If you cannot resolve your issue through these pages, then please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a BlowPro?
- The BlowPro is a brand new product from a company in British Columbia Canada called Worldways, owned by Kevin and Laura, your humble BlowPro support folks.
How do I get the BlowPro app?
- The app runs under iOS and is available through Apple’s App Store.
What are the iOS requirements for the BlowPro app?
- The app will run on any recent iOS device, and some older devices back to the iPhone 4 and 5. It requires an iOS version of 9.3 or greater, and the device must support Bluetooth 4.0+. If you have an iOS device that can’t run the app, or doesn’t run it well, then please contact us through our Support page.
I have an Android device. Is the BlowPro usable with Android?
- The BlowPro app currently supports only iOS. We recognize, however, that there is a large population of pipers who use Android devices. We are working on an Android version of the app and hope to have it released by September, 2018.
How do I use the BlowPro app?
- Please take a look at the documentation, either here in the Documentation tab, or in the basic documentation provided within the app itself.
- Basic directions for the impatient: install the app, turn on your BlowPro device and place it (in it’s protective case, of course) in your pipe bag, and then select Device Scan in the app. Your device will show up in the device list; tap the device, and then press the Connect button. The app will connect to your BlowPro and begin displaying bag pressure data in real time. See the full docs for more details!
Who are you folks, anyway?
- Kevin has been a piper for over 40 years and has played in several well-known pipe bands. He is a former member of the original Simon Fraser University pipe band from the 1970s/80s, and is currently a piper in the SFU Pipe Band Organization.
- Kevin designed the BlowPro from the ground up and is responsible for all technical aspects of the device: the hardware, its firmware, and the iOS app. Kevin’s technical background is in computing science and electronics and he has been developing custom hardware and software for over thirty years.
- Laura provides process oversight and administrative support.
What type of batteries does the BlowPro need?
- The BlowPro device uses two CR2032 3-volt coin cell batteries. They are very common and available at low cost. We buy ours at the local drugstore.
- The batteries should last a few weeks if you never turn off your BlowPro device. The device “goes to sleep” to save power if you leave your pipes still for ten minutes. Once you pick them up, the BlowPro senses the motion and powers itself back up. You may have to reconnect to the device through your app, though!
Just wondering how to open the battery compartment to change the batteries? My BlowPro is warning me that they’re low.
- Just pry up the plastic cover on the round end of the battery case. It can be stiff! The correct battery polarity is printed inside the case. One battery positive “+” side up, the other negative “-” side up.
I hate having to purchase batteries. Why didn’t you make the BlowPro rechargeable?
- This was a big consideration during development of the BlowPro device and its app. Rechargeable batteries (for example, an internal battery that is rechargeable via USB or the like) are technically doable, but we felt that this would add significant cost to the price of the device. Pipers are often frugal people – we decided to forego an internal rechargeable battery in lieu of the internal motion sensor, which prolongs battery life considerably, as the device “goes to sleep” to save power when you are not handling your pipes.
How can I determine the state of the BlowPro battery?
- In the app, tap on the Status toolbar item. This will pop up a small window that displays the app and device status. The battery voltage is at the bottom of the window. New batteries will read 6 volts, and the BlowPro will continue to function down to about 3.1 volts.
- The app will provide you with a warning message when the batteries drop below 3.5 volts, so you have some warning before they become exhausted!
I received a warning message on my iOS device warning of low battery. What should I do?
- Replace your batteries!
- The BlowPro device will continue to function until the batteries drain to about 3.1 volts. The app will give you a warning message when the batteries fall below 3.5 volts so that you have warning that batteries will need to be replaced soon.
My batteries seem to be running down fast. What’s the issue?
- If your batteries seem to be running down faster than you think they should, ensure that you use name-brand new batteries rather than cheap ones. We have seen “Brand X” batteries for under $1 while name brand ones are several times as expensive. Cheap batteries are cheap for a reason – they use older technologies and poorer raw materials, all of which contribute to much-shortened battery life.
I have installed the app, but it doesn’t find my BlowPro device on the device scan. What can I do?
- This could happen for a number of reasons.:
- Check your batteries – is your BlowPro device power LED (visible through the ambient pressure orifice (a small hole in the beige enclosure) glowing green?
