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post #1 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 7:08 am Thread Starter
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BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

This came up in my Alaska thread and I typed the response there and then decided before posting it that it probably was better in a new thread in this forum rather than Ride Tales. If anyone has BMW/J&M corded headsets and has any insight here, I would greatly appreciate it. The problem has been both maddening and elusive thus far. I kept the post I was responding to for context. The issue is that my wifeís headset causes a random crackling that causes the voice activation circuit to trigger constantly which shuts down the music. Some times it happens hardly at all and some times it is pretty much continuous crackling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rspyder View Post
Have you tried contact cleaner on all of your connections? That solved my noise problem, but I was using the JMCB 2003. Another thought is that your wife is riding higher than you and getting some wind noise that passes over you triggering the mike.

Thanks again for the ride reports.
Yes, before we left I bought a can of electrical contact cleaner and cleaned every connection: DINs on the bike and cord, the connection between the two cords, and the connection of the cord to the helmet. I even added a little dielectric grease in case there was any corrosion, although I saw none. It didnít help in the least.

It isnít wind noise. It happens when we are sitting still if Linda moves her cords at all. I was sure it was the cords when it first happened as we could really make it crackle when we moved her cord around. I bought new upper and lower cords from J&M and it made no difference at all. She said she thinks it crackles more when she moves the cord near her helmet as compared to the cord that connects to the bike so I am suspecting the attachment to the helmet now. It also seems that her headset connector (it looks to be a two-piece molding) is a little loose between the two parts whereas mine is really tight. I see J&M sells just the helmet connector part for $43 so I may just get one to try that. I donít think the issue is with the speakers, but it could be in the mic itself, but they rarely go bad and moving the eternal cords should not affect the mic. I like that J&M connects their speakers and mic via connectors in the helmet. This allows me to replace just the cord connector without having to buy all new speakers and mic.

However, I first want to do some more troubleshooting before throwing parts at the problem. At least swap the helmets front to back to try to eliminate the bike intercom or wiring as an issue.

I am wondering if her helmet headset has been defective right from the start. I say that because from the time they were new, these headsets would activate the VOX if the volume was turned up very high and a song came on that hit high notes. I thought it was a VOICE II setting, but I fiddled with the settings for hours when the bike was new and never could eliminate the problem. The odd part is that I donít ever recall trying the volume with just my helmet attached. Since I had a lot of time to think about this on the ride through the midwest, one of the times when Linda disconnected her helmet to not have to listen to the crackling, I cranked up the volume as far as I could stand it (with earplugs in!) and the VOX never triggered with my helmet alone attached. So, I am wondering if there is a defect in her connector that was allowing crosstalk between the speaker signal and the mic and maybe that got to the point of having wires actually touching now which is causing the crackling.

It has driven us to the point of talking about getting BT headsets and trying the BT adapter, but that is nearly $1,000 for both of our helmets. And we both really like corded headsets much better than the Sena BT units that we have twice rented.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
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1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
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post #2 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 8:09 am
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

From what you have posted, I think you are on the right track with it being her headset unit or cord. If you can pull back the cover where the wires enter the plug, you may be able to see the issue, but it is most likely sealed and you will just need to replace the cord.
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post #3 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 8:23 am
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

I have an Autocom corded system and had similar symptoms that turned out to be damaged wires where the cable enters the helmet. This was likely caused by setting the helmet down on the cord and creating too tight a bend radius.
I repaired the wires (ended up with a shorter pigtail) and added layers of shrink tubing for strain relief in an attempt to prevent it from reoccurring. The strongest control to prevent damage for me was to not rest the helmet on the cord.

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post #4 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 8:34 am Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by dukey33 View Post
I have an Autocom corded system and had similar symptoms that turned out to be damaged wires where the cable enters the helmet. This was likely caused by setting the helmet down on the cord and creating too tight a bend radius.
I repaired the wires (ended up with a shorter pigtail) and added layers of shrink tubing for strain relief in an attempt to prevent it from reoccurring. The strongest control to prevent damage for me was to not rest the helmet on the cord.
That is my current point of highest suspicion now also. I am thinking of buying a new clamp/connector unit given that the cost is pretty reasonable. I just want to try to rule out the bike as the problem before investing in the headsets.

How did you detect the damaged wires? Was the damage visible? Or could you feel a break through the insulation? My wifeís headset looks fine visually and and felt the wires between my thumb and forefinger as I flexed them and could not feel any weakness indicating a wire break inside the insulation.

