Bluetooth Breakdown: Sending gatttool commands from my Ubuntu Touch Phone!

Here I am, typing commands from my phone and controlling a Bluetooth Feather!

Of course, the moment of truth! The goal of this whole Bluetooth breakdown project was to figure out how to make my home made auto start work on my Ubuntu Touch phone. Well, here it is, working!

Although the interface could use a face lift.

Last we looked at this, we saw that we could write custom scripts to send the commands from the desktop computer to the BLE auto start, or use interactive mode of gatttool and do the work there. Now we can actually do the same from the terminal of the cell phone.

While this technically counts. We now need a snazzy program that just works with clicky buttons and that sort of thing. So, I suppose that will be the next phase of this project! Stay tuned for adventure!

Linux – keep it simple.

Bluetooth Breakdown: Sending my own commands with gatttool

Yes, there is purposely one too many t’s in GattTool.

bt_success

Last time we looked at the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) packets being sent from my Android app to my home made auto start. Here’s what we saw:

214231313a – Button 1 pressed
214231303b – Button 1 released
2142323139 – Button 2 pressed
214232303a – Button 2 released

With a little more digging, I also found that the “handle” is important, and per the Bluetooth packet breakdown in WireShark, that handle is 0x001a. Further, my particular Bluetooth feather’s MAC address is F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3.

With all of this in mind, I entered gatttool in the interactive mode, but I kept having trouble connecting to my device. With further research, I found an article on WordPress by a guy named Jack. He got me pointed in the right direction!

What I needed to do before connecting was this:

# btmgmt le on
# btmgmt bredr off

To set the computer’s Bluetooth manager to the proper Low Energy reading/writing state. Then I entered interactive mode while monitoring my auto start with a USB serial monitor. Here’s what I typed:

root@alaskalinuxuser-OptiPlex-7010:/home/alaskalinuxuser# gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 -I
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> connect
Attempting to connect to F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3
Connection successful
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 214231313a
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 214231303b
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 2142323139
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 214232303a
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 214232303a
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 214231303b
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 2142323139
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 214232303a
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> char-write-cmd 0x001a 2142323139
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> disconnect

(gatttool:22352): GLib-WARNING **: Invalid file descriptor.

[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> disconnect
[F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3][LE]> exit
root@alaskalinuxuser-OptiPlex-7010:/home/alaskalinuxuser#

And here is what I saw on the monitor:

Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
Button 1 released
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
startTimer 4
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
startTimer 3
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00
startTimer 2
Less than 13v, Pin A3: 0.00

Success! Great! I was able to enter interactive mode, connect, and send the right commands! This is great!

Then I switched to non-interactive mode, by writing a custom script or two. This is the first one, to start the auto start:

#!/bin/bash

btmgmt le on
btmgmt bredr off
gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 214231313a
gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 214231303b
#gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 2142323139
#gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 214232303a
exit 0

And one to stop the auto start:

#!/bin/bash

btmgmt le on
btmgmt bredr off
#gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 214231313a
#gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 214231303b
gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 2142323139
gatttool -t random -b F4:64:8E:90:D8:C3 –char-write-req -a 0x001a -n 214232303a
exit 0

And a quick test was successful! Now I can send my commands to start or stop the auto start from the command line with my computer. Now it’s just time to set it up on my Ubuntu Touch phone!

Linux – keep it simple.

BlueFruit Project: Extend the antenna range!

One of the issues that I have with my home made auto start is range. Obviously, Bluetooth Low Energy is only supposed to travel about 35 feet, when it is unobstructed, of course. The problem that I have here is that the BLE antenna was inside of a metal box, inside of a metal cab (the truck). Even placing the box up on the dash for “best results”, I could only be about 15 feet away from the truck to connect and transmit.

However, I decided to change that today. I decided to un-solder the antenna from the feather and put it on the end of some wire. Unfortunately, when I un-soldered the antenna, I broke it. But, Praise God, it still works after I wired in a makeshift antenna using about 6 feet of twisted, insulated, 20 gauge wire!

A few short tests, but I could now stand about 35 feet from the truck. Not only that, but I was able to successfully connect and start the truck from INSIDE the building, transmitting THROUGH a closed door!

Here are a few pics of the event:

I even took a few videos that you can check out on my GitLab!

Linux – keep it simple.