Android devices


Senior Member
What do you mean by "Picaxe usable" apps?

In terms of programming a Picaxe or controlling/interacting with one?

Jeremy Harris

Senior Member
In essence the education-focussed Blockly Chromium app for writing offline Picaxe code graphically (and I specifically mention Chromium, not Chrome that comes with a stack of Google-added spy stuff, as does Android unless you take the effort to get rid of it all) works with Android, although I've not tried it as I prefer writing code as text. Programming is a problem, as although you can make a PL2303 or FTDI USB to serial adapter work with Android OK, there doesn't appear to be an option available for programming a Picaxe. The majority of Android devices have an OTG micro USB connector and it's not 100% straightforward to connect this to standard USB and make it work 100%, plus it's not that easy to load USB to serial drivers to Android, I've found. However, I have another Chromium app that talks to a USB controlled radio data link and that works fine in Android as well as Linux (probably works under Windows, too, but I've not tried it), so it looks feasible to get a programming editor working under Android, especially as the Android kernel is based on Linux..

What would be nice is a direct equivalent to the Windows Programme Editor that works reliably under Linux. Axepad is hopelessly flaky, and crashes near-continuously, especially when trying to save a file when it always crashes on all three of the Linux machines I have. I use it because I have to, but the only way to reliably save a file is to cut and paste the text into a text editor and save it. I've lost count of the number of times I've lost code since I switched from using Windows to Linux.

I'm working on trying to get the windows programming editor to work properly under WINE. The alternative is to just write code in a text editor (foregoing all the nice features in the programming editor) and then load the file into Axepad solely to programme the Picaxe, not a great way to work but it does allow files to be saved reliably.

Captain Haddock

Senior Member
I was thinking about something along the lines of PE that can be done on android, would be handy for making tweaks to programs when the circuit is in use away from home, just tweak on the phone upload to picaxe and try.

Jeremy Harris

Senior Member
I was thinking about something along the lines of PE that can be done on android, would be handy for making tweaks to programs when the circuit is in use away from home, just tweak on the phone upload to picaxe and try.
As above, it's talking to the hardware that is probably the sticking point. The Android kernel doesn't have native serial port support of any kind, so to get it you have to compile a new kernel with a driver for something like the PL2303, which, I believe, can be made to programme a Picaxe. This is not for the faint-hearted, though, as it means rooting the Android device and loading a new kernel, that's been custom built to provide the required support. You then need to get an app to talk to the port, but that may well be possible using code from either Axepad or Blockly (not sure about the latter).

As already suggested, a cheap Windows tablet would probably be a hell of a lot simpler. Android just wasn't really designed to interface with a wide range of hardware, so the kernel is missing a lot of the stuff that is pretty standard in any other Linux kernel.


Senior Member
Android has the means to do it. I used a micro USB OTG cable connected to a FTDI FT230X usb to serial adapter to read data from my AXEtimeter project. I used a few different serial terminals and they all worked fine. Don't see how an android app would be out of the question but I don't think it's in much demand.


Technical Support
Staff member
Apps such as this
do work with the AXE027 if you enter the correct PID/VID (and have a compatible Android usb-host device/adapter cable). You do not need to adapt the kernel in any way.

The BASIC editor within generates a compiled .axe file for downloading. Although you can't yet download the .axe file from an Android device (the downloaded app currently works on windows/mac/linux/chromebook) at some point in the future an Android downloader app should also be possible.


Senior Member
I can’t see where Android would be that useful as a PE. However, an Android phone or tablet would make a nice-looking operator interface.

example application: Tracking a compass or GPS heading on a yak/canoe/boat etc.
Android app sends function code & value to a Picaxe controlling a servo linked to a rudder or trolling motor.
only a very simple protocol needed (e.g.)
note: example as pseudo-code
Android —> S —> Picaxe ; select function S (steering)
; respond to above
Android <&#8212; S 5 <CR> <&#8212; Picaxe ; send selected function & value to Android
Android &#8212;> 9 <CR> &#8212;> Picaxe ; set value of selected function

Android &#8212;> H &#8212;> Picaxe ; function H (hold current position on water)

; etc&#8230;&#8230; add other functions A&#8230;Z as needed