HondaLink app not updating mileage - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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HondaLink app not updating mileage

Title says it all. Worked fine for the first few months but lately not. Seems to retain last "good" update. Message in app does give the last update time and range % seem to be accurate. Have removed app, downloaded and reinstalled with no change. Kind of a pain to go down to garage with key to update mileage on my spreadsheet. Anyone else experiencing this problem? Noticed on the reviews in the Google Play Store that Honda is actually charging a subscription for this app, but haven't had to pay yet and not likely to.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 12:08 PM
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Unlike range and SOC, etc. which update via telematics (cellular network) the odometer updates via Bluetooth and that is what causes the lagging problem.

Although this will be a lengthy explanation, it's actually a more wide ranging explanation of how the different functions in HondaLink communicate, so that it will be more clear why some functions work differently than others. Also a disclaimer, all of this is just what I have been able to figure out from using the app and observing when things work and when they don't work. I don't know of any actual documentation of these details.

Most items in HondaLink communicate via telematics. The communication occurs between the car and Honda servers over the AT&T 3G cellular network. For these functions the car does not communicate directly with your phone. The app on your phone connects via Internet to the Honda servers. Thus for these functions there is no direct communication between your phone and the car.

For example if you are at work or wherever and you are about to leave and you want to start the climate on your car, you go to the app and press "Turn on Climate". The app then communicates this command to the Honda server via the Internet. It doesn't matter how your phone happens to be connected to the Internet at that moment, i.e. you may be connected via cellular data, or your phone might be connected to the Internet using a nearby WiFi hotspot. Either way it's just a routine Internet connection between your phone app and the Honda server via the Internet.

When the Honda server receives your request via the Internet, it then "calls" the car. For this to work your car has to be in cell phone range of an AT&T 3G tower. Once the "call" is connected the server then transmits your climate request to the car, and also receives from the car confirmation and the current temperature. The Honda server then sends to your phone via the Internet the confirmation that climate has started (and the temperature). It then hangs up the cell phone "call" with the car, which is why the temperature on the app doesn't constantly update during the 30 minutes that climate is running. I think it does update the temperature every once in a while but I haven't paid attention to see if the updates are based on temperature change or simply time.

Range and SOC work similar except that the data updates are not user initiated, instead the car "calls" the Honda server when certain events occur, one of which is initiating charging, or ending charging, another event that initiates a phone call to the server is simply shutting off the car (which also transmits location data for "Find My Car"). Also during charging it considers it an "event" when each 15% SOC milestone is reached, i.e. 25%, 40%, 55%, 70%, 85% and 100%. Whenever any of these events occur the car makes a phone call to the Honda server providing an update of charging status, as well as current SOC and range. You may not even have the app running at that time, doesn't matter as this is automatically initiated communication between the car and the Honda server. Later when you open the app and connect (via Internet) to the Honda server it will give you whatever the SOC and range were the last time the car "called in". If however when you shut off the car it was outside of cellular range, it will not be able to update the SOC and range to the server. In that case the app will continue to show whatever the last update was, so you always have to look at the update time (which unfortunately is in hard to read tiny gray font) to make sure that you are looking at the correct data, assuming you remember approximately what time you shut off the car.

Whew, okay now to the odometer which marches to a different drummer. As I mentioned the odometer data is sent directly to your phone via Bluetooth. You don't have to be running the app for it to update, assuming that your phone automatically connects to the car via Bluetooth for phone calls. In theory this means odometer should be constantly updated, but in practice it doesn't work that way. Apparently it updates on some type of schedule although so far I have found no rhyme or reason, all I know is it updates while I am driving, because I arrive home and the app shows an odometer reading several miles in the past. It is not event driven from turning the car on and off, because for example when I arrive home the odometer on the app is for example five miles behind the actual odometer, and I just drove twenty miles, so that means the odometer updated while I was driving and when I was five miles from my house. Since it didn't update again when I shut off the car the app odometer reading is lagging five miles.

The only way I know to force it to update is to go out to the car, turn the car on, open the HondaLink app, when I get the "Connecting" screen on the app don't press dismiss, instead just sit there like a dummy for two minutes or however long it takes for the connecting message to go away, and usually the odometer now updates. Although oddly even then it often is one mile off. Some type of rounding issue I assume. And anyway obviously by that time I could have simply read the odometer reading off the dash. It's the same fundamental flaw as sending map data to the nav system, as the "Send To Car" function also uses Bluetooth, which means you have to be sitting in the car, which completely defeats the purpose as again if you are already in the car you can more quickly just enter the destination directly into the nav screen.

