel.


Older pic showing GPS connection status
 

blueonesparky

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Any idea when you might be putting this on Googleplay? A wireless remote head for a scanner would be fantastic especially if it pushes gps to the scanner at the same time!
 

KevinC

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I've been working on this Android app for a little while to get a remote display on my phone (and learn some java along the way). I've got this mostly working, and thought I'd show it to you guys.

Sorry this is a bit of a tease, I haven't put it up on Google Play, so you won't be able to download it yet. You'll also need a serial-to-bluetooth adapter to make it work. I'm using it on a 396XT, although it ought to work on BCT15/15X, 346XT, 396T/XT, or 996T/XT. From what I see in this thread, It just might work on 436/536HPs (if the STS command has the same format.)

This app provides a live remote display, a simple log (can't save yet), and can send GPS updates to your scanner. It also runs in the background so you can use a navigation app and you will be alerted with an overlay window.

I'll fix up a few loose ends and try to put it up for download this weekend. This will be a free app and I'm planning on releasing the source code once it's fairly stable and with the features I have planned. It still needs to be able to save log files, and I want to be able to do some basic programming of the scanner. I've also got a bluetooth audio adapter on the way to try my hand at recording the audio on the phone.

Here's a short vid:

Bluetooth Remote Scanner Display - YouTube
That's pretty cool!

I assume you're powering the adapter externally through the USB port?
 

n9mxq

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Can't wait to try it on my Tablet.. Should be awesome.. Now I just need the bluetooth-serial adapter..

Nice work.
 

wmlovell

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Very Nice!

Does the audio then come from the phone or is it still from the scanner?
 

garetgarrett

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Answering a couple questions:

I'm going to try putting it up on google play this weekend. It'll be my first time so I'm not sure what's involved. There's also a few settings that are hard-coded that I will have to make available as preferences. Please consider this beta-level software. I welcome your comments/suggestions.

The bluetooth adapter is powered from a 5v mini-usb. There's a couple different models available. The one shown above was $48 from ebay. It's a higher-powered model that came with a gender changer, wall plug, and usb cable. There's a cheaper one (about $14) also on ebay RS232 Bluetooth Serial Adapter Communication Master-Slave Modes 5V It comes just as you see it: a bare board. I haven't tested this model yet, but I plan to.

EDIT: the exact model I got is this: Wireless Bluetooth RS232 Serial Adapter | eBay

These adapters take a bit of setup (baud rate, flow control, etc) before they'll work. I'll be glad to give advice if you get one and run into trouble.

Also, I should mention some of the limitations:

It's really only meant to work in Scan/Search mode. Other 6-line display modes might work.

You must also use display mode 3 if you want to see unit id's. If you have set up alpha tags for unit id's, they must begin with "UID:" to be recognized (the prefix is stripped before displaying on the overlay)

There are special characters on the scanner display that don't render on android (you see the "?" in a diamond). I'll have to either make my own font or replace them with images.
 
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mibzzer15

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So who else is buying this immediately?

The only thing to make this better is to somehow get audio pushed through the bluetooth adapter, whether it is adding a 3.5mm to *something* adapter idk, but that would be amazing.
 

wbigcount

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So who else is buying this immediately?

The only thing to make this better is to somehow get audio pushed through the bluetooth adapter, whether it is adding a 3.5mm to *something* adapter idk, but that would be amazing.
That is a great Idea, I would be nice to have an adapter that would take both and forward it to the phone.
 

n9mxq

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A quick question.. Would it work with a usb/serial adapter via an on the go adapter?
 

JamesO

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Very nice effort.

A few thoughts, and I have not really crunched these ideas and really processed them, just tossing them out fairly raw.

1. What about WiFi in adhoc mode? Just concerned in a mobile environment would the phone be able to support hands free Bluetooth and the scanner App at the same time? Also if you ever tried to port the App for iProducts, you would likely have to use WiFi anyway due to the way iProducts lock down Bluetooth to only audio devices.

