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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rich Gibson's Avatar
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    Android Phones, ANT+ and APPS

    I've been trying to make some sense out of this gamut of devices and applications. As I understand it ANT+ is a Garmin protocol which is being challenged/supplanted by Bluetooth. When I got my Trek FX 7.6 I bought the Bontrager Cadence/speed sensor. It works with the Node 1.1 device mounted on my handlebars.

    I also have a Samsung Galaxy S3. I noticed a handful of APPS for the S3. As far as I can tell IPBike works with ANT+ but you have to have two applications installed on your S3. From SelfLoops website:

    The Nexus 7 tablet, the Samsung Galaxy S2, S3, S4 and many other high-end newest devices have USB Host capabilities. You need to install the ANT Radio Service and the ANT USB service. You can find the mini ANT USB stick in our store
    The mini ANT USB stick consists of a cable adapter (micro USB to USB (F)) and the device for $53.00. So...when you have that you also need an ANT+ HRM..right? I bought an Axiom HRM for $39.95 at Performance Bikes a few weeks ago. It works fine but I wondered if it may be ANT+ compliant? (I think not). The reason is I have a Life Fitness Elliptic which has a heart monitor but you have to hold both handles and contact the silver metal plates on each bar for it to work. It's kludgy, but it works. Well, yesterday I put the Axiom HRM on and lo and behold the heart rate started showing on the Elliptic console even though I wasn't holding the handles. It had to be the HRM because it mirrored the values showing on the HRM wrist band. It also changed in sync with the wrist band.

    Does anyone know what the heck is going on here? What type signal is the Axiom outputting?

    So.. I have an ANT+ compatible cadence and speed sensor, the matching Node 1.1 display computer, an Axiom HRM and display band and a Samsung Galaxy S3 which works with a USB adapter. It would be nice to have the various parameters captured during the ride along with the route. Do I need to get a special HRM which works with the USB sensor? Is the Bontrager sensor compatible with USB?

    Anyone knowledgable with this lashup?

    Thanks, Rich

  2. #2
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    ant+ is great... it's all comparable with other ant+ as long as it will read your specific type of device (older garmins won't read separate cadence and speed sensors, only the combined for example)...

    so in short you'll need to get an ant+ HRM... there are dozens of options and many times you can find a deal on them if you look for a used forerunner... get it... keep the HRM and either sell or use the forerunner...

    I've been using my galaxy note 2 with an OTG cable and ant+ usb2 stick for a few months now... I use IPbike for my app and as you mentioned you need to use his ant+ sensor app for it to all work... but it does work great... I had an old garmin ant+ HRM and picked up a cadence/speed sensor.

    I also picked up a HTC rhyme with a bad ESN for next to nothing (it has built in ANT+) in effort to get the big fat expensive phone off my bars... ends up I can't bring myself to get rid of the all the data on the GN2 (the rhyme doesn't have a pressure sensor)... also if the phone has built in ant+ I haven't been able to get ipbike and another app to share the ant+ sensor info (if you have integrated ant+ apps like mapmyride, garmin active and endomondo will read the sensors) but as soon as I tell IPbike to start recording while using those sensors it won't share with the other apps :-/

    honestly I see this as a stop gap until I have a garmin edge of some flavor... but it works well in the mean time.


    Edited by Moderators
    Last edited by Juha; 08-19-13 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Removed FS ad
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  3. #3
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    I'm moving this to Electronics, Lighting and Gadgets (from General Cycling). Carry on...

    --Juha, a Forum Mod
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  4. #4
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gibson View Post
    ...The mini ANT USB stick consists of a cable adapter (micro USB to USB (F)) and the device for $53.00. So...when you have that you also need an ANT+ HRM..right? I bought an Axiom HRM for $39.95 at Performance Bikes a few weeks ago. It works fine but I wondered if it may be ANT+ compliant? (I think not). The reason is I have a Life Fitness Elliptic which has a heart monitor but you have to hold both handles and contact the silver metal plates on each bar for it to work. It's kludgy, but it works. Well, yesterday I put the Axiom HRM on and lo and behold the heart rate started showing on the Elliptic console even though I wasn't holding the handles. It had to be the HRM because it mirrored the values showing on the HRM wrist band. It also changed in sync with the wrist band.

