ArduinoCommander and the ArduinoBT

I’ve recently gotten back into programming my ArduinoBT to do my bidding.  Along the way I decided I wanted to also figure out how to use my Android phone or tablet to interface with the ArduinoBT.

After a brief poke around in the Android Market I found ArduinoCommander.

Unfortunately the instructions for ArduinoCommander are based around using a bluetooth shield rather than the fully integrated ArduinoBT, so needless to say I hit a few bumps along the way getting it to work.  Luckily the developer for ArduinoCommander was very responsive and helpful, and eventually I got it working.  I promised him I would put together a quick walk through, so here it is:

The ArduinoBT seems to have some trouble with the latest Firmata design v2.2 at the time of this article.  I followed the instructions by the developer to get ArduinoCommander working, but the app would never connect to my ArduinoBT board.  The big issues seems to be the baud rate.  The arduinoBT runs at 115200, versus the app authors shield running at 9600.

When I would attempt to connect in the app, the board would stay grey and the  power led on App would just turn yellow.

Luckily Firmata provides older versions of firmata on their site.  So I tried downloading one after seeing a couple forum posts on indicating a similar issue.  However the older versions of the firmata library will not compile correctly on the latest Arduino software v1.0.

So in order to get ArduinoCommander working, I downloaded an older version of the Arduino Software (0017) that included an older version of Firmata (v2.1).

Make sure if you follow this method that you use the standardFirmata sketch as a base that is included with the older version of the Arduino Software. Or Download here!



You will still need to change the baud rate to 115200 to match the arduinoBT.

Now that you have your Arduino Sketch ready to go, you will need to compile it first using the verify button.  Once your sketch is compiled its time to upload.  Don’t forget to pair your board to your PC/MAC/*nix machine first.

For those familiar with the ArduinoBT you know it takes proper timing to upload your sketches.  You need to hit the reset button on the board just before the sketch is uploaded.

In the newer versions of the Arduino software it seems pretty easy to get sketches to upload, however on this older version your timing has to be more specific.  I’ve had the most luck, holding the rest button, and then clicking the upload button on my computer then releasing the reset button.

Once you have the sketch uploaded, its time to load up ArduinoCommander on your android device.  Assuming you’ve done the above correctly, you should be able to pair your device, and ArduinoCommander goes into full color pretty quickly.  It will even indicate that you are using Firmata v2.1 at the top of the application.

Good luck and Happy Prototyping.

10 thoughts on “ArduinoCommander and the ArduinoBT

  1. excuse me .. my board is the UNO one and I didn’t find it on the older version (0017) what i’ve to do !?? thnx

  2. The arduino uno isn’t a bluetooth based board, so I’m not sure how my article applies to your situation. If you are using a bluetooth shield The standard setup of Arduino Commander should work fine.

  3. Please help! I get this error message when following EXACTLY what this says to do: Target platform: “null” not found.
    Make sure that “” in the
    preferences file points to a subdirectory of
    at java.awt.event.InvocationEvent.dispatch(Unknown Source)
    at java.awt.EventQueue.dispatchEvent(Unknown Source)
    at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpOneEventForFilters(Unknown Source)
    at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpEventsForFilter(Unknown Source)
    at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpEventsForHierarchy(Unknown Source)
    at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpEvents(Unknown Source)
    at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpEvents(Unknown Source)
    at Source)

  4. my situation is exaclty like you wrote in your article .. i’ve BT shield and the uno board .. but the problem is i can’t find the uno board on the older version (0017) !??

  5. Hey Belly, I did some quick research and it looks like the Uno uses the ATmega 32 chip so you would select the first option in the arduino software for the arduino duemilanova. However this article is specifically written for people using the Arduino board with bluetooth directly integrated into the board called an arduinoBT it does not use a separate shield for bluetooth liek your situation. so I’m not sure if eveything in my article directly applies to your situation. Any more questions I’ll do my best to answer.

  6. Very great and helpful article!
    Just a little hint: If you already using a new version of arduino it´s very importent to delete this file before using an older version:
    Otherwise you won´t be able to compile the sketch.

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