Using the Plugable USB-BT4LE Bluetooth Adapter with the Raspberry Pi

UPDATE: This blog post was written for an earlier version of Raspian. For Jessie, the current version, please see this blog post. .

Using a Bluetooth adapter with your Raspberry Pi opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can connect a Bluetooth keyboard a mouse, send music to Bluetooth headphones or music receiver, or delve into the exciting world of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) applications. The best part is that it is really easy.

If you are using Raspbian, the most common Linux distribution for the Pi, almost everything you need to use the Plugable Bluetooth adapter is already built in. Besides the Pi itself, you will need an internet connection, the Plugable Bluetooth adapter, and a powered hub that is compatible with the Pi. For the hub we recommend the Plugable USB 2.0 7-port hub, which can both power the Pi and the USB devices connected to it, so you don’t have to worry about your Pi restarting after drawing too much power through its USB ports.

First connect the monitor and internet to your Pi. Plug the Bluetooth adapter into the hub, connect the hub to the Pi, then plug the hub into an AC outlet. You can watch a video about setting up the hub here.

After the Pi starts up, log in and type the following commands to update software on the Pi. Each command can take several minutes to run. Answer “yes” to any prompts.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Next, install the Bluetooth support software with this command:

sudo apt-get install blueman

After the installation finishes, type startx to start the graphical interface.

You should now see a Bluetooth symbol in a blue oval at the lower or upper right of your screen, depending on which version of Raspbian you have.

Bluetooth symbol

Click it to bring up the Bluetooth Devices window, and click Search to look for devices. If no window appears, see our blog post here. Any nearby Bluetooth devices in discovery mode should appear in the window. In this example, we will install a keyboard. Other devices are similar, although many will not require a PIN.

Search

Click the device you want to pair to, then select the plus sign to pair. Under device, select the service you want to connect to. If you are adding a keyboard or similar device, you will be asked to enter a pin.

Pairing request

Enter the same PIN on the keyboard to connect, and you are done.

Connected

If the Bluetooth utility does not see the Bluetooth adapter try the following commands:

sudo nano /etc/group

{change line 8 from “lp:x:7:” to “lp:x:7:pi” save and exit}

sudo reboot

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