- June 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm #99046
I thought that this might be an interesting and relatively simple project, considering that I will be locating a transmitter physically separate from the automation computer.
The idea is simple. Use a bluetooth transmitter to transmit my radio broadcast to a bluetooth receiver, which will feed the transmitter. Little did I know.
I obtained several bluetooth receivers from e-bay, based on the common CSR chip. I was able to connect to the devices using both Android and IOS; however, the audio was extremely low. IOS is almost impossible to work with, but there are volume boosters available on Android, which I have to experiment with.
The real problem came when I attempted to connect to the receiver using my Windows 7 automation computer. Apparently, there is minimal support for bluetooth out of the box on Windows 7, at least for audio devices. The generic Microsoft bluetooth drivers, which worked for keyboards, mice, etc. did not work. I attempted to install the Toshiba bluetooth stack (and after running into multiple issues there, finally getting it working) but the receiver still doesn’t connect. At least Windows sees it now, but thinks it’s disconnected, so I’m further ahead than I was.
I’m going to attempt to connect to the receiver using a Windows 8 laptop next – it might be easier all around just to transfer the automation to that computer instead of putzing about with the other one. Although I’ve read about plenty of issues with Bluetooth support in Windows 8 as well, so who knows what I’ll run into there.
To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Anything that could possibly go wrong has (gone wrong). When older versions of Android & IOS can outperform Windows, something is amiss. It’s not as if bluetooth headsets and the like weren’t around for Windows 7.
I’m also disappointed that something that should have been so simple has been a huge time waster, with still more time to invest before I can get something working.
In this process, I’ve also learned a lot about the various music players and effects that are available on IOS & Android. Maybe I’ll post on that as well. (Foreshadowing – forget about IOS. Music players on Android are far richer and plentiful, even more intuitive.)
- June 10, 2018 at 1:42 pm #100640
My understanding is that “Blue Tooth” is a particular form of microwave device that operates in the Wi-Fi region of the spectrum, somewhere near wireless routers and cordless phones, although I have no Blue Tooth equipment.
What I do have is a stereo-Wi-Fi transmitter receiver that uses a chunk of Wi-Fi spectrum to send audio from a USB transmitter to a blackbox receiver, and I only recently brought it back into service as a link from the work station out to the EDM FM transmitter.
More about the device…. I got it from MCM, and figured if I got two of them I’d be able to use one transmitter and two receivers to reach 2 different destinations but that failed because this thing is exclusive and only reaches one receiver. MCM understood this and refunded me on the 2nd unit, then removed it from their catalog.
Now about a problem since returning it to service… I was getting crackling as if a wire was loose somewhere, and at first thought it was weird multipath involving the EDM transmitter.
After a few days I realized the Wi-Fi signal was being intermittent, and was able to recover by moving the receiver slightly, now it’s fine.
Other than USB audio the thing has no other computer connection.
- June 10, 2018 at 9:07 pm #101130
I gave up on using bluetooth after the odd experience i had with the Chromecast audio.it hijacked the wifi signal and tried to act as a router.this happened several times.
- June 11, 2018 at 1:07 pm #100637
Hi Artisan: Re: Bluetooth
I’ve experimented with Bluetooth a lot.
I’ll have to check my notes.
I can say this – Bluetooth is
go about 30 feet?
Is that correct? I’ve never
had a range of more than 10
or 15 feet…
- June 11, 2018 at 2:27 pm #101821
I am documenting my experiences with Bluetooth so that others can avoid the same pitfalls.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology to transfer data over short distances – up to 10 meters (theoretically). It was initially meant as a wireless alternative to RS-232 cables, which makes it, again theoretically, ideal for the remote feeding of transmitters.
The Bluetooth standard is up to 4.x, and once again theoretically, it should be backwards compatible.
So far, I’ve found that IOS and Android handle bluetooth devices much more smoothly than Windows PCs.
I managed to solve my problems with the Bluetooth receiver not connecting by purchasing another Bluetooth dongle for my laptop. Both the initial one and the new one are Bluetooth V2. The receiver uses up to Bluetooth V4. But for some reason or another, the first dongle wasn’t backwards compatible and wasn’t able to establish a connection.
