AKE Electronics PowerCom ROGER One Intercom
by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
In This Series:
(Below) | wBW
Motorcycle Intercoms Home | wBW
Part Two: ROGER One and Bluetooth
Isn’t Technology Great?
This section continues the ROGER One evaluation, but
with some very tangible differences. With a
companion PowerCom Bluetooth Headset on hand, along with
other optional goodies, and driven by curiosity, this
foray into wireless and mixed environments was
The information and
assessments presented are based on both documented and
undocumented features, all of which were identified and
validated for the overall ROGER One evaluation. As
eluded to in Part 1, with the right accessories and
patience, functionality of the basic system can be
enhanced quite simply.
AKE PowerCom Bluetooth
Helmet Set 101 and PB-HC2 Bundle
Bluetooth has provided a simple technology-based
solution to provide "fit-for-motorcycle handling”
(interfacing) of Bluetooth mobile phones and Bluetooth
GPS, thus extending the functionality and versatility of
not only the ROGER One system, but all PowerCom systems.
This AKE solution is now
bundled in one kit comprising the Bluetooth Helmet Set
and a companion Bluetooth module, the PB-HC2. All
components are extremely low profile and depending on
the type of helmet to be used, can be mounted under the
neckpiece or between the shell and liner material,
rendering the whole setup virtually invisible.
AKE PowerCom Motorcycle Bluetooth Intercom Set 101
In itself the Bluetooth Helmet Set 101 is a stand-alone
headset that can be interfaced to virtually any other
Bluetooth peripheral or device that might be available,
providing a completely wireless system.
However, adding the optional
PB-HC2 Bluetooth module provides a wireless link to the
ROGER One control module, allowing a mix of wired or
wireless devices and thus the best of both worlds. It is
a cost effective means to enhance and tailor the basic
AKE PowerCom PB-HC2 Bluetooth Module
AKE Bluetooth Helmet Module
Fitting the Kit
The bundle contains a stylish and slim 18 x 116 x 6 mm
and light (21 grams) Bluetooth module with integrated
booster, the PB-HC2 Bluetooth dongle, a set of helmet
speakers similar to the HighVoice components (300 to
5,000Hz), a round vice rectangular wind noise
compensated microphone, one replaceable battery module
and a 100-240V travel charger, with a 220v plug.
A short set of installation
and operating instructions in German and English is
provided, along with a Velcro fastener for mounting the
microphone and some small cable ties. For initial
evaluation, the kit was installed in a black Arai
Corsair and for riding it was installed in the Nolan 102
Although the module is
designed to fit up under the neckpiece of a helmet with
the control button accessed by feel or pressure, it
introduces some guesswork in manipulating the control,
especially through any liner material. While not
impossible, it could be difficult and many helmet
neckpieces would not be flexible enough to accommodate
Alternatively, as the module
is unobtrusive and seemingly sealed to withstand the
elements, it was mounted on the left side just above the
neckpiece, secured on the soft plastic trim using two
round hook-n-loop fasteners. This worked well in that it
provided about 5mm of clearance between the two surfaces, providing both vibration protection, and keeping it
Power is provided by the
standard rechargeable 120mAh Li-ion battery. This
battery module measures a diminutive 40 x 15 mm (1.5 x
½ in) and is connected to the main module by a two pin
flat mini-connector, all of which is easily tucked out
of sight under the neck liner.
The optional high-power
battery, rated at 750mAh, is larger at 60 x 30 mm (1.25
x 2.25 in). On the Arai RX-7 Corsair helmet, the larger battery
module could be squeezed up under the neck liner and
secured in place with a Velcro hook tab. On other
helmets, it might have to be secured on a bottom edge or
on the shell.
Key to this whole wireless
thing is the PB-HC2 Bluetooth Pair-and-Go module that
plugs into the DIN (F) plug, replacing the wired
connection to the headset. This Bluetooth dongle has a
not-to-be-missed red button, two small LEDs, RED and
GREEN and a microphone adjustment trimmer on the bottom
The Master Pairing
AKE states the Bluetooth Helmet Set 101 and bundled
PB-HC2 dongle are delivered ‘paired’, which they were.
Turning on the 101 headset first, then the control
module sets the two units into a brief introductory
session. After fifteen seconds, the LED on both units
blinked their respective ‘paired’ message, indicating
that a link has been established.
