Version 4

    Wireless at Last!


    Now that it has been a few weeks since the release of the Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 3, support for the WiFi and Bluetooth chip has settled and you can use it with Raspbian. Support with Windows 10 IoT Core will be available in the early days via the Insider Program before it is pushed through to the full release.


    As usual, with Raspbian ensure that you have your distribution up to date, with this guide we will be using Raspbian Jessie, at present it is still the ARMv7 32bit kernel. Connect your Raspberry Pi to the internet either via WiFi or Ethernet and run the following commands:


    sudo apt-get update

    sudo apt-get upgrade -y

    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

    sudo rpi-update


    Installing the Software


    From a console terminal, either from within your desktop environment, which at the time of writing the window manager is still LXDE. This will ensure your system is up to date.


    Now you have a few options, you can install the following package:


    sudo apt-get install pi-bluetooth


    Which should install what you need to use the bluetooth portion of the chip, this installs the following packages which you can, if you want, install instead of pi-bluetooth:


    sudo apt-get install bluez bluez-firmware


    As the chip requires a firmware blob to work along with the driver. Bluez also installs a suite of tools. These will work from the console terminal. Should you wish to manage your bluetooth devices from your X environment, aka your windows manager, aka your desktop then you can install the following package:


    sudo apt-get install blueman


    After installing the software and drivers, reboot your Raspberry Pi. Unless you know otherwise, to load the driver for the adapter.


    Terminal / Console


    Bluez comes with a tool called 'bluetoothctl' which you can run from the console terminal, typing 'man bluetoothctl' does not give you a great deal of detail, so you have to type 'help' from within the software:

    pi@raspberrypi:~ $ bluetoothctl

    [bluetooth]# help

    Available commands:

      list                       List available controllers

      show [ctrl]                Controller information

      select <ctrl>              Select default controller

      devices                    List available devices

      paired-devices             List paired devices

      power <on/off>             Set controller power

      pairable <on/off>          Set controller pairable mode

      discoverable <on/off>      Set controller discoverable mode

      agent <on/off/capability>  Enable/disable agent with given capability

      default-agent              Set agent as the default one

      scan <on/off>              Scan for devices

      info <dev>                 Device information

      pair <dev>                 Pair with device

      trust <dev>                Trust device

      untrust <dev>              Untrust device

      block <dev>                Block device

      unblock <dev>              Unblock device

      remove <dev>               Remove device

      connect <dev>              Connect device

      disconnect <dev>           Disconnect device

      version                    Display version

      quit                       Quit program


    Now we are in bluetoothctl we can run the commands, first lets make sure that bluetooth is on, running and discovering devices:


    With the commands 'power on', 'agent on' and 'scan on'. Though we likely only need 'power on' and 'scan on'.

    Devices! and while the software is running we will see devices appear, change, delete, etc. We can then connect to a device using its MAC address. Basically, we are talking to the devices directly at the hardware layer, usually on your typical WiFi or Ethernet network this is done transparently to you and we only work with IP addresses. However with Bluetooth at this point, no.


    We can also then pair and trust the device and do all the fun features of Bluetooth, provided these are successful.



    Some consider the blueman package and software to be unstable, though the sources saying so are a bit dated by now and it may be somewhat more stable.



    When you have the blueman package installed, you should have a nice Bluetooth icon in your system tray. If you left-click with a mouse connected to your Raspberry Pi you should get a menu with all of the, hopefully, self explanatory options for you to play with, which for some reason I could not capture with scrot/imagemagick, so you get a nice photograph:




    Yum, pixelated (it was an old Dell monitor). If we want to scan for devices, similarly to using the 'scan' command for bluetoothctl then we select 'Devices' on the menu:


    And from here we can see what is available in the vicinity, you may be surprised at suddenly finding your neighbours smart television or phone, you will find out how thin your walls really are. It can be more fun in the office at work.


    However, let us select "setup a new device":


    {gallery} Add New Device

    Add New Devices: Introduction

    Add New Device: Choose the Device to Connect to

    Add New Device: Choose a pairing code


    However, what I discovered is that the passkey method is practically deprecated or ignored, it may be applicable for older Bluetooth software or devices, but these days you will get a prompt appear (and for myself, then hide) on Raspbian, next to the icon for blueman, there will be a message, and in this message it will display a message like:


    This device wants to pair with this machine, with this code xxxxxxxx, do you want to permit or deny?


    This likely happens with new devices such as smart phones and televisions, as a security measure that you are physically holding or looking at the device in question. Of course you then 'permit' on either the device or Raspbian and the two will be paired. Allowing you to then setup drivers for your Bluetooth device functionality, to use it as a modem, in the case of a phone, share its internet access or simply send files to and from it. Potentially, you can even use it as an audio device!


    Attaching to devices such as headsets tends to be easier, and usually does not use a pairing code. A standard is usually four zeroes (0000) with most consumer devices.


    Have you setup your Raspberry Pi 3 with Bluetooth?

    Perhaps speakers, or even the Panasonic Grid Eye sensor boardPanasonic Grid Eye sensor board? (yes, it has bluetooth). I am not sure what I will do with mine, but after I backed the Bluetooth Audio Link I may use it with some speakers, or perhaps add the functionality to remote control a Plex Server.