So I could now establish a connection, but the audio with the built in Windows bluetooth drivers was stuttering madly. I installed the Toshiba Bluetooth stack for Windows 7 x64 (and Vista) and it works much better, but there is still some stuttering.
Upon searching the Internet, I find that this is a common problem with Bluetooth speakers and headphone devices, and that there are various potential solutions. That’s where I’m at right now.
This is turning out to be a much larger problem than I had anticipated. On the one hand, I want to get this blasted thing to work. On the other, I don’t want to waste my time.
It should be noted that using my iPhone as a music source, there was no stuttering, and I was able to establish a connection to the receiver close to 30 feet away. My older Android phone worked just as well, but the range was much shorter, about 10-15 feet. I suspect that the range depends greatly on the specific source device.
I’m hoping that the Windows dongle will have close to that 10 meter range, but I’m not close to testing that yet.
Oh, and the Toshiba Bluetooth stack is theoretically an evaluation copy, although nowhere on the Toshiba site does it mention that. After yet more Internet searching, I found that you have to edit the registry to make it work on a permanent basis (the evaluation period is theoretically, there’s that word again, 30 days, but mine gave me an error after about an hour).
More to come…
- June 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm #101900
I’m cutting my losses and going back to using WiFi to remotely feed a transmitter (laptop at one end, an Internet Radio receiving the stream and feeding the audio out to the transmitter).
I did manage to get a stutter free Bluetooth fed transmitter going, after deleting the bluetooth device and reinstalling it. But the stutter came back after disconnecting and then reconnecting.
To do that every time would be a royal pain. Add to that the far greater, reliable range of WiFi, and there’s really no choice.
It also doesn’t look like Bluetooth works any better for audio on later versions of Windows. From my perspective, Bluetooth is best left to smartphones feeding car radios or portable speakers (IOS and Android appear to have gotten it mostly right).
- June 12, 2018 at 9:39 am #102380
Wireless bluetooth headphones
have worked for me.
This is one thing that bluetooth did right.
My radio listening shack is in the extreme back of the
house. I can at least cook
in the kitchen and the bluetooth link works. Any
further and I lose the co nection though. But – I
wanted wireless headphones all my life
and they were too expensive.
Finally I was able to get some for 27 dollars. (Not
counting the cost of the
- June 12, 2018 at 11:10 am #102444
If you are using a separate Bluetooth transmitter, fed by analog audio (such as a 3.5mm plug), then I’ve rarely seen problems either.
It’s computer (and Windows) support for the Bluetooth (Blueteeth?) transmitters that appears to be the issue. I wanted to minimize the number of A/D conversions in the audio chain, which is why I was going the route I described. Each conversion has the potential to introduce audio artifacts, and lessen the quality.
Plus, you have more control over the Bluetooth connection with Windows (if it worked). For example, the headset audio profile in the software I’m using allows you to select the audio quality (which relates directly to bandwidth). You can’t do that with separate, standalone, Bluetooth transmitters and receivers.
If I do decide to continue my experiments, I will feed a Bluetooth transmitter with the analog output from my computer audio jack (I do audio processing on the computer), and then feed the audio from a paired receiver to my FM transmitter.
- June 12, 2018 at 11:12 am #102445
All this Bluetooth talk has captured my interest so I looked it up
I’m especially interested now in Bluetooth 5.0 and plan to explore the available technology.
Based on what we’ve read here anything requiring Windows compatibility doesn’t sound like the way to go since Windows is such freakish monster.
Standalone Bluetooth would be nice, if it exists.
- June 13, 2018 at 7:08 am #102804
- June 13, 2018 at 3:44 pm #103009
I think I read through virtually every ‘how to’ article re Bluetooth. Most of them reinforced my belief that those who can, do. Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach write these articles (which, unfortunately, some treat as their main source of information).
Since I was able to resolve my problem by simply getting a new, inexpensive, Bluetooth dongle, while everything else remained the same, it’s virtually guaranteed that the issue was with the original dongle, likely a driver/firmware problem.
I’m going to get two, identical, standalone Bluetooth transmitters/receivers and play around with those. Thelegacy uses a similar setup in his new CQUAM installation, at least going by his description. As long as the devices have analog inputs and outputs, there should be no issues.
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