I am suspecting it may be the connector itself and that appears to be a sealed unit that canít be repaired.
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2017 KLR650 "Mule"
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post #5 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 8:35 am Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Does anyone else have a BMW/J&M corded headset in use with a VOICE II intercom? I am wondering if my issue with high volume and high pitched music causing the VOX to activate is inherent to this system or unique to my particular system.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
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post #6 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 9:31 am
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
How did you detect the damaged wires? Was the damage visible? Or could you feel a break through the insulation?
With the headset plugged in, manipulating the wire at that location caused lots of noise and crackle over the headset whereas manipulation of the connector was benign. There was no damage visible nor could I feel any break in wires. The outer cord sheath is fairly thick, but apparently not thick enough to protect the small gauge wires within.

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post #7 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 9:57 am Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by dukey33 View Post
With the headset plugged in, manipulating the wire at that location caused lots of noise and crackle over the headset whereas manipulation of the connector was benign. There was no damage visible nor could I feel any break in wires. The outer cord sheath is fairly thick, but apparently not thick enough to protect the small gauge wires within.
Do you mean the wires in the coiled cord that connects the helmet to the bike? If that is the case, I have pretty much ruled that out when I bought all new cords and they still did the same thing.

Or do you mean the wires on the helmet itself that run from the headset connector to the mic and speakers? That is the connector and wires that I now suspect. Basically, the parts in the picture I attached to my earlier post.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
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post #8 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 2:00 pm
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

I found the wires on the helmet were damaged.

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post #9 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 4:50 pm
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

I had the same issue with my older Autocomm cords. Thought it was the connectors and it turned out to be broken wires. The insulation would hold the broken wire in contact but any movement would break the connection. I cut it open and repaired it a few times and then just bought new cords. I isolated it by holding the connector still and wiggled the wires at each end of the connector. I could repeat the crackle very reliably.

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post #10 of 25 Old Jun 27th, 2019, 5:58 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
I had the same issue with my older Autocomm cords. Thought it was the connectors and it turned out to be broken wires. The insulation would hold the broken wire in contact but any movement would break the connection. I cut it open and repaired it a few times and then just bought new cords. I isolated it by holding the connector still and wiggled the wires at each end of the connector. I could repeat the crackle very reliably.
I am hoping I can isolate the problem that easily and reliably also. I may get to it Saturday, but tomorrow is busy all day.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
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1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #11 of 25 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 12:07 pm
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

FWIW- i screwed with cables and bad connections and forgetting to unplug when i got off and worst yet the WIFE got off in a panic to go to the loo and ripped the cable - finally gave up on the old technology and went to a Scalia Rider - wife now listens to the GPS and her audio books and just tune out and never a issue -
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post #12 of 25 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 12:15 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky_dickey View Post
FWIW- i screwed with cables and bad connections and forgetting to unplug when i got off and worst yet the WIFE got off in a panic to go to the loo and ripped the cable - finally gave up on the old technology and went to a Scalia Rider - wife now listens to the GPS and her audio books and just tune out and never a issue -
Iím on the fence now. I really like corded connections as I have to carry enough battery charging equipment now and am not inclined to carry more (already have 4 devices that need charging every night). I also donít like devices that have only an internal battery with no swappable battery packs. If there was a BT headset that had swappable batteries like my power tools and cameras, Iíd probably buy one. However, as long as they are like cell phones where the phone is trash once the battery gets tired, I probably will avoid them. I had two days on my last tour of Europe where the Sena battery died before we reached our hotel, both times in the city where hearing the GPS voice commands is especially useful. That is very annoying. I guess I have to start riding shorter days.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #13 of 25 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 3:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Well, I found some time to troubleshoot today and I fear the problem is not easily solved. Here is a little background and what I tried and found today.

I have the VOICE II intercom and I bought the BMW branded headsets shortly after buying the LT. I am not 100% sure, but I am pretty sure that the headsets were made by J&M as they look like the J&M units and J&M cords work with them. I think the VOICE II intercom MAY have been a J&M product also, but I am much less confident of that.

From the first time we used the headsets, I noticed that I could not turn the volume up too loud or the VOX would activate. Particularly, on a song with very high notes in it. I should have looked into that issue at that time while under warranty, but since the volume was high enough to hear, I didnít bother just assuming it was characteristic of that system. Although, my former Kawasaki with itís Clarion radio and intercom had no such issue.

The headsets worked fairly well up until our ride to the CCR reunion last year. We started hearing static that was quite random, but seemed to be exacerbated by motion of the passenger headset cord. So, when we got back, I bought new headset cords for Lindaís helmet, but that made no difference and the noise keeps getting worse.

