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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I consider myself a techie, but there are so many com solutions its crazy. I've also done some ham radio stuff, so at least I know the basics.

I want to hookup the following devices, and be able to talk to my girlfriend (who likes things simple and working). I don't mind playing with things to get them setup properly. I also have a hard time with the idea of paying more than $500 for the setup. The setup will be hardwired onto the bike, and both helmets will be Shoei Rf1000's.

Hookup these devices:
Link up a V1 Radar detector so I can hear it along/over with all my other audio sources
Link up a blackberry phone VIA bluetooth, for occasional calls and listening to voicemail. Its all voice activated.
Listen to a self powered MP3 player
Talk to a passenger on the bike using VOX.
Listen to a GPS giving voice guided directions (maybe a 2610 or zumo 550)
External Volume Control

When riding solo I have a good set of earbuds I like, and would probably just add a mike for the phone. We will both be wearing 20db earplugs while riding so the helmet speakers need to be heard over that.

What do you guys think? I'm looking pretty hard at the starcom1 system right now. I also doubt we will be chatting at speeds much over 70mph.

Thanks!
Eric

ps: it looks like I'd need the following:
Starcom advance kit $258
Full face helmet kit $52
Remote volume control $45
Bluetooth module $180

$535 total. (overpriced bluetooth module)
 

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I have the Starcom1 Advance and absolutely love it. I use it everyday on my trip to/from work with a cheap RadioShack am/fm radio plugged into it. When I'm out on a longer trip away from the radio range I plug in my mp3 player. Both are carried in or on my tank bag.

I ride with my wife often and after a bit of balance and VOX adjustments it's made our rides together 100% better (now she bops me on the side of the head because she wants to, not to try to tell me something). We've talked no problems well past 80mph. The real secret to a good experience is helmet design though. We were using a cheaper (louder) helmet for her at first and any wind at all would trip her VOX. For her it wasn't a problem but for me I'd hear wind through my speakers the whole ride. We both are using scorpions now and that problem is gone in all but the biggest crosswinds.

I do plug my phone in occasionally (not day to day though) and it works great but I don't have a bluetooth phone, I use the hard connection. When a call comes in the music mutes and both my wife and I can talk to whoever is calling.

A few weeks ago I was looking at the new Connies and when I found out that there wasn't going to be anyplace (that I could find) to mount the Starcom, I walked away. I wasn't really shopping for a new bike but having the comm setup has changed the ride so much that I wouldn't ride without it.

The only other thing that I haven't tried yet is radio to radio and what I really want to try is to hook up my 2 meter ham radio to it but I need to work on an adapter, or a new radio that will connect.

So overall I'd have to give it 4 thumbs up (that's 2 from me and 2 from the wife)
 

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I'm saving my pennies for Autocom, all my Long distance rider contacts tell me I won't be satisfied with anything less
I've been wrestling with a new Autocom for a week. The vox and auto volume control are driving me nuts. I'm about to pop it open and disable the auto volume control. It just isn't necessary to have it if you use isolating earbuds.

I had hoped I could a get a bluetooth system together, but bluetooth is still in fantasy land when it comes to doing anything reliably. The lack of wires in bluetooth is extremely nice compared to the Autocom spaghetti nightmare, but all current bluetooth systems are noisy at least half of the time, if they even bother to stay connected.
 

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The only other thing that I haven't tried yet is radio to radio and what I really want to try is to hook up my 2 meter ham radio to it but I need to work on an adapter, or a new radio that will connect.
I went with Autocom rather than Starcom because things like this seemed easier to do. They have cables for Icom, Kenwood, etc. I bought the Pro Rider version with all the extra inputs for $379 on ebay from someplace in Canada.

Still, both of these companies are marketing mostly to the clueless and getting useful technical information out of them is brutally difficult. And the British spin doesn't help a bit.
 

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I've got an AutoCom system on my Wee-Strom and also my wife's bike (Yamaha Cruiser) including the Bluetooth adapter. The AutoCom system in my mind is excellent and people will be hard pressed finding another solution that works so well.

Our AutoCom systems were second hand so are a few years old but just work nicely. I have an Xda Atom Life Pocket PC / Phone running Windows Mobile 6 and it works flawlessly with the AutoCom Bluetooth Adapter. On my phone I have a 2GB Mini SD Card full of my favourite music which I listen to while I ride. When the phone rings, the AutoCom Bluetooth adapter answers my phone and I can chat without doing anything to answer the call. After the call ends, my phone resumes music playback... The phone sits in my jacket pocket at the moment but that will change when I get a Tank Bag so I can have it charging as I ride.

I was riding back from Naromine (Western NSW Australia) one day and a work mate rang me for some advice. I was doing around 120 km/h and he thought I was chatting to him on my mobile at home. He was so surprised that I was on the bike.

I also have a Uniden UH041 handheld UHF CB which is interfaced to the AutoCom and mounted in the centre of my handle bars. This also works well.

I don't have a GPS yet but a mate of mine has the Garmin Zumo 550 paired to his Bluetooth phone and the AutoCom dongle. He plays his music from the Zumo's inbuilt MP3 player and the Zumo does the hands free thing for his phone. It also syncs the address book in his phone making it easy to initiate calls on the road.

The AutoCom systems are expensive but the best option in my opinion at this time. There are a few new products that should be available next year that are all Bluetooth and show promise - I just have to wait and see what they will be like before forming an opinion...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I've decided to stick with the autocom. About 50% more expensive than the other options, but I don't think I will ever have to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I ended up ordering a Autocom 300 Super Pro AVI (on sale!). I also got a electrical Tankbag setup (very similar to the powerlet kit) and a radioshack project box and a few electrical do-dads. I'm going to hookup everything all together. I'll install it next week and take some pictures. I'm excited about having the GPS/Radar/Music/Phone all together.
 

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If you get a Zumo 550 to hook up to your Autocom, better visit this site as the leads that come with the Zumo make everthing quiet including you trying to talk to anyone via the phone.

http://www.zumoforums.com/
There are lots of switching and muting options on Autocom units, including some internal switches and gain controls. Also, some inputs mute others and some do not. It's a VERY configurable system.

Autocom does have a cable setup for the Zumo. They recommend you pair your phone to the Zumo via bluetooth and use their adapter. It works for me.

Yeah, their cable$ are expensive, but they're high quality and do what they're supposed to do. I've found that their people on the phone are extremely well-trained to help you design a system. I hate to do it this way because I change things all the time, but they just don't provide enough info hard technical info any other way.

As an electronic tech, I know how to read schematics well and I hate block diagrams. It doesn't help that I designed, built, and operated multi-track recording consoles in a former life.
 
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