Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Got any questions about Audio, Headsets and Earplugs then please use this section.
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Sleuth
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Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by Sleuth »

Good morning,

The time has come to consider replacing my aging Sena SMH10. While it has given significantly better performance than the Scala Rider G4, the battery life is not what it used to be, and it is not connecting always nicely with my GPS. (I think it has more to do with the disparity between the Bluetooth versions than anything else.)

I have narrowed my choice to either wired (Autocom) or Wireless (Sena 30K, or 20S)

This post is totally about which should I choose, both systems have advantages and disadvantages. I am aware of a number of them (listed below), as I previously had an Autocom system. This was before it could be inbuilt into the bike. I am favouring the Autocom system mainly as on a couple of long rides with my wife, I ended up without being able to talk to her and hear the GPS instructions.

My requests are to all those that have a mounted, wired system;
  • Where do you have the connectors for rider & passenger? I would be grateful for any photos showing the location. (Ideally on a 1200RT, but I can use the ideas of other touring bikes.)
  • I am using the Zumo 595 GPS, are there connection issues? Is there anything I should know / concerned about before purchasing the Autocom system? The zumo cabling has the wired connectors.
I have a 2010 1200RT without radio or onboard audio.


Advantages of Wired:
  • No power issues
  • When correctly set up unlimited power to the speakers
  • Instant & reliable connection
  • Once setup, works without adjustments.
Disadvantages of wired
  • Care when mounting / dismounting the bike
  • No long distance reach with passenger. (Was useful once in a shop for supplies :grin:)
  • Problematic when changing bikes
Advantages of Wireless:
  • The reverse of Wired
If anyone has either comments of going from wireless to wired, or on using wired on modern bikes, or on additional advantages / disadvantages, or on a related wired / wireless issue, it would greatly help me focus my decision.

The final decision is mine, and mine alone but helping me to focus on the answers will be very useful.

I am also posting this in the following forums: www.bmwlt.com, and www.1200rt.com

Thanks for your comments

Best regards
Sleuth
GPS: BMW Navigator VI & IV
Maps: Europe NTU 2020.30 & Europe NT 2020.20
Software: Basecamp (4.7.1) & Mapsource (6.16.3)
Computer: PC (Windows 10 Pro)
Motorcycle: BMW R1200GSA (2020)

Oop North John
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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by Oop North John »

I went from Autocom to Interphone F5MC. One irritation when I had a pillion was that they couldn't hear the sat nav directions, which meant if they spoke, I didn't hear her, also, I had the keystroke option initially enabled, which meant another 10 seconds of silence.

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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by advnzer »

Oop North John wrote:
27 Oct 2018 19:21
............................................ I had the keystroke option initially enabled, which meant another 10 seconds of silence.
Isnt that a good thing?????

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Steve W
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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by Steve W »

I recently went from a wired (StarComm) to a SENA 20 and for the most part I'm happy. The only flaw in the system is the SR10 module you need for wired peripherals such radar detectors and GMRS or Ham radio. Sometimes a bit glitchy. There <may> be an issue with water but a couple of short cloud bursts haven't been a problem. There are other options out there but the SENA was the only one that would handle all of my wired stuff.

The biggest plus for myself has been international travel with rental bikes. My wife and I, as well as friends on our most recent trip were all able to maintain communication.

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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by Sleuth »

Thanks for the comments, they are certainly useful.

Yes the biggest plus of a wireless system is the ability to switch bikes without issue, that is certainly something for consideration.

The biggest issues I have is, on a long tour the battery died while we were still riding - so no communication with the wife (bad thing) and no instructions from the GPS (very bad thing). Also after a couple of years the battery is shot, it is used almost daily, and to replace the units it is very expensive.

Best regards
Sleuth
GPS: BMW Navigator VI & IV
Maps: Europe NTU 2020.30 & Europe NT 2020.20
Software: Basecamp (4.7.1) & Mapsource (6.16.3)
Computer: PC (Windows 10 Pro)
Motorcycle: BMW R1200GSA (2020)

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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by kernowing »

The first wired set I had was Autocom on my GL 1500 Goldwing. The sound quality was good but I couldn't use the built in Audio system from the bike (or so I thought :roll: ) I've used J&M Headsets for about 10 years now on both the Goldwings we've owned. I tried a Bluetooth system a few years ago-- Interphone with upgraded headsets for Schuberth C3 helmets. I thought the sound quality was superb but my wife couldn't get on with the many, many different settings and needed to remove her glove to make any adjustments. They went back and we've used J&M wired straight into the Wing's audio since then. J&M is good kit but, in my opinion, the cords/connectors don't seem that robust--even when used with care. I've had to replace mine several times--not cheap!
If I were setting up for a new bike (non Goldwing), I would definitely be thinking of Autocom as they seem to be good quality and adaptable to take any accessories -GPS, phone, MP3 that I would want.
2007 GL1800 Goldwing
2018 Triumph Speedmaster 1200
Zumo 660LM

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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by Sleuth »

kernowing wrote:
29 Oct 2018 11:35
The first wired set I had was Autocom on my GL 1500 Goldwing. The sound quality was good but I couldn't use the built in Audio system from the bike (or so I thought :roll: ) I've used J&M Headsets for about 10 years now on both the Goldwings we've owned. I tried a Bluetooth system a few years ago-- Interphone with upgraded headsets for Schuberth C3 helmets. I thought the sound quality was superb but my wife couldn't get on with the many, many different settings and needed to remove her glove to make any adjustments. They went back and we've used J&M wired straight into the Wing's audio since then. J&M is good kit but, in my opinion, the cords/connectors don't seem that robust--even when used with care. I've had to replace mine several times--not cheap!
If I were setting up for a new bike (non Goldwing), I would definitely be thinking of Autocom as they seem to be good quality and adaptable to take any accessories -GPS, phone, MP3 that I would want.
Thanks for this, it is one of the things I was hoping for. A person who went from wired to wreless to back to wired.