Inside the helmet, a short
squelch-like tone was heard, verifying that the system
was live, followed by a short multi-tone sequence,
confirming a complete system. A quick verification of
system functionality was done using one of the radio
devices. Figuratively, the cord was now cut.
To say that a lot of different configurations were tried
and documented would be an understatement. Both
documented and undocumented features were evaluated, the
objective being to validate basic functions and take a
building block approach to enhancing system
The initial configurations
identified below are based on use of the Bluetooth
headset and specific Bluetooth enabled devices, on a one
to one pairing or more complex (multiple pairing)
arrangements using the ROGER One system with a Bluetooth
module, the PowerCom Bluetooth Helmet Set 101 and, other
AKE ROGER One, AKE Bluetooth Module, HTC Touch Screen
PDA and Garmin zumo
Bluetooth Helmet Set 101 and
Garmin zumo 550 GPS
Pairing with the control module accomplished, it was
time to see how the headset, as a stand-alone system,
would perform using Bluetooth peripherals. Following the
instructions, the helmet set was powered down and
restarted by holding the control button for about six
seconds, putting the device directly into the learn
mode. The LED will flash a rapid red and blue.
With the zumo Bluetooth
pairing mode activated, it only took fifteen seconds
before the headset was found and identified as a
3xxx Plantronics (Chipset used). Connection accepted, the
security protocols were initiated (no pass code was
required for this pairing) and the link secured. Once
done, audio generated by the zumo unit was almost
instantly received in the headset.
Before moving off the zumo
Bluetooth menu, this connection was named HS101BT and
saved. This is a recommended procedure in any case,
as it allows the helmet set or other devices as named to
be readily identified and paired up with the zumo in
With this connection made,
the zumo’s MP3 player was activated, sending mono audio
via Bluetooth to the headset. Despite the omnipresent
white noise on the connection the audio is of very good
quality: the stereo headset provide a nicely centred
listening environment within the helmet.
Considering that the audio
being streamed via Bluetooth is mono, the difference
between the HighVoice and the HighSound headsets is very
evident -- HighSound audio is much clearer and even bass
effects can be felt.
A volume setting of 20 to 40
percent on the zumo menu was typically more than enough
for comfortable listening inside the helmet, depending
on noise levels. Volume of the helmet set can also be
adjusted by pushing the main control toggle forward (+)
or backwards (-), although volume range is very limited.
As with most Bluetooth
devices, when the connection is lost, or broken for
whatever reason, one or both of the devices may need to
be restarted or the connection re-initialized so they
will pair up again. It was found that with the zumo,
using the ‘restore’ button usually re-established the
connection to the helmet at any time, a nice feature.
When a connection or pairing
is present, the helmet set module LED pulses blue about
every five seconds. To turn the module off, hold the
control button in for about five seconds - the LED will
flash RED and then a steady RED, following by the unit
powering down, with a confirmatory beep heard inside the
Bluetooth Helmet Set 101 and
HTC Touch PDA
An HTC Touch PDA was next up. Compared to the three year
old device it replaces, this one is pretty
sophisticated. With typical PDA software, voice control,
Bluetooth v2.0, and A2DP capable, it is a very nice toy…er,
tool. Being able to access email and other data services
as needed (for a fee of course) is a good option,
especially on long trips.
As no compatible interface
cable was available for the HTC device, a simple one to
one Bluetooth connection with the headset was initiated. Pairing was quick and the helmet headset subsequently
configured as a hands-free partnership and saved off as HTC Touch.
With this pairing, calls
could be received from the HTC via the headset or
manually initiated. Answering or terminating the calls
was done by simply tapping the main control button on
the headset module, or manually terminating the call on
Bluetooth Helmet Set with
zumo 550 and HTC Touch PDA
As the headset had been paired previously to the zumo
550, this pairing was re-initiated. While listening to
music from the zumo, a new device pairing was initiated
from the ‘Connect Phone’ menu on the zumo 550 and under
the Bluetooth menu of the HTC.
The zumo 550 was found on
the first pass by the HTC and with the appropriate pass
code entered (as offered up by the zumo), a phone link
was made. The zumo 550 also presents a message stating
“ready to make phone calls”.
Pushing the phone icon on
the zumo to initiate the phone menu allowed calls to be
initiated. An incoming call will activate the pop-up
phone screen so that the call can be rejected or
received. Switching was fast, and audio clarity was
excellent. Both the rider and the intercom user were
able to participate in the sessions.
