Gift speculation & suggestions

Wondering if anyone has played around with the Laird BT820? The software download from their site actually has some documentation for using a BT8xx device as an HID proxy for BLE keyboard and mouse.

Picked up from http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?R=0virtualkey0virtualkeyBT820
Downloads here http://www.lairdtech.com/products/bt820 which requires a registration and email from their sales staff. Not sure if it’s available elsewhere.
Edit to add: The bluesuite software is not included in the downloads from Lairdtech… but I was able to download from http://support.toshiba.com/support/modelHome?freeText=1200008260 go to ‘Drivers & Updates’ and follow the link found within… has Bluesuite 2.5 for Win 7. Looking for a better / more recent source still.
Edit again! Bluesuite software available from https://www.csrsupport.com/PCSW but requires a registration.

Laird BT820 is actually the same hardware as I’ve been using. Essentially a rebranded CSR 8510 A10 device. What they will give you is the PSKey to set PSKEY_INITIAL_BOOT_MODE to 2; setting the other keys is handled by the Bluesuite stack itself.

What I’ve been working on it determining how the other keys are calculated so we can do it without Bluesuite. I asked in the CSR technical forums about it, but they just told me to talk to my CSR sales rep.

Bluesuite never made it past 2.5 as far as I know, so if you found 2.5 you already have the latest version.

Ahh, good to know.
2.6.2 (2015-09-16) is available via https://www.csrsupport.com/PCSW

Wow, that’s a great find, thanks! Last time I really looked into this (besides successfully pairing a TextBlade) was in August so I wasn’t aware that they’d updated BlueSuite for Windows 8.1

Incidentally, the 8510 stores the HID Proxy pairing key in PSKEY_USR42. Here’s what I get after pairing the TextBlade:

// PSKEY_USR42
&02b4 = b8f5 e74d 76bb 1492 4ee8 3694 6fad 3e12 4f35 6528 5eba 71a7 bb72 275b ba31 170f 8560

The first six bytes are the Bluetooth address of the TextBlade. The last 16 bytes is a pairing key shared with the TextBlade (that value is also known to the TextBlade). I can’t figure out what to make of the other 12 bytes (starting with 0x14 and ending with 0x35), however.

So if I understand correctly:

  1. Use software from Lairdtech to enable HID proxy.
  2. Use Bluesuite to pair dongle and keyboard.
  3. When this has been done, it works on any computer as a USB keyboard, and no software or drivers are needed anymore.

Yes, that’s what it boils down to.

I’ve used mine while repairing airport check-in kiosks, including controlling the BIOS.

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So on the start page, there is a picture of the textblade on an interesting blue surface. Could that surface relate to the fix they supposedly have for typing on uneven surfaces (like a lap)? I imagine it could be like an iPad Smart Cover on steroids: a foldable pad with embedded magnets, with sections that roll or fold to create beams in order to provide support and a flat surface. Perhaps the magnets from the textblade could work with the embedded magnets in the pad.

I managed to figure out how to calculate all the pairing keys, and @wmertens has made some Linux scripts to automate it and bundled the lot up into a nice VM. We’ve just had confirmation of it working for a person that isn’t me, which is good news.

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This is great news! You should get your text blade for free for all your efforts. Much appreciated.

I can confirm that @wmertens and @awh_tokyo are heroes above and beyond the call of duty!
wmertens has worked though with me this evening over Slack, using one of my dongles as a Guinea pig… but all worked as expected and I now have a dongle that I can move from Win 10 to Win 7 to Mac and the TextBlade works on each of them and only takes up one jump!

I had managed to previously get a Belkin BT 4.0 dongle working with Win 7 but this mechanism, using a Laird BT820 is much better as the jump is tied to the dongle and the dongle can move.

Thanks for all your help and this is a huge step forward to making the TextBlade even more portable WHEN they start shipping to all…

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Hi @wmertens and @awh_tokyo, thanks a lot for all your research and testing of the portable USB BLE dongles. I have a couple of questions I hope you can help me with:

  1. Are there any benefits of using Laird BT820 over the more generic CSR 8510? (the Laird is more expensive and also looks much longer so maybe easier to break if used in lap?)
  2. Any CRS brand (Amazon.com) you can reccomend?
  3. There is a (quite expensive) Laird BT900 that seems to be preloaded with BT stack. Do you think that’s an option for people that does not want to fiddle with installing drivers and such?
  4. Do you think that your working USB BLE dongle could work with iPad 1 or 2 with the Camera Connector Kit, or with Samsung Galaxy II with the Samsung USB adaptor? (This works fine with a regular USB keyboard now)
  5. Any link to your Linux script on Github or Dropbox, that you woud be willing to share?

Thank you …

(Written with Tempest on sceen keyboard with Colemak layout :wink: )

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Well, one thing that we’ve found is that the Laird unit ships from the factory with the persistent storage keys already set to allow for easy setting the HID mode. The generic ones that I’ve bought in Japan (close to a dozen at this point, from different manufacturers) have also had the same keys, but the generic ones from Europe don’t seem to (just a sample from 2 different users on the TREG slack).

Theoretically we should just be able to re-write the correct persistent storage keys onto the units that are missing them, but that research is still ongoing. As of now, we’ve only been able to do this with the Laird device or with the ones from Japan that ship with the same keys.

The BT900 seems like a module for hardware developers to include in their projects. It doesn’t seem like a standalone dongle. Maybe I found the wrong thing; can you send a link?

As for what the dongle will work with, it should work with anything that would accept a USB keyboard, as that’s what it looks like on the host side of the connector.

I’ll let @wmertens share the link to the project, as it’s his project. I was just the one who figured out how to get it working in the first place.

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Thanks a lot.

Here is the link to the Laird BT900-US:
http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=rbWJnv9lMS%2FXo9imx5waDA%3D%3D

And data sheet:
http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/223/Product%20Brief%20-%20BT900-US-598971.pdf

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From the documentation here:

http://cdn.lairdtech.com/home/brandworld/files/Hardware%20Integration%20Guide%20-%20BT900-US.pdf

Looking at the block diagram on Page 6, it seems like it presents to the host as an RS232 serial connection, which won’t let it operate as a USB keyboard. So this isn’t really helpful for this particular application.

Note: through some more trial-and-error today, it seems that for this all to work, the dongle needs to have a 64k EEPROM. So far, this means the Laird BT820 and a bunch of Japan-only models that I bought. Trying to write the necessary persistent storage keys runs over the end of the EEPROM on the 32k models. We’ll probably need to start keeping a list of devices known to be compatible.

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Is there a way to create a “sticky” of some kind? This is super useful info you and @wmertens has provided. Extremely practical too.

Been taking time off from work after a surgery. Perhaps I should go through and make a compilation of all your wisdom. Might be the thing to keep my mind occupied, while laid up in bed… awaiting for my TREG invite :).

And @waytools, it would be the perfect thing to be “Typed on a Textblade”!

S

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So does the script verify that the procedure has worked or only if you manually test it afterwards?

Forum members could start checking with dongles they have and keep a list of the working ones here?

Then we’d know we’re good to go if our Text Blades arrive.

Well, the procedure requires that you first pair your TextBlade with the dongle. That said, there is some information that we can get from forum members even without running the full procedure that would help know whether or not it might work for that dongle.

Anyone who has a modern Linux install handy (with Bluez 5) can help by sending me a copy of the pskeys for your dongle:

bccmd psread > my_dongle_model_number.txt

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Good idea. I have a few dongles myself I could try out. I have to check the chipset.

S

Ok, I’ll post back when I get a spare moment then. Cheers

Gift suggestion: your new mouse

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