    Does anyone know what the heck is going on here? What type signal is the Axiom outputting?..
    First I'm no expert is such matters but my thoughts on the matter; The handles of your elliptical are acting like antenna and are picking up the signal from the HRM transmitter you are wearing. At least this is my guess. Since the signal is designed to be read by an outside source ( wrist or bike monitor ) I think it just a coincidence that the HRM on the elliptical is able to interpret the signal.

    Often times you hear about people who have wireless devices who suddenly have their devices stop working. Usually this is because another electromagnetic field ( or signal ) has come into close proximity to the device. When this happens the outside source will either be so strong as to completely drown out the other signal or the two signals will mix in the effect that has been electrically defined as "Heterodyning". With heterodyning, two signals mix and end up producing a signal that is equal to both added together. Since the device is not able to process such a signal it would appear not to work.

    I remember one time when I was a kid I got an airplane radio transmission over my "Combat" walkie-talkies. Only lasted a couple seconds but I thought it was cool. If the signal is close enough and strong enough things happen. In this day and age with digital electronics this type of stuff doesn't happen as much.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rich Gibson's Avatar
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    Thanks to one of our members I got it sorted out. What I needed was the Phone (Samsung Galaxy S3), an OTG (on the go?) micro-standard female USB adapter and an ANT+ sensor (Garmin) and software. For software I used IPSensorman for the sensor/phone and IPBike to record my outings. Works like a charm!

    Thanks, Rich

  6. #6
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    FWIW, there's been a recent proliferation of Bluetooth SMART (AKA Bluetooth Low Energy) HRM straps, wheel sensors, and even a Power Tap hub now. If you have a newer phone compatible with BT Smart, you can forgo all adapters.

    Ordinary Bluetooth wasn't considered practical for these devices as it used too much power.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    FWIW, there's been a recent proliferation of Bluetooth SMART (AKA Bluetooth Low Energy) HRM straps, wheel sensors, and even a Power Tap hub now. If you have a newer phone compatible with BT Smart, you can forgo all adapters.

    Ordinary Bluetooth wasn't considered practical for these devices as it used too much power.
    You are going to see many more cycling/sport related BT LE devices "soon". It appears the BT LE support on Android isn't quite there/complete yet.

  8. #8
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You are going to see many more cycling/sport related BT LE devices "soon". It appears the BT LE support on Android isn't quite there/complete yet.
    ya google didn't release the information to code for it to most developers until just a little while back... it's already comparable with IPbike... I already had the ant+ HRM from my forerunner50 days so going with ant+ was the way to go for me
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  9. #9
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You are going to see many more cycling/sport related BT LE devices "soon". It appears the BT LE support on Android isn't quite there/complete yet.
    Yep, I think you're right. The new Android 4.3 ( Jelly bean ) OS is there and ready to go but not sure what ( current ) phones are compatible with the new BT SMART READY system. Once all the bugs are worked out we should start to see more Androids running the new BT.

    The real question for me will be, "Will I need a new phone"? Mine can run BT but not sure yet if it will be upgradeable to the new BT SMART READY ( Low-energy ). If not than it won't matter because I'll need a new phone unless there is a dongle...what ever. Not really a big issue for me. I can wait till all the bugs are sorted out and more options are available.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    Yep, I think you're right. The new Android 4.3 ( Jelly bean ) OS is there and ready to go but not sure what ( current ) phones are compatible with the new BT SMART READY system. Once all the bugs are worked out we should start to see more Androids running the new BT.
    I believe any current (around a year ago) "higher end" Android phone supports the BT LE in hardware. I don't quite get the details, but it appears that the software to support it isn't quite there.