Here is what I did today:

1. I plugged my headset into the front connector. The music played fine with no static and I could turn the volume up to ear bleed level with no VOX activation even while moving the cords all around.

2. I plugged Lindaís headset into the front connector. The music again played fine with no static and I could turn up the volume high with no VOX again while moving the cords all over the place. Hmmm... Not looking like a helmet or cord problem.

3. I plugged my headset into the rear connector. The music played with no static, but as soon as I turned up the volume much the VOX turned off the music.

4. I plugged Lindaís headset into the rear connector and got the same results as with mine in step 3.

5. I plugged my helmet into the front connector and Lindaís into the rear per our normal configuration and the volume would again activate the VOX and now moving the rear connection cords would cause the static in both headsets and VOX activation.

6. I swapped helmets and plugged Lindaís into the front connector and mine into the rear. Got the same results as in step 5. If the volume is tuned up, the VOX activates even when the static is not present. And any motion of the rear connection cords will initiate the static.

7. I tried to see if the issue was with the rear DIN connector, but I am doubting that is the case. I would wiggle the cord plug slowly into and out of the connector and nothing seemed to change. And moving the connector alone did not cause static, only movement of the cords or even pinching them hard seemed to cause static and VOX activation.

So, here is my best theory, but I would be curious to hear thoughts from others, particularly if anyone here has the same configuration of a VOICE II intercom with BMW or J&M corded headsets.

Since the issue occurred since the bike was new, I suspect there is a defect in either the VOICE II intercom circuitry itself or possibly in the wiring to the rear DIN connector. It appears that there is crosstalk between the mic circuit for the rear DIN connector and one or both speaker channels (which just gave me an idea for another test) such that when the volume is increased it is fed back on the mic circuit to the VOX circuit. This is a stretch, I agree, but I suspect the movement of the cord is causing enough of an impedance change that this is somehow causing static in the mic circuit when then gets fed into the speakers for both helmets. I donít think it is an actual short in the cords as it is very unlikely that both helmetís cords could work in the front connector if there was anything wrong with them.

I donít know if the stereo balance works for the headsets as well as for the bike speakers, but if it does, I can do a test with the balance completely left and then completely right and see if the static and volume-based VOX occurs with both channels or just one. I am not sure that gets me any closer to a solution, but it might be interesting.

If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know. Or if you know anyone who might be able to look at the VOICE II and see if it is defective or not. It seems hard to believe this is simply an issue with the wiring harness to the rear DIN, but I suppose that is possible. I donít think it is a connection issue as I have had the stingray off many times and the top case off a few times and the volume initiated VOX issue has always been there and has not changed with the disconnection and reconnection of either the stingray or top case connections.

Anyone have a good VOICE II unit you want to sell?

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #14 of 25 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 4:55 pm
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Not sure if this is related as I have the JMCB unit.

I found that if I used only the rider connection and left the passenger connection open, there would occasionally be either voice cutout or noise. The solution was to turn down the rear volume on the J&M. To do this on my standard J&M unit, I pull the volume control to adjust the passenger volume. Don't know if the voice 2 works the same way.

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post #15 of 25 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 6:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

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Not sure if this is related as I have the JMCB unit.

I found that if I used only the rider connection and left the passenger connection open, there would occasionally be either voice cutout or noise. The solution was to turn down the rear volume on the J&M. To do this on my standard J&M unit, I pull the volume control to adjust the passenger volume. Don't know if the voice 2 works the same way.
I donít know how the VOICE II works either. However, mine does not seem too have the problem you describe. Mine works great when my wifeís helmet is not plugged it. It only acts up when hers is plugged in. Very odd. I wish I had an o-scope so I could do a little more troubleshooting as a VOM doesnít help much at audio frequencies.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #16 of 25 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 10:06 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Anyone ever see a schematic for the VOICE II intercom? I found the installation guide, but it shows very little detail. It would be helpful to even have the DIN pin outs. I would like to at least check for grounds. Although, I suppose being audio outputs they may well be isolated from chassis/battery ground.

If I can trace back which connections on the stingray go to the front and rear DIN, I am hoping I can swap them to see if the problem moves with the wiring to the DIN connectors or stays on the passenger channel as that would help determine if the issue is internal to the intercom or in the wiring to the connectors.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #17 of 25 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 6:34 am
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Anyone ever see a schematic for the VOICE II intercom? I found the installation guide, but it shows very little detail. It would be helpful to even have the DIN pin outs. I would like to at least check for grounds. Although, I suppose being audio outputs they may well be isolated from chassis/battery ground.

