IMC Camos BTS 300 Bluetooth Intercom
Part I: BTS 300 Stereo
Bluetooth Headset and Long Range Intercom Evaluation
by HBC for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below) | wBW
Summary: If Santa Claus was remiss
this year and you are still looking for a bright, shiny,
really useful toy (tool) to add to your motorcycling
inventory, the IMC Camos BTS 300 might be just the
A new design and engineering
effort, the BTS 300 is the premier Bluetooth system
offering from IMC Camos and it was worth the wait.
Seemingly complex, in reality it is easy to configure
and use. It has tremendous flexibility, versatility and
While a few issues remain,
the Bluetooth system yardstick has once again been moved
well along with the release of the BTS 300.
availability of supporting Bluetooth adapters that really
enhance the system is just icing on the proverbial
First, The Rules
For those who have not been
following the wBW trail of
this is the second in a recent ongoing series of
articles that started with the Midland BT2 system.
have been some real changes and advancements made to
Bluetooth systems and wBW will be there to keep you
informed – no gimmicks, no tradeoffs, just the real
The tried and true criteria
– form, fit and function will always be considered,
assessed and rated. For the wBW evaluations, recognized
categories such as packaging/presentation, design,
execution, features, setup, configuration options,
performance, reliability, maintenance and support, cost
and value will also be used.
Adding the BTS 300 system
into the evaluation queue once again opens up new
territory to explore given some of the unique
engineering, design and functional features found in in
Bluetooth motorcycle intercom systems.
Ever anxious to
explore the obvious and the not so obvious of every
system, the evaluations have been ongoing even though
winter has now encroached on fall's territory.
So with the really good
riding weather now behind us for a couple of months up
here in the Great White North, a week-long escape to the
Blue Ridge area of Virginia over Christmas provided the
means to resume riding and thus continue evaluating all
of the systems on hand.
To say that the original
IMC Camos BHS-600 review, published in September of
2007, invoked a lot of comments and feedback would be a
real understatement. A wealth of gripes, constructive
criticism and technical, configuration and functional
information can all be gleaned from the Owner Comments
section in that review.
The BHS-600 was obviously
not perceived or received positively by many, at least
initially, and many users seem to have experienced the
“one step forward, two steps back” syndrome. In
examining many communication systems, including those
which are Bluetooth-based, this user experience
situation is not unique and continues to exist.
Time marches on however and
as we charge into 2009, the motorcycle communications
and Bluetooth market segments continue to expand. The
technology evolves and its implementation allows a wide
host of features and capabilities to be incorporated,
and retailers are then able to present multiple
iterations and improved products at very competitive and
Keeping in mind the original
article, some say that a good offence makes for a good
defence… Enter the IMC Camos BTS 300 system, available
in two variants – the standard BTS 300 for full-face,
clip or three-quarter style helmets and the BTS 300H
that is used with half- or shorty-style helmets.
According to the marketing
material, the IMC Camos 300 features an improved case
design, larger buttons and an improved headset design. Configuration, including pairing, is touted to be both
easier to accomplish and more logical, taking only
seconds. A large mute button makes it easy to mute the
music and/or the intercom when conditions call for
This totally new model comes
courtesy of IMC GmbH, located in northern Germany. The
company specializes in high quality mobile entertainment
and communication products, with a number of
international partners. The BTS 300 system falls under
their MIT/MIP series of intercoms.
A well established entity,
IMC has a pretty substantial list of worldwide
affiliates, including the US and Canada, that offer up
Helmets in Newport, California
provided the components used for this evaluation (see
Summary Table below).
The Chase Is On
Getting the package from the
guy in brown was its own adventure last fall. I had
returned from an off-road ride later than expected (you
know how it is) and found the yellow delivery slip stuck
on the door – drats.
As the most expedient way to
get delivery that day was to track the vehicle down,
that is what was done. They have a schedule, I have
persistence and the GS Adventure has plenty of cargo
Inside the well-packed box
were four kits – two BTS 300 systems, a CAMOS Bluetooth
2.0 BTA-R that supports 2-way radio and 3.5mm audio and,
a CAMOS wiREVO bundle containing a S300 Bluetooth stereo
headset and a D1000 Bluetooth stereo dongle.
