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Very low cost Bluetooth communicator

Joined
Apr 22, 2011
Messages
2,853
Location
McKinney, Texas
#53
Well I found the Achilles heal for these cheap intercoms. My Sena10S allows me to pair with 3 other headsets and have a 4 person group intercom, these units are limited to 3 people, but they have NO group intercom mode, so you can only speak with one other person and if you want to speak with a 3rd person, you have to disconnect with the one you are talking to and then connect with the 3rd person.. I ride with my wife and daughter so the limit of 3 people in a group was not an issue, but NOT having the group function means these are effectively useless for me when we ride as a family, cant keep disconnecting each person and checking with the other and then connecting back.. Real shame as they work exceedingly well for just 2 people.. Have had to go back to the Sena10S for dirt bike riding (was using the Sena's for road riding) and now purchased some Sena20S for road use!! Now have 4 cheap units that I need to find a use for!! Will probably use 2 of them on my bicycle helmet as only the wife and I ride together (kids aren't interested in bicycles!!), then need another use for the remaining 2 units!! If they could add group communication then these cheap units would be superb for us!!

Gary
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
35
Location
Southlake, TX
#54
Thanks for the feedback on pairing. I have some 20s's and that would be a deal-breaker for me. At least I know they are out there if the need arises.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,378
Location
Huntsville
#55
I am glad you mentioned this! I was thinking of getting some to use for dirt riding with the kids and I would have run into the same problem as you.
 
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
70
Location
Arlington
#56
Went back to Gearbest's site and read their customer asked questions. Only 5 or 6 down the list found this:
By Marsh Miranda Mar-01/2017 09:03:58


In all honesty it would have been a nice feature to control at my option.

_


SilverBullet - This is a great find! For many out there that cannot afford to invest 3-400 in a Bluetooth communicator this is an awesome alternative ! I for one appreciate the post and the find. I am currently running the Sena 10s , i had just purchased my daughters SMH10 for 300 and I'm really wishing i would have known about this headset. I would have easily purchased two units and saved nearly 400 dollars!
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,378
Location
Huntsville
#57
SilverBullet - This is a great find! For many out there that cannot afford to invest 3-400 in a Bluetooth communicator this is an awesome alternative ! I for one appreciate the post and the find. I am currently running the Sena 10s , i had just purchased my daughters SMH10 for 300 and I'm really wishing i would have known about this headset. I would have easily purchased two units and saved nearly 400 dollars!
Be sure to check out this post,

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1496018&postcount=53

and this one,

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1494721&postcount=44
 

jqueen

Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
3,182
Location
Denton, TX
#58
Music streaming simple and no frills. You can change tracks via the units buttons but sound volume only controlled from phone. Sound is good but extreme lack of bass compared to my custom molded ear buds. Normal listening level are fine though.

FM radio has great clear reception even inside the house. No volume control whatsoever though. Default level is just about right for me so no big complaint. If you like low volume elevator background music you might not be happy.
On mine, the + and - buttons change track or station if you single press them, but if you hold them down they change the volume.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
6,125
Location
Harmaston, TX
#59
On mine, the + and - buttons change track or station if you single press them, but if you hold them down they change the volume.
Thanks as I didn't catch that in the manual first go around. That will be especially useful when wearing winter gloves that can't touchscreen control my phone.

_
 

bwdmax

Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
1,383
Location
Victoria
#60
On mine, the + and - buttons change track or station if you single press them, but if you hold them down they change the volume.
Thanks as I didn't catch that in the manual first go around. That will be especially useful when wearing winter gloves that can't touchscreen control my phone.

_
I read that but still have not been successful. Truth is I have only ran it one time.

The functionality that SB describes in previous post have not been realized with my IPhone. I can answer a call and call back the last number dialed only. I can't or haven't been able to access my contacts. I don't have any music on my phone so haven't explored that feature. The main use for me was to communicate with my wife while two up and it works for that.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
6,125
Location
Harmaston, TX
#61
I read that but still have not been successful. Truth is I have only ran it one time.

The functionality that SB describes in previous post have not been realized with my IPhone. I can answer a call and call back the last number dialed only. I can't or haven't been able to access my contacts. I don't have any music on my phone so haven't explored that feature. The main use for me was to communicate with my wife while two up and it works for that.
Verified that the volume control works with FM radio this morning, cool. Switched the station and hit some house music. Did my best Daft Punk impersonation until the helmet got too hot and music changed to Cumbia rap.

Doesn't iPhone have voice commands? Weird that it wouldn't work but Apple likes to do things different, and not always in the good way. Same for Sena and Scala. They keep on their apparent proprietary path and the China knockoffs will take over like VHS and Android did.