ROGER One with Bluetooth
Modules, Bluetooth Helmet Set, zumo 550 and HTC Touch
Having validated the basic one to one pairing
requirements between the Bluetooth Helmet and Bluetooth
peripherals, it was time to re-introduce the main
player, the ROGER One, back into the equation.
As well, the chance to
evaluate two other optional Bluetooth modules to verify
just what the ROGER one could, and would accommodate was
not to be ignored.
The start state for this
activity had the ROGER One with PowerCom Operating
device plugged in to the ‘R” lead for manual control and
the intercom user plugged in to the system. The headset
connections in the Nolan 102 Flip helmet that the rider
was using were switched over to the Bluetooth Helmet
Set, an action that takes about 30 seconds, it is that
Before initiating the
Bluetooth, a little house-cleaning was in order so as to
keep previous connections from offering up their
services, before being wanted. After clearing all
connections on the zumo 550 and the HTC Touch devices,
they were both turned off and then on, as was the
Bluetooth Helmet set.
With the rider lead
disconnected, the PB-HC2 module was inserted in its
place. The green LED on the PB-HC2 module flashed once a
second, indicating search mode. Within ten seconds the
control welcome tone sequence was heard in the headset,
step one done. When paired, the Bluetooth module Green
LED remains on, while the RED LED pulses slowly.
Step two was a quick radio
check, using both the iVOX and PTT settings on the
PowerCom operating device, just to confirm that
everything was working well. If connected, the intercom
is an omnipresent feature with the rider once a link is
AKE PBM-N2 (Left) and PBM-H2 Bluetooth Modules
PBM-N2 and PBM-H2 Modules
These two little Bluetooth modules are the keys to
expanding the ROGER One world. While AKE states that
these components should work with all PowerCom modules,
they have only been documented for use with the AKE
CONNECT, ON TOUR or INNOVA units. Getting them working
with the Roger One would put us in a somewhat undocumented
The first of two AKE PowerCom
Bluetooth modules, the PBM-N2 module DIN ‘N’ connector
was mated to the DIN ‘F’ plug of the control module. This module is identified for use as a means to add
Bluetooth navigation (GPS) capabilities to an enabled
The desire to get this
working was strong. If the zumo could be added
successfully, then it would be able to host the HTC
Touch, thus adding a mobile phone capability to the
configuration, a specific target for this evaluation.
With the module connected,
two tones are heard. The first indicates start-up, the
second that it is ready for pairing (lasting two
minutes). With the zumo 550 in discovery mode the module
was found immediately, again identified as a
3xxPlantronics device. When accepted, the link was made,
with an audio link created (almost) immediately.
Before moving on to the
second module, some nearby wood was touched, and the HTC
Touch configuration process was started (see note
below). The ‘connect phone’ menu on the zumo provided
the search mode and the two devices found each other.
With the required pass code (as supplied on the zumo
screen) entered into the HTC, a link was established --
so far, so good.
Now a quick frown -- the zumo
keeps saying that the link has failed, this typically
happens two or three times, in a row. However, again
typically, it will come back and say “ready to make
phone calls’, which it is. Hopefully the lag is just due
to processing loads. AKE identifies that this might
happen with some systems, a good note.
Several phone calls were
initiated and received by using the zumo phone menu or
icon. Once a number was put into the call-book, dialing
was fast and connections made quickly. Audio sessions in
the wireless headset were almost as clear as in the
wired intercom user headset.
Note: if problems are
encountered in pairing phones, it is sometimes better
(and recommended by some manufacturers) to pair the
phone to the host (GPS) device first and get that one to
one configuration addressed. In any case, it is a
workaround that usually works.
In this four-way
configuration, the primary PB-HC2 module can be used to
provide a measure of control: pressing the RED button
will terminate its Bluetooth connection and if the power
harness has been installed correctly, this action also
powers down the control module.
When turned back on, both
lights will flash to indicate search mode, then the
Green LED should flash and then go steady, with the link
re-established, typically within 10 to 15 seconds. It is
all very simple and very effective.
The PBM-H2 module proved a
bit more problematic. This module is intended to be used
with either Bluetooth navigation or mobile phone
devices. Plugged into the ‘F’ lead, it took three
pairing attempts before a good connection was made and
then, on the third pass, a pass code (0000) had to be
entered into the zumo before the link was secured.
