Bob is right, Adafruit have discontinued production of the Bluefruit EZ-Key module, however they still have some guides which cover USB HID keyboards via BLE if you wanted to build one of those. I’ll link the two guides I found below in case they are helpful.
I tried the Adafruit Esp32 Huzzah sending OSC commands via WiFi. This worked. It was used last week on 4 shows. Three shows went well, the fourth had issues with the command (/Go) not activating QLab.
So I suspect WiFi interference.
So I thought I would try a Bluetooth solution as it had worked reliably in the past with the WiMote.
I tried a few Bluetooth example programs with the ESP32, I could get it to connect to an Android tablet, but not the Mac. I would like ESP32 Bluetooth to the Mac via OSC or MIDI or whatever works with QLab reliably.
Otherwise I will settle for an EZ-KEY type solution if it works with the Mac Book pro and QLab.
Most Bluetooth libraries seem to be 4 years old and not well supported.
It’s certainly worth a try to see if you can make the system more reliable using Bluetooth but I wouldn’t expect Bluetooth to be all that different to WiFi in terms of reliability.
What makes you suspect WiFi interference was the cause of the command not working? It would be good to diagnose for sure why the command didn’t activate in the fourth show with more certainty but diagnosing WiFi connections is always a bit trickier than a wired system.
I suspect the WiFi because it worked fine 3 out of the 4 times in the same theatre.
I have also experienced issues before with WiFi in theatres, as they are usually located in the city with many Wifi networks active in the area, plus a theatre full of spectators mobile phones with WiFi active.
As you say diagnosing is difficult. The Mac receiving the WiFi OSC commands was rebooted just prior to the fourth show, so other applications should not have been loading the system.
Also I have a test Mac and ESP32 on my desk at home and I randomly press the button to send the OSC command and it works every time. There are only a few Wifi networks in range.
I have wondered about having a directional antenna at the receiving router (if such a thing exists) to reduce the Wifi signal from other networks.
The show has now finished in Canberra and will be next run in New Zealand in 2 weeks. I am trying to come up with an alternate solution before then.
Failing that, I need an alternate solution for another show in Perth in April.
I’ve noticed QLab supports using a Mac computer as a collaborator to view and trigger events. It seems to be using the same local WiFi connection to transfer the message as the OSC route so may still suffer the same interference issues, but might be worth a shot to see if any differences yield a more reliable connection.
Directional WiFi antennae do exist but you’d need to find one that fits the antenna connection on your router. Do you know what type if connection your current router antenna uses? It is likely SMA or RP-SMA though they aren’t compatible with each other, so best to check.
It could be that I’m overly suspicious of Bluetooth, but personally I’ve found every Bluetooth device I’ve owned will work flawlessly most of the time, then randomly misbehave for no reason, before needing a full reboot to work again. Bluetooth also may not fix your interference issues as all the WiFi devices in the theatre causing interference are just as likely to be transmitting Bluetooth devices as well.
I think exploring the directional router antenna will be the clearest path to improving reliability without knowing exactly what caused it to not work during that show.
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