Troubleshooting connection issues with Blunami

Category : Articles , Blunami

If you are reading this article it means you are having trouble getting the Blunami app to connect with your Blunami decoder. This is not a common problem, but here are some troubleshooting solutions. You should try these steps IN THE ORDER they are presented (without skipping sections).

If you have an Android, get the brand name and model of the device (XXX) and google: “How to update the software on XXX”. You must be connected to the internet to do this.

If you have an iOS device go to Settings>>General>>Software Update

It is critical that you have the latest operating system supported on your smart device in order for the bluetooth connectivity to work properly.

Uninstall Blunami app from your device (completely), reboot your device, and reinstall the Blunami device.  Rebooting your device will solve the problem for the vast majority of users.

Unlike earbuds, speakers and other “classic” bluetooth devices you may have used in the past, you NEVER pair your Blunami from the “Settings” section of your device. If you do, your decoder will be UNAVAILABLE FOR CONNECTION within the Blunami app.

If you have mistakenly connected from the “Settings” section of your device, please use the “disconnect” option, and (if available) choose “forget this device”.

You’d be surprised how many people make this mistake and wonder why their Blunami app cannot connect to their loco.  Don’t feel bad.

***At this stage 80% of readers should have solved their problem (using the steps above). If not, READ ON!

It is quite rare (but not entirely unheard of) for a Blunami decoder to have an actual issue with the bluetooth module in the board.  If you have gotten this far and have not resolved your problem, it is time to rule out an issue with the board itself.

The only proper way to do this is to get access to another device (or devices) and see if they can connect to and run the board. If other devices (iOS or Android) are unable to connect to the same board, then there is a good chance the problem is in the board itself (or the installation).

Install the Blunami app on a couple of alternate devices and see if they can connect to the board using the Blunami app.  If other devices ARE able to control the board, then there is something going with your phone/tablet that needs to be addressed (ideas continued down below).  If you find 3 devices that are unable to connect to and run a Blunami, then there is a good chance there is an actual issue with the decoder itself (requiring replacement).  Before you do that, there is one more possibility to consider.

It is possible (although again, not extremely common) for an area to have wireless interference that prevents connections to be established. Examples of things that might cause this:

  1. A) an old wi-fi router that is not operating to FCC specifications
  2. B) an old wireless train control system (that is not operating to FCC specifications)
  3. C) wireless printers, monitors, wi-fi extenders (that are not operating to FCC specifications)
  4. D) an MRI machine

Except for the MRI machine, the key connection that links these offenders are devices that are “not operating to FCC specifications”.

The best test you can do is see if there is an alternate location you can take your Blunami to (like a friend's layout or a club) and see if you can connect there.  You can even take a small section of track to the backyard and hook it up to a 9 or 12 volt battery.

If you are able to connect to your Blunami in an alternate space or environment, then we know everything is good with your decoder and device, and can properly turn your attention to determining what is causing the wireless interference in your layout area. Troubleshooting suggestions for this will need to be addressed in a separate article.

***Information below is for people who have determined their Blunami decoder is functioning properly (ie you CAN connect using other devices, and have determined there is an individual issue with your device).

We are going to assume that you have already tried all of the following:

A) updated your device to the latest software
B) uninstalled Blunami app, rebooted, reinstalled Blunami app
C) determined the decoder works and your layout area is not subject to unusual amounts of wireless interference.

If your smart device is having problems and not connecting to your Blunami (having ruled out all the possibilities considered so far in this article) a solution that could very likely solve your problem is to do a reset on your device.

Before you do this, let's consider a few things:  Is this your primary device that you use for everything important in your life with lots of data, photos, music, and applications. Remember you can always find a device between $50 and $125 that will work perfectly as a controller. So picking up an affordable alternate smart device is a viable way to go (particularly if you have precious photos that have not been backed up).

Most devices come with varying levels of reset: soft reset, hard reset, factory reset…  Take a minute and research your particular device.  Maybe start with the “soft reset” (if that option is available) and see if it solves your problem.  Then work your way up.

Assuming you do not have your life’s work on the device in question, a complete factory reset followed by an update to the latest operating system is the most definitive way to get your device working as well as it is ever going to work.

For a complete factory reset on an iOS device, tap Settings>>General>>Transfer or Reset Phone>>EraseAll Content and Settings.  This will clean your device back to day one. It will need to be followed up with an update to the latest version of iOS your device supports.  Once you have done this, your device will run as well as it ever will, and if it will ever run a Blunami, it will now.

For Android devices, Google “How to reset my XXX (brand name and model) to factory settings”. Again, once this reset is complete, you will want it to be followed up with an update to the latest version of Android your device supports.

Although a device reset can be intimidating (particularly if it's your first time), this is probably the most definitive way to get a device working as well as it ever will, and if you have a stubborn device that won’t run a Blunami, this may be what will solve your problem.

*****Below is a Reference Document with further reading on Blunami connections*****






The Blunami boards contain bluetooth low energy modules running bluetooth4 that connect dependably and are relatively free of connection issues. If you do experience connection issues, refer to this document for troubleshooting.


  • Your iOS device must have iOS8 or newer and bluetooth must be turned on.
  • When you install the app, you will see a dialog box to give permission to connect. You must agree to this, or the connection will not work.
  • If you screw that up, the toggle to fix this is in the settings section of your iOS device listed under the Blunami app.
  • Do not attempt to “PAIR” with your Blunami in the bluetooth section of your iOS device. All connections are handled by the app.
  • Blunami can only pair with one iOS device at a time, and while paired the Blunami is “unavailable” for pairing with other iOS devices.


  • Is the Blunami receiving power? (apply power)
  • Is the Blunami connected to another iOS device? (power-cycle Blunami to make it available)
  • Reboot your iOs device. 99% of connection issues can be resolved by rebooting smartphone/tablet.
  • Try toggling “bluetooth” off and then back on in your smart device.
  • Is there wireless interference in my connection area? (see below)
  • Deleting and reinstalling the app will delete any cached bluetooth settings and may clear up the problem.
  • As a last resort you can reset your network settings in your iOS device. This will not delete apps or data on your phone, but it will cause your phone to forget any saved Wi-Fi passwords. To do this go to Settings>>General>>Transfer or Reset iPhone>>Reset>>Reset Network Settings


We have had very few issues with bluetooth in the boards. 99% of the issues have been on the device side. Use this criteria to decide:

  • Is more than one iOS device is having problems connecting to a specific board?

    If more than one iOS device is having problems connecting to a specific board there are 2 probable causes: either the board has an issue with bluetooth (rare) or there is local wireless interference.
    To rule out wireless interference, retry your connection attempt in an alternate location.
    If you are able to connect to your Blunami on any device, try renaming the board in the Blunami app settings.

  • If only one iOS device is having problems connecting, please refer to the connection suggestions above.


It is possible for wireless interference to affect connectivity. Possible causes:

  • Is your iOS device connected to a Wi-Fi network that does not have internet access or is experiencing temporary connection issues?
  • Is there a wireless Wi-Fi repeater in the area that is possibly causing interference?
  • Some older and off-brand Wi-Fi networks have been known to cause interference.

Temporarily turn off any networks in the area to identify if they are causing interference.

There are also apps available to help you identify wireless networks in a space and related issues.