Other than this issue,
likely related to its possible use with a mobile phone,
most of which are pretty rigid in having a pass code
provided before a ‘secure’ link is established, all zumo
and phone functions enabled under the PBM-N2 were
available with the PBM-H2 module as well.
Note: it was found that
with configurations using the PBM-H2 module and with the
operating device connected, the iVOX could not be used,
necessitating PTT button use.
Audio Priority Management
The PowerCom ROGER One does not have active signal
(audio) management given its single device connection.
However for the rider and intercom user audio signal
management was still provided by the attached Bluetooth
device which does have audio priority management.
Lower priority audio (i.e.,
music) is instantly muted when any telephone session is
initiated and then restored a few seconds after the
higher priority session is terminated.
Never leaving a good thing untouched, the Roger One
Bluetooth module (PB-HC2) was pulled out and then
plugged back in after a few minutes -- the connection was
re-established in six seconds. Turning the module off
and then on resulted in an eight second delay -- sweet!
This stuff really works.
In general it was found that
the PBM-H2 module would typically restore itself when
unplugged or if dropped under the zumo menu, whereas the
PBM-N2 would typically, but not always, require a new
pairing sequence to get it back into the loop.
Headset Battery Life
The standard 120mAh battery is claimed to be good for up
to four hours of continuous music or eight hours of
navigation voice announcement or 150 hours of stand-by. Of course, all of this will vary by individual operating
Use revealed that the
standard battery is good for about 2.5 to 3.0 hours of
mixed voice, GPS and music streaming use. No doubt it
would last longer if just used for a single purpose. The
larger unit typically ran for about 7.5 to 8.5 hours
under the same mixed load. Discharged, the standard
battery took about 90 minutes to refresh itself and the
larger unit about 4.5 hours.
The battery is recharged by
connecting the charger ‘jack’ into the plug on the end
of the module: the main LED glows red when it is
charging. Care must be taken however as the snap-button
style connection is easily dislodged. Being disappointed
the next morning is a distinct possibility.
The ROGER One and Other
AKE states that the PowerCom
Bluetooth Helmet Connector PB-HC2 is compatible with
other Bluetooth helmet headsets as long as they are
working with Bluetooth headset protocols. As both the
scala-rider Q2 and the Interphone Bluetooth headsets
were at hand, it was only prudent to see if the claim
would hold up.
ROGER One and scala-rider Q2 Bluetooth
With the ROGER One powered up, the PB-HC2 module is
plugged into the rider ‘F’ lead with a power click
verifying connectivity (the intercom was connected by
cable so that all ROGER One proceedings could be
Following the instructions,
hold the Red button down for ten seconds or more- the
two LEDs will (eventually) alternate, indicating pairing
mode. At the same time, the scala-rider Q2 (wBW
review) is put into
pairing mode. After about 30 seconds, both lights will
pulse on the PB-HC2, then the Green LED will become
steady and the Red LED will pulse, indicating a link.
On the scala-rider Q2, a
double-Blue flash every three seconds will indicate that
a session is being initiated. To make the actual
connection, tap the CTRL button. A multi-tone sequence
will be heard in the scala-rider Q2 headset and with
another single tap to the CTRL button, the connection
between the Bluetooth headset and the ROGER One will be
live, with the intercom user automatically in the loop.
Interphone Bluetooth Headset
The baseline for this activity was the same, except the
Interphone headset was turned off to start. The
Interphone Bluetooth Intercom (wBW
review) is put into its pairing mode by shutting the
unit off, then holding the single main control down for
about six seconds, the LED will flash an alternating RED
and Blue. At the same time, the PB-HC2 module is put
into pairing mode.
This pairing was fast,
taking only five seconds. To make the pairing ‘live’,
the Interphone control was pushed once, which results in
a series of four beeps and then a single, possible
confirmation, tone. Once done, this headset is connected
to the ROGER One – that was easy!
Powering down, or dropping
the connections, restoration is fast, a few seconds of
letting the two devices communicate, and one push on the
Interphone control button, typically followed by a
double-tone, re-establishes the whole link to the ROGER
Ad-Hoc – Roger One, PB-HC2
Bluetooth Module, Interphone, zumo and HTC
With the HTC Touch paired to
the zumo 550, the ROGER One PB-HC2 connection to the
Interphone Headset via Bluetooth was re-established. This was done by simply powering-up the Interphone
first, then the PB-HC2 – the link was re-established
The PBM-N2 module was
plugged in to the ROGER One system and when it was ready
for pairing, the zumo pairing mode was initiated. A link
was made immediately, with the audio from the zumo heard
in the Interphone headset via Bluetooth and as well in
the wired intercom headset.
