BlinkUp on Android

I have tried again and again with all sorts of settings but am unable to get BlinkUp to work successfully on my Android phone. I have tried it under different conditions, max brightness, dark room holding very still etc etc. I have a Motorola Razr M. When I try it with an iPhone, or my Nexus 7 Android device, no issues. This is the biggest hurdle in my plans to bring a successful and robust imp based consumer product to the market. I cannot push a half baked product out the door like this.

I just LOVE the idea behind the imp but this limitation is extremely frustrating. There has to be a foolproof way to get BlinkUp to work on every Android device. I know this is a limitation of Android OS and the diverse manufacturers of Android hardware and the screen refresh rate, I know all that. There has to be another way. Maybe slow the baud rate, maybe send audio signal via the speakers etc. Please do SOMETHING!

did you try “legacy mode”? This is what I have to do. I think it is partially due to the fact I made my own board and I have not fully qualified the bias resistors and such…

I feel like it works better near the edge of the screen but I imagine this would vary by device. I share your concern.

What BlinkUp code are you seeing? They’re listed on the troubleshooting page along with hints for Android devices.

@mjkuwp94. Thanks for your suggestion. I tried all the tips and tricks and got it to work on some Android devices but not a majority of them. And the results are very inconsistent. However that is not the main issue. My concern is that we being techies can and will eventually find a way to get it to work, either by trial and error or by borrowing an iPhone and transmitting the wifi configuration that way, but someone who wants to have a seamless and easily configurable home automation device, this is not acceptable.

The setup process in it’s current state is not yet ready for the end user. End users want it to work the first time and every time without resorting to RTFM or following the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of the manual.

@philmy. Yes, I have been to the troubleshooting page and a couple of other pages as well. Hugo and group are aware of this issue and they know that this is an Android problem. They have said that ‘hopefully’ this issue will be addressed by Android ver 4.1 and up but that hasn’t happened.

I, being a potential developer and manufacturer incorporating the imp into my product cannot wait for Google to get their various versions of the Android OS and their own act together. We need a permanent fix and we need it now or we’ll be losing out on the Android’s potential 80% of the smart phone market. And that is my main concern.

I share your concern. The blinkup seems to work less than 50% of the time on android phones. Legacy mode doesn’t help. I was told that the phone had to be over 50% charged but that isn’t always the case. All I get back from support is to be told I’m doing it wrong and it works on that phone. As it stands this system is not ready for public consumption.

Are you using the card or an imp002 with your own photosensor? If the phototransistor isn’t tuned right for your housing/light path then this can prevent blinkup from working - see for a guide.

The next release has further improvements to the blinkup receiver code; when release 30 comes out you should try again. We have zero phones in our increasingly large android test stable that fail, though we have had reports that one size of the galaxy tab (8", I believe) doesn’t work reliably. This appeared to be android just deciding not to change the screen color when asked, so we’re not sure how to deal with that one just yet.

Legacy mode is absolutely not recommended for any imp with a recent software revision. It’s there only to support very early imps which didn’t have trilevel support - remember a lot of the imps in the maker channel (eg “developer edition” marked ones) have software versions 2+ years old.

If, with release 30, you still have issues with a correctly tuned receiver then we’d welcome the feedback of phone type/os version and we’ll get one to see if it will fail in captivity, allowing us to address the issue.

As for whether it’s ready for public consumption, hundreds of thousands of commercial products paint a slightly different story. It also turns out that actually, most of the buyers of connected products use iOS - the skew we see for fetching blinkup tokens (ie, before the blinkup happens, so unrelated to the success or otherwise) is around 75% iOS last time I looked.

@Hugo, thanks for the detailed answer and update. Let me provide some background in light of your questions.

I am using imp001 (SDCard form) and not the surface mount imp002 so there is no question of the phototransistor not tuned right for the housing/light path. The card is inserted into the April breakout board and the prototype/test setup doesn’t have any housing at all to obstruct any light path.

I tried legacy mode but that didn’t work and as you say that is not recommended anyway. So that is also not the issue.

