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Starting and Stopping "Torque" Android App automatically!


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I remembered reading a couple of you using Torque were having some difficulties getting Torque to automatically shut down or start and I was having the same problem so I did a little research and came up with a solution that seems to be working so far so I thought I'd share.

 

The main problem I had is that what I really wanted to do was leave my device that I use for gauges in the car...jump in the car hit the button to start the car and have it fire up the phone/tablet and gauges without any interaction what so ever and then have it shut it self down when the car shuts off (well actually when you lose accessory power upon opening a door).

 

I found an app called "Tasker" in the marketplace - it isn't free but at like $6.50 it seemed like a good deal. There are others but this one seemed the most powerful from the reviews. I even found a couple of YouTube videos that showed exactly what I wanted.

 

Basically you just tell Tasker to run certain actions when a "trigger" happens. I happen to have my gauge hooked up to switched power (can't remember exactly which fuse under the dash anymore). So I created a Profile and then an event in tasker called "On" that does the following when the phone is plugged in to power:

 

Turns Display Timeout to Never

Sets system volume to Max

Turns on Bluetooth

Turns on Wifi (really don't need this one)

Disables "Keyguard"

Runs app "Torque"

 

I then have Torque go straight to the dashboard view so the gauges start right away...and I'm off - all without hitting any buttons on the phone.

 

I then set up Tasker with another event in the same "Profile" called "Off" that looks for the phone to go to battery (i.e. when the car is off and accessory power is gone) that does the following:

 

Turns on airplane mode

Turns on "Keyguard"

Kills the Torque App (note I had to download a special plugin for Tasker called "Task Kill". It's free but it does require "Root" on your Android to work properly)

Sets the screen display timeout to 7seconds (the minimum time allowed)

 

This basically allows the phone to go to sleep and since it shuts down the Bluetooth and kills Torque the OBD adapter I have will sleep as well. No drain on the car battery AND the phone battery will last for days and days in this mode.

 

The only tricky part is killing Torque as it does not like to be forced to shut down and as mentioned above I needed the plug in and Root access. This varies by device though so YMMV. I should point out my device is an old Droid 2 running Android 2.x.

 

Side note: If you can't kill the Torque app then it will obviously stay active although shutting off the Bluetooth should disconnect it from your adapter anyway. There is a setting in Torque to allow it to sleep eventually so everything should still work except when you connect it back to power and Torque is already running, but it won't go the gauge screen by default so you will have to press one button on the Torque screen to start the gauges. Not a huge deal for most but I was going for a completely hands free operation. The biggest challenge for some may be rooting the device and I won't go in to detail on that as there are quite a few instructions on the Internet and doing something wrong could render your device useless.

 

Hope this helps someone...I can post more details (and maybe some screen shots if I can get them off my phone) if anyone needs them or can't figure it out.

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My tablet is turning on and off smooth as silk all on being hooked to the switched power source. My lack of trouble in this might have to do with the fact that I'm using a separate phone (Bluetooth also). Torque (I'm using Pro) has the ability to detect power off and goes to sleep almost immediately. The OBD2 adapter goes to sleep automatically also. Torque will let you specify to wake up in the gauge screen.

 

My trouble is with maintaining the tablet charge while hooked to power only while running and turns out that is a Nexus deficiency. Good news is I think I have found a good fix for this problem. A free downloadable custom "kernel" is available that modifies the operating system to provide charging capabilities that make the Nexus 7 perfect for auto dash installation. The bad news is that installing this "kernel" is way beyond my pay grade. So I'm facing trying to hire some young squirt with pimples and "jailbreak" experience to customize my Nexus. If things work out like I hope I'll post all details and results.

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My tablet is turning on and off smooth as silk all on being hooked to the switched power source. My lack of trouble in this might have to do with the fact that I'm using a separate phone (Bluetooth also). Torque (I'm using Pro) has the ability to detect power off and goes to sleep almost immediately. The OBD2 adapter goes to sleep automatically also. Torque will let you specify to wake up in the gauge screen.

 

My trouble is with maintaining the tablet charge while hooked to power only while running and turns out that is a Nexus deficiency. Good news is I think I have found a good fix for this problem. A free downloadable custom "kernel" is available that modifies the operating system to provide charging capabilities that make the Nexus 7 perfect for auto dash installation. The bad news is that installing this "kernel" is way beyond my pay grade. So I'm facing trying to hire some young squirt with pimples and "jailbreak" experience to customize my Nexus. If things work out like I hope I'll post all details and results.

 

I think if you have the OBDlink MX it will indeed shut off but on other adapters I have found this to not be true. Torque still thinks the adapter is active and won't sleep. I let mine go for 2 hours the other day just to test it and it kept on going...the way described above will work for anyone that doesn't have that adapter.

