Zeppelin and AirPlay setup problems…not quite so trivial

“Anyone who has a problem setting up AirPlay with the B&W Zeppelin is an idiot” some say on B&W’s support forums. Well, I don’t consider myself the dullest tool in the shed but I certainly had issues getting my swanky new Zeppelin to do what it was supposed to and get AirPlay up and running. Never listen to advice from people who haven’t had to walk a few miles in your shoes I say! And no; reading the the manual does not provide much help.

I followed the instructions to the letter but I only once, and only very briefly, got to see the “purple light of truth” and the Zeppelin setup wireless network. I reset the box using a pin, I followed the process on three different machines (including a Linux box) and with different network cables. All to no avail…

So, why would it be so damned difficult for me and a few others and so “obvious and easy” to others?

The answer, it seems, is the need for firmware updates! Those for whom it all “just worked” have probably had their box delivered with the latest firmware….

Btw you can ignore the B&W printed or PDF docs; they are clearly not kept up to date with the firmware so you will just frustrate yourself to the point of breaking. I ended up using the Mac Zeppelin set up app and others have had success with the iPad/iPhone variants too. The whole “connect to. 169.254.1.1” business is a non-starter.

Also there’s no point messing about with an Ethernet cable; with the latest and greatest firmware the box deals with it entirely over wifi.

Here’s what I think you must do, at least this did it for me after many dud attempts;

  1. update firmware to latest version using the B&W updater and application and an (ancient) printer USB cable…NOTE: I had to do this twice as the first update triggered the need for yet another one
  2. Then install one of the B&W setup apps
  3. re-power up the Zeppelin (and don’t bother with the Ethernet cable, I.e. I relied on the wireless entirely for the setup).
  4. make sure your PC/Mac is in the same network as the Zeppelin; I messed this up at least once when I tried to connect to the Zeppelin setup (temporary) network
  5. follow the instructions from whatever setup app you’re trying it with; Mac, PC, iDevice…
  6. be patient…don’t give up and try again

Basically that was “all there was to it” and rubbish documentation and unhelpful forum posts aside I am now enjoying the full power of the Zeppelin in my home and I sincerely hope that you will too.