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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Work Around: Blackberry Bluetooth BMW iDrive Problems

When I first hooked up my Blackberry 8800 to the my BMW M3's iDrive system, I was really excited about the ease at which the connectivity was established, the download of phonebook and contact information, and the quality of the phone calls on through the car. I had already considering getting rid of my Motorola H800 Bluetooth device.

That's when the problems started. At first though, I did not realize what was happening...

You see, when I stepped out of the M3 and walked inside the house -- I noticed that familiar blue light flashing at the top of the Blackberry telling me that the phone was still connected to the car. My initial thoughts were -- that's odd, the car is off, but actually might be kind of cool. But, the joke was on me.

The next time I started up the car, I noticed that the Bluetooth link on the Blackberry showed Bluetooth connectivity, but the BMW iDrive system did not recognize it. I attempted to scan for already connected phones -- including my Blackberry 8800, but no luck. I tried to disable Bluetooth on the Blackberry and re-enable it, no luck either. I then rebooted it, thinking it was some weirdness with the new car or Blackberry and then I was able to connect the iDrive to the Blackberry again -- good news!

But then, I noticed the problem happened every single time I had a successful Bluetooth connection to the BMW iDrive system. When I turned off the car, even if I was miles away from it -- the Blackberry would show it was still connected, and there was no way I could disconnect it!

Everytime the symptoms were the same:
1. When I would unlock my Blackberry and go to the home screen, I would get the error message -- Uncaught exception: java.lang.NullPointerException -- and the blue light in the upper right hand corner blinking.

When I would unlock my Blackberry and go to the home screen, I would get the error message -- Uncaught exception: java.lang.NullPointerException -- and the blue light in the upper right hand corner blinking.
2. If I went to the Bluetooth options under tools and tried to manually disconnect the Blackberry from the BMW iDrive system, I get the message Waiting for BMW 15590 -- it just sits there for 5-10 minutes and does not disconnect.

If I went to the Bluetooth options under tools and tried to manually disconnect the Blackberry from the BMW iDrive system, I get the message Waiting for BMW 15590 -- it just sits there for 5-10 minutes and does not disconnect.
This basically left me in a stuck position where I had to reboot the Blackberry (ALT+CAP+DEL) to get it to work again. Thinking an upgrade to Blackberry 8800 might help fix the problem, I checked out the Blackberry site. Unfortunately, I am running the latest available version for my device and provider, 4.2.1.79. With 4.5 not supported for AT&T Wireless (formerly Cingular), I did not have many options.

In the meantime, I have found two painful work-arounds:
1. Turn off Bluetooth connectivity on the Blackberry 8800 before I turn of the car and the iDrive system.
2. Turn off Bluetooth connectivity on the Blackberry and reboot the device (Alt+Cap+Del) if I forgot to do so before I turned off the car.

Hopefully the Blackberry upgrade will be available in the near future that will solve this problem!

And lastly, something that is pretty ironic -- Ashley's iPhone works perfectly with the BMW iDrive system, good for her, bad for me. But, my Blackberry 8800 works perfectly with her Lexus GX470 -- but her iPhone constantly has problems connecting to the Lexus hands free system. If only we could reverse the two, we'd both be happy!

This problem may also cause problems for the following Blackberry Models:
BlackBerry Storm 9530
BlackBerry Bold 9000
BlackBerry Curve 8300 Series
BlackBerry Curve 8330
BlackBerry Curve 8320
BlackBerry Curve 8310
BlackBerry Curve 8300
BlackBerry Pearl 8100 Series
Blackberry 8100
Blackberry 8110
Blackberry 8120
Blackberry 8130
Blackberry 8220
BlackBerry 8800 Series
BlackBerry 8830
BlackBerry 8820
BlackBerry 8800
BlackBerry 8700 Series
BlackBerry 8700c
BlackBerry 8700g
BlackBerry 8700r
BlackBerry 8703e
BlackBerry 8705g
BlackBerry 8707g
BlackBerry 7130 Series
BlackBerry 7130c
BlackBerry 7130e
BlackBerry 7130g
BlackBerry 7100 Series
BlackBerry 7100g
BlackBerry 7100i
BlackBerry 7200 Series
BlackBerry 7250
BlackBerry 7290
BlackBerry 7520

5 comments:

Nickkensington nkensington@richmaylaw.com said...

I just had simialr problems with my new Blackberry storm and the blue tooth set up in my 2006 750IL BMW...Actually when I tried to use voice activated phone calls on the phone or in my car, the entire Blacberry Storm would no longer function. The phone was only working after a reboot of the phone..must remove the battery to reboot and wait 2 min utes. I just downloaded new software from Blackberry for the Storm ..Let's see what happens Nick Kensington

Mathew said...

I am having the exact problem with my 2006 bmw 750li and storm, the phone doesnt recognise the blw . Have you had anyluck with the software upgrade ? I just checked for any new upgrades on bb and zilch . Appreciate any pointers.

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Nick & Mathew.

I was able to get my Blackberry to work better with my E90 M3. Here is the link to the page with the updated details:

BMW Bluetooth iDrive with Blackberry

Good luck!
-Ken

hamid said...

Hi Ken,
I had the exact same problem with my new blackberry 8900 and BMW 5 series. it paired easily with my car but then when i turned off the car, and turned it back on, it didnt connect. both car and phone were showing that they were paired. here is how i fixed it:
1. pair phone with the car
2. go to settings on your phone
3. then options
4. then click on bluetooth, it should show the paired device (in this case for me it shows BMW49310)
5. high light the paired device (BMW....) and click the menu key on the phone (next to trackball in my phone)
6. then click on device properties
7. select Yes for "Trusted" option. this will allow your phone to trust your BMW all the time and connect to it right away upon detection.
8. if this change alone didnt work, you may also need to change bunch of other items on the phone...for example, at step 6, after you are done with device settings, go to options and make sure other options such as "contacts transfer", "connect on power up",hands free, etc are all set properly.

Good Luck
Hamid

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hamid for your post....you just helped me look good to my boss when I was able to fix his problem. I changed his phone setting to trusted and I am the hero :)


Michael