General Bluetooth Questions
Q: What is Bluetooth?
A: Bluetooth is a common short-range wireless communications method. It is used in devices such as cell phone headsets.
Q: What is Bluetooth Smart?
A: Bluetooth Smart refers to a specific Bluetooth protocol. This technology is also referred to as Bluetooth 4, Bluetooth Low Energy, and BLE. Devices using this protocol use significantly less power than traditional Bluetooth.
Note: The term Bluetooth Smart is no longer used. The preferred descriptor for this protocol is Bluetooth low energy technology.
Q: Which Vernier devices communicate via Bluetooth?
A: The following devices use Bluetooth technology
Traditional Bluetooth technology
LabQuest Stream (LQ-STREAM)
Wireless Dynamics Sensor System (WDSS, discontinued)
Bluetooth low energy technology
Our Go Direct Sensors (see http://www.vernier.com/gdx)
Go Wireless® Heart Rate (GW-HR)
Go Wireless® Exercise Heart Rate (GW-EHR)
Go Wireless® Temp (GW-TEMP, discontinued)
Go Wireless® pH (GW-PH, discontinued)
Go Wireless® Electrode Amplifier (GW-EA, discontinued)
Go Wireless® Link (GW-LINK, discontinued)
Q: Can I have one Bluetooth sensor broadcast to several devices at the same time?
A: In general, no. The Bluetooth protocol does not allow one sensor to broadcast to multiple devices simultaneously. However, our Go Wireless sensors broadcast live sensor readings, along with the sensor’s name, making it possible to view live readings in the list of available sensors on multiple devices. However, to collect data, you must connect to that sensor, which stops the broadcast of the live readings to other devices.
Q: Is there interference when you use multiple sensors in the same room?
A: No. The devices do not interfere with each other because the Bluetooth protocol allows dynamic frequency switching to prevent interference.
Q: How does my device know which sensor is which?
A: Each sensor has a unique ID. For example, LabQuest Stream and Go Direct Sensors use their unique serial number as its name. For the Wireless Dynamics Sensor System, we give each unit a unique name by combining the name of a scientist and a number such as Newton01. These names are printed on the side of each unit. For Go Wireless Heart Rate sensor, each unit is given a unique ID. For Go Wireless sensors, each sensor has a unique serial number and a user editable name field (see How do I change the name of my Go Wireless sensor?). When searching for a specific sensor, the name field is displayed in the list of available sensors.
WDSS Specific Questions
Q: My computers don’t have Bluetooth. Is it possible for me to use WDSS?
A: Often you are able to add Bluetooth to your computer. We sell a USB Bluetooth radio that adds Bluetooth support for the WDSS to a computer: WDSS Wireless Receiver (BLUE-USB). It requires Windows XP SP2 or newer or Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer.
Note: When using a WDSS with a Windows computer, the Bluetooth radio must use the Microsoft Bluetooth stack in order to work with a WDSS. While you may be able to purchase an off-the-shelf Bluetooth radio, the one we sell is known to work with the Microsoft Bluetooth stack.
Q: I’m buying a new computer. Can I use a WDSS with it?
A: Many new computers come with Bluetooth built in, but Bluetooth may be ordered as an inexpensive option for nearly all computers.
Note: When using a WDSS with a Windows computer, the Bluetooth radio on the computer must use the Microsoft Bluetooth stack in order to work with a WDSS. Even with Bluetooth built-in, you still may need to use an external Bluetooth radio. See< WDSS Wireless Receiver (BLUE-USB)
Q: Can I use more than one WDSS on the same computer at once?
A: Yes. The Bluetooth protocol allows for up to seven devices to be connected to one computer.
Q: What about time sync?
A: The synchronization between multiple WDSS units is quite good. Synchronization between a WDSS and other devices (such as a Motion Detector) can be very good, but it is approximate.
See How good is the time sync between WDSS and other interfaces?
Q: Can I use a WDSS along with wired sensors?
A: Yes. You'll just need an interface for the wired sensors.