    Android 4.3 includes the software to support BT LE but that could take a while to get out to a (non-Nexus) phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    The real question for me will be, "Will I need a new phone"? Mine can run BT but not sure yet if it will be upgradeable to the new BT SMART READY ( Low-energy ). If not than it won't matter because I'll need a new phone unless there is a dongle...what ever. Not really a big issue for me. I can wait till all the bugs are sorted out and more options are available.
    What phone do you have?

    The market for BT LE dongles isn't really a growth one (because new phones will support it).

  11. #11
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    I believe any current (around a year ago) "higher end" Android phone supports the BT LE in hardware. I don't quite get the details, but it appears that the software to support it isn't quite there.

    Android 4.3 includes the software to support BT LE but that could take a while to get out to a (non-Nexus) phone.


    What phone do you have?

    The market for BT LE dongles isn't really a growth one (because new phones will support it).
    I have a ( Motorola ) Droid Razr. It works with BT but I'm not sure yet if that means it will be upgradeable to the new version. Since I'm on a plan I might be able to upgrade to a newer phone without too much cost if necessary. I'll have to check with the Verizon people to see how it works.

    Right now I'm running the Android version 4.1.2. I know my phone works with BT but the specs for the new BT Smart Ready mention that the phone has to have the duel mode BT v4.0 chip to function with the upgraded 4.3 OS.
    Hopefully I won't need a new phone. If I don't I'll be whistling a happy tune.

  12. #12
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    "BT Smart ready" means it has the hardware/chip but that it doesn't have the software (a newer version of android).

    Being android, there is no real assurance that the phone will ever see an upgrade.

  13. #13
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    "BT Smart ready" means it has the hardware/chip but that it doesn't have the software (a newer version of android).

    Being android, there is no real assurance that the phone will ever see an upgrade.
    Life has few guarantees. I understand that. The BT people seem to think that most of manufacturers of Android phones are going to be "onboard" with the new BT. "IF" my phone already has the newer BT chip I should be able to add the software at some point but in all likely-hood it doesn't so I won't be holding my breath waiting for software or *waiting for a dongle. ( * although, it wouldn't surprise me to see one by next year ) When there's money to be made the people who develop devices/software/apps..etc for phones move pretty fast, especially when there is demand for a particular function.

    In the mean time I really have no need for it at the moment. That may change by next year though. By that time there should be more Android phones, more devices and more aftermarket Android apps for the BT SMART. If I really need it that bad I can always buy a new phone.
    Last edited by 01 CAt Man Do; 08-31-13 at 02:33 PM.

  14. #14
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    The history of android upgrades is poor. (The history of iPhone upgrades isn't.)

    If you can wait, get a phone with software that supports BT LE. The dongle is annoying and costs what a phone upgrade would cost.

    The BT stuff for android should be worked out any day now.

  15. #15
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    ... I can get a good phone upgrade for under $30?... (actually more then I paid for the dongle ad OTG cable) as far as annoying... meh... no worse then dealing with a wahoo ant+ dongle...

    this is my note2... i've since rotated the phone, it works well, and I'm not stuck using Icrap when I'm not riding ;-)
    IMG_4529.JPG
    IMG_4532.JPG


    the upgrade of android is not poor... the upgrade path from OEMs is moderate and the upgrade path by the phone retailer is what is poor... the manufacturer company isn't TOO far behind on most flagships, but it's once it gets to the verizon, sprint, att, tmobile lvl that things get real slow (part of the cost of the way the US buys cell phones) go with a nexus device and you get similar support as apple gives...


    if you are a moderate geek it's not hard to hack your phone and install the newest version of android and I'm sure many of the developers have implemented BT LE
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    The wahoo dongle is just as annoying. But the phones don't support ant.

    And the android upgrade stuff is bad. You are buying the phone from the network.

    Yeah, people can do the cyanogenmod stuff but it's silly that they have to.