 

That said I did order the MX adapter just because I like the idea of the higher frame rate capability. It's waiting at home for me today! Anyone want a slightly used (works just great though!) OBDII reader for a reasonable price?

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Would there be a way to wire one of the cheaper OBDII Bluetooth transmitter so that they only come on when the vehicle is on? I imagine if I removed the correct connection on the unit and wired it to switched power it could technically work? Poor-mans-sleep-mode?

 

I believe pin 16 is battery power on the OBD connector. You could try an experiment and see if that would work but you'd have to wire a relay in off of a switched source or something...

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I believe pin 16 is battery power on the OBD connector. You could try an experiment and see if that would work but you'd have to wire a relay in off of a switched source or something...

 

Thanks, I'll consult the wiring guy at my work here. If I end up doing something along these lines I'll be sure to post here.

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For what it's worth, my first try at hooking this up I had a cheap OBD2 adaptor and I think the tablet and torque went to sleep on power off then too. Not sure but I think the tablet and torque don't care if the adapter is still on. That's why you have the option of a reminder to unplug the adapter. I did not unplug mine to see what would happen and of course for me the adapter died first day. Maybe no connection to being left plugged in but any way it did. You can opt for sleep on power off in torque settings and in the tablet settings also.

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I think if you have the OBDlink MX it will indeed shut off but on other adapters I have found this to not be true. Torque still thinks the adapter is active and won't sleep. I let mine go for 2 hours the other day just to test it and it kept on going...the way described above will work for anyone that doesn't have that adapter.

 

That said I did order the MX adapter just because I like the idea of the higher frame rate capability. It's waiting at home for me today! Anyone want a slightly used (works just great though!) OBDII reader for a reasonable price?

 

I see what you are saying. Maybe what I was seeing was the tablet going to sleep (right away) on power off. The tablet didn't care if the adapter was still awake. So that would leave the torque app running on the asleep tablet which would, I imagine, use more battery than if torque was asleep also. But as you say with the MX adapter it's one less problem to deal with.

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I just picked up the MX adapter and it rocks! It took care of a few issues. With my old adapter it would actually disconnect the Bluetooth and then reconnect but the car would pick it up and announce Bluetooth disconnected....very annoying. Data rates are definitely speedier as well. Awesome hardware in a compact package.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am just becoming aware of another issue with the Nexus 7. I guess it's more specifically with the 4.2 operating system as it relates to Bluetooth. I have been wrestling with occasional loss of pairing with the dongle. I have been able to learn so far that I believe it has nothing to do with the Torque app or the dongle. It's all Android. I think it is somehow related to powering down or going to sleep causing it to occasionally lose its pairing. I've always been able to pair it back up but I know I shouldn't have to do this. I found a lot of posts on line with the bluetooth issue....just for most people it is keyboards or speakers they are struggling with. This is the second issue now, the first being the slow charging rate while hooked up to the car. Makes me miss my Apple products.

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Bluetooth was all messed up in 4.2 and 4.2.1. 4.2.2 seems to have fixed quite a bit.

 

I just spent some time reading up on what the update to 4.2.2 is supposed to fix and surprise surprise it not only fixes the Bluetooth problems but is supposed to deal with the slow charge issue. That sounds promising enough that I will hold up on my unlocking, rooting, and custom kernel install at least for the time being to see if the OS update does the trick all by itself. I should only need a few days at most to get an idea of how good a fix 4.2.2 is. Fingers crossed!

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Happy to report that I have found the Nexus 7 Bluetooth issues cured by the most recent OS 4.2.2. The slow charging issues are cured also as long as you use the charge cable that came with it. I have found that the cable Nexus provides, shorts out a couple of pins to signal a boosted charging rate. Even using the special cable, with the previous OS (4.2), the charge rate was still too slow. They really speeded it up in the update, but the special cable is required to experience the improvement. I will test and confirm after a couple of days of actual driving experience. The only thing that's still bugging me with this resolution is that I wanted to use my own charge cable with a right angle end so I could have a less noticeable connection going into the tablet. Oh well, overall I think it's working out quite nicely now.

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Latest update on the Nexus 7 charge rate is that the recent update to OS 4.2.2 did really cure the Bluetooth issue. The charging rate I'm afraid will still need the custom kernel. The tablet discharge rate while sleeping is very reasonable but the discharge rate while running still remains too high for the current charging. I did find that most of the battery use while running, was going to screen/display use and I checked the settings and found that the "auto brightness" was producing a pretty bright display. I'm now trying a manual dimmer setting which still seems plenty bright enough, but I'm still going to go ahead with the custom kernel as soon as I get the chance. I think I should be able to run the screen as bright as I want and still keep the battery charged while plugged in and running.