If I can trace back which connections on the stingray go to the front and rear DIN, I am hoping I can swap them to see if the problem moves with the wiring to the DIN connectors or stays on the passenger channel as that would help determine if the issue is internal to the intercom or in the wiring to the connectors.
I don't know what system this is other than it saying K1200LT ComSystem. I found it in my "Book-O-Knowledge" that I maintain for my LT. I've never had anything but the Baehr Intercom in mine and I don't remember where this came from! Maybe it will help, maybe not. I took photos of the pages on the way out the door so they're not very clear. If they are helpful and would like copies, PM me........
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post #18 of 25 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 7:09 am Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

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I don't know what system this is other than it saying K1200LT ComSystem. I found it in my "Book-O-Knowledge" that I maintain for my LT. I've never had anything but the Baehr Intercom in mine and I don't remember where this came from! Maybe it will help, maybe not. I took photos of the pages on the way out the door so they're not very clear. If they are helpful and would like copies, PM me........
Thanks for taking the time to post this. I am not familiar with all of the generations of intercoms either, but I believe the ComSystem was one of the first that the LT had and is at least one generation prior to my VOICE II. I think this may be the one that J&M made for BMW before they had a parting of the ways.

This does not look much like my VOICE II which has an overall layout like this.
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2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #19 of 25 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 7:57 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

I was hoping I could swap the front and rear cables to the DIN connectors at the VOICE II so I could rule out the wiring as the problem, but it appears that the cable to the front DIN connector is directly wired to the VOICE II with no separate connector like is on the extension cable for the rear connector. I am sure this saved BMW a dollar or two, but makes troubleshooting much more difficult.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #20 of 25 Old Jul 9th, 2019, 10:22 am
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

I have an Autocom headset. It crackles time to time to. But i have the JMCB2003 model CB with Push to talk buttons. So i don't have the interruptions in music

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post #21 of 25 Old Jul 9th, 2019, 1:10 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

The plot thickens. I decided to take a closer look at the rear DIN connector. I unbolted the top case so I could get to the screws that hold that connector panel in place and unscrewed the connector to the DIN bulkhead connector. I was able to plug the helmet cords into the connector on the cable as the back of the DIN bulkhead has pins just like those in the headset cords. So, I was able to easily bypass the DIN pass through, but nothing changed. So, the issue isnít the bulkhead pass through on the top case.

It was funny as I had sent Chris (who repairs the radio amps) an email with what I had tried and he replied back that he would check the rear DIN connector also and I got his email when I got back from doing that.

Then just for grins, I swapped the upper headset cords between my helmet and Lindaís and ... the static seems to be gone. That makes on sense at all since both headsets and all four cords work fine when plugged into the front DIN. This may just be a fluke as sometimes the static seems to not be present, so I need to go ride for a while to see if this really made a difference. I canít believe it did as a bad cord should be bad no matter which intercom port it is plugged into.

I think this winter I will be stripping the bike down and removing the CB looking for a way to get reasonable audio volume out of the. stock radio and into the BT world. Chris mentioned that his two bluetooth solutions each have a drawback. The audio output port solution lacks for volume and the internal solution no longer allows for volume control from the handlebar switch. I am going to see if I can find a device that will amplify the audio output before converting it to Bluetooth, but that is probably a long shot search.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #22 of 25 Old Jul 9th, 2019, 1:49 pm
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Still fighting it I see The voice 1 came stock on my 05 when it died within 4 months the only replacement was voice 2. But than the bike got lemon law so on to the 07 with voice 2. Riding two for many miles I never had any issues We did audio books I am pretty sure that i set sensitivity for rear speaker low so that you had to say something before your said sentence. But once again since I have moved on to bt with the free wire i really never looked back. I really think it is a chaff wire somewhere. i killed many head set wires up front. good luck if I can trace stuff on my side to check out let me know.

Jim Giordano
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post #23 of 25 Old Jul 10th, 2019, 9:23 am Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

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Still fighting it I see The voice 1 came stock on my 05 when it died within 4 months the only replacement was voice 2. But than the bike got lemon law so on to the 07 with voice 2. Riding two for many miles I never had any issues We did audio books I am pretty sure that i set sensitivity for rear speaker low so that you had to say something before your said sentence. But once again since I have moved on to bt with the free wire i really never looked back. I really think it is a chaff wire somewhere. i killed many head set wires up front. good luck if I can trace stuff on my side to check out let me know.
It may be a wiring problem, but I am not sure. I think my VOICE II has had a problem since new and I am wondering if it simply has degraded to the point that it now has a problem all the time.

