Author Topic: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts  (Read 6030 times)

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Offline Rockdoc

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Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
on: April 24, 2020, 07:40:36 PM
We have used a Cardo G9 system for eight years with great success but it appeared that the batteries were dying. We couldn't go very far after what should have been a full recharge before the units cut out without warning and wouldn't restart. I did find somewhere in Germany, through an internet search, that could supply replacement batteries and the tools needed. There was an instructional video on YouTube but, boy, it didn't half look like a faff! They would do it for you but that put the cost up, inevitably, so my thoughts moved towards buying a new intercom.

I did my research and the Cardo units seemed to always get the thumbs up over Sena's offerings and the clincher was a video that compared the wind cut technology of the two brands' leading products. The Packtalk won hands down so that's what I bought. It arrived a couple of days ago and I've changed them over. We have HJC IS-12 helmets and fitting either the G9 or the Packtalk wasn't difficult but the latter was an absolute doddle. The G9 had to be fitted using a sticky-backed, plastic plate attached to the side of the helmet. Its position meant the holder projected below the bottom of the lid so we had to be very careful when putting them down that we didn't put the weight of the lid on it or there was a good chance the plate would start to come adrift. Fitting the microphone and speakers was very straightforward. It's just a matter of routing cables tidily and putting Velcro pads where needed.

The Packtall installation guide was clear. Although a sticky plate can be used if necessary, I could use a U-shaped spring-clip that fits over the helmet shell and liner and simply pushes into place. There is no longer anything projecting beyond the shell, which I like a lot. The microphone and speakers fit in the same was as before but the speakers, by JBL, are no longer permanently attached to the cradle so could be changed for something the rider prefers. The speakers are larger in diameter and slightly thicker than the old ones so are more noticeable. Only experience will tell whether I can put up with them as they are or I'll have to thin the lining slightly.

Setup is very easy. The included, short-form manual gave me everything I needed except one line of text I needed when pairing my Zumo 660 GPS. There's a link to download the full manual and that quickly sorted the issues I was having. Instead of pairing my phone through my GPS, as with the G9, it's recommended that you pair your phone on the first Bluetooth channel and your GPS or a second phone on the second channel. That took seconds and I know it works because I had a call immediately after I'd paired them! The niggles were with the GPS pairing. You are instructed to roll the selector/volume control in a given direction but the quick guide doesn't say why. In the full manual it explains that it changes the pairing protocol and you know it's been done when the flashing LEDs slow. Then came the Zumo, which had me cursing it!  :008: It has several BT options, two of which are Phone and Voice. I tried to pair it as Phone but it wouldn't. After umpteen tries I gave Voice a try and it worked. Operator error!  :033:

You can download an App for Android or iOS that can be used for most settings on the units so I've paired Ruth's phone to hers, which we didn't bother with before. The only thing I wasn't able to do was update the firmware over BT, that operation requiring a USB connection to a computer.

I can't do a better comparison or review the Packtalk Bold until we're able to ride a distance, of course, but I can say that in the very simplistic test we gave it, around the house, the sound quality was extremely good and the speech was clear. I think the Mesh connection, which it defaults to, made Ruth's voice clearer but there are eight years between them so improvements are likely. Most commands are voice controlled. That is a definite improvement. With the G9 you had to cough loudly to trigger voice recognition and then hope what you said was understood. Mostly it was but sometimes I'd say, for example, "Ruth Jackson" to connect to her intercom and it would return "Radio On" and if it got stuck in that mood it was very frustrating very quickly. Now you say "Hey Cardo" and follow it with the command and it's seamless. I no longer have to trigger a connection to Ruth's intercom because it connects continuously as soon as the two units detect each other.

It has an FM radio facility and RDS so it will seek a different frequency if need be. That seems better than on the G9 but I never used it much. It can play music from the phone but that's not something I've ever used much, either. I've set it all up but that's as far as it's gone. Only time will tell if any improvements make it worth spending any effort getting them to work.

To sum up, the Packtalk Bold is not a cheap option and is undoubtedly capable of doing more than I'm likely to need. There are cheaper - some considerably cheaper - Cardo intercoms that do less but I'm nerdy enough to like the best spec. It's a piece of cake to fit and a doddle to set up.