It would be SOOOO nice and SOOOO smart if it simply included the current odometer data during the normal telematics communications when you shut off the car. It is already sending range and SOC data to Honda via telematics whenever you turn off the car, so then why oh why doesn't it include the odometer reading? I understand Honda is paying for the cell data, but is that tiny bit of data really enough to worry about? I wonder how much money they spent building it into Bluetooth instead?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Hondalink app not updating mileage

Wow 2002, well I guess I asked for it, LOL!
Thank you for that very detailed analysis of the Clarity's communication system. I have a better understanding of what's going on "under the hood" now. As I said, the odometer reading from the app seemed to be very accurate for a long time but suddenly its not, and I can't think of why that should have changed. At one point I discovered that turning charging off then on again seemed to update the odometer, but that doesn't work consistently so I guess I'll have to do it the old-fashioned way and eyeball it. On my wish list is to display latest odometer reading when the car is off. I loved that on my old Ford C-Max; so nice to just look through the window and get the reading.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 09:21 PM
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I'm going to start observing it again just out of curiosity, it's been a long time since I have paid any attention to the odometer in the app, once I realized that almost every time I compared it with the actual odometer it was off by several miles. I still tend to think the problem is related to Bluetooth connectivity with the app, although the problem does not seem to be related to the actual Bluetooth connection between the phone and the car.

Here is what I mean by that seemingly contradictory statement. I cannot think of a time when my phone did not connect automatically via Bluetooth to my Clarity. Any time I have tried to make a phone call it is always connected. So I tend to think the overall Bluetooth connection between my phone and the car is pretty solid. Whereas the app often fails to successfully use the Bluetooth connection.

When the actual Bluetooth phone to car connection is made that seems be what triggers the "Connecting" message that appears if I turn on the app in the car, as the app now tries to communicate with the car using the (existing) Bluetooth connection. It fails approximately half the time I have tried. The symptom as far as I can tell for successful connection is that the "Connecting" message goes away by itself without me pressing Dismiss, although that usually takes at least a couple of minutes for some reason for that to happen. I think maybe one time the Connecting message went away in less than thirty seconds but that is rare. The other half of the times that I try it (i.e. I don't press dismiss) the Connecting message never goes away. I have let it run as long as about ten minutes so I assume this means the connecting message will stay on the screen indefinitely. Of course in reality my test cases are few because if I am actually wanting to use the app I immediately press "Dismiss" on that message. Whether "Dismiss" just makes the message go away and it still keeps trying to connect in the background, I don't know, since I am not trying to do anything in the app that uses the Bluetooth connection.

But the times when out of curiosity I wait to see if it will connect or not, there doesn't seem to be a pattern that I have yet found why it connects sometimes but not others. Again the phone connection always works, so I suspect something hangs up the app. I have tried different sequences, i.e. turn on the app first then car and vice-versa, plugging the USB cable in for Android Auto, not plugging it in, but haven't seen any correlation with when the app connects and when it doesn't. But again I haven't tried it that many times.

The reason I am saying all of this about the "Connection" message is as I said previously I think it is a symptom of when the odometer does or does not update. I think when the app can't connect via Bluetooth that's when the odometer won't update. Again I am referring only to the app's Bluetooth connection, which apparently is different from the regular phone and text functions which always work. But more testing is needed to prove my theory as you can't judge too much from just a few tests, as there are some many other potential variables.

I would be surprised if plugging or unplugging the charger would affect anything since that is another one of the telematics events that I mentioned. Just plugging in the charger initiates a phone call to the server even if you don't start charging. I have a charge timer set which means when I plug in it does not automatically start charging. But the car still phones in the moment I plug in, you can hear it make all of the little clicks, and also on the app the Start Charge button turns blue in less than a minute after I plug in (although I have to refresh the app screen). However if I unplug the charger no phone call is made. The Start Charge button on the app remains blue, however if I press it then the server calls the car (I can immediately hear the clicks in the car) but then for some reason the app spends five minutes doing alleged communication with the car before finally the Start Charge button turns gray (but no message that charging did not start). I say alleged because the car is pretty quiet during this five minutes of supposed back and forth communication. I suspect the server knows within a few seconds of connecting that the charger is not plugged in, so I don't know why it needs to go through five minutes of back and forth communication to figure this out.


Anyway more observations might make this more clear. Clear as mud anyway LOL
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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2002, I do agree with your conclusions based on experience, so will continue to monitor my connections for any "rhyme or reason".
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 10:37 PM
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Sometimes when I turn on the app in my house I get the connecting message, even though the car is off, but I think this is just something with the app, based on one brief experiment that I did last week:

Car is off
Turn off Bluetooth on phone.
Turn on car
Turn on app, no connecting message
Turn on Bluetooth on phone, now get connecting message in Hondalink.
Turn off car.
Close and reopen app, get connecting message even though car is off.


It creates what I think is a false impression that the car is still attempting to communicate by Bluetooth even though the car is off. I don't think so, I think the app just hasn't figured out yet that the car is off. As far as I know the only communication the car does when turned off is cellular. The other two (Bluetooth and WiFi) only work when the car is on. Then again WiFi seems of little use, the processor is too underpowered for even minimal web browsing. And I don't think it ever uses WiFi for communication to the Honda servers. Although someone claimed it does if the car is outside of cell phone range. That would be odd though because if the car can communicate with the Honda server using free WiFi why wouldn't Honda take advantage of that every chance they get, instead (if this person is right) they only use WiFi when cellular is not available. Doesn't seem likely though, I think it's more likely it only communicates "telemetry" to Honda servers via cellular. If cellular is not available then no communication with Honda servers, even if the car is connected to WiFi. I have no proof though, that's just my current theory.
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