bluetooth headphones won't connect. How can I isolate the problem?

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Bluetooth connection problems seem to be a constant theme here. I'm running Kubuntu 20.04 and I actually had my MPOW headphones working a couple of months ago. Now I can't get them to connect, though they are paired.

There are two possible causes:(a) something is not installed or (b) everything is installed but something is misconfigured. Given the abundance of solutions to this problem that work for some people but not others, I would like to know whether (a) or (b) is the case so I at least have a filter for proposed solutions.

I tried purging bluez and pulseaudio-module-bluetooth and reinstalling them. It made no difference.

One thing I discovered is that I can disconnect the headphones (using bluetoothctl) even though I can't connect them.


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