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Setup base stations and VIVE trackers without HMD


Cooconuts
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Hi! I just reached out the VIVE support service about the topic in the tittle, to be able to setup the base stations and the vive trackers without having to use the HMD. From what they told me its not possible to do that but they said that maybe there is a way. My purpose with this is to track the movement of a real object with the vive trackers and then save the data to simulate the movement in a virtual object. Apparently SteamVR won't be able to connect to those devices without the HMD but I found a way (link) to make the app think the HMD is connected and still can't make the rest of the devices to work, since it won't allow me to activate or deactivate bluetooth, I'm guessing because the HMD has to be the one and only to connect to the devices. 

Also, which headsets are compatible with VIVE base stations and VIVE trackers? I don't have access to the VIVE headset but maybe I do with the Valve Index, can I use those to setup the devices? And do I need the headset for everytime I will use the trackers and stations?

Thanks in advance!

 

@Synthesis @VibrantNebula

 

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@Cooconuts - Here's a quick high level overview:

  • Using trackers without an HMD is officially considered unsupported from an HTC standpoint - any development in that realm is not really supported by us expect in exceptional cases.
    • The closest thing to a best practice for this operation involves invoking a null HMD driver to pull data from trackers without an HMD.
    • The data is transmitted back to the PC via the bluetooth dongles (or potentially via USB data cable)
    • SteamVR is still required at runtime to interface with the trackers.
  • Technically any HMD that uses SteamVR lighthouse based tracking will also natively work alongside trackers (Index, Pimax, ect...). You basically just have to watch out for with version trackers you have (gen 1 or the updated Tracker 2018) and which version of the basestations you have (1.0 or 2.0) as there are hardline generational compatibility requirements.

In your specific case, the bluetooth of the tracker wouldn't connect to any HMD, it would transmit data back to the Vive tracker dongle that came with the tracker.

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  • 6 months later...
On 2/19/2020 at 2:47 AM, VibrantNebula said:

@Cooconuts - Here's a quick high level overview:

  • Using trackers without an HMD is officially considered unsupported from an HTC standpoint - any development in that realm is not really supported by us expect in exceptional cases.
    • The closest thing to a best practice for this operation involves invoking a null HMD driver to pull data from trackers without an HMD.
    • The data is transmitted back to the PC via the bluetooth dongles (or potentially via USB data cable)
    • SteamVR is still required at runtime to interface with the trackers.
  • Technically any HMD that uses SteamVR lighthouse based tracking will also natively work alongside trackers (Index, Pimax, ect...). You basically just have to watch out for with version trackers you have (gen 1 or the updated Tracker 2018) and which version of the basestations you have (1.0 or 2.0) as there are hardline generational compatibility requirements.

In your specific case, the bluetooth of the tracker wouldn't connect to any HMD, it would transmit data back to the Vive tracker dongle that came with the tracker.

Hi there i am new at setting up the 2 x base station 2.0 and a Vive Tracker ( 2018 ) and after following all the steps " null HMD driver " .... i have a few issues

1 ) STEAM VR cant detect any of my base station 2.0 and Vive Tracker 

2 ) I cant have access the base station via bluetooth ( No bluetooth driver installed it stated ) 

Correct me if i am wrong ... Do i need the 

HTC Vive Link Box for Vive Pro Series VR Headsets
HTC Vive Link Box for Vive Pro Series to activate the bluetooth so that my computer and the substation can communicate ?  Thanks 
 
Cheers : ) 
Kenny 
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  • 2 months later...

Hello everyone,

I'm Facing the same problem right now same hardware and same Issues. I've seen that the stations need to be on seperate Channels to work properly but I dont know how to do that. 

I also have seen that there is an Option to Force the Device to Use Bluetooth but same again i couldn't find the way to do that. 

Is anyone out there who knows how to solve one of those problems ?

Regards 

Andreas 

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  • 1 month later...

Hey there,

First of all, you shouldn't direct your anger towards HTC, they are only licensing the steamVR technology, the real problem is with Valve.

On 8/20/2020 at 9:35 AM, kennyyek said:

Hi there i am new at setting up the 2 x base station 2.0 and a Vive Tracker ( 2018 ) and after following all the steps " null HMD driver " .... i have a few issues

1 ) STEAM VR cant detect any of my base station 2.0 and Vive Tracker 

2 ) I cant have access the base station via bluetooth ( No bluetooth driver installed it stated ) 

Correct me if i am wrong ... Do i need the 

HTC Vive Link Box for Vive Pro Series to activate the bluetooth so that my computer and the substation can communicate ?  Thanks 
  1. If you did the setup right it should work, so I'm going to ask the obvious here: did you pair the tracker to the dongle that came with it, is the dongle connected, is the tracker turned on, is the tracker in view of the base stations, are your base stations on different channels? If all of these are true you should see your tracker and your base stations in SteamVR. The base stations are only visible if you have a tracker in their line of sight.
  2. The bluetooth connection can't be established without a headset even if you have the Vive Pro Link Box. I've tried it today and although the device and drivers work correctly and I can even connect to the base stations through as a windows bluetooth device SteamVR just refuses to manage them unless you have a HMD connected to the Link Box, which if you ask me is utter BS
On 11/3/2020 at 11:06 PM, andreas.braig said:

I'm Facing the same problem right now same hardware and same Issues. I've seen that the stations need to be on seperate Channels to work properly but I dont know how to do that. 

I also have seen that there is an Option to Force the Device to Use Bluetooth but same again i couldn't find the way to do that. 

Is anyone out there who knows how to solve one of those problems ?

