Handheld Scientific BT-500 Bluetooth Adaptersearch

Handheld Scientific BT-500 Bluetooth Adapter

Handheld Scientific BT-500 Bluetooth Adapter

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So we got the Massdrop ALT keyboard to work. See this video: https://youtu.be/e0jZh2m6XwY. The ALT keyboard contains a built-in hub, if you don't already know. The CTRL keyboard appears to have the same internal circuit so it should work as well. If you need a firmware upgrade (free), please contact support at handheldsci dot com.
I contacted your support team and provided Massdrop receipt & address. Got replied replacement unit will be sent. Is this for free?
The replacement service is free. The new unit will come with a pre-paid shipping label to send the old one back.
Hi @handheldsci do you have any tutorial on how to connect the keyboard into windows 10? im having trouble on how to connect my Massdrop ALT to my PC. It just cant connect :(
First, Massdrop ALT unfortunately does not work with the version of BT-500 we just shipped, as reported by a few users. We have since fixed this and I will soon have a separate post to offer free firmware upgrade to those who need it. Secondly, whether you can connect the BT-500 to a host (e.g, PC) has little to do with whether the keyboard works or not. You can still pair and connect the BT-500 to a host even if the keyboard is not working, since it uses no keycode pairing. So I am not sure your problem is just the ALT not working, or you are having problem in pairing and connecting to a PC. I would suggest trying out a different keyboard. Please post further questions or contact support at handheldsci dot com. We appreciate everybody's patience and understanding. By the way, your PC hardware needs to support Bluetooth 4.x, and has at least win8, since win7 and lower do not support BT 4.
Would it work if the power source was within the keyboard itself, or does the design make receiving power through the USB Male mandatory? Does it by chance have pads for soldering directly if the enclosure is removed? Not a huge fan of the dongle, but a USB based, permanent BT conversion sounds like a fun project.
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I'm super interested in this—but with only basic soldering skills and next to zero knowledge about wiring etc., I really hope someone will post a tutorial on how to integrate this into a keyboard case with a battery!
To encourage people post their experience, we are offering the following: if anyone posts an article to a public forum regarding the BT-500, either a review or a DIY tutorial, we will refund your purchase price, no matter where and when you bought it. Contact us directly with the link to your article. You must have a PayPal account to receive the refund. Offer is valid until we change this message.
Mentioned battery NOT INCLUDED for what use & which use. Give battery type/specification.
Any battery pack that has a USB A Female port. Like what you would use to charge your phone with.
Does this work with the Varmilo VA87M? Sounds very interesting and just wondering before I might buy. Thanks
We have tested the adapter with Vermilo VA68M V2 and it did work. I am confident it would work with VA87M. See the list of keyboards (and other devices) we have tested with the adapter: http://handheldsci.com/comp.

Hi, Is this adapter capable of switching between devices? e.g: switching between a PC (which have Bluetooth receiver) and a Laptop
You can switch between the USB and Bluetooth interfaces by pressing the mode button. It cycles three states: USB enabled only, Bluetooth enabled only and both enabled. For BT you can have only one device paired and connected. To switch between multiple BT devices, you will have to unpair first then pair the new one. A workaround is to have multiple BT-500's connected in series (i.e., plug the male connector of one BT-500 into the female connector of another), and enable Bluetooth in the one you want to use. This creates some interesting use scenarios, could be very useful in certain applications (say, you want to broadcast key strokes to multiple Bluetooth devices).
Any updates on how this works with a Planck?
The BT-500 does work with OLKB Planck from Massdrop. See this video: https://youtu.be/bXSaBwKJx8I. The Planck has the original firmware. If you re-flash a custom firmware to the keyboard, that could be a different story.
I just tried this on several of my keyboards. It is confirmed working on:
  • GH60 Satan
  • KB Paradise V60 (original)
  • KC60
  • 1UP RGB
  • K-type
Does not work on the Alt (and interestingly the function keys to change the backlighting are not working. )
Tried with olkb planck rev3 (qmk) and couldnt get it to work. It registers key presses but sends the wrong ones or none. Any way to get this to work?
Thanks for reporting. It is odd that it registers key presses but does not send the right keys. We do have a Planck kit to investigate. We post update soon.