_
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
6,125
Location
Harmaston, TX
#62
Also used the unit daily for two week ride last month. Consistently got 9.5 to 10 hours of play time each day.

Thought about it a lot more and even if it did pair with Sena's I would not enable it. When I'm riding I really don't want to chat. I always had it paired with my cell phone so advised both riders that I rode with just place a phone call to talk if something important to advise. Never once did I get a rider to rider call or need to place a rider to rider call in 12 long ride days. If paired on the communicators I know 100% that would not be the case.

_
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
574
Location
Keithville, LA
#63
I think a brief summary on these units would be a cheap reliable (so far) alternative for commuters and two unit intercom use that has decent battery life, FM radio and phone call clarity. If you need more bells and whistles than that then this is not your unit.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,378
Location
Huntsville
#64
Also used the unit daily for two week ride last month. Consistently got 9.5 to 10 hours of play time each day.

Thought about it a lot more and even if it did pair with Sena's I would not enable it. When I'm riding I really don't want to chat. I always had it paired with my cell phone so advised both riders that I rode with just place a phone call to talk if something important to advise. Never once did I get a rider to rider call or need to place a rider to rider call in 12 long ride days. If paired on the communicators I know 100% that would not be the case.

_
:tab When I don't have a passenger, this is me. I don't even listen to music. I just have the unit so I can receive and place calls. I don't even do the voice/audio texting. Riding is my escape. I don't always want to be in touch with other people.

:tab However, when one of my kids is with me on the bike, being able to talk with them has been really cool. The alone time without anyone else distracting has made for some fantastic one on one conversations about all manner of stuff. Being on a ride seems to make them more open to having those kinds of conversations.

:tab There have been some dual sport rides where bike to bike communication in places where cell phones wouldn't work would have been nice. However, the range on these SENA 20S units is a bit short to make them really useful for those situations. Radios would be better for that, but we just haven't gone down that road yet. What would be nice is a good radio with a reliable range of 3-5 miles that work with the SENA 20S via Bluetooth.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
Messages
1,255
Location
Elgin
#65
I quit using this. For me, it just doesn't have the volume for listening to music when I ride. That is my go to thing after a bad or long day. Jammin to my tunes, twisting the throttle, wind in my face, not much else is better.
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
Messages
2,853
Location
McKinney, Texas
#66
I quit using this. For me, it just doesn't have the volume for listening to music when I ride. That is my go to thing after a bad or long day. Jammin to my tunes, twisting the throttle, wind in my face, not much else is better.
Did you space the speakers out so they are very close to your ears? I wear ear plugs and still found the volume to be loud enough to listen to music on my dirt bike (very noisy) at 70mph!! or my Goldwing at 100mph also with ear plugs. If the speakers are not almost touching your ears, then you lose a lot of volume.

Gary
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
Messages
1,255
Location
Elgin
#67
Did you space the speakers out so they are very close to your ears? I wear ear plugs and still found the volume to be loud enough to listen to music on my dirt bike (very noisy) at 70mph!! or my Goldwing at 100mph also with ear plugs. If the speakers are not almost touching your ears, then you lose a lot of volume.

Gary
Funny thing, I did have them so close they touched my ears. I moved them around and just couldn't figure out why I was hitting my ears. As I removed them, I noticed the cutouts in the helmet for the speakers. :doh:

Guess my hearing isn't what it use to be.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2016
Messages
24
Location
Iowa Colony TX
#68
I just fired mine up for the first time yesterday and am disappointed. The sound is good but the connector is loose. I have to wiggle it around after a bump because I loose sound.

Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
6,125
Location
Harmaston, TX
#69
That's a new problem from all the reviews I've read. Not surprising though as I know of plenty $600+ cell phones with the same issue. My guess is they'll send you out a replacement if you report it promptly as a zero hour defect.

_
 

bwdmax

Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
1,383
Location
Victoria
#70
The mic on mine appears to have died. The wife and I headed out Sunday evening to ride to the coast for supper.

I put both units on charge Saturday night so they would be ready.
Sunday afternoon I turned them on and paired them. We geared up in the house and both units were working fine. I removed my helmet and went out to check the air in the tires and get the bike pointed in the right direction. I returned to the house put my helmet on and was talking to my wife as I walked away, no response...........I tried again with no response. I walked back over to her and verified she was not hearing me. I could hear her fine. I plugged and unplugged several times. I powered both units down and paired them several times. I turned the BT on my phone off just incase there was some type of trouble there. The final result is I can hear fine; radio works, music from phone works, I can hear her talk, but I can not transmit.

