Making a bluetooth hotspot for radio access

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Old 03-15-11, 09:34 PM
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Making a bluetooth hotspot for headphones

I have a computer in one room and I want to listen to it in another room with bluetooth headphones, and maybe bluetooth speakers. I want to listen to radio stations over the internet because I get bad reception on my regular radio (there's wire mesh in my walls and my radios don't have external antennas that I could adjust). There are also more stations of my favorite genre on the internet than I could get on a radio.

My computer speakers aren't bluetooth, so I guess I need a bluetooth dongle attached to the headphone jack of my computer speakers. The problem is it would have to communicate with headphones that are separated from the computer by two walls and about 25 feet. I don't want a super powerful dongle because I live in an apartment and I don't want to interfere with anyone else's wireless stuff.

I'm considering plugging a long stereo cable (at least 31 feet) with a 3.5mm jack into my computer speaker's headphone jack, leading it through the wall into the next room, plugging the other end into a 3.5mm-to-USB converter, plugging the converter into a USB bluetooth dongle (3.5mm bluetooth dongles seem to be hard to get, and I want bluetooth 2.1), mounting it somehow in a project box, and mounting the box on a wall that's about 16 feet from where I'll be wearing my bluetooth headphones, with no walls blocking it.

My questions are:

1. Is that a decent solution?

2. Is there such thing as stereo cable that's rated to be run under carpeting or through walls? (it will be in front of a radiator too.) Any tips on how I could find such a cable?

3. Any suggestions on the project box? Material, components, etc.? I'm not sure whether I should make it so the cable and dongle could be plugged into the outside of the box, or if I should mount them inside, or just let them lay loose inside the box.
 

Last edited by Borad; 03-16-11 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 03-17-11, 03:48 AM
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Bluetooth has limited radio range. Why not use a headphone extension cable? You're running the cabling anyway. Or, wireless headphones work in the 900MHz range and have a much longer range.
 
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Old 03-17-11, 10:48 PM
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The last 16 feet of cable that I'd need for wired headphones would be tricky to run, and and there are several places where the headphones might be worn. Someone kind of scared me away from my original idea because a dongle might not work with a USB adapter that's attached to a phono plug. I might try running a USB cable instead. If the USB cable has to go the whole 31 feet that I planned, I heard I need a USB extender, but the 31 feet was to get the dongle and headphones in line of sight. I could probably go shorter.

I want the headphones to be portable and to work with my cell phone and not interfere with neighbors stuff, and I'm even afraid of extra power being on my head, so I'm ruling out non-bluetooth headphones that travel the whole distance without wiring. (for now)
 
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Old 03-18-11, 06:15 AM
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The max 16-foot distance for USB is mostly due to DC voltage drop. The extenders inject power to increase the distance, so at the 16-foot limit you'd have to have access to a power receptacle.

Bluetooth is a two-way device, which means the earpiece transmits. Wireless headphones only receive, so there is nothing to worry about regarding "extra power on my head". In fact,

Also, you really don't have to worry about Bluetooth interfering with your neighbors. Your Bluetooth device will "frequency hop" to find an open channel out of the 79 available and lock in on it. It does this 1600 times per second. Because of the 30-foot maximum distance (working distance is typically half that) the chance of the bandwidth being full is practically none.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 09:36 PM
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Okay, so if I go with bluetooth, here's my parts list:

Bluetooth 2.1 dongle

1st USB 2.0 cable (black, 6 foot): Male type A (plugs into computer), male type B (fits through small hole in wall and plugs into white cable)

2nd USB 2.0 cable (white, 6 foot): female type B (plugs into black cable), female type A (plugs into dongle) ???????????????

I have no idea where to get that last cable. I may have to do this differently.
 

Last edited by Borad; 03-18-11 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 03-19-11, 06:09 AM
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A 12-foot Male A to Male B will get you through the wall and to the destination. A USB B Female to USB A Female adapter on the end of the cable will allow you to plug in the dongle.


Example photo courtesy computercablestore.com.
 
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