View Full Version : Some Help with Bluetooth conectivity

10-13-2008, 12:58 PM
Was hoping someone could shed some light on this.

I want to hook up Bluetooth to my SSC-32 board but I'm having some trouble selecting a unit.

The two that are listed in the tutorial for hooking up to the board are



What I gather is one has a built in antenna and the other has a separate one that is bought separately.
Is there an advantage to either? Would there be any reason that id want the one with a separate antenna?

Lastly is there anything other then those two modules that you might recommend instead?


10-13-2008, 01:17 PM
I have an older BlueSMiRF that I am using on a robot right now. It works fairly well and was really easy to use. Pair the device and windows will install 2 serial ports. Send data to the "outgoing" port and data magically appears on the tx pin of the BlueSMiRF. The one that I have has the external antenna. I bought that one because I wasn't sure what the chassis would end up being made of. If it gets mounted inside a metal enclosure and you have the built-in antenna then your range may be abyssmal if you get any range at all. If it's inside plastic then it may work fine.

10-13-2008, 01:30 PM
If you get a good USB bluetooth dongle it wont install it as two separate ports, instead it will function as one bidirectional port.

From what I've seen the external antennas get a bit better range, I have both types. The SMA Antenna version I've gotten about 150 feet with direct LOS.

One thing to watch out for- the bluesmirfs that Lynxmotion has in their tutorials are older versions, not sure if configuration (ie: setting baud rate) is the same for these newer versions. If not, you'll have to do some digging in the manual to figure it out, you might even need to pick up an RS-232 level shifter to program them.

I know the older ones you could program over the bluetooth link, but Trey from our forums picked up a newer version (silver version though) and we found you can't program those over the bluetooth, and they use an entirely different chipset so the configuration instructions from Lynxmotion do not apply.

10-13-2008, 07:01 PM
So I'm going to gather that if i have objects in the way i am better off getting the module that has the external antenna.

As far as other units on the market is there anything out there that's vastly different from these or are most of the units out pretty identical? For me I'm not looking at getting huge distances but rather a shorter stronger signal, one that can get threw objects that might span up to maybe 10 feet or so.


10-13-2008, 08:46 PM
Might check out using an Xbee instead, couldn't be that hard to interface to.

10-13-2008, 10:26 PM
Confirmed. SSC-32 interfaces to an Xbee no problem.

Took me about 10 minutes to setup. I'll get a tutorial posted here in the very near future.

I would highly suggest going the Xbee route. Much longer range, less interference, easier to setup, and lower cost.

10-13-2008, 11:07 PM
I would highly suggest going the Xbee route. Much longer range, less interference, easier to setup, and lower cost.



10-13-2008, 11:17 PM
Awesome! Thanks for the help I will look into the Xbee units.

Of the bat is there any particular model you would recommend?

EDIT: After thought are Xbee units using the Wireless standard as opposed to a Bluetooth connection?
From the info iv found they seem to be.


10-13-2008, 11:55 PM
XBee are not Bluetooth. That's what makes them better. ;) They're 802.15.4 standard.

HaHa! Beat you to it, Tybs!

Whatcha buildin' Rift?

10-13-2008, 11:55 PM
They use 802.15.4, which is somewhat similar to wifi, but has a much longer range and lower throughput, maxing out at 250kbps. More than enough for your use, and twice that of a Bluesmirf.

Here's our selection: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/c/3099-Xbee-Zigbee.aspx

As far as a model, it depends on how much range you want. We carry 1mW versions which have about a 300ft LOS range, indoors we've had pretty good luck around 50 feet, through walls and in a fairly noisy office environment.

We also have a 60mW version. We had Matt drive away with a Stinger w/ Serializer using one of these 60mW models. Keep in mind we're on the 9th floor of a big corporate building... he got probably 1/2-3/4 of a mile away or so before we lost connectivity, and this was without direct LOS, indoors to outdoors, in a fairly noisy environment.

You'll need a pair of Xbees, a USB Explorer (to interface to your PC) and a few simple electrical components to interface the Xbee to the SSC-32. The circuit is VERY simple though, I'll post schematics and a tutorial soon.

11-29-2008, 10:37 PM
I moved the rest of the XBee discussion here: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=2666

Since it really is OT for "Bluetooth connectivity help".