I will be upgrading to something else in the near future, just not sure what yet. I don't think this unit was a total waste of my money. I feel like I got try the communication thing for low cost and know what features I will use and now can make a better choice going forward.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
574
Location
Keithville, LA
#71
I have three of these units and the first one I bought just quit working. I can hear a popping in the speakers when I try to turn it on but it never comes on. One flaw I see with these is that due to how it is wired and mounted when you set the helmet down on a flat surface it can put pressure on the little plug and port. Not good. I am trying to be careful when setting down the other helmets with these units. We'll see.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
127
Location
SW Austin
#72
I definitely agree that Senas are overpriced. But to be fair, if you look at the total number of advantages a Sena 20 has when compared to these knockoffs, there really is no comparison. The range is far better, the sound quality is topnotch, and the Sena supports tons of intercom connections at once, instead of just one at a time like the copycat.
Sena tends to claim a lot more than they deliver. The 20S I have is supposed to have a range of over a mile, and support up to an 8-way intercom. The range is, at best, about 200-300 yards, and that assumes a clear line-of-sight. If the road is curvy, hilly, ect, it dramatically reduces.

2-way intercom works fine, 3 way has a noticeable drop in quality and connection stability, and 4 way was essentially un-useable. Can't imagine trying to get 8 of these things to work together. Auto-reconnect also doesn't seem to work reliably when the signal drops.

I use mine primairly to just listen to music, which generally works OK. Battery will last all day, but not much more. Audio quality is I guess passable for tiny speakers in a loud environment, but hardly top notch. I can see how people that rely on these for touring or regular group riding would be pretty upset with them though. Sena customer service is also terrible- they either don't respond, and the people on the phone can't tell you much more than to turn it off and back on again, or update your software.

Sena rolled out an app that supposedly gives your intercoms unlimited range, by pairing to your phone and using cellular data rather than the built-in transmitters. I haven't even bothered trying it, the reviews sound like a dumpster fire. Sena seems to make decent quality hardware, but their software blows. The initial releases are barely functional and riddled with glitches, and they slowly add fixes over time.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
574
Location
Keithville, LA
#73
Seems like there is a market niche for a really well designed in helmet sound/intercom system that has good sound fidelity. Probably needs to be integrated with the helmet design to truly work well and minimize noise.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
127
Location
SW Austin
#74
The Bilt bluetooth helmets actually have a fairly nice integrated system. The "Techno 2.0" actually uses a system by Sena. The only problem is the rest of the helmet is definitely pretty low-end. Kind of surprising one of the premium helmet brands hasn't jumped on this. Schuberth keeps trying, but it's not really an integrated system (instead, a very pricey add-on to an already pricey helmet), and seems to have all the flaws of the Sena systems, and then some.

The Sena smart helmet sounds promising, with actual ear-cups built into the helmet to make active noise cancellation possible- think Bose headphones, but it's been "coming soon" for close to a year now, so who knows. Hopefully the rest of the helmet isn't total crap, something I wouldn't have a ton of confidence in from Sena unless they were partnered up with a reputable manufacturer.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
6,125
Location
Harmaston, TX
#76
Has anyone been successful removing the BT unit from the mount plate? Manual states it can be done but diagram showing how is not clear to me. I've yanked on it pretty good without it budging.

_

Sent from my SM-G860P using Tapatalk
 

bwdmax

Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
1,383
Location
Victoria
#77
No I was never able to separate the unit from the base plate. I decided that maybe they changed that feature and never updated the manual.
 

mitchntx

Follower of Rev. Doug
Forum Supporter
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
3,103
Location
Granbury
#78
My wife and I went on a DS ride at the weekend with 7 other riders and after 7 hours and 30 minutes of continuous use it started to beep low battery and turned off, so I will assume a limit of 7 hours use for future rides. This is the best gear intercom, not the Sena.

Gary
How about one of these?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZZYBAI2/?tag=twowhetex-20

Many jackets have a zippered collar or pocket that this would easily hide-away.
It would certainly extend your battery life.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
6,125
Location
Harmaston, TX
#79
How about one of these?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZZYBAI2/?tag=twowhetex-20

Many jackets have a zippered collar or pocket that this would easily hide-away.
It would certainly extend your battery life.
Wont work for this unit. Charge port is shared with speaker/mic port. So you cannot charge while operating the unit. Mine still lasts 9 hrs + on a full charge. If a long days ride I typically take at least a 30 min break to eat. I put it on charge during that time and that gives me 2 hrs of additional time so pushing 12 hrs of total use time. Any longer riding than that planned I usually pick a gas stop or two during the day to leave it turned off. That gains another 2-1/2 hrs elapsed ride time each. Would rather break up the no tunes time during the day than have 5-6 hrs at the end of the day.

Sent from my SM-G860P using Tapatalk
 
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