While the urge to tackle
everything at once was strong, the BTS 300 system had to
take priority, although as this whole thing progressed,
the other pieces were brought in to play anyway in order
to evaluate other peripherals and allow concurrent
performance evaluations on these components. The
Bluetooth adapter kits are covered in more detail in a
Each BTS 300 box contains a
Bluetooth module; an AC charger with a North American plug; one micro-USB
headset with dual stereo speakers; two microphones - one
boom and one soft wire suitable for open, flip or full
face helmet use; two mounting brackets – one adhesive
and one clip style; an instruction manual; and, an
accessory package to help in mounting the systems.
With a long list of
features, the IMC Camos BTS 300 Bluetooth system is
pretty much a complete package. Bluetooth version 2
based, the system supports headset, hands-free and A2DP
protocols and provides high quality stereo output. Three
‘simultaneous’ connections – stereo music, cell phone
connectivity and intercom can be made.
This level of connectivity
is facilitated by using two discrete Bluetooth channels
operating at Class 1 power (100mW). Channel One provides
for the operation of cell, GPS and 2-way radio devices
on an interrupt priority basis with Channel Two
providing a duplex intercom with a claimed rider to
rider range of up to 500 metres.
The Bluetooth 300 module has its
own unique angular shape but is constructed like many
others – a hard housing with a tactile rubber-like
coating or ‘skin’ for cushioning, vibration control and
resisting the elements.
With all of the controls
operated by pressure through the outer skin and with the
mini-USB port as the only opening, the unit is well
sealed even with the headset plug inserted, so the claim
that the module is waterproof is likely quite valid --
although it has not been through that particular test
Six tactile pressure
controls, identified as ‘keys’ are arrayed on the top,
face and bottom of the module. While the keys are
logically grouped and positioned for easy access, their
placement can pose some challenges. With six input
points, the user has to be careful just where the
fingers are placed when operating or handling the
On top are the ‘-‘ and ‘+’
keys, used for turning Channel 1 and Channel 2
respectively that provide on/off, pairing and volume
control. The two large face controls are the ‘T’ or
talk/redial key and the ‘M’ or mute key that allows both
channels to be selectively muted - a valuable feature if
audio faculties need to be directed to other sources,
such as emergency traffic.
The two bottom controls,
voted the most likely to be inadvertently pushed, are
the ‘R’ key which resets the system and the ‘M’ key,
used for setting one module as the lead or ‘Master’ mode
on Channel 2. So guess what this means? No more dip
An observation made during
previous wBW articles regarding the Camos systems is
still valid. The BTS 300 system is more complex than
most, especially given six discrete input keys and, the
instructions are (still) poorly written/translated with
lots of spelling errors…logic and process is sometimes
hard to follow.
Although many will argue the
point, complex designs should not result in complex or
hard-to-understand user instructions. With an
ever-increasing global market, it is important (read
crucial) to have well-written and easily understood
instructions for any product, for many reasons.
The small pocket-size
Instruction Manual (that bore the marks of recent
revisions) was read carefully at least once, then for a
second time while actually walking through the system
for familiarization, which really served to identify
many of the changes not captured or updated in the kit
A better source of
information is the IMC website (see below). There
are some other related documents that might be useful,
but downloading the three page BTS-200 / BTS-300 Quick
Start Guide is a good choice. It is better written
than most of the stuff, easy to use and worth keeping
Installation is simple. The
two piece headset harness gets fitted inside the
cheek-pad pieces of the much-used and test-abused Arai
XD helmets with a microphone of each type mounted up in
each helmet and plugged into the headset harness, which
itself is then connected to the module via the mini-USB
port, which also doubles as the charging port.
Preferring a larger clamp
style mounting bracket, I was skeptical of how well the
spring clip mount would work. In reality, this simple
tensile metal bracket is quite flexible but deceivingly
functional. It should provide the needed support
and security on a wide variety of helmets.
To mount the system, slip
the clip between the outer shell and the liner and slide
the main module over the detents – the pressure fit is
quite solid. On my XD helmet the clip and module
assembly still seemed a bit loose and it could be
wiggled a bit. Sensitive to comments made in the
original BHS-600 article, I was looking to make it a bit
Following is a series of 3
photos detailing the installation:
Two of the small anti-skid
strips supplied in the accessory bag got applied to the
appropriate spot on the shell and the clip bracket slide
into place over them. They helped a fair bit, but the
assembly would still move if pushed or bumped. Wanting
to keep it totally fixed, a small square of double sided
tape was used between the shell and the clip.
This simple patch did the
trick. Over the course of almost two months the BTS 300
has not moved out of place, unless done on purpose.
Curiously, the assembly on the other XD worked fine just
using the clip and the anti-skid strips. The other
advantage of using these strips is that they cushion the
assembly and protect the shell from the clip.
