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Thread: Bike to bike comms

  1. #1
    Fortes fortuna iuvat
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    Bike to bike comms

    Looking at picking up a 2-pack Cardo Scalarider Smartpack comms system. Cardo claims 1 mile range on bluetooth and 3 miles on DMC ("dynamic meshwork communication"). No doubt this is under ideal conditions - flat terrain, no obstructions, no interference. Does anyone have any real world experience as to what the usable range actually is? Also does the DMC only work for a large group or are just 2 riders able to use it for the longer range (compared to bluetooth channels)?

  2. #2
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    No experience with the Scala system but my brother and I are using Interphone Tour models and get over a mile range in flat terrain. This is my 3rd Interphone product and I'm very happy with it so far. The integration with the Nav VI and my I-Phone has been great too.
    I have no idea what the range would be in hilly terrain or the mountains but at that point a voice activated call is just as easy to make...YMMV
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2017 R1200RT White
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA

  3. #3
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    I found this recent thread about Scalarider products.

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...Cardo-PackTalk

    Not a lot of discussion about range, but it might be good info.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  4. #4
    Registered User justkrusen's Avatar
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    I ride with a group of 6. We use Cardo Packtalks in DMC mode only. When we first used them there were 4 of us. In order to get the claimed range the riders need to spread out. The signal is good for about 1/2 a mile between bikes. If the bikes are spread out over 2 miles front to back communication is excellent. Signal needs to jump from rider to rider. Assuming we had all 6 riders spread out the signal should increase to 3 miles but we have not tried it. Now this only works in a straight line of sight situation. On a week long trip with 4 riders we had very good results. Sound is crystal clear at all speeds tested up to about 90. Mountains hurt the range but as soon as you can see each other communication is back. Our units have worked perfectly for over a year now and tested in torrential rain storms. Every week when we get together the units synch up automatically. Pretty cool to just start talking to my friends as they come into view. Great units, highly recommended. If I had to complain about something it would be that the intercom volume could be slightly louder. I wear ear plugs at all times and can hear just fine and non of my buddies have complained.
    And yes, DMC can be used by 2 riders. Range is line of site 1/2 -1 mile.
    Ed Kruse
    '16 R1200RT Ebony
    Naples FL
    "Just Kruse'n"

  5. #5
    Registered Loser SHAG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 129654 View Post
    Looking at picking up a 2-pack Cardo Scalarider Smartpack comms system. Cardo claims 1 mile range on bluetooth and 3 miles on DMC ("dynamic meshwork communication"). No doubt this is under ideal conditions - flat terrain, no obstructions, no interference. Does anyone have any real world experience as to what the usable range actually is? Also does the DMC only work for a large group or are just 2 riders able to use it for the longer range (compared to bluetooth channels)?
    DMC mode works with a group that have Scala with DMC mode. It may be 10 or so. Also the Packtalk has an option to automatically go to cell call if you get out of com range and have service. I haven't used this feature yet. For meeting up with my riding buddy, I just make a cell call to see where he is and hang up when he gets in com range. I bought a double set for myself and passenger. They work good and the Cardo Smartset App is pretty easy to use..

    Here is the PackTalk Tutorial on the Tube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...VCqT6e6h7SDpX0
    Go like hell, You'll get there quicker
    05-GS Rock Red 101k miles
    2013 TW200

  6. #6
    Registered User patm's Avatar
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    I have a Smartpack duo set and you can use it in DMC mode for two riders.
    It works well to about a mile in a clear line. The sound is very clear even at high speed.
    However using them in bluetooth mode gets you about the same range and the same clear sound.
    I usually use mine in bluetooth mode as I find the DMC mode uses the battery faster.
    I can see using the DMC mode really makes sense in a group of three or more.

    The Smartpack is limited to four connections while the Packtalk allows 15 and private (one on one) connections.
    Pat

