Raspberry Pi 4 bluetooth madness

There seems to be a lot of problems in getting a working bluetooth system on Raspberry Pi’s with Arch Linux, and the solutions are as numerous as the problems.

When I originally installed Arch on my RPi4, I was able to make bluetooth working by some little tweaks to pi-bluetooth AUR package – or, at least bluetooth keyboard and mouse worked. I didn’t have any bluetooth-enabled audio devices, so I couldn’t test those. That situation continued as such for some half an year until a recent big update including a 5.*.* series kernel. After a reboot, no bluetooth… and kernel and other messages saying they don’t recognize any bluetooth adapters. I still don’t know which update actually broke bluetooth then, I tried downgrading some relevant packages, with no effect.

I found a working solution via a discussion in pi-bluetooth AUR pages. Instead of pi-bluetooth, which seems to be outdated, I chose to use alarm-bluetooth-raspberrypi. Let’s start the installation process (use sudo or su where applicable):

  1. #Next step should remove bluez-utils* too, you don't really need it anymore.
  2. pacman -Rs pi-bluetooth
  3. git clone https://github.com/RoEdAl/alarm-bluetooth-raspberrypi.git
  4. cd alarm-bluetooth-raspberrypi
  5. #If you are using RPi4, you need to change "depends=*linux-raspberrypi*"
  6. #to "linux-raspberrypi4" in PKGBUILD. Otherwise, skip next step.
  7. nano PKGBUILD
  8. makepkg -sc
  9. pacman -U bluetooth-raspberrypi-6-2-any.pkg.tar.xz

Then, edit /boot/config.txt and add a line

dtoverlay=bcmbt

and reboot. That’s it!

It is also advisable to install and configure rpi-eeprom (AUR) to ensure that your EEPROM firmware is up-to-date.

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UPDATE June 8th, 2020: I ended up modifying and cleaning up the original PKGBUILD to make an AUR version of alarm-bluetooth-raspberrypi. See next post.

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