I have the Android Blinkup Ver 2.1.3. Which is the latest available on the Google Play store.

If what you say about the Blinkup Ver. 3.0 is true then that will solve my problems and will address this issue completely. 0% fail rate is absolutely fantastic!!

Now coming to the question of public consumption, I stand by my assertion that in it’s present state the imp is not ready for general use. When you say hundreds of thousands of commercial products are successfully being blinked-up, I don’t dispute the numbers. I also agree that the majority of these devices are running the iOS.

However that doesn’t automatically mean that there are more customers/user of the imp who have iOS devices out there and hence meaning that there is a greater demand from iOS users. That is a very misleading statement. And I don’t mean in a bad way that you are intentionally doing it. You could unintentionally misleading yourself too. It could also mean that the only devices that are successfully using the blinkup process are iOS devices and hence the numbers are skewed towards the iOS and doesn’t reflect the reality.

The fact that there is a small number of successful Android blinkup tokens showing up, it proves to you that there is a high failure rate of the blinkup process on Android devices. For example, I borrowed my wife’s iPhone to blinkup the devices only after I failed miserably to achieve the same with my Android device. See what I mean?

We can revisit these successful blinkup numbers when Ver 3.0 comes out though and we’ll know for sure.

I thank you for taking the time to address my issue. I really do appreciate it. It is in our mutual interest that this thing is super successful.

I am using blinkup on newly unboxed Imps (from Digikey) using a Nexus 5 (Android 4.4.4) and Blinkup app build from Apr 7, 2014 (currently newest).

When trying to blinkup, it slowly blinks amber. The blinking does not stop during the blinkup phase (like usual). I blinked up in legacy mode and it immediately connected and started the update.

Is this the expected behavior? How does one know if a ‘new’ imp comes from old stock and the legacy mode should be used?

@feesta imp cards are all generally “not new”. Most of our production are modules and hence have more recent firmware. In a production scenario, at blessing time the imp cards would upgrade to the latest OS so they would be fine once they got to the customer in a product.

@faiz (sorry, I missed your reply so only just noticed the thread now it had a recent comment): if you read the end of my last post, I noted that the blinkup request skew is when the app fetches a token - before blinkup - ie it’s unrelated to the blinkup being successful or not. If someone tries 10 times with an android, fails every time, then gets an iPhone and has success, the stats will show 10x the number of androids vs iOS devices.

The stats show that it’s >75% iOS, which, if androids in general are having awful issues, there’s an even greater proportion than 75% of buyers using iOS.

The improvement is not in the android app, it’s in the imp itself in release 30.

Could you remind us when release 30 is on GA (I know it is on beta now) ?

I’m hoping next week, there were a few more bugs squashed in the last few days but a couple of tweaks left.

If anyone would like to try this, PM your mac address and I’ll get the latest pushed to you.

For imp001 or imp002 in the Developer IDE, how is the OS upgraded to the current version?

Firmware is upgraded automagically when a release is rolled out, typically at device boot.

Hi there,

I’m having zero luck Blinking up to some imps we have here at the Glasgow School of Art.

I am using an Alcatel One Touch 903 running Android ‘gingerbread’ kernel and Electric Imp app v.2.1.3.
The imps we have say ‘developer edition’ on them and are model number IMP001.
They just slowly blink amber even during the attempted blinkup.
Being red-green colourblind however, I can’t be 100% sure whether the LED is amber, red or green. Imp would do well to provide alternative means of debugging for the 10% of men in the world who are red-green colourblind!
I have also attempted blinkup using the unsupported Windows application from Fen Consultants, without luck.

Is this likely to be the same Android-centric issue detailed above, or could it be something to do with the model of the imp?

Should have said, I have tried using ‘legacy mode’ as well.

The recommendation, especially for “developer edition” imps which now have ~2 year old firmware, is that if your android phone can’t blink the imp up, find an iOS device to do the first blinkup.

After the imp is connected, it will auto-update its OS and then androids will work much better. This doesn’t tend to affect commercial products as much as the imps have been built much more recently.