Griffin Powermate Bluetooth

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by ECJ, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. ECJ macrumors 6502

    ECJ

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    Jul 5, 2006
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    Memphis, TN
    #1
    Just received my Powermate Bluetooth edition, and it looks pretty nice. Haven't tested it out yet. The normal price is $59.99, but there is a coupon code on Griffin's site for 15% off. The code is SAVE15. They also have free shipping which is via UPS Ground, which ships from Nashville. Here are the unboxing pics.

    Also it is only compatible with the following models that use Bluetooth 4.0

    Mid-2011 Macbook Air or newer
    Mid-2012 Macbook Pro or newer
    Late 2012 iMac or newer
    Mid-2011 Mac mini or newer
    2013 Mac Pro or newer

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  2. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

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    #2
    Looks sweet - if I could just figure out a good use for it
     
  3. g00ner macrumors newbie

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    Milton Keynes, UK
    #3
    Looks excellent, can't wait for it to become available here in the UK.

    I used to have the USB version years ago when my keyboard had a USB port on it, loved the geekiness of using it.
     
  4. innominato5090 macrumors 6502

    innominato5090

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    #4
    mine got shipped yesterday! I'm super keen about it :)
     
  5. ECJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    ECJ

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    #5
    Its great for any photo or video app. I've also set up uses in Safari. It's very usefull, for any fine adjustments. I used to have the USB version when I did a lot fo video editing, and it saved so much time and effort.

    ----------

    It feels very solid and well built. My only small complaint is the top of it, the metal is not completely smooth. It's swirled, so when you turn it using the top it just feels odd. No big deal though.
     
  6. innominato5090 macrumors 6502

    innominato5090

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    #6
    I hope that Bluetooth 4.0 means that the batteries are going to last quite a bit!
     
  7. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    Iowa, USA
    #7
    Thanks for pointing out that this product was finally available, and for mentioning the coupon code. Saved about $9, which was nice.

    Personally, I have two USB PowerMates right now to control my Hue bulbs. Pressing toggles them on/off, turning dims them, and press and hold switches between various color temperatures. (Press and turn still doesn't work for me on Mavericks even though Griffin says it should, but when it did work, I had it doing about a 30-second fade out for one direction, and I haven't figured out what to do yet with the other.) I just have the PowerMate software launch a Python script I wrote to handle this. Hue has a great HTTP-accessible API that makes doing this easy.

    Unfortunately, none of my Macs are new enough to support BT 4.0, but I bought this anyway. I have a USB BT 4.0 receiver that is currently on my PC but supposed to also work with Macs, so I'll try that out and hope it works. It would be great to get rid of that USB cord I have running along my walls in the kitchen just so I can have a PowerMate light switch. :)
     
  8. ECJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    ECJ

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    #8
    Let me know if this works. I bought it to work with my Late 2009 iMac, but it works fine with my rMBP. I was thinking of getting a BT 4.0 USB dongle and hoping that would work.
     
  9. migouel macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2014
    #9
    RMo

    Which BT dongle have you? And does it work with the new Bluetooth PowerMate?
     
  10. ECJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    ECJ

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    #10
    I just ordered the Iogear GBU521, which I have read works pretty good. Once it arrives, I'll report back.
     
  11. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #11

    I have the IOGear GBU521 as well. It's been recommended for Hackintoshes so I can't imagine that it wouldn't work well on a real Mac as well.

    I can't test it yet since the PowerMate doesn't come until tomorrow, but I'll let everyone know.
     
  12. innominato5090, Jul 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014

    innominato5090 macrumors 6502

    innominato5090

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    Sep 4, 2009
    #12
    FYI I've received mine and I'm planning to return it after just one week.

    1. Finish is very, very, rough. Doesn't feel premium at all
    2. Sensitivity of the wheel is way off, no matter how you calibrate it. I configure the powermate to scroll on safari; every time I try to scroll down, it scrolls up first before scrolling in the correct direction
    3. The click is very unsatisfactory; no feedback and very hard to press


    ----

    EDIT: Griffin Support Team reached me via email looking for any feedback about my experience with it; here's what I reply to them:

     
  13. RMo, Jul 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014

    RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #13
    OK, so as I hinted at before, I'm using the IOGear GBU521. The computers I'm trying it with are the late 2008 aluminum unibody MacBook and a mid(?)-2009 Mac mini, which are basically the same internals in a different form factor. They support an older version of Bluetooth but not version 4.0.

    However, I'm having a problem with the adapter: I can't get the Mac to use the USB adapter instead of the internal Bluetooth, even if I turn of Bluetooth and even though the device is recognized. At the moment, anything I find is either instructions for older versions of OS X or statements that it should "just work" on Mavericks (which is what I'm using, by the way). I'll keep trying to figure this part out, but I don't see why the PowerMate itself wouldn't pair if the Bluetooth adapter were working correctly.

    UPDATE: I did get this to work; see my new post below.

    I read your review and completely understand why you say what you do, especially about the top surface. I have two USB PowerMates as well, and in comparison, the top of the Bluetooth version feels almost like very fine sandpaper (the top of both the BT and USB versions look "brushed," but I think the circular grooves on the BT version are too deep and too close together). If you run your finger across it, it feels very rough. The USB version is quite smooth.

    I also find the bottom to pick up dust quite easily. I think it's some sort of non-slip silicone that they're using, so I'm not sure what they could do about that problem, but I rarely look there so I don't mind.

    I can't comment on the sensitivity yet since mine isn't working with my Macs yet, but I have had issues with the software before (I'm still not convinced the USB version works well with Mavericks--the press and turn actions have been broken for me, but at least the Mac no longer treats it like a mouse!).