Hope this is of interest!

Keith
2019 Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black SE GT.
Where do they get the names for these colours?

Offline weljo2001

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Re: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
Reply #1 on: April 24, 2020, 10:59:43 PM
I had G9's for years then the batteries died. I did replace the batteries in mine but it really wasn't worth it. They did well for awhile but then the battery life got shorter and shorter real quick so i used my spare G9 which i had replaced the batteries on both units at the same time but shortly after using the second unit it started doing the same thing. So I got a Cardio PackTalk a little after they came out and have been really happy with it...


G9 Battery Replacement..

P1010535 by weljo2001, on Flickr



New PackTalk....

P1020099 by weljo2001, on Flickr


P1020101 by weljo2001, on Flickr
I'm not a Gynecologist. "But I'll Take A Look"

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Offline weljo2001

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Re: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
Reply #2 on: April 24, 2020, 11:02:37 PM
Oh Yea....This guys channel has lots of info on Cardio com systems........https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL_7Be1AJCq7JZU06mSs0cQ/videos

I'm not a Gynecologist. "But I'll Take A Look"

Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth...Mike Tyson

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein

Offline Rockdoc

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Re: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
Reply #3 on: April 25, 2020, 03:58:54 PM
*Originally Posted by weljo2001 [+]
Oh Yea....This guys channel has lots of info on Cardio com systems........https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL_7Be1AJCq7JZU06mSs0cQ/videos
Thank you very much for the link. The hints and tips on this page would have saved me time and reduced the bluish tinge to my language in some parts of my installation! 🤣

Keith
2019 Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black SE GT.
Where do they get the names for these colours?

Offline weljo2001

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Re: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
Reply #4 on: April 25, 2020, 08:53:38 PM
*Originally Posted by Rockdoc [+]
Thank you very much for the link. The hints and tips on this page would have saved me time and reduced the bluish tinge to my language in some parts of my installation! 🤣

Keith


 :152: :152:
I'm not a Gynecologist. "But I'll Take A Look"

Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth...Mike Tyson

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein

Offline TYKE

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Re: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
Reply #5 on: April 26, 2020, 07:56:30 AM
I/we have used Sena SMH 10 for a good few years now, without any problems at all, the batteries are getting a bit 'long in the tooth' these days but still functioning correctly....the batteries are pricey to replace should you lose one whilst on a motorway for example.... don't ask how I know  :034: 

https://www.fc-moto.de/en/Sena-SRL-Bluetooth-Communication-System?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9eSp88CF6QIVC-ztCh3S2wJ-EAAYASAAEgJU-fD_BwE

I recently purchased a Shoei Neotec 2 with inbuilt SRL comms system, I can't comment on its performance yet as I haven't been able to ride out due to restrictions

I also purchased an RC4 bar mounted remote control... again untested as yet   

https://www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk/motorcycle_parts/content_prod/356286?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhZbtt8GF6QIVia3tCh0etQC9EAQYASABEgJNm_D_BwE 
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Offline Rockdoc

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Re: Swapping intercoms and preliminary thoughts
Reply #6 on: April 26, 2020, 01:57:13 PM
Undoubtedly this is another area of personal preference but the Sena remote seems a very clumsy solution. On the G9 the voice control worked pretty well, although waking it up with a cough always felt odd, even after eight years. The Packtalk takes this to another level. To wake it up you say "Hey, Cardo" in a normal voice and then give it a command, such as "Radio on" or "Volume up". It's supposed to be able to access Google or Siri directly with "Hey Google/Siri" but my Samsung uses its own version, Bixby, so I've got some research to do there.

In as much as I can form an opinion without using it in anger, I was impressed how easy it was to install and set up. There seems to be little need to use the manual controls, with the exception of the roller and that's very easy to find and use. It controls the volume if you need to change it quickly and can mute the audio if necessary with a very simple movement. Not much more I can say without getting a couple of hours with it.

Keith
2019 Emerald Blazed Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black SE GT.
Where do they get the names for these colours?

 



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