As for changing the channels there's a manual way to do it without bluetooth, sadly I can't find the setup anywhere, they removed it from the online documentation. But it was some combination of pressing the reset button on the back of it with a hairclip.

Hope this helps you guys get it set up quickly.

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@kennyyek @andreas.braig,

The problem both of you are facing is that the linkbox contains a special bluetooth radio that can work with Valve's proprietary "watchman" protocol. SteamVR isn't using a standard bluetooth protocol, it's using a special protocol that has a proprietary >90% compression protocol which is required to hit the high refresh frequency required for VR.

  1. You can update the device's firmware via micro-USB. When doing so, ensure that you plug the station in via USB, and then supply it power - to minimize movement of the station while it's spinning which can cause damage. When unplugging it, unplug the power first and let the station come to a stop before moving it around and unplugging the USB. You would also want to update the tracker's firmware as well.
  2. Basestation channel management's UI is entirely handled over bluetooth because Valve designed SteamVR systems to function as full "kits" with HMD, controllers, etc...There is a manual "pinhole" on the back of the unit you can trigger with a paperclip. Per my warning above about movement, you carefully plug in the device and then use the pinhole to cycle the channel while the station is on being careful not to jostle it too violently. The stations ship defaulted to channel 1. Each press of the pinhole will index the channel +1. There are 16 channels, on the 16th press of the button you'll cycle from S16 -> S1 and start the index cycle over again. If you hover over the basestation icon when there's a connected SteamVR device receiving data, it will show which channel that station is broadcasting but it does take a little while to update when you're manually changing channels. As long as you're using stations in a room by themselves it doesn't matter at all what channels you assign them just as long as no two stations are on the same channel in the same room. @andreas.braig
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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Has anyone had success with this recently? I've enabled the null driver and my steamvr.vrsettings file contains the following:


   },
   "driver_null" : {
      "displayFrequency" : 90,
      "enable" : true,
      "loadPriority" : -999,
      "modelNumber" : "Null Model Number",
      "renderHeight" : 1680,
      "renderWidth" : 1512,
      "secondsFromVsyncToPhotons" : 0.01111111,
      "serialNumber" : "Null Serial Number",
      "windowHeight" : 1200,
      "windowWidth" : 2160,
      "windowX" : 0,
      "windowY" : 0
   },
   "steamvr" : {
      "activateMultipleDrivers" : true,
      "forcedDriver" : "null",
      "installID" : "9951421276712397352",
      "lastVersionNotice" : "1.16.10",
      "lastVersionNoticeDate" : "1615514886",
      "mirrorViewDisplayMode" : 0,
      "showAdvancedSettings" : true,
      "showMirrorView" : true
   },
   "vive.htc.4f5f140a-0928-4fcb-8023-93dc212eac17" : {
      "resolutionScale" : 100
   }
 

But when I start SteamVR, the tracker is not being seen by the base station (though it is successfully pairing to the dongle). The base station is plugged in and directly facing the tracker, and yet it is not finding it or showing up in my dashboard. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I think the base station issue is the only thing preventing this from working so I just need to figure out how do disable whatever dependency it has on the HMD.

tracker_no_basestation.PNG

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I am having the same results as KatG. Originally  got the Base Station 1 By accident. That was recognized by the computer, but the Basestation 1 Does not work with the tracker 2018. So Now that I replaced, the basestation with 2.0, it doesn't show up anymore. It showed up once for a minute or two, but now nothing.

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On 3/13/2021 at 3:59 PM, KatG said:

But when I start SteamVR, the tracker is not being seen by the base station (though it is successfully pairing to the dongle). The base station is plugged in and directly facing the tracker, and yet it is not finding it or showing up in my dashboard. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I think the base station issue is the only thing preventing this from working so I just need to figure out how do disable whatever dependency it has on the HMD.

 

On 2/11/2021 at 12:45 AM, anish unnikrishnan said:

am having same issue my tracker is not tracked, tracker is always breathing, please help

I had the same problems as the two people above me, but after talking to tech support and reading the posts above over and over again, I made some vital realizations that allowed me to get the system working. Since most people who are trying to use the Tracker without a HMD are probably not vive users in the first place, it's easy to miss the details.

1) The tracker or controller is the device that is talking to the computer not the base station, therefore the base station does not need to be connected to the computer to work. It's called a base station because it doesn't move, but it is not a central hub of information as the name might suggest. It acts more like a lighthouse on the shore to keep ships on track.

2) The tracker will not even see a basestation if it is less than .5 meters or 1 1/2 feet from the basestation. So if I have my basestation is on my desk right beside my tracker SteamVR only going to see the tracker. Since the tracker seems to report back to SteamVR about the basestation, so SteamVR will not see anything if the tracker doesn't see it. Whenmy tracker and base station were too close, my screenshot looked like KatG's screenshot, HMD, and tracker only.

3) The tracker is meant to be mounted in in the air, and cast it's rays down, from a distance. I can't confirm this, but I think Shiny surfaces can be problematic, so I imagine sitting the basestation on a desk means the infrared light will reflect off the table, and throw off the tracker. That's why they recommend mounting them on a stand or on a ledge. So before I did this step, my SteamVR reading looked like Annish Unnikrishnan, It would show all the devices, but nothing would track. Once I mounted it on a ledge 1 meter away and 1 meter above my desk, the tracker finally began to track properl. 

I have not had the chance to test it out in Unreal yet, but things are a looking a lot more promising than when I last posted. Since there isn't a lot of support for trackers without HMD displays, I hope this information helps someone who is struggling like I was,

 

 

Edited by niverik2k
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