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Sudden death of bluetooth headphone connectivity




Hello the list!

Suddenly, earlier this week, my bluetooth headphones stopped working 
with Stretch.

I update weekly, usually on Sundays, and I am not sure because I wasn't 
paying attention whether I had successfully used my headphones before 
the last update I did last Sunday.

They definitely were working properly one week before that, when I used 
them with the computer just before going off on a week-long business 
trip.

Anyway, I use Gnome. When I want to connect the headphones I turn them 
on, click on the network-like icon in the top right of the screen, click 
on "Not in Use" beside the Bluetooth icon, and then click on "Bluetooth 
Settings". (Is there a more efficient, involving fewer clicks, way to 
connect, by the way?)

In Bluetooth Settings I can see my headphones as "BeoPlay H8". If I 
click on them it brings up the window with the slider switch to connect 
them. Normally, what would have happened is that clicking that switch 
would have connected the headphones. WHat happens now is the switch goes 
very briefly to the ON position, and then goes straight back to the OFF 
position. Removing / forgetting the device and re-pairing leads to the 
same result -- pairing is successful, but cannot connect.

With journalctl -f running in a terminal while trying to connect I see 
the following at the moment of clicking the slider switch to connect the 
headphones: a2dp-sink profile connect failed for AA:BB:CC:DD:EE:FF: 
Protocol not available
<bluetooth address elided, it is actually a sensible-looking bluetooth address>

Now, call me a super-sleuth, but I suspect that Protocol Not Available 
error could be something to do with the problem ;)

To re-iterate, this was working until recently, and all I've done is 
install regular updates using apt update / apt upgrade.

Where should I start looking?

[Full disclosure -- I previously had a different problem on upgrading to 
Stretch from Jessie -- see this link for that problem and a link to its 
solution --> https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2017/06/msg01196.html 
I have never been particularly happy with the solution I linked to in 
that thread, precisely because I was worried it would be damaged by 
updates, but it seems to be intact at this point, so I don't think that 
is what the problem is here]

Thanks in advance if anyone can help me diagnose the sudden loss of the 
a2dp-sink protocol. The headphones work fine with my iPhone, so the 
problem seems to be with the computer, with which they were working fine 
until a bit over a week ago.

Mark