    But beyond all that crap, the recent versions of android are fine.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 09-01-13 at 08:02 PM.

  17. #17
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    ya buying from the network is why we have the crappy system we do... if you buy it from the manufacture then you take out that BIG issue... also you can get a much better deal on service if you goto the right operator...
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Rich Gibson's Avatar
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    Here's a rig using an old Samsung Galaxy S3 (no SIM chip) and an otter box mounted with a hose clamp. It has a GPS receiver and the program showing is iPBike. Thanks to donalson for the tips and ANT+ chip.


    Here's the mount


    Rich

  19. #19
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    not pretty... but it works enjoy all the data you get
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  20. #20
    Fredly
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    Folks.. the Dynastream ANT+ dongle (also known as the Suunto Movestick Mini) is MUCH MUCH smaller than the Garmin ANT+ stick and actually performs better. (Dynastream actually makes/owns the ANT+ protocol.)

    I spent some time over the past week getting this working and here's what I found out...

    1. It does NOT work on an HTC ONE from Verizon because Verizon are a bunch of flipping morons that couldn't possibly NOT strip an API. The support is in the kernel but the API support just isn't there for the usb host mode.
    2. It *does* work on an LG G2!
    3. The Suunto Dual Comfort Heartrate Strap that supports ANT is NOT compatible.
    4. The Ibera cell phone mounts feel pretty darn solid and one small hole cut in the bottom of the mount is all you need for the USB.
    5. Mounting the cadence sensor on a tandem with a child stoker is a serious PITA.
    6. The ipbike software does have 2 parts.. one drives the sensors.. the other runs the software.
    7. The absolute best setup for ANT+ heartrate is apparently a Polar chest strap with a Garmin premium unit snapped onto it. That gives you comfort, durability, and zero interference. (I'll let you know if this works for me too when mine arrives.)
    8. All this stuff is expensive! :-P

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rich Gibson's Avatar
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    I found a better mount at REI. Here's the new setup




    Garmin soft cable HRM sensor, Bontrager SC sensor, Garmin ANT+ receiver, Samsung Galaxy S4, deltacycle.com mount, OTG right angle cable and iPBike software. Works perfectly.

    Rich
    ..life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. ― Andy Rooney ...enjoy what's left!

  22. #22
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    i got a galaxy nexus cheap off eBay and got Bluetooth low energy working on it with a bit of dev mod help as Google disabled it for some reason. With a couple of topeak sensors and ipbike it's working well.

    the s3 and note 2 are very likely to get the 4.3 support because of Samsungs smart watch. The s4 and future flagships are in fact getting ant+ http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2469353

  23. #23
    Senior Member Rich Gibson's Avatar
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    FYI. I went on a two and a half hour ride with the Galaxy S4, HRM, cadence and speed ANT+ sensors using iPBike, screen bright the whole time and had 60% battery left.
    ..life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. ― Andy Rooney ...enjoy what's left!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irrelevantapple View Post
    ...The s4 and future flagships are in fact getting ant+ http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2469353
    That's interesting. They must have the hardware capability for ANT+ already built in.

  25. #25
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irrelevantapple View Post
    i got a galaxy nexus cheap off eBay and got Bluetooth low energy working on it with a bit of dev mod help as Google disabled it for some reason. With a couple of topeak sensors and ipbike it's working well.

    the s3 and note 2 are very likely to get the 4.3 support because of Samsungs smart watch. The s4 and future flagships are in fact getting ant+ http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2469353
    if that is the case I might justify moving from my note2... if the gs4 has it the note3 would prob have it as well... we shall see

    on a side note...
    I picked up a bad ESN verizon htc rhyme for it's integrated ant+ for super cheap... yesterday I played with it and got over 9hrs of time with it using IPbike, my ant+ hrm, gps on and screen on dim... not bad for a small 1600mAH battery... I'll play with it with the screen on high and see what it does... also bet it would last a LONG time with the screen off...
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