[HOWTO] Connecting GPS/OBD Bluetooth devices

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[HOWTO] Connecting GPS/OBD Bluetooth devices

Post by Harry »

To connect and use one of the Bluetooth devices named above, you need to go through the following actions in Android. This steps are one time actions only, LapTimer will connect automatically the next time you use it with the Bluetooth accessory. The instructions are for GPS Bluetooth devices, but apply for OBD dongles in the same way:
  1. In case you connect multiple devices to the BT GPS, make sure only your Android phone has enabled BT when going through the following steps. As all devices reconnect automatically, you need to turn off BT on these other devices or move them some distance away. Please note that multiple smartphones, free hands car kits, and other BT devices (check your co-driver too) connecting to the same BT GPS are a frequent issue. To get stable operation, it is actually best to pair your BT GPS with one Android (or other) devices only
  2. Turn on the BT GPS and make sure you get some BT feedback (blinking LED or similar).
  3. Pair the BT GPS with your Android phone: goto the Settings app, select Bluetooth, select "Search BT Devices", and select the BT GPS once it appears. Some devices will require you to enter a PIN, please enter according to instructions you have received with your BT device.
  4. Start Harry's LapTimer and switch to the Sensor List (options menu in the top right – scroll down to "Sensor List".
  5. Select the "+" button with a Bluetooth symbol in the top right of Sensor List.
  6. Select your BT GPS device from the "Paired Bluetooth Devices" list showing up.
  7. LapTimer will ask you if this is a GPS or an OBD device, select GPS.
  8. After a short time, you should get some feedback from your GPS BT device it has a BT connection established (e.g. a solid or blinking BT LED – depends on the model).
  9. The BT GPS will now appear in the Sensors List and will be marked "Connected".
  10. Once you move to a place the GPS can acquire a position / satellite lock, this status will change to "Connected @ xx Hz".
In case you prefer a video tutorial over well structured text, here is a video! :-D


As mentioned above, all these steps are one time actions only. The next time you want to use the GPS BT mouse with LapTimer, simple turn both on (and wait some seconds for connections).

Some Bluetooth GPS accessories come with helper apps to redirect position data into Android's location service. This in turn allows other location service aware apps to access position information from this external GPS devices without the need to support this external device specifically. To get maximum accuracy and access the original information, LapTimer does not need such helper apps but instead connects directly.

Any GPS helper app installed, needs to be disabled while LapTimer is active. Furthermore, please take care you do not have other apps running in background accessing your accessories!

LapTimer will usually interface to external BT GPS mice using secure Bluetooth connections. There are several known smartphone models having problems establishing connections using these secure approach. To work around, LapTimer has an up to date database of these phones included to fall back to insecure connections. In case you use a very new smartphone model and run into problems connecting to a GPS mouse, please tick the Expert Setting "Force Insecure BT Connection". In case that works around the connection issue, please drop me a note so I can include that model into LapTimer's database.

- Harry
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