TrackR Bluetooth

I recently bought a TrackR bluetooth tracking device. I wanted it mainly to test with, though I did set it up on my smartphone just to try it out there. But my main goal, since it is a bluetooth device, was to see if I could pair it with the server I have running HA.

I was able to pair it with the server, but it never showed up in the known devices. So I manually added it, getting the MAC address using the bluetoothctl command on the Linux box. Of course, now, HA shows it in the entity list, but of course it is shown as not home.

Am I chasing a rabbit down the hole here or can I pair the TrackR and use it as a presence detector. My ultimate goal was to have one for myself and then one to attach to my bicycle and then write an automation that when both were not home, send a text message to my wife.

The range on the TrackR is not all that great, but I have even set it next to the server and HA still never shows it as home. I thought if I could get this to work that I would then buy some other bluetooth tracker that featured a replaceable battery but had a bit better range.

At any rate, does anyone have any ideas or has anyone done this already?

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Try turning off the bluetooth on your phone and see if it shows up in HA. Some devices don’t advertise once paired with your phone.

I had already deleted it from the phone app and unpaired it before pairing it with the server.

You don’t need to pair a device with your server to be able to detect it. I will say that I leveraged the GUI on the Pi to discover the Tile’s and map their MAC address, which is the biggest challenge I have.

I have the device tracker set up for standard Bluetooth devices, and I get quite a few items showing up in the known_devices.yaml file. I had also set up the BLE tracker on my pi, but it causes performance problems. So I have added a couple of the happybubble beacons detector to listen for BLE devices. Besides my MacBook, it is also tracking several Tile’s. I am not sold on the Tiles yet, but they show that the Happy Bubble devices work fairly well.

I didn’t think I had to pair it, as I use the bluetooth on our smartphones as presence detectors, but it was not showing up at all so I thought I would try that.

I was going to try happybubble, but I am not sure how to set all that up. It seems to be a better option and perhaps even good for room level presence detection.

Can you share any details on your set up?

Happy Bubbles requires a server of some kind to run the presence service and MQTT.
I think others have this running on the same RaspberryPi as HA, but since I was looking for an excuse for a PiZero with wifi, I added that to my set up.

Each HappyBubble device is configured to use the MQTT instance running on my PiZero, and my HA config added two items -

  broker: my_PiZero_IP_address

sensor: !include_dir_list sensors/

for each item I want to track, I create a yaml file in the sensors directory that look like this (look at the ‘mqtt room’ HA component page:

  platform:  mqtt_room
  device_id: 123456789012   <== blue tooth address of the item in question.  This will also show up as the Beacon ID in the HappyBubbles web UI.
  name: 'Dougs MacBook'
  state_topic:  'happy-bubbles/presence/ha'

That’s awesome, thank you for that info @dap35 .