Can you please let me know, how difficult was it to make the switch back to plugging cables back in? Were there any issues with the wired that you found slightly irritating etc. The request sounds strange, but the minor irritants can become major issues and I would like to avoid spending silly money and not enjoy the fruits.

Thanks for any insights you can offer.

Best regards
Sleuth
GPS: BMW Navigator VI & IV
Maps: Europe NTU 2020.30 & Europe NT 2020.20
Software: Basecamp (4.7.1) & Mapsource (6.16.3)
Computer: PC (Windows 10 Pro)
Motorcycle: BMW R1200GSA (2020)

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kernowing
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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by kernowing »

Lots of bikers use Bluetooth systems and are very happy with them but quite a few seem to have issues with dropped connections etc. and being a bit of an "old fart", I really cannot be doing with problems when I'm on a long tour(or a short tour, come to that). Also there is the need to charge both headset modules every night, not always easy and could get forgotten if you're old and forgetful like me. :roll:
I'm not sure what the Audio set-up is on the 1200RT but I think most riders that use wired systems use Autocom.
In fairness, the Bluetooth that I fitted to our C3 helmets didn't get a very long trial. I did a couple of solo rides where I was quite impressed but as soon as the pillion tried the system for the first time, she was not at all happy so they were returned to supplier.
The Goldwing has a permanent Audio system installed so nothing was altered to use BT headsets, therefore it was no problem to switch from one to the other. My 1800 has radio, Sat Nav, CB radio and MP3 all linked into the factory fitted audio system so although that can all be linked into a BT system (I think) it gets very complicated (& expensive) to get it all to work!
Hope this is helpful.
Regards, Pete.
Edit, having re-read your comment--the only issue I would have with wired sets would be that the leads on J&M headsets are not robust enough, I think Autocom are superior. Having used wired for almost 80000 miles you do get used to the umbilical cord conecting you to the bike. ;)
2007 GL1800 Goldwing
2018 Triumph Speedmaster 1200
Zumo 660LM

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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by Sleuth »

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the comprehensive answer.

My history with Bluetooth, is I started with the Scala Rider G4 which received very good reviews & was upgradeable. For myself it was no end of misery, and certainly my wife could not get on with it. After about a year of spending more time at the dealer than attached I received my money back.

I was tempted to go to the Autocom system, and I contacted a BMW dealer in the UK who was listed as an Autocom dealer. He was also a Sena dealer and advised me to try Sena. At the time there was only one dealer, and he was on the other side of Belgium. In general we have been happy with Sena, and if I go wireless I would choose them over Scala Rider. However there have been issues, in particularly dropped connections with the GPS, and battery life. Another consideration is at the start the battery life is extensive, however as the years go by the battery wears out and no longer holds the charge it once did. Paying €500 or more every few years is a bit more than I care to pay. I recently did a 1500 km (1000 mile) trip to the Midlands and back via the Channel Tunnel & Brighton. This meant for 3 days I spent virtually the entire day in the saddle. While the headset managed to last the day, based on previous experience, if I had been with my wife it would not. When this happened it was annoying but not unsurmountable (known territory) in this case it would have been much worse (unknown territory.)

This is why I am looking at the Autocom system. However taking a step back to wired requires careful thought. for example: At my last switch of helmet I went from flip helmet (Shoei) to old school full face (Arai) mainly due to the lack of D rings on the new Shoei flip helmets. Bad move, and for the next few years I have to live with it, and at the first opportunity I will drop it, and go back to Shoei. With an intercom this is more of an investment, and I want to make the right choice! Hence your thoughts & experiences are very important.

I only have a GPS to connect, so it should be easy (especially as I will be asking the dealer to fit it (if I do go for the Autocom system.)

Best regards
Sleuth
GPS: BMW Navigator VI & IV
Maps: Europe NTU 2020.30 & Europe NT 2020.20
Software: Basecamp (4.7.1) & Mapsource (6.16.3)
Computer: PC (Windows 10 Pro)
Motorcycle: BMW R1200GSA (2020)

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kernowing
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Re: Wired / Wireless Intercoms?

Post by kernowing »

If you should decide to go for the Autocom option, give this dealer a call. He's the guy I bought my BT set-up from and he was pretty good when I said I wanted to return it. I lost money on it but I had modified the C3 upgrade headsets :shock:
http://chainspeed.co.uk/communication/
2007 GL1800 Goldwing
2018 Triumph Speedmaster 1200
Zumo 660LM

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