    Ride Safe!
    '16 RT

  7. #7

    Concur with justkrusen

    Quote Originally Posted by justkrusen View Post
    I ride with a group of 6. We use Cardo Packtalks in DMC mode only. When we first used them there were 4 of us. In order to get the claimed range the riders need to spread out. The signal is good for about 1/2 a mile between bikes. If the bikes are spread out over 2 miles front to back communication is excellent. Signal needs to jump from rider to rider. Assuming we had all 6 riders spread out the signal should increase to 3 miles but we have not tried it. Now this only works in a straight line of sight situation. On a week long trip with 4 riders we had very good results. Sound is crystal clear at all speeds tested up to about 90. Mountains hurt the range but as soon as you can see each other communication is back. Our units have worked perfectly for over a year now and tested in torrential rain storms. Every week when we get together the units synch up automatically. Pretty cool to just start talking to my friends as they come into view. Great units, highly recommended. If I had to complain about something it would be that the intercom volume could be slightly louder. I wear ear plugs at all times and can hear just fine and non of my buddies have complained.
    And yes, DMC can be used by 2 riders. Range is line of site 1/2 -1 mile.
    We also have the Packtacks and I concur with the above information. A couple of other notes on the Packtalks, 1) Batteries don't "quite" last all day, on a long day, so either charge during lunch, or carry two of them. Rider-to-rider communications is a spoiler once you've used it and you never want to be without it, especially at the end of a long day, in a strange place. 2) Packtalks have a lot of functionality-- more than most people will ever use--and as a consequence can be confusing to setup. And, their manual stinks. Suggest referring to the various non-cardo YouTube videos for instructional help. 3) With people wanting to sync to a GPS (like the BMW Nav V, for instance) AND the bike (in the case of a 2016RT) AND a phone, these devices can be non-trivial to setup. It took us a year to finally figure out what we needed to do--and what to avoid. 4) I have a Schuberth C3 Pro helmet (supposedly comparatively quiet) but I still had trouble hearing, especially with ear plugs in. I tried a number of different alternatives and finally settled upon some wired ear buds that plug directly into the Packtalk wiring without modification. See plugupdotcom

  8. #8
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    These are Bluetooth devices with transmit power constraints. The network units get greater range by using intermediate units as repeaters. Spread out the repeaters, but keep at least a pair of repeaters "in sight". Voila! Instant mega-mile comms.

    To confuse things, I use a Sena 20S with a friend who uses the Sena SMH-10. The range is comparable and subject to the same limitations from hills, etc. We've both got a ton of miles on our units and they're still working. The 20S has one feature I begged Sena to add to the SMH-10 (didn't happen and they're now obsolete): an "outside world mic". Double click a button on the mount and the mic feeds the noise outside of your helmet to your speakers. Very handy at quick gas stops ("No, sir, it's not a Harley. It's nice to know you rode one of these when you were young. Now, let get back to pumping gas." or something equally inane), toll stops, etc. The 20S has an FM radio - meh. I've tried it, it works. Not much on the radio I care to listen to. There are mixed reports about the 20S being waterproof. Some people claim they fail in a heavy dew. Mine survives rain nicely. The worst soaking was about five hours on I-95 in pouring rain and tons of truck spray. "Problem not found".

    Two gripes. When the battery finally goes sour (all LiPo batteries have a finite number of charge/discharge cycles), the choices are to get Sena to replace it, or find someone handy with a small soldering iron and a couple of tiny Torx bits. The batteries are available on eBay from "China, Inc.", and cost peanuts. BTDT

    Tech support is good if the support person can answer the question (tech #5, Martha, is a true Zen master). If it has to get bucked up the chain for an answer, things slow down. Corporate/customer relations... it's an oxymoron. Corporate has never replied to anything on the corporate-supported forum. I've bugged them about the battery thing (should be a field repair, not a depot repair) and some other design issues. Crickets, nothing but crickets.

    I had a warranty issue with my Sena Prism video camera. The camera was replaced but the cycle took about two months(!). In the end, no great loss. While I was waiting, I bought an SJCam SJ7 GoPro clone that's much, much better than the Prisim. The NIB camera will hit eBay when riding season starts up.

    Would I buy the 20S again? Probably. With more choices now on the market, if research showed a better option, well, there it is. NTL, I think the 20S is worth it.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  9. #9

    scala rider

    Have used Scala Rider for several years-works well. We have only had 3 riders at once. Being able to communicate in traffic or unfamiliar territory is priceless!

  10. #10
    Registered User justkrusen's Avatar
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    Battery life for our group is usually 10 hrs. On longer days we plug into a portable charger during a meal and are good to go.

    As for the volume we do not have any problems hearing. Its just that it could be slightly louder.
    Ed Kruse
    '16 R1200RT Ebony
    Naples FL
    "Just Kruse'n"

  11. #11
    Fortes fortuna iuvat
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    Thanks to all who responded. Great info. I have ordered a pair from scala rider.

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