If a more permanent fixture
is desired or needed, the adhesive plate bracket can be
mounted to the helmet directly and the module slide onto
that plate. Just be sure you know exactly where the
mount with its strong adhesive needs to be positioned
before exercising muscle pressure.
A bit chunkier than most
other Bluetooth helmet systems, the module is
unobtrusive and sits above the lower edge of the helmet. So positioned it does not interfere with riding gear,
especially now that heavier outer clothing is being worn. Even the L-shaped mini-USB connector is out of the way
on the back end.
On the Road
In terms of function, the BTS 300 is
an excellent system, although not without one or two
weaknesses described below. Having said this, and in
defense of the BTS 300 though, once the system is
mounted up, its functions clearly understood, and (said)
limitations factored in, there is little to complain
The ability to individually
activate Channel 1 (Bluetooth peripherals) and/or Channel 2
(Intercom) is a design feature that I really appreciate. When riding alone only Channel 1 need be turned on, with
resulting power consumption savings - I was able to use
the BTS 300 all day (7+ hours) in this mode.
For rider to rider or rider
and passenger use, Channel 2 is turned on and typically
after a minute or two the two systems will pair up and
again typically, the Intercom will be active. I have to
say typically here because sometimes the Intercom link
would not enable until Channel 2 on one or both of the
systems got restarted.
The VOX feature itself is a
little frustrating. The two systems used for the
evaluation have a tendency to cut out in mid-sentence
under some circumstances.
The intercom works well while
riding at highway speeds or in other environments where
the noise levels are high, but at low speeds or when
just talking at a stop, active sessions would end
While I appreciate the low
audio tone set and the termination tone that sounds
five seconds before the Intercom mutes, it is the timing
of it all that gets frustrating. According to the manual
the VOX should only mute after 30 seconds of inactivity
or if input levels drop below the threshold; that timing
is irrelevant in this situation.
Adjusting the microphone
sensitivity through its three discrete settings did help
mitigate the issue somewhat in making it easier to
trigger the VOX, a fact that has tradeoffs as well. I
know that each system has to be used, understood and
tailored for optimization, but being very familiar with VOX-based systems, this issue is a real puzzler
Distance wise, a clear voice
link is provided between 100 and 150 metres (330-500
feet). Beyond that noise levels increase and audio
becomes scratchy or breaks up completely. Only on one or
two occasions were ranges in excess of 150 metres noted. As with the Midland system any little change in
elevation or riding through built-up or forested areas
takes its toll quickly.
By comparison the
Cardo scala-rider Q2 systems have far
better range and work though virtually anything. I also
suspect that both these systems are running slightly
higher output power for the Intercom feature and have
benefited from other output efficiency tweaks.
Audio inside the helmet is
very good, bordering on excellent. The two speakers
provide superb dynamic range and when using a higher
power output peripheral, the quality becomes even more
evident. With ear protection in place I did find myself
trying to get more out of the ‘+’ volume button and only
getting the ‘maximum setting’ tone.
A set of sponge spacers
served to push the speakers out closer to the ears which
pretty much resolved my volume concern. In quieter
environments there is more than enough volume to get the
helmet, and its occupant, moving (mentally) to the
Just remember that when
working through these fitment activities to leave
sufficient space for the all important ear protection
devices. Depending on what type of protection is used,
3-5 mm of clearance or more might be needed.
While close to an excellent
rating, the BTS 300 headset is not on par with the AKE
High-Sound headset used for the AKE systems evaluated
earlier this year (wired or wireless) which is my
current benchmark for superior helmet audio. But, the
BTS headset is close -- very close, at least to my ears.
Peripheral Plays – The
The typical device mix used for this evaluation
included an HTC Touch Bluetooth-enabled PDA device, one or both of the provided
Bluetooth Adapters (BTAs) and a host of media devices,
large and small. Between the wired and wireless devices
on hand there is no shortage of options or lack of
Channel 1 of the BTS 300
will support two ‘simultaneous’ device connections, but
some care has to be taken so that the two devices are
not using, or trying to use, the same Bluetooth profile
at the same time. If the basic rules are followed
regarding use of one A2DP compatible device and one
hands-free or headset profile device, everything works
In pairing up and using the
HTC Touch for both wireless stereo and hands-free use,
this pretty much takes over Channel 1, although it was
still possible to add a second device, such as the zumo
550 GPS. However, the Garmin zumo audio cannot be
enabled unless the hands-free profile on the HTC is
In this configuration, a
full A2DP stereo stream is provided from the HTC to the
headset and if any audio is generated via the GPS
output, the music will be muted and the priority stream
from the GPS heard. When this ends, the music stream
will resume in about three seconds.