In this configuration, phone
calls could be answered, with some perceptible lag, by
pressing the Interphone button once. However calls could
not be ended or rejected this way. Using the zumo phone
menu provided all functions.
GPS Device Use
For the record, both the Garmin Zumo 550, one on version
3.90 and one on version 4.0 were used, along with a BMW
Navigator III+. In general, the zumo on version
4.0 worked flawlessly, while the zumo with version 3.90
exhibited ‘issues’ from time to time.
The Navigator would work
well in a one to one pairing, but it did not like a more
complex environment, although this could be related to
firmware versions or something else not yet defined.
Conclusion - Part Two
The wireless or mixed environment environments are
almost as quiet as the completely wired world. The
usual white noise encountered on most RF
connections is omnipresent but never obtrusive and
becomes part of the operating environment.
Main (PB-HC2) or secondary
(PBM-H2/PBM-N2) Bluetooth connections are established or
re-established quickly - the lack of a physical tether
between control module, helmet and all other devices,
initially somewhat disconcerting, quickly becomes
familiar and easy to live with.
Note: As expected
configuring the scala-rider Q2 and Interphone Bluetooth
headsets to pair with the ROGER One Bluetooth module
‘broke’ existing Buddy or pairing configurations that
might have existed with a second Interphone, or second
and third scala-rider Q2. But with the primary ROGER One
Bluetooth module turned off, both systems searched for
and found previous pairings with other like devices.
In one instance (not
reproduced) the scala-rider Q2 acting as the ROGER One
headset via Bluetooth actually initiated a search for
its partner that had intentionally been brought in to
close range. For a few seconds, a link was made, but
then lost…a shame. More playing is obviously needed…
Based on the success in
interfacing other Bluetooth devices and headsets, and
perhaps sounding like a broken record (you know, those
black spinning things), the fact remains that wired,
wireless or in a mixed environment, the AKE PowerCom
equipment, wired and/or wireless just plain works.
Things We Like
• Simple design, rugged components, weatherproof cables
• Major components and accessories can be interchanged
between PowerCom systems
• Interchangeable and interoperable components and
• Versatility – a host of undocumented features adds
• Lead connections are weatherproof and easy to use,
even with gloves on
• Small component connectors are solid and foolproof to
use (keyed connectors)
• Functionality - everything works as advertised
• Bluetooth functionality is the best ever used –
pairings are fast and fail-proof
• Wired/wireless options provide optimum versatility and
• Audio - all three headsets provide very good audio for
voice communications and listening to music but the
delta in audio quality when moving up to the HighSound
speakers is simply amazing (this headset should be the
Things We Don’t Like
• Bluetooth Helmet Set battery charging.
style connector is small and easily disconnected. A more
positive connection, ie – plug style, is needed
• Bluetooth module
construction. After heavy use and multiple
installations in various helmets, the bonded covers
started to separate, although this use is not likely to
be typical for most users. But a more effective bonding
or encasement approach would be better.
• AC to DC Charging. Acknowledging the current European
market focus, the charger comes with a 220v plug, so
acquiring a Type ‘A’ adapter for North American use is
necessitated (typically from The Source, Radio Shack,
etc). This issue is being addressed by AKE
In This Series:
(Below) | wBW
Motorcycle Intercoms Home | wBW
Review: AKE PowerCom Motorcycle
|Available From: AKE
AKE Motocom USA
|Suggested Retail Price:
(Unconfirmed) ROGER One basic kit, ~ $425.00 USD,
PowerCom Bluetooth Helmet Set 101 - $304.50 USD;
HighVoice Headset (full-face kit) - $139.70 USD;
HighSound Headset (recommended kit) - $218.18
|Colour: Matte Black
2008 Certifications: FCC, IC, CE and Bluetooth
Standards NOTE: Pricing may fluctuate depending upon
the vagaries of currency valuations.
The webBikeWorld intercom evaluators always wear properly
fitted ear plugs while riding during the intercom evaluations and this is reflected
in thee opinions on sound quality and speaker volume. Your experience may
and probably will differ. Always wear high-quality, correctly fitted ear plugs
when riding a motorcycle (more
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