Flexipanel. How nice it is!

inakiinaki Posts: 262
edited 2005-02-09 - 11:36:23 in Robotics
You can·test a Flexipanel module to enjoy yourself.

Rarely the module is found on any Bluetooth(BT) searching (and I have tried several, see below).
When it is found it is rarely able to connect to serial port (the only profile it supports).
When it connects it is rarely able to send any information at all.
When it sends information it is rarely right. You can check a control several times and the·values are·wrong.

I must to say that I have tried to connect it to different BT peripheral: a·laptop, a·PDA and a·phone.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

The software is pathetic. The clients are painfully slow. The so called 'Designer' is·made in Mars.

Please, avoid this module as far as you can.



  • allanlane5allanlane5 Posts: 3,815
    edited 2005-02-08 - 14:09:04
    If you really want someone to avoid a product, you shouldn't say "how nice it is!" in the subject line.

    Sarcasm only comes through after reading a bit more. Your subject line makes it sound like an advertisement. Your first line says 'enjoy yourself'.

    You might want to work on your writing a little bit more, your sarcasm and irony are not coming through.
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2005-02-08 - 15:01:56
    I have also had trouble with Bluetooth on my PC, but when I used the FlexiPanel and the client for an iPaq hand-held things went much more smoothly. Are you saying the client software is the problem, or could the issues be related to Bluetooth and not actually to the design of the Flexipanel?

    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
    Dallas, TX· USA
  • Paul BakerPaul Baker Posts: 6,351
    edited 2005-02-08 - 17:30:45
    I spoke with Motorola a few years ago when they were starting thier DigitalDNA campaign. This was also the time that they were waiting for partners to roll out products·using thier bluetooth technology. And they stated that they were having difficulties with thier partners adhereing to thier suggested method of stack implementation and other issues with the software side of the protocol (Motorola designed the hardware, provided suggested dll interfaces, but the partner was free to tailor the software·for thier own puposes because the software side was designed to be extensible) But the vendors went in and modified code·for lower layers of the protocol than they were supposed to. The result was difficulty in interoperatability between various bluetooth devices. They said Microsoft was particularly bone-headed about it and rewrote the·entire· interface resulting in no bluetooth devices being able to communicate with a bluetooth enabled·PC (except for other microsoft bluetooth products). It seems by this post there are still issues with MS conforming to Motorola's bluetooth specifications, but what else is new?


    BTW, Bluetooth enabled Macs supposedly have no problems interfacing with any other major bluetooth device except MS based bluetooth. So its not bluetooth, its MS.

    I haven't looked but maybe someone out there has written thier own device drivers to replace MS's

    Post Edited (Paul Baker) : 2/8/2005 5:39:48 PM GMT
  • inakiinaki Posts: 262
    edited 2005-02-08 - 18:40:07
    Allan, sorry, English is not my first language. Perhaps sarcasm is not the right way when one is not speaking his natural language. In my first language, Spanish, the term 'enjoy' has a meaning of 'joy' or 'not joy' if used in the apropriate context.

    The Flexipanel, does work, some times. However, it does not work all the time. Perhaps it is true that Windows/Pocket PC side has much to do with the problem. However, I have worked with the Parallax Bluetooth Transceiver instead,·mounted on the same BOE board, with·no problems at all (Parallax BT transceiver is the BT500 module made by a7).

    On the other hand, the module plugged on the BT Flexipanel board is made by Mitsumi or looks a lot like it. The problem is probably a radio issue so Flexipanel company might not be the culprit in this issue. Actually Flexipanel has just·added a 18F452 PIC with software·on the board to control de BT part.·So problems like being unable to connect are due to a radio problem more likely due to a Mitsumi fault. Anyway the problem is there and i should not try to analyze which is the cause, I think.

    However, even if the hardware side would have worked fine, I am afraid Flexipanel has a lot of work to do if they want to sell this product in the software side. The idea behind Flexipanel is very good but they need to work on it a lot more.

  • hoptroffhoptroff Posts: 1
    edited 2005-02-09 - 11:36:23
    Hi inaki

    This is FlexiPanel technical support.

    You were right in your second post, FlexiPanel's Bluetooth products contain a widely used radio component. It's a certified, fully compliant device from ALPS and there are no known faults with it. If you are experiencing difficulties 'seeing' if from other specific platforms let us know and we will try and help you. The reason you can only see the serial port profile is because this is the only one the FlexiPanel server needs. The other profiles are not turned on.

    To have control values appear to be wrong would be very unusual. It sounds like a communications issue between the Stamp and the FlexiPanel module. Contact me at technical support (rhoptroff@flexipanel.com) and we'll help you sort it out.

    The FlexiPanel server is primarily aimed at professional markets and we did think very carefully before choosing to produce a Stamp version. On the one hand, the FlexiPanel Designer development environment has a steeper learning curve than most Stamp products so it will always be one of the more advanced accessories. On the other, Stamp users are very creative and we knew they would want to do very exciting things with the product. If there's something specific you need to do, let us know and we will help you out.

    The client software can only be as fast as the operating systems on the remote devices concerned. The Microsoft-based products are usually pretty fast but even we have our suspicions about which planet some of the Java devices are from.

    Richard Hoptroff
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