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I am a student pilot, and would like to record my training flights (in a C152) to look back on. I do not have a Go-Pro, and do not want to fork over the money for one. I do however, own a Samsung Galaxy S5, that has a pretty good camera.

I was wondering if anyone had some ideas as to how I could record my flights using my phone? I have bought a mount, a Y-cable connection for the 1/4"" phone jack, an TRRS cable and a Headphone/Microphone splitter cable for recording the headset audio.

I have, however, noticed that the avionics interferes with the recording and causes the phone to stop recording. Does anyone happen to know why this is?

In addition, this question is not limited to my specific cables/connectors.

Please let me know if anyone has found a working solution with their Android phone in the past. A similar question was answered for IPhone users. Does anyone have experience with Android phones?

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  • $\begingroup$ Whenever I turn on the avionics, the recording may stop and go to the "OK Google" feature but that is due to repeated talking in the microphone. I believe the avionics stops the recording as I have seen both audio recording and video recording apps get stopped during mid flight. Does anyone know why? $\endgroup$ – nndhawan Feb 3 '17 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ I cleaned up the links for you, but you should be able to edit your own question regardless of how much reputation you have. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Feb 3 '17 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ OK thank you - stack exchange stopped me, it said I needed 10 rep points prior to posting. Perhaps afterwards I can...not sure. $\endgroup$ – nndhawan Feb 3 '17 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ When I used a camera that didn't have an audio input, I had a cheap handheld audio recorder from Walmart that I hooked into my headset jack. I later synced up the audio by giving a visual cue and saying something ("3..2..1..Mark" and using fingers). I then synchronized the audio in Windows Movie Maker. After that I decided to "fork over the money" for the Garmin VIRB. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 3 '17 at 5:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters new users are limited to 2 links per post, IIRC $\endgroup$ – Federico Feb 3 '17 at 7:22
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Android by default has Google Now enables, which include voice search. Voice search listens for the words "Ok Google" when you speak, but phones also detect a long press in a headphone button (on headphones with controls). It can also be fooled into activating by odd signals like the pop when you turn on the avionics master switch or loud droning noises like motorcycle and airplane engines.

First thing I would try is to turn off the voice detection, see this page for instructions. Now google voice should stop popping up if the phone is being fooled by noise.

However, that may not be the end of it if the phone is detecting static or other signals as a long headphone control press, in which case it may still interrupt your setup. In that case you will need to use an app to disable the headphone controls, the one I've heard of is SoundAbout, or your phone's distribution may have settings to let you do it.

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  • $\begingroup$ @GgD I think you are onto something here. I've tried this out with a headset and the phone did exactly what it does on the airplane. I think we may have just found out the root cause, hopefully that was it. I will try and report back. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – nndhawan Feb 3 '17 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ Good luck on your training @nndhawan $\endgroup$ – GdD Feb 4 '17 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ @GgD please accept my edit so that all can benefit from the final solution. $\endgroup$ – nndhawan Feb 25 '17 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ That's not what edits are for @nndhawan, I suggest you put it in a comment or answer your own question. $\endgroup$ – GdD Feb 25 '17 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ Ok @GgD. Please don't mind me if I take some parts of your answer. The insights you provided were accurate and helped me discover the solution. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – nndhawan Feb 26 '17 at 15:08
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Android by default has Google Now installed. Voice search listens for the words "Ok Google" when you speak, but phones also detect a long press in a headphone button (on headphones with controls). It can also be fooled into activating by odd signals like the pop when you turn on the avionics master switch or loud droning noises like motorcycle and airplane engines. [credit: @GdD 02/03/2017]

In this case, it was the static and popping noises made by transmissions of the radio com that would interrupt recordings as it masked itself as the long press on the headphone jack. This would stop a recording and start the voice search app.

A quick fix is to disable Google Now. This disables any Google features including "headphone long press" detection from the headphone jack. No other app uses the long press to activate, effectively eliminating the problem from ever interrupting your recording during flight. No need to download an app just disable Google Now in Settings > Applications > Google Now > Disable.

Once this is resolved, I noticed that my video won't record past 4 GB. This is because of the FAT32 file system limit of my SD card (default for Android SD cards). An app can fix this and automatically restart a new recording when the file system size limit has reached. There is no getting around this limitation of the file system other than restarting a new file.

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    $\begingroup$ On Marshmallow, if you make the SD card "adoptable storage", it'll use ext4 instead of FAT32, and you can have files larger than 4 GB, at the cost of not being able to take the SD card out of the phone and use it elsewhere. But at least on the S4, Samsung has put a limit in the camera app to stop you tripping over the 4 GB limit, regardless of what filesystem is on the SD card. See How to record More than 4GB Video on exFAT? on Android.SE. $\endgroup$ – Dan Hulme Feb 27 '17 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @DanHulme: ext4 works on all (newer versions of) Linux distros, not just Android. $\endgroup$ – Sean Oct 8 '19 at 5:11

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