    I think I'll keep mine because these problems don't bother me enough, but of course I'll want to make sure I can really pair it first. :)
     
  14. handlemyhansen macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    #14
    i also ordered one and upon suing i for a day to two I am returning it. It was not reliable and many times when i would program it would not follow how i programmed it and would only do the default options.
     
  15. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #15
    OK, I got the PowerMate Bluetooth to work with an older (not-BT4) Mac and the IOGear GBU521 USB Bluetooth adapter. This adapter uses the BCM20702 chipset from Broadcom, which appears to be natively supported by recent versions of OS X, so I assume any adapter with the same chipset should also work fine.

    Here's what I had to do to get it to work on an older Mac and the USB Bluetooth adapter:


    1) Make sure you are using the newest version of the PowerMate software, currently confusingly called v1.0.1 (yes, that's right, it's newer than v3.1).

    2) If the Mac appears to be favoring its internal Bluetooth over the external adapter, use Apple's Bluetooth Explorer to change it. You will need a Developer account (free will do) to obtain this from the "Hardware IO Tools for Xcode" download from developer.apple.com. Older versions of Xcode actually came with this, but Go to Tools | HCI Controller Selector, and choose the IOGear device (listed as Broadcom Corp since that's the manufacturer). Click "Activate." It says this won't persist after a reboot, but I have found that it actually does. (In related news, some people claim the Mac uses the USB Bluetooth without any need for this at all, while others said a reboot alone worked. I, however, did not have such luck.)

    3) Pair the PowerMate Bluetooth to the computer with Belkin's software. If it is not showing up, you may have to go to "Low Energy Devices" in Bluetooth Explorer and manually connect it, then use the software--I can't imagine that this is necessary, but I did it before I realized that I needed v1 of the new software (confusingly, same name as the old one which was at v3.1) to make it work.

    ---

    As for the PowerMate software itself, I am very disappointed in the new version. One notable feature missing is that you can't use more than one USB PowerMate at the same time with the new software--and not only that, but you can't have more than one connected at the same time. I think one USB and one (or possibly more?) Bluetooth PowerMates would work, but I don't see why they have this limitation.

    Second, in case you want to try to work around this problem, you can't. You can't run both the old and new version of the software at the same time, even if you want one to control USB and the other to control Bluetooth.

    That being said, I do think the new software as a slightly better UI than the old one in that it's easier to create actions for PowerMate events. They're all listed and you can choose what you want. I think it was more cumbersome in v3.1. The only thing worse is if you want to run an AppleScript in response to a PowerMate event; previously, you could just type it in, but now you have to choose a file.

    I hope they add back the missing features--notably the ability to use more than one--or just at Bluetooth support to the old software.
     
  16. sfwalter macrumors 68000

    sfwalter

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    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    #16
    For those that find the button too hard to press take the top off again and push it down but not all the way. Now for me the button is alot easier to push.

    With that said I am still returning mine. For these reasons:

    1. Battery life isn't that great. After first day of use it was down to 71%
    2. Software is flakey. Most of the time in Chrome it would be using the default behaviors and not what I set up for Chrome.
    3. New app is not AppleScriptable like the USB version. So I can't trigger the light on the unit to light up or pulse like you could do with the USB version.

    I bought a SHuttleXpress as well and I'm going to keep it. I like the extra buttons and how it feels in my hand. Not at nice looking at the PowerMate but more functionality.
     
  17. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #17
    You can run AppleScript with the new version, but until you said what you did I never realized you couldn't use AppleScript to control the PowerMate itself like you could before (e.g., the LED). I hope this is something they add back to the software--as I said in my previous post, they're missing a lot of features. I also have a ShuttleXpress, and it's a bit clunkier but works well. My only problem is that it goes to sleep after not being used for a while, so I have to press some buttons twice to do anything. Of course, the Bluetooth PowerMate is undoubtedly going to have the same problem, so hopefully that doesn't get too annoying.

    Also, another missing feature I just discovered from the new software: you can't set turns or press-and-turns to only fire the event once. They keep going. This is quite unfortunate for some mappings.
     
  18. ECJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    ECJ

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    #18
    Well.... That was easy. I have a Late 2009 iMac 27" with Mavericks 10.9.3, and I plugged in the IOGear GBU521, and used the Hardware IO Tools For Xcode Oct 2013 and followed the instructions provided by RMo. I selected the Broadcom item in the Bluetooth Selector, and the Powermate connected. I rebooted, to see if the settings would stay after the reboot. They did. So my 5 year old iMac now has Bluetooth 4.0. Very happy.
     
  19. g00ner macrumors newbie

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    May 26, 2008
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    Milton Keynes, UK
    #19
    My Powermate Bluetooth got delivered a couple of days ago and I was in two minds whether to sell it on due to the twitchy scrolling that other have mentioned, however I was today notified of a firmware update, now after it's been updated it feels like a different beast, the scrolling seems much improved and more accurate.
    I'm going to give it some more testing, but now it feels like a keeper.
     
  20. ECJ thread starter macrumors 6502

    ECJ

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    #20
    Thanks for the info. I love mine, but this update should make it even better.
     
  21. tkermit macrumors 68040

    tkermit

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    Feb 20, 2004
    #21


    *ugh*...so it doesn't support light states at all? That is such a great feature of the wired Powermate for implementing different modes of operation in AppleScript, i.e. performing different tasks for the same action, depending on the current state .
     
  22. sfwalter macrumors 68000

    sfwalter

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    #22
    I haven't found a way. The new app that you need to have running for the bluetooth Powermate is not scriptable. I attempted to load its AppleScript dictionary and nothing comes up.
     

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