i want to connect my bluetooth headset (not headset the smaller ones for mobiles) to my headless Pi zero w. But I can`t connect it, because it tells me there is no controller available and I want to know ho to fix it.

My commands were:


it returns: [bluetooth]# nnect to bluetoothd... Then after a while I type:[bluetooth]# agent on and get: Agent registration enabled back. After that I trys: [bluetooth]# default-agent and get this: No agent is registered and at least if I try: [bluetooth]# scan on I get this return: No default controller available.

Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube systemd[1]: Starting Bluetooth service... Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube bluetoothd[370]: Bluetooth daemon 5.43 Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube systemd[1]: Started Bluetooth service. Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube bluetoothd[370]: Starting SDP server Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube bluetoothd[370]: Bluetooth management interface 1.14 initialized Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube bluetoothd[370]: Failed to obtain handles for "Service Changed" characteristic Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube bluetoothd[370]: Sap driver initialization failed. Sep 20 16:17:29 newscube bluetoothd[370]: sap-server: Operation not permitted (1)

  • Is the headset a HSP (Hand set) bluetooth profile ? Then you should be able to follow this instruction: scribles.net/…
    – MatsK
    Sep 20, 2017 at 17:11
  • I give it a try
    – Flajt
    Sep 20, 2017 at 17:44
  • Please report back.
    – MatsK
    Sep 20, 2017 at 17:47
  • @MatsK My headset is the SoundBouds Sport IE20 from Anker, maybe thats helpfull.
    – Flajt
    Sep 20, 2017 at 17:54
  • @MatsK my problem is i don`t have a bluetooth dongle...
    – Flajt
    Sep 20, 2017 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


I'm having the same problem, and it seems like there's something off (or at least for me unexpected) with rights - I'm using a custom user, not pi, who is just member of its own group and sudoers.

To get bluetoothctl to work, I have to call it with elevated privilege, i.e. sudo.

Don't know if this a bug or a feature...

  • well, shame on me too, then - I tried out bluetoothctl on my laptop first, which runs ubuntu, and there I didn't need to use sudo... wrong expectations / assumptions? I would love to hear if anybody could explain what the rights situation here is... Should that be its own question? : ) Oct 2, 2017 at 13:54
  • I guess it should be it`s own question. And another question can you check out my other bluetooth question ? Link raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/73659/… . That would be nice maybe you know this answer too.
    – Flajt
    Oct 14, 2017 at 8:41
  • 1
    A custom user is likely absent in bluetooth and audio groups, that would explain why sudo helps. So it's a feature. Sep 23, 2019 at 13:33

Just try to add yourself to the bluetooth group using

sudo usermod -aG bluetooth your_username

and enjoy ... Do not forget the group is not propagated to the shell you are using at the moment. Reboot may be the safest thing?

  • reboot is not needed, just close the shell and open a new
    – Fabian
    May 6, 2018 at 10:36

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