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TomEV 12-17-2010 03:20 PM

Alltrax Monitor - Palm V
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I have an Alltrax controller in the Citicar. In order to monitor amps, volts and the like, you can connect it to a laptop computer. Problem is, they are generally a bit awkward to look at when driving.

Another Citicar owner told me he used a Palm PDA to monitor his Alltrax. I got an old Palm from a member of the local EV club (they're usually on eBay for about $10) and uploaded the Alltrax app to the Palm. There were some trials and tribulations in getting it to work, but ultimately I managed to work it out.

Parts Needed -

In order to connect the Palm to the Alltrax, you'll need a serial cable (9-pin) and a null modem. The null modem is a small cube-like device that crosses the input pin on one side to the output pin on the other. Nothing fancy, but they cost about $9 at Radio shack. The cable is another issue, and may not be as easy to find. Since the Palm serial port adapter and the Alltrax are computer peripherals, they have 9-pin female connectors (pin sockets). A regular serial cable has pins on one end and pin sockets on the other (male-female) In order to make things work, you need a cable with pins on both ends (male-male). These can be hard to find.

There are other issues with the Palm (screen alignment is a big problem) but can be managed. I'll post additional details if anyone is interested.

Ryland 02-13-2011 05:26 PM

I would like to know more about how this works and if you have had many problems with implementing the palm pilot in day to day use.
Also, any idea if you could use Bluetooth instead of the string of cords and adapters? I looked and serial port to Bluetooth adapters are out there for about $60-$100 I of course have very little first hand knolage of PDA's and smart phones so I don't know how hard it would be to make that work, but after reading about how all of the new electric cars that are being sold this year can be tapped in to via a smart phone it seems like doing the same thing with an alltrax should be possible.

TomEV 02-13-2011 08:40 PM

The Palm monitor works about the same as the Alltrax logging utility, but the Palm allows you to see the running total of energy used. And you don't have to lug around a laptop.

The more difficult part is finding a good way to mount the Palm cradle. I really haven't used it more than a few times, and normally just put it on the seat next to me.

As long as the Palm end of the Bluetooth adapter is communicating, I don't see why it wouldn't work. I'd use the cables first, however, to see if it is something you find useful before working through a Bluetooth setup.

Nevyn 02-13-2011 09:37 PM

I have 2 Palm Vx handhelds - be willing to send one your way on the super-cheap if you want/need. Has wi-fi and bluetooth onboard.

bennelson 02-13-2011 09:40 PM


I have an Alltrax AXE on the motorcycle. I think I have an old Palm somewhere. Wonder if it's a compatible one...

I might have to try this out.

Found the Palm Pilot. It's a PalmV with the cradle. The cradle has a wall wort power supply and a COM connector. I'm going to be re-working the electric motorcycle this spring and will have to try this out.

Ryland 05-01-2014 04:51 PM

So it turns out there are Null Modems that are also male to male connectors, or if you need a longer cord with everything there are male to male cord null modems!
Maybe this is only exciting to me because I live a sheltered life and am just learning about all of this.

Male to Male Null Modem for less then $3 with free shipping. C2G / Cables to Go 02782 DB9 Male/Male Mini Gender Changer: Electronics

Cobb 05-01-2014 09:39 PM

FYI I got a palm 3c and m125 laying around. :turtle:

P-hack 05-02-2014 10:07 AM

re: bluetooth, bluetooth uart modules are like $5 these days
I just picked one up and was talking to an arduino with an android tablet in no time.
ArduDroid: A Simple 2-Way Bluetooth-based Android Controller for Arduino

it is 3.3v (that is what the resistors are for) so you just need to level shift your alltrax accordingly (i.e. max232 or a couple resistors and a transistor, borrowed from the lower left of the arduino serial board)

My 4g relay with its keyboard makes for a nice tiny serial terminal. If I need to tweak a controller I can just whip out my phone instead of hooking up a laptop (as well at being good at graphics).

edit, looks like an integrated bluetooth/serial "dongle" is $13, just plug it in to your alltrax and connect with your bluetooth device.

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