Get Rid of Raspberry Pi Cables with Plugable Keyboards and Raspbian Jessie

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The Raspberry Pi makes a great platform for everything from basic computing to automation and the Internet of Things (IoT), but wires and cabling are always a challenge when using it. Now you can dump that pesky keyboard cable with Plugable’s Bluetooth folding keyboards and Jessie, the latest version of the Pi’s Raspbian OS (kernel 4.1).

Plugable already liberates you from the LAN cable with our USB WiFi adapter and its built-in support in Jessie. After installing the Blueman package, you can now easily connect our compact BT-KEY3 or full-size BT-KEY3XL keyboard and stash that USB keyboard in a drawer. The latest Jessie update automatically reconnects after reboots and keyboard power-downs.

Below is our simple tutorial on how to make this happen using the friendly graphical interface provided by Jessie. You still need your USB keyboard to get started, but not for long…

Update your system and install the Bluetooth Manager

    1. Make sure you have the latest Raspbian (Jessie) installed: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/
    2. Open a terminal window and run the following commands:
      • sudo apt-get update   (this could take a bit of time)20160218-2016-02-18-135007_656x424_scrot
      • sudo apt-get upgrade   (this will likely take some time)20160218-2016-02-18-135036_656x419_scrot
      • sudo apt-get install blueman
        20160218-2016-02-18-135106_654x423_scrot
    3. Reboot the Raspberry Pi.

Connect your keyboard

    1. Open the Bluetooth Manager: Menu > Preferences > Bluetooth Manager:20160218-2016-02-18-135652_1776x952_scrot
    2. Open the Plugable keyboard and make sure it is charged and ON. The green Power LED will light briefly. Press Fn-C to start Bluetooth advertising on the keyboard. The blue State LED should start blinking blue.
    3. Search for Bluetooth Devices. Plugable Folding Keyboard should appear in the list:20160218-2016-02-18-140259_1776x952_scrot
    4. DO NOT use the Setup Assistant – it currently expects the older fixed-PIN pairing mechanism (the Plugable keyboards support secure simple pairing). Right-click Plugable Folding Keyboard and select Pair. After a few seconds, several icons will appear in the lower right of the keyboard in the Devices list:20160218-2016-02-18-140326_1776x952_scrot
    5. Right-click Plugable Folding Keyboard again and select Trust:20160218-2016-02-18-140358_1776x952_scrot
    6. Right-click Plugable Folding Keyboard again and select Connect:20160218-2016-02-18-140415_1776x952_scrot            20160218-2016-02-18-140603_1776x952_scrot
    7. You can now disconnect your USB keyboard and put it in the closet!

Extra Credit—eliminate the mouse cable too!

For extra credit, go ahead and purchase a Bluetooth mouse. We did this with an Apple mouse we had around. It also uses secure simple pairing, so we followed the same process as above. Do this, and all you’ll have left is the power cable and HDMI display cable!

We hope this post will help you enjoy your Raspberry Pi and Plugable keyboard even more! Have questions or comments? Post them in the comment section or contact us at support@plugable.com. Thanks!

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