Reprogramming Bluetooth Headphones for Great Justice

Like a lot of mass-produced consumer goods, it turns out that the internal workings of Bluetooth headphones are the same across a lot of different brands. One common Bluetooth module is the CSR8645, which [lorf] realized was fairly common and (more importantly) fairly easy to modify. [lorf] was able to put together a toolkit to reprogram this Bluetooth module in almost all of these headphones.

This tip comes to us from [Tigox] who has already made good use of [lorf]’s software. Using the toolkit, he was able to reprogram his own Bluetooth headphones over a USB link to his computer. After downloading and running [lorf]’s program, he was able to modify the name of the device and, more importantly, was able to adjust the behavior of the microphone’s gain which allowed him to have a much more pleasant user experience.

Additionally, the new toolkit makes it possible to flash custom ROMs to CSR Bluetooth modules. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, including the potential to use a set of inexpensive headphones for purposes other than listening to music. The button presses and microphones can be re-purposed for virtually any task imaginable. Of course, you may be able to find cheaper Bluetooth devices to repurpose, but if you just need to adjust your headphones’ settings then this hack will be more useful.

[Featured and Thumbnail Image Source by JLab Audio LLC – jlabaudio.com, CC BY-SA 4.0]

8 thoughts on “Reprogramming Bluetooth Headphones for Great Justice

    1. Yes it’s locked. From what I recall you need to set a PSKEY (i.e. flash-stored variable, which you can edit with PSTOOL) to be equal to a hash based on the per-chip unique ID; so, not easily hacked. This is from memory, could be wrong.

    2. Really? The better codec and the hardware capable of using it is built in and locked somehow? What use does this have? Is this just a greedy licensing issue? Then this should be hacked better yesterday than today.

      1. Having that codec generally at least doubles the price of BT headsets/headphones.
        Yest it’s money grabbing through licensing, that’s how the capitalistic system works. And also why we appreciate the Chinese so much on HaD ;)

  1. If you want to play along at home and you live in the UK, then a trip to PoundWorld will get you a “CSR BC6130 dev board” for £1 in the form of a “Native Union Pop Bluetooth Phone” which by pure co-incidence we were discussing recently here -> http://stm32duino.com/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=1746#p22984
    Pictures of teardown here. -> https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipO3KoKFDsX0yN2ZjxKNpVAgAohGj4YZZ6rtU9YF7xD_YhYvRdtuXUf60Z-FzourKQ?key=UGpwbzFIdFpoYVJYZnlHYTFhYXFIQzRPQXJLcWFn

  2. So I’ve bought a pair of really cheap chinese built bluetooth 4.1 headphones. When you action a command, a Chinese woman’s voice confirms your command. For example, when the bluetooth headphones connect to a device, you hear “connected”.
    Problem is, the voice is so loud, and there’s no way of changing the volume of it (even if you turn the volume down on the headphones). I’ve got used to switching on the headphones and connecting them to a device THEN putting the headphones in my ears to avoid the shouting, but when the battery is low, it says “battery low” and it makes me jump every single time + hurts my ears!

    Anyway, case and point – as a complete newbie, will this toolkit be self explanatory enough to help me in hacking my headphones to turn down/mute the voice?

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