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Mine stays charged all the time now. I have the 2.1 amp charger and I have torque app put my tablet in airplane mode when power off is detected. I also turned off wireless on tablet. Forgot it was on by default. I also have the tablet going to sleep 7 seconds after charge power off is detected.

 

That is very interesting. I have most of the same settings as you do. I'm using a 2.1 amp charger and the OE cable with the shorted pins, and I have the app in airplane mode also. I have had the WIFI off as well though now it is back on. My discharge happens not while asleep where I lose maybe 4% of the battery in 24 hrs of non use. My problematic discharge is all happening during use. In the tablet settings there is a battery graph that shows percent of battery left and the graphic can show like a timeline of battery decline. The usage is also analyzed so you can see where the power went as well as when it went. Most of my usage went to display and only when it was running. I did change from auto brightness to a lower setting manually but I'm still evaluating that change. It seems very clear to me my problem is a charge rate that's too low. Now if you don't share my problem then it's not universal and unique to me so it really helps me to zero in on what is really going on. Where did you pick up your switched power? I ran a tap off a 20 amp fuse under the dash. I'm also running my Garmin off the same tap. Early on I tried removing the Garmin to see if that helped but it seemed to make no difference. The Garmin stays charged up just fine and has been running off that tap for a couple of years now. I wonder what is going on with my power?

Here is a pic of my latest gauge arrangement main screen

 

 

[ATTACH]2264[/ATTACH]

 

Thanks for the helpful information. Never know which bit of information will provide the key to a solution.

post-279-142532292176_thumb.jpg

post-279-142532292176_thumb.jpg

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Fomoco I fooled around with several concepts for a mount and for my 5th and final try, I settled on a hollow plastic form I fabricated out of some plastic panelling material I had laying around. I kind of sculpted it to make it look pleasing I hope. I cut the plastic shapes with snips and glued together using plumbers plastic cement and holding sections with masking tape till the glue set. I glued a plastic channel on the front bottom to hold the bottom edge of the Nexus. I used a belt clip from a retired cell phone holster and glued it to the top to snap down and hold the top of the tablet for easy in and out. When I was done I adhered some dark grey trunk lining material to the plastic mount with some 3M contact trim cement to give it a finished look. Very forgiving stuff and so easy to use. I fastened the bottom of the mount to the speaker grille with self adhesive Velcro so I can remove it if I want to but since it's a pain to rip the Velcro apart I like to leave the mount in place and just remove the tablet using the clip on the top. BTW everything I did is 100% reversible and a final bit of advice.....stay as far away from magnets as possible. I know I should have known that but oh well, some things just need to be relearned I guess.

 

[ATTACH]2278[/ATTACH]

post-279-1425322922_thumb.jpg

post-279-1425322922_thumb.jpg

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Fomoco I fooled around with several concepts for a mount and for my 5th and final try, I settled on a hollow plastic form I fabricated out of some plastic panelling material I had laying around. I kind of sculpted it to make it look pleasing I hope. I cut the plastic shapes with snips and glued together using plumbers plastic cement and holding sections with masking tape till the glue set. I glued a plastic channel on the front bottom to hold the bottom edge of the Nexus. I used a belt clip from a retired cell phone holster and glued it to the top to snap down and hold the top of the tablet for easy in and out. When I was done I adhered some dark grey trunk lining material to the plastic mount with some 3M contact trim cement to give it a finished look. Very forgiving stuff and so easy to use. I fastened the bottom of the mount to the speaker grille with self adhesive Velcro so I can remove it if I want to but since it's a pain to rip the Velcro apart I like to leave the mount in place and just remove the tablet using the clip on the top. BTW everything I did is 100% reversible and a final bit of advice.....stay as far away from magnets as possible. I know I should have known that but oh well, some things just need to be relearned I guess.

 

[ATTACH]2278[/ATTACH]

 

Is that a 7"?

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  • 2 weeks later...

From the back and forth on this thread, I have no indication that anyone else using the Nexus 7 to run the Torque app has experienced the low charging issue that I have. I can't imagine why I would be the only unlucky one, but it is what it is and I went ahead with the custom kernel install because I couldn't find any other way to solve the problem. For someone who does not hack for a hobby, or a living, I think it was a tough job, not for the faint of heart. I chickened out doing it by myself and used the help of a computer hobbyist who though good on desktops had never messed with phones and tablets. We got done with the procedures and did not brick the tablet so that was good right there, and the charge rate now is I think where it should be. From early testing it looks like I'll be able to charge the battery slightly while running and displaying the gauges. No sense in going into details unless someone else is facing the same problem but if so I'd be happy to share what I've learned about upping the charge rate on the Nexus 7.

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