- Are you within range of your BlowPro device? The Bluetooth signal only travels about 30 metres (~100 feet).
- Has someone else connected to your BlowPro device? Bluetooth is fundamentally “single connection” – if another user has connected to your device then it will not show up in device scans. Power your BlowPro device off and then back on, and it should appear in the device scan.
- The device’s batteries could be getting low; although the green power LED may be lit, the batteries have insufficient power left to properly run the Bluetooth radio. Replace your batteries.
- Occasionally, iOS Bluetooth connections may not be set up properly. Restart your BlowPro app!
- If none of these suggestions work, contact Kevin via firstname.lastname@example.org.
I received an error message stating that the app lost its connection to my BlowPro device. Help!
- There are a number of reasons you may see this message:
- Your pipes and iOS device moved out of the range of the Bluetooth connection. This will generate the noted error message. Bluetooth will usually work to a range of about 30 metres (~100 feet), but this distance is not absolute and may vary indoors and in cluttered environments. Move your pipes closer to your iOS device and re-connect.
- The device’s batteries may be exhausted. Replace your batteries.
- You put your pipes down or held them very still for more than ten minutes. The BlowPro device senses lack of motion and will shut down the device after ten minutes of inactivity. Simply pick up your pipes, or move them about a bit and the app and device should re-connect. In the odd case you will have to use the app’s Connect button to re-establish the connection.
Do I put the BlowPro into my pipe bag inside the supplied protective cover, or do I put it in without the cover?
- Always use the protective cover when your device goes into your pipe bag! The cover protects the device’s ambient air pressure hole and prevents it from getting clogged by seasoning or moisture. It also protects the BlowPro’s electronics from damage.
I’ve recorded my piping session, and I emailed the captured readings to myself. How do I import the “BlowPro Data Set” CSV file into a spreadsheet program like Excel?
- Thanks to a new customer near Chicago for this question. Importing a .CSV file into Excel (or “Numbers” on the Mac) is pretty simple. Kevin created a short video example of this process; you can watch it at https://youtu.be/wwG0IsK4Fkk.
How do I maintain my BlowPro device?
- Keep the device in it’s protective neoprene cover. Never put it in your pipe bag without this cover, as the APO (ambient pressure orifice) may get plugged. This will render pressure readings inaccurate or unusable. It may also clog and destroy the internal electronics of the device.
- We suggest periodically wiping the plastic device enclosure and battery pack with a soft cloth to keep it clean.
- No re-calibration or hardware maintenance should ever be necessary. Do not open the beige enclosure as there are “no user-serviceable parts inside”!
- We recommend turning the device off (via the slide switch on the battery pack) between practise sessions. This will prolong your battery life.
How do I upgrade the BlowPro app?
- When there is a new version of BlowPro available, your iOS device will let you know. Download and install the upgrade via Apple’s App Store.
My BlowPro got all gunky from seasoning or moisture in my pipe bag. Can I wash it?
- The neoprene protective cover is washable, but remove the device (and battery pack) from the cover prior to washing. DO NOT wash the BlowPro device or battery itself as it will ruin the electronics!
I have a suggestion or a bug report. How can I get in touch?
What are the future plans for the device and app?
How does the BlowPro work?
- The BlowPro hardware contains its own microprocessor, power supply and conditioning circuitry, an environmental sensor, and a Bluetooth low-energy (BTLE) radio. Firmware (low-level software) running on the BlowPro device takes care of reading bag pressure and temperature, and passes this data to the connected iOS app via a custom-designed communications protocol. The app is able to command the device via this protocol as well. The app receives the environmental data (your bag pressure and temperature) and displays it in a graphical manner on your iPhone or iPad. It’s magic!
What software and hardware is the device based on?
- The BlowPro device uses a well-proven microprocessor from the company Microchip. The firmware is written in C. The app is written in Apple’s new programming language called Swift. The development platform is Xcode 9.
Where did you get the idea for this neat device?
- Kevin dreamed up this idea one evening in 2016 while thinking about how modern electronics and communications technologies might be applied to piping and drumming. Some people think of odd stuff in their spare time, I guess!