You need to configure your Android phone to work with MaxMon. Below is a step-by-step guide to configuring Android v2.3.*, the Android version often used on low-cost phones. It should be straightforward to also apply these instructions to later versions of Android.

This is what the home screen looks like (on a typical Android 2.3.* phone). You can get here from any other screen on the phone by pressing the HOME button - which is generally positioned low and central on the face of the phone.

Settings

To access Android settings press the MENU button on the phone (Q: Where is the MENU button?) to bring up a context-sensitive menu for the home screen. Then click the "Settings" icon (highlighted).

Alternatively, you could run the Android "Settings" app.

Android settings are grouped by category, e.g. "Wireless & networks". In future, if we ask you to go to "Settings>Wireless & networks" screen we mean navigate from the home screen to the appropriate settings category using the MENU button.

Version

Before configuring the phone it's useful to look up the version of Android it's running, since this helps find the right Android documentation on Google Support . Scroll down until you find the "About phone" settings category and select it.

Scroll down the resulting screen until you find the Android version. On some phones this is under "Firmware version" but on most it is called "Android version". There is also a release family codename, which applies to a series of Android versions that are sufficiently similar that they can share the same Google documentation. In this example the phone is running Android 2.3.6 (GINGERBREAD).

android-settings-updates

Android updates

Given that you may be leaving the Android phone unattended for long periods of time you should disable automatic Android updates, in case the update is incompatible with MaxMon - see Q: Which versions of Android do you support? On the "About phone" screen select the "Software update" or "System update" setting.

android-settings-updates-1Disable any auto-update settings. You can manually check for Android updates when you are next at your remote monitored location, but remember to check that MaxMon supports the updated Android version BEFORE YOU UPDATE!

You will also want to disable app auto-updates, as they can rapidly leave your phone with insufficient storage (and you won't be using them anyway - see below for details).

Date & time

Use the phone's BACK key (usually a hard or soft button low right on the face of the phone) to return to the list of settings categories and select "Date & time". Optimal settings for MaxMon are:

  • Automatic: Use network-provided values (only works if the phone will be connected to the cellular network, otherwise set the date, time and time zone manually).
  • Use 24-hour format (not required but useful to avoid ambiguity when scheduling MaxMon reports).

NOTE: If the phone time is inaccurate the phone may be unable to communicate over the network or use remote control (as it cannot validate time-stamped security certificates).

Wi-Fi

If you have Wi-Fi at your remote property you will want to enable Wi-Fi on your phone. Go to "Settings>Wireless & network" and enable Wi-Fi by configuring the settings found under "Wi-Fi" and "Wi-Fi settings". The phone will list discovered Wi-Fi networks (so you need to be at your remote property to do this!) and prompt you for a password when you attempt to connect - if security is enabled.

Mobile data

If you want MaxMon to use the mobile (cellular) data network to send you reports and alerts the phone will need a monthly contract or pay-as-you-go SIM installed. Here we assume the SIM is already installed. Go to "Settings>Wireless & network" and select the "Mobile networks" category.

Check the "Mobile network" settings:

  • Data enabled - must be enabled to use mobile data.
  • Data roaming - only enable this if required to get mobile data working (roaming normally incurs significant additional charges).

Connected?

To test whether Wi-Fi and/or mobile data is working on the phone return to the home screen and launch a web browser app. Try and access a public Internet web site such as Google. If you can access it your phone is on the network!

Test both Wi-Fi and mobile data by disabling one and testing the other. Note that leaving mobile data enabled, with a zero-credit PAYG SIM left in the phone, provides a very useful fallback in case Wi-Fi fails at your remote property. Just top up the pay-as-you-go SIM to resume service!

Text messaging

MaxMon can send summary reports and alerts via text (SMS) messages, if the Android phone has a monthly contract or pay-as-you-go SIM installed. If such a SIM is installed there is nothing else to do to in Android enable text messaging, but it's still a good idea to test it by sending yourself a text using the "Messaging" app on the home screen.

Google account

Every Android phone requires a Google account. This is used to install the MaxMon app and to send email reports and alerts. To create this new account (don't use an existing account) follow the detailed instructions at Q: How do I create a new Google account for MaxMon? then return here. Note that while it is very easy to create Gmail accounts the MaxMon app requires some special account settings (so please do follow these instructions).

Back on the phone:

  • Go to "Settings>Accounts & sync".
  • Enable "Background data" and disable "Auto-sync".
  • Select the "Add account" button at the bottom of the screen and press "Next".
  • Select "Sign in" under "Already have a Google account?" and enter the username and password of the Google account you just created.

If prompted for Google location settings ... it doesn't matter what you enter here, but we usually disable them.

If prompted for "Backup and restore" settings ... this is a useful feature of Android, where your phone can automatically backup your apps, settings, Wi-Fi passwords, etc. to the Internet. So if you replace your phone you can immediately restore your Android settings from this screen. If you have just created your new Google account then disable "Restore from my Google account ..." and enable "Keep this device backed up with my Google Account".

When you're done associating a new Google account with the phone you will be returned to this screen (where you should see see the new Google account).

Check Gmail

It's important to check your new Google account works. Connect the phone to the Internet via Wi-Fi or mobile data (as described ealier), open the Gmail app from the home screen and send an email to your personal email account. Check you receive it.

REMEMBER: the new Google account is only meant to be used on the phone left behind at your remote property, to send MaxMon reports and alerts to your regular personal email address.

google-play-store-settings

App auto-update

In order to prevent your MaxMon phone from running low on storage while at some remote monitored location it is very important to disable the auto-updating of unused apps, which can gobble up storage. See Q: How do I stop my MaxMon phone running out of memory? then return to this page.

android-settings-location

Location

If you want to use MaxMon track location go to "Settings>Location" and enable the phone's location sensors. Android phones get location from two sources:

  • GPS satellites - Accurate but consumes a lot of power (reducing battery life to 8-12 hours on low-cost phones) and may not work if no clear line of sight to satellites.
  • Wireless networks - Phone attempts to derive location by sniffing nearby Wi-Fi networks (requires Wi-Fi to be enabled on the phone) and/or the cellular network (requires a SIM). Lower power consumption but can be surprisingly accurate.

If you are interested in location you should usually enable both sources. Android phones often have additional settings (like EPO or A-GPS) which speed up GPS acquisition and usually require an Internet connection. Consult your phone documentation and experiment.

android-settings-bluetoothBluetooth

If you are using a Bluetooth-enabled Quatropus2 accessory to add external sensors or actuators go to "Settings> Wireless & Networks> Bluetooth settings" and enable Bluetooth (so the Quatropus2 can communicate with the phone).

android-settings-usbUSB Debugging

If you are using a USB-connected Quatropus1 accessory to add external sensors or actuators go to "Settings> Applications> Development" and enable "USB debugging" (so the Quatropus1 can communicate over the USB cable). In later versions of Android look under "Settings> Developer options". Disable USB debugging if only using Quatropus2 accessories.

Your phone should now be ready to install the MaxMon app.