INTRODUCTION TO BLUETOOTH WITH THE WIRELESS DYNAMICS SENSOR SYSTEM (WDSS)

The Vernier Wireless Dynamics Sensor System (WDSS) transfers data to a computer using Bluetooth, a wireless communications method found on many new computers. Bluetooth is used for short-range communication of up to 10 meters. Multiple Bluetooth devices can be in use in the same area without interfering with each other, with up to seven devices connected to a single computer. However, one device can not broadcast to multiple computers.

Bluetooth is an emerging standard. Much like USB in its early days, there can be some configuration problems that prevent Bluetooth devices from working as expected. This web page outlines some typical problems encountered by users of the WDSS. In the first section are general non-configuration related problems that can arise, and in the second section are the problems of a more fundamental nature.

The terms radio, dongle, adapter and transceiver are variously used to describe a computer hardware device that enables Bluetooth communication. We will use the term “radio” to refer to this hardware, whether built-in or external. A dongle is a radio that is attached externally to the computer, usually by USB.

SUPPORTED BLUETOOTH RADIOS

For Windows
In the Windows OS, a Bluetooth radio has an associated driver, or stack, that actually communicates with Logger Pro or other applications. A given radio may be compatible with several different stacks, but will generally not be compatible with all stacks. Logger Pro is compatible with only the Microsoft stack that is part of Windows XP SP2 and later. A radio must support the Microsoft stack to work with Logger Pro and WDSS.

Many, but not all Bluetooth radios, especially built-in radios, can meet this requirement. Even if the radio can run with the Microsoft stack, a third-party stack may be initially installed with the radio, and can prove difficult to remove. Ultimately you may have to work with the manufacturer of your computer and Bluetooth radio for help in installing the genuine Microsoft Bluetooth stack.

Most problems with Logger Pro and WDSS arise from having an incompatible stack installed–that is, something other than the Microsoft stack.

In our experience, built-in radios in Dell, Toshiba and HP laptops can be used with Microsoft drivers and hence with WDSS. However, this compatibility cannot be assumed since these manufacturers could change the internal radio type. If you are buying new laptops, either test the radio with a WDSS or consult the computer manufacturer regarding the use of the Microsoft Bluetooth driver.

Radios that are known to work with Microsoft drivers and WDSS
* EZURiO Bluetooth USB Adapter
* Belkin Bluetooth USB Adapter F8T001 and F8T003
* MSI BToes USB Dongle
* IOGEAR GBU211

Radios that do not work with Microsoft drivers and WDSS
* Kensington Bluetooth 2
* Kensington Bluetooth

For Macintosh
Every built-in Bluetooth radio in Macintosh computers will work with WDSS.

Radios that work with Mac OS X
* Any internal radio supplied by Apple
* MSI BToes USB Dongle

Radios that do not work with Mac OS X
* None known

SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
The WDSS requires Logger Pro version 3.4.5 or newer. Intel-based Macintosh computers require version 3.4.6 or newer. Earlier versions will not recognize the WDSS. Free updates from any version of Logger Pro 3 are available in our software update section.

Any LabQuest 2 or LabQuest 3 will work with the WDSS. The original LabQuest will work with the WDSS using a USB bluetooth radio dongle.

Graphical Analysis and Graphical Analysis Pro apps do not support the WDSS.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Confirm that your computer operating system is adequate for Bluetooth communications using the default Microsoft or Apple drivers.

For Windows
Windows XP SP2 or newer, Microsoft-driver compatible Bluetooth radio with the Microsoft Bluetooth drivers enabled. Non-Microsoft driver software will not work with WDSS. Earlier versions of Windows XP can be updated to SP2 or newer by running Windows Update. You may need to run Windows Update multiple times if the computer has not been maintained regularly.

For Macintosh OS X
OS X 10.3.9 through 10.15, Macintosh-compatible Bluetooth radio. Earlier versions of OS X 10.3 can be updated to 10.3.9 or newer by running Software Update. You may need to run Software Update multiple times if the computer has not been maintained regularly.

WDSS is not supported on macOS 11, 12 and newer.

HOW-TOS
Adding a Bluetooth radio to your Windows computer

Critical Notes:
* Some radios come with install CDs that will place third-party drivers on your computer, and the resulting installation will not work with Logger Pro.
* Some Bluetooth radios are not compatible with the Microsoft driver, and so will not work with WDSS. Such radios do not meet the WDSS system requirements.

Here are the installation steps for other Bluetooth radios on a Windows system.
1. Run Windows Update and accept any operating system level updates.
2. Install Logger Pro 3.5 or newer.
3. Connect the Bluetooth radio.
4. Allow the Windows New Hardware wizard to run. If a dialog opens stating that no driver was found, select the option to connect to the Internet to search for the driver. Allow the wizard to complete.
5. Create a Bluetooth wireless connection between WDSS and Logger Pro

ADDING A BLUETOOTH RADIO TO YOUR MACINTOSH COMPUTER
1. Run Software Update to update your OS X installation.
2. Accept any OS-level updates that are available.
3. Connect the Bluetooth radio. Note that most Macs sold today include internal Bluetooth, so you may need only to enable Bluetooth on your computer from the System Preferences.

