Using a Bluetooth FrogPad with Ubuntu

14 Apr 2008

New hardware! I am typing this paragraph with a Bluetooth FrogPad using Emacs under Ubuntu. It is going rather slowly, but not too badly.

[Note: Ok, so I have apparently managed to freak out my USB subsystem, either with my no-name Bluetooth dongle or with the FrogPad's USB charger cable. Sigh. No more FrogPad typing today.]

I found the HOWTO: Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse in the Ubuntu forums, with complete documentation.

The steps went roughly like:

  • Locate the keyboard's MAC address:

    hcitool scan

    The keyboard was in "pairing" mode; I had pressed the PAIRING button (recessed, on the top) and the red LED was flashing. The MAC address is a 48-bit number (six colon-separated, 2-digit hex numbers).

  • Add the MAC address to /etc/bluetooth/hcid.conf:

    # FrogPad
    device <MACADDR> {
            name "FrogPad";
            auth enable;
            # encrypt enable;

    I left "auth enable", but commented out "encrypt enable"; I may try it later. I also ran "/etc/init.d/bluetooth restart".

  • I ran:

    sudo hidd --search

    However, I did not need to enter the PIN; typing on the keyboard immediately appeared in the terminal window.

I did have problems reconnecting when I power-cycled the keyboard. That seemed fixable by editing /etc/default/bluetooth and changing HIDD_ENABLED to 1 and HIDD_OPTIONS to:

"--master --connect <MACADDR> --server"

Note: I am using a relatively old Ubuntu (7.04, Feisty Fawn); these steps may not be applicable to more recent Ubuntu's. Does anyone know why the "there's a new upgrade" notice (and related controls) disappear from the Update Manager if you don't do the upgrade the first time?

gloria i ad inferni
faciamus opus

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Last edited Sat Aug 8 03:29:10 2009.
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