How to fix undetected Arduino boards in Android

In the development process of the Neurolab Android app, we needed an Arduino-Android connection. This blog explains how to  establish the connection and getting the Arduino board detected in my Android device

Context-connecting the board and getting it detected

Arduino boards are primarily programmed from the Desktop using the Arduino IDE, but they are not limited to the former. Android devices can be used to program the circuit boards using an application named Arduinodroid.

Arduino is basically a platform for building various types of electronic projects and the best part about it is that, it is open-sourced. Arduino, the company has got two products The physical programmable circuit board (often referred to as a microcontroller). 

Examples of Arduino circuit boards – UNO, UNO CH340G, Mega, etc. Find more here.

Connecting the board and getting it detected

Arduino boards are primarily programmed from the Desktop using the Arduino IDE, but they are not limited to the former. Android devices can be used to program the circuit boards using an application named Arduinodroid.

In this blog, we are going to use Arduinodroid app for establishing a connection between the Arduino board and the Android device, getting the board detected in the Android phone and uploading a sketch to it.

Materials/Gadgets required:-

  1. Arduino board (UNO preferably)
  2. Arduino-USB Cable
  3. OTG Cable
  4. Android device

Now, one of the most frequent issues, while establishing a connection and getting the Arduino board detected with the Android device, is the error message of: “No Arduino boards detected” in the Arduinodroid app. There can be a few core reasons for this –

  1. Your Android mobile device isn’t USB-OTG supported – Probably because it is an old model or it might be a company/brand-specific issue.
  2. Disabled OTG Mode – Be sure to enable USB-OTG mode (only if your device has one) from the Developer options in your Android device settings.

Even after trying and making sure of these above points, if you still continue to get an error while uploading a sketch from the Arduinodroid app like this:

                                                            Figure 1: The Error Message

Follow the steps below carefully and simultaneously one after the other:

  1. Look for any external module attached to your Arduino board using jumper wires. If so, remove those connections completely and press the reset button on the Arduino circuit board. The attached modules can be one of the following: Micro SD Card module, Bluetooth module, etc.
  2. Remove pin connections, if any from the TX and RX pin-slots in the Arduino board. These pre-attached pins can cause unnecessary signal transfers which can hinder and make the actual port of Arduino board busy.
  3. Before connecting the Arduino to the Android device, go to the drop down menu in the app at the top-right corner -> Settings -> Board Type -> Arduino -> UNO
  4. Now, you need to code a sketch and make it ready for compile and upload to the circuit board. We will use a basic example sketch for this case. Feel free to try out your own custom coded Arduino sketches. Go to the drop-down menu -> Sketch -> Examples -> Basics -> AnalogReadSignal
  5. Don’t compile the sketch yet because we haven’t connected any Arduino circuit board to our Android device. So first, connect the Arduino circuit board to the Android device through the OTG cable connected to the Arduino-USB cable.
  6. You should see some LEDs lit up on the circuit board (indicates power is flowing to the board). Go ahead to compile the sketch. Click the ‘lightning’ icon on the top in the toolbar of the app. You should see the code/sketch getting compiled. Once done you should see a toast message saying “Compilation finished”. This signifies that your code/sketch has been verified by the compiler.

                                              Figure 2: Successful Compilation of sketch

This process is inevitable and there is hardly any issue while compiling a sketch.

       7. Upload the sketch: Click on the upload icon from the toolbar in the app. Upload             should start once you get a pop-up dialog like this:

                                           Figure 3: Arduino board detected successfully

Once you click Okay, the upload shall start and if your code is correct and matches the particular Arduino circuit board, you shall get a successful upload, which was not the case earlier for the error : “no Arduino boards found” on clicking the upload button.

So, that’s it then. Hope this blog adds value to your development skills and you can continue working bug free with your Android-Arduino connections.

Resources:

  1. Author – Nick Gamon, Article – Have I bricked my Arduino uno problems with uploading to board, Date – Nov’16 2016, Website – https://arduino.stackexchange.com/questions/13292/have-i-bricked-my-arduino-uno-problems-with-uploading-to-board
  2. Author – Arduino Products, Article – Arduino boards, Website – https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Boards

3. Author – Anton Smirnov, App name – ArduinoDroid, Website – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=name.antonsmirnov.android.arduinodroid2&hl=en_IN

Tags: FOSSASIA, Neurolab, GSOC19, Open-source, Arduino, Serial terminal

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