bluetooth mess - bt is crap

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chris501's picture
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so, i was searching for a way to get a bluetooth headset connect with the mac. on my G5 with 10.4.5 and integrated bluetooth it works fine, without any hitches, and it works fine on a Windows XP laptop with SP2 and a MSI 3x usb bluetooth stick.

however, i have several mac machines (powerbooks / powermacs, partially with integrated bluetooth, the rest with diverse usb bluetooth sticks) which are not able to connect with the headset. most often they get the message "cannot connect, headset not supported by your hardware". or there is simply no headset shown in the bluetooth devices list.

is it true that you either need internal bluetooth or a d-link dbt-120 device to connect to headsets? i also read that even if you have integrated bt or the dbt-120 stick, you still need to do a firmware upgrade and/or download the latest bluetooth software from apple.

has anybody experience with that and is able to clarify this?

i must admit i'm getting a bit angry at the moment. why did they define a bluetooth standard when devices that should work together just do the exact opposite??? i don't know if it's apple's fault or not. but it's also a fault of manufacturers of bluetooth usb sticks and headsets. they just tell you on their homepage that their device is compatible with OS X, but they don't care at all how you manage to get things going...

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iantm's picture
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Joined: Apr 2 2005
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Which headset?

I have the Motorola HS 815 (cheapie - $30 after rebate), and it works perfectly fine with the built in bluetooth in my macs, as well as my motorola razr v3. I'd say the issue is the headset. How old is the headset? Is it an older headset? I know some of the older or off brand (i.e. made by someone other than a phone manufacture) headsets don't tend work well with OS X and often fine with Windows.

Frankly, I've been terribly happy with Motorola, and can't recommend them enough.

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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I can not speak about the Mac

I can not speak about the Mac, but windows XP does not include a full bluetooth stack. My ThinkPad used the built in Microsoft drivers and stack and it would not work with my headset. I had to download the drivers from IBM which included the full WIDCOMM buletooth stack. My guess is that something simular is going on. So I would say get the latest buletooth software from Apple.

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BDub's picture
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What version of OS X are they

What version of OS X are they running? Early versions of 10.4 (Until 10.4.3 I think) had some bluetooth issues.

<unrelated>
Bluetooth is wonderful. A friend was just trying to erase a rather embarrassing video from another friends phone. My Powerbook is on the approved list to connect via bluetooth, so I just grabbed the file via bluetooth before she could erase it.
</unrelated>

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catmistake's picture
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Does pairing cause issues?

I use my bt headset with 2 devices: my phone and my computer, with great success.

To get it to connect to my computer, I use the bt menu in the system tray ("Browse Device").
To get it to connect back to my phone, I turn bt off on the computer, and all I have to do is push the call button on my bt headset a few times, and it auto connects to the phone (I used to have to navigate through the phone's function menus before I discovered I could get it to connect without touching the phone.) In order to connect my computer to my phone, to pull off photos or to sync or whathave you, the headset must be disconnected from the phone, and I use the bt menu. My understanding is that the headset is "paired" with the phone, so when not connected, and I activate the headset, it automagically connects to the phone, not the computer.

Being that you have apparently a bunch of devices that you want to connect to a single device (assumed... one at a time), it sounds like it would get aweful confusing. I've only posted the "what happens for me" for the small possibility of giving insight (as I have no earthly idea what the problem really is).

chris501's picture
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Joined: Apr 5 2005
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it's mostly os x 10.4.5 or...

it's mostly os x 10.4.5 or 10.3.9. it seems that the only way to use a bluetooth headset with the dbt-120 stick or internal bluetooth. but even then you'll have to update the bluetooth firmware and/or download the latest bluetooth software from apple.

one remark: it looks like i have these problems only with bluetooth 2.0 headsets. it works without a hinch with my old motorola hs-801, which was paired with my motorola cellular (the one with the big touchscreen and a stylus, don't know the name of it).

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chris501's picture
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hmmmm....

well, the only thing i want to use it with is my headset (for skyping) and with my cellular (for transferring files from and to the phone).

i always do a disconnect before hooking up the bt headset. that means, i turn off the bluetooth on my mobile, btw.

the problem is that i can't get my headset paired at all, it just says "your bluetooth hardware doesnt support bluetooth headsets", which is just not true when using the built-in bt or the addon stick i'm using (msi 3x bt 2.0 or the dbt-122 from d-link, newer model as the dbt-120).

thanks for posting your experiences, though...

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catmistake's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Streaming Bluetooth

Is there software to allow powerbooks to support the new streaming bluetooth thing (is it BlueTooth 2.0?) ? so that some headsets can receive a higher fidelity audio, and actually control iTunes from the headset?