Can I use this with my wired keyboard to make it wireless? How long does one charge last?
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I personally wouldn't use it in a fixed desktop situation, more for traveling or if you want to take notes on your phone, etc. Or if you're using a non-standard device that happens to present as a keyboard, like a barcode scanner. The advantage of using an external battery pack, especially if you would be using infrequently (as is the case for me) is that you don't have to worry about the battery dying, and you probably already have a USB battery pack to charge your phone. It has an additional use case, which is that it can do inline key remapping over either bluetooth or a direct USB connection. I don't currently need that, but I can see it being very handy for some users.
Our previous versions of this product did have a battery but we decided to change that, since the small battery couldn't meet all the needs. Keep in mind that the battery needs to supply the power to the attached keyboard. In addition to converting a wireless keyboard to wireless, this little device also acts as a USB to USB bridge for key mapping, among other things. So it can be useful even if you just use USB, for instance, to convert a keypad into a media center: Play, Stop, Next, Previous, etc. The BT-500 also works with mice, as well as those keyboard-emulating devices like foot pedals (hint: wireless page turner), bar code scanners, magnetic card readers, presentation pointers, PS2 to USB converters. Again, you can change the output of those by key remapping, and output is sent to both the USB and Bluetooth interfaces. We will demonstrate all those usages at CES 2019 Las Vegas. Most high end mechanical keyboards available in the market will be on display, including quite a few from Massdrop.
Just got mine. It doesn't seem to work with my Poker II. It powers the keyboard's LED indicator, and when I press keys, the green LED on the adapter flashes to acknowledge input. But nothing is sent. I tried a different keyboard (TEX Beetle) and that seems to work fine.
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It's the "new" usb-C POker II if that makes a difference. It could also be an issue with the supplied cable, I should check and see if I have any other usb-C cables handy.
See this video for the BT-500 working with Pok3r (Poker III): https://youtu.be/UlurqUypUhc. We have no clue why it doesn't work with Poker II in your case, especially the green LED flashes when the keys are pressed. If you find anything, please update us. We appreciate that.
Using a QMK-based keyboard, it doesn't work. It's missing and swapping key when typing. Macros and multiple key strokes (programmed in QMK) don't work. Eg. I have copy and paste keys which send cmd+C and cmd+V. Via Bluetooth, most of the times these are not being sent. Also, I have macros. If I send the macro '1234567' then I only receive '135'. I there a maximum typing speed / matrix scan rate?
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If it is too fast even in USB for the BT-500, I guess the only way to make it work is to slow down the output of your board. If you build your own firmware I guess it is easy: just add some delay between the characters when sending the macros. We have tested the BT-500 with many devices that output a lot of characters like barcode scanners and credit card readers. The USB interface always work without missing characters. By the way the BT-500 already has macros which is very easy to set up. Why just use that instead of jumping through the hoops to build the QMK firmware?
I don't know what's happening. There is not much QMK options that I can play with. I tried to reduce the debouncing delay, but it didn't help. What I'm experiencing:
  • Missed keys
  • Not working key combos
  • Not working macros
  • Sometimes last typed key is repeated endlessly until I tap another key
This happens both on Bluetooth and USB. Example of not working key combo:
  • Select A (Cmd + A), defined in QMK as LGUI(KC_A)
  • Works half of the time
Example of not working macro:
  • Copy macro:
  • key down KC_LGUI
  • key down KC_C
  • key up KC_C
  • key up KC_LGUI
  • Missing keys is just during normal typing
  • Repeating keys is often when multiple keys are pressed
  • I defined a different layer in QMK with symbols like =_+-, those are not working at all. Which is strange, because they are send by QMK. The OS (and the BT-500) are agnostic about those layers.
All is working fine when directly connected to my Mac.
Neat little device, but it doesn't work on the ALT keyboard :/
Works: HHKB Realforce 87u Realforce 104UK K-Type Leopold fc660m GK64
Doesn't Work: ALT Keyboard
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I assume if it (eventually) works for the ALT, it'll work for the CTRL, as well?
Yes for sure if both keyboards use the same internal circuit. We just purchased an ALT. If we are able to make it work we will also purchase a CTRL to verify.
