Frequently Asked Questions – Signals
Q How do I make the sound signals loud enough for my club race?
A It depends on your device and the required volume. A Bluetooth speaker may be enough for training races (connected by audio cable is best) but otherwise a laptop or tablet with amplifier and speaker is a good solution for a large committee boat or race hut.
Q How do I install it?
A There are some detailed instructions on the documentation page. But briefly, you open the app’s page in your browser using the link on the main Signals page – that is it – it will work in the browser. But it is better to then use the “Add To Desktop” or “Add To Home Screen” option in the browser settings to add the icon to your device as it will then open next time like a normal app or program. On some Android devices, there will be a prompt to add/install the app too.
Q Can I use the app on my iPhone?
A Most modern phones will work, including iPhones and Android phones. You may find very small screens or low-powered processors may have problems though. The oldest iPhone I have tried so far is the 4s and this did work. Very new iPhones do not have a headphone socket, so you will have to use another method to connect to an external speaker.
Q How much is the Pro version and what does it do?
A There is no Pro version! Signals is a free app. I wrote it in my spare time to help other sailors and because this type of development interests me. I hope to share the source code when I have time to do so. If you would like to hand over some money please contribute to a sailing charity such as the Andrew Simpson Foundation or to a local club with a Sailability programme (the RYA have details of clubs in the UK).
Q How do I get updates to the app as it is not in an app store?
A When you use Signals and have an internet connection, the app will update itself in the background and you will see the new version next time you restart it. The bottom of the setup page has a version number you can check.
Q There is no internet connection in our race hut. How will the app work?
A This type of app is designed to work without an internet connection after it has been opened the first time.
Q Can I use this for other sports?
A Yes! If you switch the First Start to “Now“, the sequence to “Go!” and the courtesy signals to “Three Seconds” it could be used for swimming, cycling or running races or a school sports day.
Q What version of Android do I need?
A This type of app is more dependent on the browser than the operating system. If you have a recent version of Chrome or Firefox on your device (Safari on iPhone/iPad) then it will work.
Q What about Windows 7 or Windows 10?
A The app works well on Windows desktop and laptop computers. It has been tested mainly on the Chrome browser, but if you use Edge or Firefox it should also work. It has not been tried on Internet Explorer and is not likely to work – IE was dropped by Microsoft back in 2015.
Q Will it work on Chromebooks or Linux computers?
A Yes – as they can run a Chrome or Firefox browser the app should work on these machines. Linux Ubuntu has been tested successfully, but Chromebooks have not been tested yet.
Q What about Surface Pro or MacBook?
A It has not been tested on some devices simply because I do not have access to them. But there is no reason it would not work. Please try it and send feedback to say what the result was.
Q What about Amazon tablets?
A Amazon tablets run a form of Android. Signals will work, but I do not think there is an “Add to home screen” option in the Silk browser. It is possible for this sort of app to be made available through the Amazon Appstore – I will investigate this in the future if enough people want it. The Amazon devices are not very powerful so running sequences with a lot of courtesy signals in them may not work smoothly.
Q Kindles? Or a Raspberry Pi?
A Kindles do not have a headphone socket or Bluetooth – so, no! But a Raspberry Pi could work. You can install Chrome (or Chromium) on Raspbian, for example. I have not tried this yet.
Q How do I uninstall the app or remove anything saved on my device?
A It depends on the device. On Android, the normal uninstall method should work. Support for PWAs on iPhones and iPads is coming (it is down to Apple to implement it), but for now removing the icon from your home screen as you would for any app you uninstall is enough. On any device, if you clear local data in your browser you will remove any saved settings for Signals.