Bluetooth Pairing with Surface RT and Big Jambox

Written by on December 10, 2012 in Blog, How To, Surface, Windows 8 RT with 7 Comments

Big Jambox Pairing Help

If you’re like me, you like music. Over the years, I have owned numerous devices used for listening to music. For the past two years, I have enjoyed using the original Jambox, manufactured by Jawbone. Between its portable size, wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and the sound, it provided me with a great speaker for my needs. The Jambox also paired flawlessly with all my devices; from my phone(s), to my iPad, and eventually my Surface RT tablet. So, when I recently decided to upgrade to the BIG Jambox (I mean, bigger is always better, right?), imagine my surprise when the device failed to pair properly to my Surface RT tablet. After spending some time researching and troubleshooting the issue, I came up with a very easy solution that has worked perfectly for me. If you’re having trouble getting your BIG Jambox to pair properly with your Surface RT tablet, hopefully these simple steps will help you get on the right track (excuse the pun) as well.

The Problem

The initial pairing of the BIG Jambox went according to plan. After unboxing the unit, I followed the simple directions for pairing, which included turning the BIG Jambox on (the unit powers on in pairing mode the first time it comes on) and going into Settings -> Change PC Settings -> Devices -> Add A New Device. The Surface RT tablet recognized the BIG Jambox and paired with it. At this point, I assumed success and went directly into my XBOX Music application to start listening to some tunes. Much my dismay, the music wasn’t emanating from my new fancy speaker, but instead from the anemic built-in speakers on the tablet itself. My first step was to go back into my list of devices (see steps above). I knew my troubleshooting skills were going to be put to the test by what I discovered:

Note the BIG Jambox’s status showing it is Offline.

The Solution

I had two things working in my favor in figuring out what was going on here. First, I troubleshoot Windows for a living. Second, the Surface RT tablet is running Windows! Sure, it’s a scaled-down version of the operating system, but the underlying foundation is there and it’s solid enough that you can actually get more information out of it than you’d be able to on other mobile platform operating systems.

I started my investigation within the Devices menu where the initial pairing took place. I quickly came to find that interface to be very limited in scope. I was presented with the ability to view a list of devices as well as delete devices, but nothing more. This probably works for folks (including me) most of the time, but I knew there had to be more configuration features elsewhere.

My next step led me to the desktop version of the Control Panel. This is the Control Panel applet you will be used to seeing if you have ever opened Control Panel in previous versions of Windows. Here’s how to access the desktop version of Control Panel (starting at the right-hand edge of the screen, swipe to the left and select the Settings charm):

 

Once you click on the Control Panel link, you will be presented with the following:

 

Click on the link, View Devices and Printers and you will be presented with the following:

 

Notice that the BIG Jambox is listed and appears to be in working order. Drilling down further, however, paints a different picture and brings us to the root of the problem (and the solution!). You’re going to want to right click on the BIG Jambox and select Properties. You will be presented with the following:

 

Once the Properties box is open, click on the tab labeled, Services. Notice that only one of the Bluetooth services is checked. If you own a BIG Jambox, you probably already know that it has Remote Control buttons on the top of the device that you can use to play/pause and advance/reverse your music. You probably also know that the BIG Jambox will serve as an excellent speakerphone, especially when used in conjunction with Skype (seriously, if you haven’t used your Jambox, BIG or original, as a speakerphone, you are missing out on something special). Even more importantly, you probably want to be able to listen to music through your BIG Jambox. Let’s solve our issue now.

Place check marks in all of the boxes, as shown in the screen capture, above. You may now click Apply. You should be presented with a couple of indicators telling you that the steps you’ve just followed were successful. First, you will hear an audio tone from the BIG Jambox – it’s the same tone you will hear each time the speaker establishes a connection. Second, you will see a notification bubble on the desktop that looks like this:

At this point, you can close out of the Control Panel applet and head on over to your XBOX Music app to start enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Just FYI, I created this entire blog posting using my Surface RT tablet with a Type Cover. I composed the posting using Word 2013, captured screen shots using the native screen capture method of the Surface RT tablet (instructions can be found in another Surfacegeeks posting here), and marked up a couple of the screen shots using an app called Skitch.

I hope this article saved you some time and got you enjoying your BIG Jambox quickly.

by scoobyx (forums)  Twitter @scoobyx.

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  1. BWepp says:

    Great post and I was working through similar issues with my Monster ClarityHD Stereo Bluetooth speakers. Do the settings "stay" this way after you disconnect/turn off the speakers? I'm finding I have to Right Click on the speakers via the Sound Icon in the Control Panel each time and select "Connect."

    • scoobyx says:

      BWepp, sorry about the late response – I have been out of pocket! My experience with the BIG Jambox has been that the settings are retained by the system so this is a one-time effort. I would imagine that your mileage may vary based on the hardware/vendor/etc that you're using.

  2. Carlos says:

    Just what I was looking for! Worked perfectly. Thanks

  3. tina says:

    Great Post! Thank you very Much. Now i can listen my Music form my RT Over jambox!

  4. janet jackaruso says:

    Thank you!

  5. aloha says:

    Hi I have the original Jambox (not BIG) and tried the above but it still doesn't play. I'm trying to pair it to my Surface RT. I did the above, and after, went into the Desktop->Control Panel->Sound->Manage audio device. This is where I think the problem lies. I am unable to select the Jawbone (or any other device). Suggestions?

    • Mike says:

      from the "devices and printers" in control panel, right-click the jambox icon (after pairing) and select "sound settings". Now right-click the jambox (stereo or hands-free, depending how you use it, speaker vs speaker phone) and set as default. This worked for me w/ original jambox and surface RT.

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