This drop is being sent out to those who joined. We at Handheld Scientific really appreciate your support. Please post questions/comments/rants here or send them to us directly. We can't guarantee the product will meet every expectations but we can guarantee every feedback will be listened, and every issue will be resolved to customer's satisfaction (or so we strive to).
Any reason you know why it doesn't work on the ALT keyboard? It seems to be the only keyboard incompatible. Otherwise, almost all other keyboards work.
Well, since it doesn't seem to help to contact support@massdrop.com....
I joined this drop and apparently, Massdrop decided it fit to not only cancel me from this drop, but from the two other finished successfully drops and an active drop that I had already PAID successfully and were waiting on to receive within the next few weeks after waiting since July...
I hope nobody else has this experience. I've attempted to contact Massdrop customer support, and have been stonewalled for any response as to how/why this has happened.
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Are you leaving anything out of the picture? If not, sounds like Massdrop has garbo customer support.
There have been reports of this happening recently. If I remember correctly, it may be related to joining the recent keycap recap drop, which had limitations on how many kits you could buy at first. Seems that massdrop tracked compliance using IP addresses. And that led to some bizarre consequences, including cancelled orders.
I'm thinking of redirecting the 5V+ and GND of the USB to a charger circuit (like Powerboost 1000) and a pack of LiPo batteries and build it into my keyboard (Kinesis Advantage, with lot's of free space inside). I also need to extend the push button and led(s) to somewhere on the back of the keyboard case.
Should be a simple project. You probably need a switch to disconnect the battery when not used. The BT-500 has an idle shutoff feature with configurable time length but it just shut itself off without disconnecting the power to the keyboard.
Anyone tried this with any Ergodox?
Does work with Ergodox, at least for the (relatively old) version we have.
@handheldsci -- I totally missed this drop and would like to get one of these. Do you sell these via any other retailers or via your website? Thanks!
Vaguely remember it being on here, and wasn't interested at the time. Guess you did the same thing I did after seeing a certain post on Reddit?
If you missed the drop, get it here: http://handheldsci.com/kb
Not sure what you meant by "seeing a certain post on Reddit". We were the first one coming out with such a product about 5 years ago (search "Bluetooth Keyboard Adapter" for our first video in Youtube). There were copycats along the way but all seem to have gone out of business. We are the only one still going strong.
Will this work with my Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Stealth Keyboard? Is there any input lag that would be noticeable when gaming on a PC?
We test the adapter with Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016 and it works. So it is very likely the Tournament Edition will also works (we can't say for sure unless the exact same model is tested). There is no noticeable lag when using the USB interface with normal typing. However, none of us are gamers so we can't be sure the effect on gaming. With less than 30 dollar price and 100% money back guarantee, it is worth a try. Or perhaps we can loan you a unit and you report back how well it works? Contact support at handheldsci.com.
How much power does this consume? hours per mA?
The adapter consumes about 50mA of current when Bluetooth is enabled. The total power consumption will be that plus whatever is needed to power the attached keyboard. Again, the adapter does not have a built-in battery so battery life is not applicable.
Thank you
Or you could, you know, just plug your keyboard into your phone. It may not work in all cases, but many android phones are capable of handling keyboard inputs from the charging port.
Can this pair with hosts and provide a way to switch between them easily?
Not at this moment. You should pair only one host with the adapter. If you pair more than one and they are available when the adapter powers up, it will connect to a host randomly (whichever it finds first).
Compatibility is the key. We have around 100 keyboards (some from Massdrop) and more than 100 mice (not all in the picture) in our lab to test this product! It works with an Arcade Tankstick game controller as well (which is really not a USB game device but a keyboard/trackball on two USB ports).

Isn’t there a Keyboardio Model1 lying around in a box ??? 😍
Yes! The ones in the box (not on the shelves) are "bad apples" that are still not working. Sadly keyboard.io is one of them. We did list those on the compatibility page. Another one that isn't working is the Wooting. Those two are our top priority to make those work.
Seems hackable.
Very much :-). The circuit board measures only 2.0x6.6cm with both USB connectors, or 2.0x4.9cm with the connectors removed. It consumes ~50mA of current when BT is enabled (not counting the consumption of attached keyboard or mouse).
is it possible to add my own pin pairing code?