CONNECTING YOUR WDSS WITH LOGGER PRO
1. Turn on the WDSS. The Bluetooth LED will initially light red.
2. Launch Logger Pro.
3. Choose Connect Interface > Wireless > Scan for Wireless Devices from the Experiment menu. Connecting Bluetooth devices to Logger Pro
4. You may get the following dialog box after a delay. This is normal, as the computer may not find the WDSS on the first try. No new wireless devices were found dialog box
5. Click Yes to scan again.
6. If the WDSS is found, you will see the Open Wireless dialog box. List of wireless devices
7. After selecting the WDSS device or devices you want to use, click OK to connect to the WDSS.
8. At this time you should see live data from the WDSS. Click Collect to take data.

GENERAL TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS
* Is the WDSS turned on? The power switch must be in the “1” position.
* Is the LED near the power switch illuminated? If not, and the unit is switched on, the unit needs to be recharged. Connect the power supply provided with the WDSS. You can test the WDSS while the unit is charging.
* Is the battery sufficiently charged? A low battery can cause many seemingly unrelated problems. If you have not just charged the battery, connect the power supply provided with the WDSS. You can test the WDSS while the unit is charging.
* Is the WDSS sufficiently close to the host computer? To do initial setup, bring the WDSS within a meter of the computer’s radio.
* Is there a metal barrier between the computer radio and the WDSS? If so, remove the barrier.
* Is the WDSS already connected to another computer? If the Bluetooth LED is green, the device has already been linked to a computer, and so is not currently available. If the LED is red, the WDSS is available. If the WDSS is connected to another computer, you can seize the unit by cycling the power on the WDSS and attempting to connect again. This will terminate the connection to the other computer.
* Is your Bluetooth radio enabled or connected? If not, enable or connect it directly to the computer (not through a hub). Many laptops allow you to disable the Bluetooth function. Consult your laptop instructions for more information.
* For Windows users only: Do you have McAfee VirusScan or Security products installed? VirusScan is often installed alongside other McAfee products as part of a security suite, and is often included with new Dell computers. Some versions of these products disable Bluetooth communication, even if you enable Bluetooth in the McAfee controls. VirusScan 11 is the only version known to work with the Microsoft Bluetooth stack. Earlier versions are incompatible with WDSS. Either remove McAfee VirusScan or update to version 11 before installing Logger Pro.
* Do you have other security and/or antivirus software running? It may be blocking Bluetooth. Consult the instructions for your security and/or antivirus software.
* Do you actually have Bluetooth? Note that there are a number of short-range wireless technologies, but not all are Bluetooth. For example, Microsoft makes a common and inexpensive wireless mouse or mouse and keyboard combination that includes a USB-based wireless receiver. This is not a Bluetooth-based system. Early steps in the sections below will help you determine if you even have a Bluetooth hardware available.

If your computer does not have Bluetooth capability, it is easy to add a radio that connects by USB. The Ezumo Bluetooth radio, available from Vernier (order code BLUE-USB, $35), is recommended, but other radios available from other vendors will work.

WINDOWS BLUETOOTH TROUBLESHOOTING
The most common problem with Bluetooth radios on Windows is the presence of a driver other than Microsoft. WDSS requires one of these drivers to function. Not all Bluetooth radios can be used with these drivers, but most will work.

When Logger Pro fails to find a WDSS device, this dialog box is shown. No wireless devices found dialog box
Sometimes, a Bluetooth device does not respond immediately. Always try a second scan. If instead you get the following dialog despite having your radio connected, your Bluetooth driver is not compatible with Logger Pro.

You can determine the publisher of the current Bluetooth driver using the Device Manager. You will need to be logged in with administrator privileges.

To open Device Manager, click Start > Control Panel. Double-click System. On the Hardware tab, click Device Manager.

You will see a window similar to that shown below. Find the Bluetooth Devices category, and expand it.

The Device Manager shown below displays the Microsoft Bluetooth driver.

An incompatible Bluetooth driver is shown below. Note that the publisher is not readily identifiable.

It may be possible to replace the non-Microsoft driver with the Microsoft driver. This process can’t be described in a fixed set of steps, because the removal of the third-party drivers varies depending on the publisher of those drivers, and how they were installed. In extreme cases you may need to work with the manufacturer of the radio or computer to learn how to remove the third-party drivers and replace them with the Microsoft drivers.

Laptop computers with internal Bluetooth radios can pose a special challenge, since the radio cannot be easily disconnected. In contrast, a dongle-type radio can easily be unplugged and reconnected after drive changes have been applied.

Note that changing the Bluetooth driver may cause other Bluetooth devices, such as a headset or phone, to stop working.

MACINTOSH BLUETOOTH TROUBLESHOOTING
Confirm that the power to the Bluetooth radio is on in the Bluetooth System Preferences.

Sometimes on Macs other software interferes with WDSS communications. For example, the WDSS might show up by name when you attempt to connect to wireless devices in Logger Pro, but when you select the device and try to connect, the connection immediately fails. If this happens, create a new user account in OS X, and try the connection again in this new account. If connection now succeeds, there is conflicting software running in the former user account.

REMOVING A THIRD-PARTY BLUETOOTH DRIVER
1. Open Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel.
2. Click Change or Remove Programs on the left column if not already selected.
3. Scroll to find any references to Bluetooth Software. For example, one third-party Bluetooth driver is published by Blue Soleil.
4. Click the Remove button to remove the Bluetooth software.
5. Disconnect the Bluetooth radio if it is an external device.
6. Restart your computer.
7. Connect the Bluetooth radio if it is an external device.
8. Windows should install the Microsoft driver stack if the radio is a compatible device. If Windows does not install its drivers, it is possible that the Bluetooth radio is not compatible with the Microsoft drivers, and does not meet the WDSS system requirements.
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Contacting Vernier Software & Technology for technical support
If these procedures and tips have not helped, please contact us.