The fact any any moderate volume (above 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being full volume) on the rear headset will trigger VOX suggests that something in the wiring to the rear port of the internal circuitry to the rear channel isnít isolated properly. And the unit has done this since brand new with brand new headsets and cords.

And now the fact that moving the cables around causes static on only the rear circuit and the same cables and headsets work fine on the front, suggests that the rear circuit has become hypersensitive to any change in impedance. I can literally squeeze the headset cord between thumb and forefinger without moving the cord and cause the static and VOX activation. So, I think it is beyond repair and I am now researching seriously BT headsets.

I am leaning towards Cardo to have the voice activation feature and what appears to be better wind noise management, but the Sena units are popular and have a strong following also. Will have to decide before next spring as I want this resolved before our next long trip.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #24 of 25 Old Jul 11th, 2019, 11:09 am
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

Sounds like you are spot on with that call.Just my two cents on bt i run 20 sena they are fine with just two folks but anymore than that your not going to like them. I think someone with cardo will chime in but i believe that would be the route to go. .Did you try beemer bone yard for a voice 2 setup no one wants them any more so might be cheap. good luck

Jim Giordano
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post #25 of 25 Old Jul 11th, 2019, 12:09 pm Thread Starter
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Re: BMW (J&M actually) corded headset issue

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Sounds like you are spot on with that call.Just my two cents on bt i run 20 sena they are fine with just two folks but anymore than that your not going to like them. I think someone with cardo will chime in but i believe that would be the route to go. .Did you try beemer bone yard for a voice 2 setup no one wants them any more so might be cheap. good luck
I think further effort invested into the VOICE II is wasted. The main reason is that the VOICE II and BMW headsets have never been that great even when brand new. They were far inferior to the Clarion units on my Kawasaki Voyager.

Now, it may be that I have an intercom that was defective from the factory and a good used unit might work like my old Kawasaki system, but I am not willing to take that bet given both the cost of a VOICE II (I saw one advertised used for $500 on ebay!!) and the 3 hours or so of labor required to remove the tupperware to replace it.

I have narrowed my search to three options in order of current preference:

1. The current top of my list is the Cardo Freecom 4+. It has all of the features I likely need and looks to be one of the trimmest designs. The main thing it lacks is DMC, but I am really on the fence as to whether I need that. I donít ride in large groups and likely need to intercom with only one other bike a couple times a year (use CB for that now). If the BT doesnít work well enough for the bike-to-bike CB replacement function, a cell phone call will work most of the time, except in Newfoundland and a few places with poor cell coverage. And hand signals arenít bad with just two bikes in a remote location that has little traffic. Two of these units are $450.

2. My second choice is the Cardo Packtalk Slim. It is more expensive and only fits certain helmets and I need to check to see if it fits either of my helmet sets. If it fits my current helmets, It is a nice design as it separates the battery and such from the controls allowing thinner external controls. It also has DMC for reliable bike-to-bike communication which would be a great CB replacement. The main downside is the $600 or so cost for a pair and potentially the need to buy different helmets in order to mount this product. I have also read that these mesh communicators (whether Cardo DMC or Sena 30k mesh) tend to consume battery much faster than the BT only sets as the mesh is constantly in communication to check for the addition and departure of other nodes (headsets). And, based on my rental experience with Sena units, battery life is an issue for me as I had fully charged batteries expire on me in 2 of the 15 days we rode in Ireland and England last fall. I know that the Cardo units can be charged while riding, but the Sena 20S can not.

3. If I have to buy new helmets as discussed above, then I am quite interested in the Sena Momentum INC. However, now we are talking real money at about $1100 for a set of helmets. The pros are that this helmet is apparently very quiet, so much so that ear plugs are no longer needed and the BT integration is very nice with nearly flush mounted controls and charging port. And the battery life is claimed to be 20 hours which would give reserve for all but an Iron Butt ride. The downside is that if the helmet is damaged, you lose a perfectly good headset as apparently there is no easy way to move the electronics to a new helmet.

So, still thinking about DMC/mesh vs. BT only, but leaning towards BT only as I just donít see a need to use the mesh more than once or twice a year and a cell call probably would suffice in 80% of those use cases. So, I probably will go with the Freecom 4+ as I like its design better than the Sena 20s Evo and I like that Cardo is guaranteed waterproof and can be charged while riding where Sena is not and can not. We rode in a lot of rain in Ireland and we had a few days with a lot of disconnects between the Sena and my GPS. I did not know at that time that the Senaís were not truly waterproof (just water resistant, whatever that really means) and I wonder in retrospect if I was having issues with water in the units.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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