The adapter uses no pincode pairing by default. It is possible to use the more secure pincode pairing where the host generates a random number and the user types that in on the keyboard for the pairing to succeed. We will make sure this option is available as a configurable setting when this drop ships. We will need to investigate how one can use his own pincode though (and for what benefit). By the way this is all Bluetooth standard stuff not specific to our product.
I still don't understand what it does?
It does two things: (1) Converts a USB keyboard or mouse into a Bluetooth one; (2) Acts as a USB to USB bridge between your keyboard and computer. In either case you can do key mappings (re-map a key to another key), macros (one key press generates a sequence of keystrokes), timers (periodically sends out keystrokes to keep device or connection alive). More features are being worked on such as layers (multiple sets of mappings and fast switching between them), repeats (one key press triggers repeated output of the key until the key is pressed again. Great for gaming), and edge events (treat key down and key up events differently). We welcome feature requests from the community.
I would like to give people some examples of key mapping using command line. This is a really cool feature. It is game changing. All of a sudden those keyboards/keypads, or keyboard emulating devices like foot pedals, presentation pointers, RFID readers, etc. are becoming re-programmable. You don't need to buy those expensive ones from like X-keys or Genovation.
Please see an early post in this forum on how command line works. Basically all you need is an app or any window that can display text. No more software installation, programming or complicated "configurator" that works only on certain versions of certain OS. Our approach is truly platform independent and very simple to use. It is in the device itself so it will be there as long as the device exists (how many of you can still find the software to program you "programmable" keyboard bought a few years ago???).
I will just use this text window to demonstrate. I am going to create 3 key mappings:
1. remap key 1 in the keypad to volume plus (so potentially one can turn a keypad into a media center by remapping all the keys to media keys) 2. swap the left ALT key with the COM key (so you can use Apple keyboard in Windows and vise versa) 3. Remap the F6 key to generate the "hello world" string. I need to create a macro first.
I have the BT-500 connected to the keyboard I am typing on and to my computer (works with either USB or Bluetooth). I am about to press the mode button to enter command mode. Once entered, most texts below will be generated by the adapter. I am just typing the commands after the ">" prompt (and the macro).

Bluetooth Adapter Firmware v5.0.4 Copyright 2018 Handheld Scientific, Inc. Type help or ? > map add kp_1 vol+ one mapping is added > map add l_alt l_com one mapping is added > map add l_com l_alt one mapping is added > macro edit 0 Edit macro 0 Input key names separated by space. type "map names" for all names Press Enter or Return to end input. h e l l o space w o r l d input is done. 11 key recorded for macro 0 > map add f6 macro:0 one mapping is added > map All key mappings: 1: kp_1 -> vol+ 2: l_alt -> l_com 3: l_com -> l_alt 4: f6 -> macro:0 > exit Exit command mode
That is it. Now I have exited command mode. Use this online key tester to verify that the key mappings are indeed working: http://www.keyboardtester.com/tester.html. If you like the mappings to survive power cycles, you will need to go back to command mode to execute "save". There is even a command "map add dvorak" to instantly add all mappings to turn a Qwerty keyboard into a Dvorak one. Can't get cooler than this!
If you have a USB-C phone, you can just use a USB-C TO USB Female dongle for non-Bluetooth keyboards. Work's if you also want to use a mouse
In fact the Google Pixel phones come with one!
Wow I was just asking question from Alan@handheldsci last weekend! I now have additional questions. How does this device handle powerbanks with low-current shutoff? It was mentioned that the devices only draws 40mA and every likely any keyboard will draw 100mA or maybe 200mA max. Will it constantly trigger something to keep the powerbank alive?
Hello Ricson, this is Alan and glad to see you here. Indeed low-current shutoff of some battery banks may become an issue. We have a bank that shuts off when there is no keyboard connected. However, when there is a keyboard connected, the bank stays on. Right now there is nothing in the Adapter addressing this issue (and there probably won't since I can't think of an easy way to solve it). So either choose a power bank without auto-shutoff, or use a keyboard that consumes more current :-).
Thanks Alan! Really excited to work on this.