2. If audio streaming via the app is difficult or not possible, maybe using something like a Bluetooth A2DP adapter?? but usually these run the other direction from the phone outward to a sound system. So would this impact the ability for Hands Free Bluetooth and the app at the same time? Also if some form of audio via the wireless connection could be worked out, adding in a audio buffer with replay would be really slick. This is asking a lot and may cause the hardware cost and complexity to project.

3. Remove Volume Control and a Mute option would be a great add on. This would be nice for around the house or in the car.

As with anything, thanks for the effort and a great little App that is sure to grow and even if you charge $10-$15 for it, I am sure many people would pay.

Anyway, thanks for the effort and hopefully you will stick with the idea and continue to add features and improvements.
 

garetgarrett

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Very nice effort.

A few thoughts, and I have not really crunched these ideas and really processed them, just tossing them out fairly raw.

1. What about WiFi in adhoc mode? Just concerned in a mobile environment would the phone be able to support hands free Bluetooth and the scanner App at the same time? Also if you ever tried to port the App for iProducts, you would likely have to use WiFi anyway due to the way iProducts lock down Bluetooth to only audio devices.

2. If audio streaming via the app is difficult or not possible, maybe using something like a Bluetooth A2DP adapter?? but usually these run the other direction from the phone outward to a sound system. So would this impact the ability for Hands Free Bluetooth and the app at the same time? Also if some form of audio via the wireless connection could be worked out, adding in a audio buffer with replay would be really slick. This is asking a lot and may cause the hardware cost and complexity to project.

3. Remove Volume Control and a Mute option would be a great add on. This would be nice for around the house or in the car.

As with anything, thanks for the effort and a great little App that is sure to grow and even if you charge $10-$15 for it, I am sure many people would pay.

Anyway, thanks for the effort and hopefully you will stick with the idea and continue to add features and improvements.
Thanks for your encouraging remarks.

Wifi is a possibility (although serial-to-wifi adapters are fairly pricey -- around $100) I belive they provide a telnet-like interface, so only the connection code would need to be modified. It also should be possible to make this work over serial usb, if your devices supports it. I probably will not be supporting iOS, though.

I've got a bluetooth audio transmitter on order, should be here this weekend. It cost about $30. I'll post a link later. My plan is to record the audio, but it should also be able to play the sound through the phone. I'm sure you'll still be able to use handsfree devices in serial mode, but adding audio will preclude using any other A2DP connections.

I definitely need to add a volume control and mute. I was fiddling around with the scanner at home last night and had the volume turned way down so as not to annoy my wife. Got it back in the car this morning and guess what? I had to pull over and fish it out of the glove box to turn it back up.
 

n9mxq

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1. What about WiFi in adhoc mode? Just concerned in a mobile environment would the phone be able to support hands free Bluetooth and the scanner App at the same time? Also if you ever tried to port the App for iProducts, you would likely have to use WiFi anyway due to the way iProducts lock down Bluetooth to only audio devices.
As an avid (some say rabid) iPhone user, I say screw porting to iProducts.. Why cripple a product just to satisfy the users? I love my iPhone, but it's just too limited.. And the more I get into using my Android tablet, the more I see how really crippled my iPhone is.
 

Dafe1er

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Off in a far away place, far from u.......
As an avid (some say rabid) iPhone user, I say screw porting to iProducts.. Why cripple a product just to satisfy the users? I love my iPhone, but it's just too limited.. And the more I get into using my Android tablet, the more I see how really crippled my iPhone is.
Best Iphone talk I have seen in a while!

I Second this!

Looking forward to playing with this and testing the Bluetooth capabilities in the future!
 

JamesO

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WiFi to serial is not much different that WiFi to BT.

Just need to support it in the App.

Then MAYBE there would be a Windows version of something as well that would allow you to operate over a Wireless network either at home or on the go.

I agree, iProducts can only do one thing at a time and are crippled, but rarely will you see accurate iProduct feedback from the punch drinking crowd.
 

lugnuts

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its amazing how fast you were able to make this app!

Can you work on a 536 wifi app next?
 
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