FTDI UART Terminal for Android phones as a Prop1 display

I have been very impressed by the robustness and ease-of-use of the FTDI Excel Data Logger as developed by the excellent work of Bean, WBAConsulting and others in a separate post.
I thought I would play around with other Prop-FTDI USB interfaces and I found the FTDI UART Terminal app for Android phones works very well.
It is a little primitive, but it does provide a Prop display on your phone using a simple USB cable - something I find very useful for work in the field.
To get a new line in the app display, transmit (10) rather than (13).


  • I've used Bluetooth serial to communicate with a cheap tablet a few years back. All I did was modify a version of Blueterm.
  • macrobeak could you please give some links, as this seems a solution, I should use now and then...
  • ErNa,
    Just go straight to FTDI;
    Under "UART Terminal Application", there is an manual/application note, source code and app download details.
  • And it is a available on Google Play someplace. The company also sells a custom module called simply Vinco who's designed for the folks to develop custom firmware for the host chip regarding adding a USB port where shoehorning in a full PC wouldn't work. The first use here was for a widget which enabled people to log data to a USB based flash device. FTDI is best known for making excellent chips which translate the USB functions to standard serial ones. Of which Parallax is well aware of, and most of us.

    This doesn't solve your problem of course, but it does add to the history of the situation.

    Mascot away. No messages.

  • RFO Basic (aka: BASIC!) is an interpreter that runs on Android devices.

    It's great for Bluetooth stuff, takes like 2 or 3 commands and you're up and communicating. You can edit code on the device but I prefer to edit on the PC.

    It's possible to create a standalone app but the so called compiler simply bundles the interpreter with your code. There is a BT example in the sample folder.

    They have a USB comm's routine but it is currently fixed at 9600 BAUD.
  • The_MasterThe_Master Posts: 153
    edited 2019-11-19 - 05:37:10
    Mickster wrote: »
    RFO Basic (aka: BASIC!) is an interpreter that runs on Android devices.

    They have a USB comm's routine but it is currently fixed at 9600 BAUD.

    I have a product with an embedded micro with UART.

    I was been thinking about getting someone to do a smartphone app for me, so user can just use his smartphone to configure the device in the field.

    Can I just use RFO and a USB-to-RS232 cable to an android? Or is it Bluetooth only?

    I'm new to all smartphone stuff. So if I develop an app, I can distribute this app without it needing to be approved (since its bundled with interpreter)? Is the app even distributable? Would the distribution look professional?

  • RFO is open source and so we have a couple of spinoffs. The original version, for now, is stuck at v1. 92 and I find it to be very stable.

    There is also another version, OLI-BASIC, and the developer (Gregor) has added lots of extra functionality, including support for USB-serial. However it has not been a huge priority for him and so it only has a fixed BAUD of 9600. I should remind him to revisit this but I only use Bluetooth so it's not really something I need.

    I think only iOS apps needed the approval thing. You can do whatever you want with Android.

    A compiled (interpreter-bundled) app is indistinguishable from any other app and can look as professional as you want. I would describe it as a script that calls out to the Android API.
    Of course it isn't as fast as a compiled app but this is only a problem if you need heavy duty computation. For HMI stuff, there are no perceptible delays.

    The 3rd party BASIC! Launcher is nice. You can edit the BASIC! code in Notepad++ on the PC, hit F5 and the code executes on the Android device (WiFi linked).

    For drag/drop UI stuff, there is RFODESIGNER which requires patience but, for me it's worth it. The Windows UI is dated and I have experienced an issue where during code generation, it will occasionally replicate a few lines of initialization code. Was a bit frustrating but now I know about it, I highlight the replicated lines and delete.

    I create buttons, here, download the PNG'S, lay them out with RFODESIGNER and attach code to them. It all comes together quite painlessly.

    Debugging is pretty cool; you might be running a GUI but you can have debug info printing to the background text console and you can switch between them.

    Heck of a development, actually.

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