View Full Version : Is Bluetooth affected by different spaces?

10-18-2009, 10:19 PM
I had my first major problem with OSCulator yesterday: constant signal dropouts. At least every 30 seconds or so, I would lose either a nunchuk signal, or the Wii remote signal altogether. What was strange was that it was happening to both Wii remote/nunchuk setups alternately and OSCulator was showing them as still being connected - just not getting any change in values. Pressing the red reset button in the battery cavity fixed the problem, but only temporarily.

I have been using this setup for a few weeks now, with almost no dropouts at all. I haven't made any system changes/updates of note and the only thing that was different yesterday was the room I was in. It was still a similar size, just not one I had setup in before.

It's this last point that made me wonder if different spaces can affect Bluetooth signal? Do building materials change the strength of a signal? I asked everyone to turn off Bluetooth in their mobiles, so as far as I could tell, there was little Bluetooth traffic to confuse matters.

I haven't yet tried again in the space I usually use to check if everything will work correctly there again, but in the meantime thought I'd see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

Setup: MacBook Pro | OS X 10.5.8 | OSCulator 2.8.8 | Processing 1.0.7 | Live 8.0.5

10-18-2009, 11:19 PM
This is a good question, hard to answer indeed.

Unfortunately OS X doesn't report the signal strength (though it seems it will be possible with Snow Leopard).

Bluetooth signals are in the same range as WiFI, so if you were in a location where there is a lot of wireless routers, this can be a problem too. If OSCulator was not reporting a disconnection right away, that means it is certainly a bluetooth range issue, or a signal scrambling.

I guess this is something you have already checked, but batteries can be a source of problem too. If you don't need it, turn off the IR receiver, it will save you a LOT of battery.

10-19-2009, 01:16 AM
Thanks for your speedy reply Camille (again!). WiFi could definitely have been a problem - there were quite a few wireless connections in the area. The batteries were all pretty fresh, so I can probably take that off the list.

Once some more of my software is Snow Leopard compatible, I think I'll make the switch - seeing the Bluetooth signal strength would certainly be helpful.

10-19-2009, 08:08 AM
I should have mentioned that the link quality was only available from a developer's perspective.

I'm not sure if it will be integrated in the bluetooth menu or preferences.

10-19-2009, 10:42 AM
Ahh, that's a shame. Does that mean that a 'Bluetooth signal' feature could be in a future OSCulator release? ;)

I think you're on the money with the WiFi interference too - I tried my setup at home today and just for the sake of testing, left things connected for 2 hours. No loss of signal at all.

10-19-2009, 02:10 PM
I had a lot of drops of communication between Wii-mote and OSculator over a year ago, in a big underground space. Performers need to stay less than two meters from my Mac...

Two weeks ago i've done a new version of the same show ( Wii 2 r 3 once again) in the same space: no drops at all!

Main changes? Snow Leopard, OSCulator 2.8.8, but first and foremost Bluetooth's firmware update, a few month ago...

10-22-2009, 11:34 PM
Hey ugo, thanks for the reply. I'm pretty sure I updated the Bluetooth software a few months back as well - it seems to be the space that was causing me most of the problems.

However, I did have a few hassles when filming the other night with some 3rd party nunchuk extension leads. In the end I had to remove one entirely.

It's unfinished and still very unpolished, but as I had to document it for uni anyway, I thought some of you may be interested in seeing the project: http://vimeo.com/7197795

10-25-2009, 04:07 PM
I've saw the video, actually I've downloaded it: Vimeo is hard to manage for my connection...

Really cool, I'll have to try those extensions, if they make them more stable.

I'm really interested about the Usb2Midi box, and I hope to find a mecenate to help me in my project: that box is affordable, but a complete battery of toys ( DMX dimmer, Led lights, moving heads and so on...) is really beyond my finances...

About BT weird behavior: I've also upgraded to Snow Leopard, without a glitch in the OSCulator's side and some minor into Logic, solved with the last patch available.

10-30-2009, 11:45 PM
Hi ugo. Actually the nunchuk extensions made the nunchuks less stable. It seemed there was a connection issue where they plugged in to one another - probably because they're manufactured on the cheap.

The USB box you can see in the video is actually turning the USB signal into DMX (kind of like MIDI for lights). It's made by ENTTEC and I would definitely recommend one: there is a lot of open information about them out there. ENTTEC make a cheaper little brother to the one I have called OPEN DMX, but it doesn't have the full isolation to protect from surges that the DMX PRO does. The idea of no protection for my laptop was what made me fork out a little bit more in the end.