The two Bluetooth adapters
provided are being heavily used with our two BTS 300
systems. Both act as stereo Bluetooth hosts for
non-Bluetooth devices and one can be switched between
mono and stereo for specific applications. This will all
be described in Part II.
I have to admit that many
long time GPS users, including zumo owners, have been
well aware that adding a simple A2DP compliant Bluetooth
adapter provides a wireless solution, but by the same
token, there are just as many that don’t. No excuse now.
Another example of the
device’s flexibility is its hosting of a Motorola FRS/GMRS
radio to add a longer range, common radio capability to
the BTS 300 system. I was surprised by how smooth and
how fast voice sessions are switched – virtually
seamless with little delay at all.
It is worth noting that
Bluetooth enabled personal radios are available in
Europe, but typically not in North America. With this
interface activated via Channel 1 and with the PTT
switch from the kit mounted on the left hand control for
thumb access, a longer range group communications
capability is enabled.
Adding a common radio system
to the mix provides great flexibility when moving from
single, rider to rider and rider to ‘n’ modes. This
feature, albeit using an optional device, is another big
plus in my mind. I look forward to using this
capability on a more
regular basis, once another BTA interface kit for the
other radio is acquired of course.
Going through all the other
user features available with the BTS 300 system and
companion Bluetooth devices would take a whole lot more
space than the Editor will (ever) give me, so Part II
details the individual configuration activities and
system specifications, while a companion piece
highlights the two Bluetooth adapters used.
The Bottom Line Ratings
Packaging: Very Good. Simple
industry packing in small black boxes, everything is
well packed and a manual of sorts is included with each
kit. The manuals themselves detract from the overall
kits due to poor grammar, spelling errors and incomplete
Design: Excellent. A lot of
thought, experience and I suspect feedback has been
applied with good results. The only weak component part
is the clip bracket – it could be a bit larger and
stronger. A big plus is that most of the Camos
components can all be charged with the adapter included
with the BTS 300…a great feature for traveling.
Execution: Excellent. Look
and feel of everything is first class, components are
sturdy, connection points are well placed and connectors
robust – everything has stood up very well so far. While
the clip is a bit weak and should be stronger, it does
keep the system in place.
The system does not intrude
on clothing being worn. Multiple controls make for a
busy surface, but with some familiarization the four
essential user keys are manipulated without difficulty
wearing light to medium weight gloves.
Features: Excellent. The BTS
300 is a feature-rich system with common and unique
capabilities that put it ahead of most systems on the
market today. A dual channel system is just what I was
hoping to see sooner rather than later.
As an observation, if it had
an input jack, like the Midland BT2 or scala-rider Q2
Multiset, and the ability to utilize Channel 2 as fully
as Channel 1, it would be no contest.
Fit: Very Good. Outside of
the clip bracket issue, there is virtually nothing else
to complain about regarding fit and fitment of the
system components. The BTS 300 has the least intrusive
mounting profile of all the systems I have used or
Setup and Configuration:
Very Good. The only point that keeps the BTS 300 system
from getting a higher rating is the documentation. Once
the system is understood, it is extremely easy to
configure and adjust, even though you still have to push
Performance: Very Good to
Excellent. There are some real performance pros and cons
with the BTS 300 - I agonized over this one. If the
maximum rider to rider link range was close to being
realistic, if the VOX worked 100 percent (like so many
other systems have achieved) and if the simultaneous
connection feature worked seamlessly, this rating would
have been far higher.
Something that does rate an
excellent is battery life – they just keep going and
going, longer than the use times identified in the
documentation. This is good - sustained performance with
Bluetooth is closely tied to power levels, even
acknowledging that power efficiencies are greatly
improved with Bluetooth version 2.0.
Ease of Use: Excellent.
Using the BTS 300 system on a daily basis is something
that I can and will do readily. With a bit of practice
in using the controls and learning to accept and thus
work with some of the limitations identified, life with
the BTS 300 is just fine. Go ahead - call me a moto-techno-geek.
Reliability: Very Good. Battery life is proving to be excellent, actually better
than expected. What does bring this rating down is the
(apparent) weakness of the VOX and/or sensitivity
settings and overall connectivity of the Intercom
Maintenance and Support:
Very Good. Maintenance has been limited to charging the
batteries, infrequently. A low battery alert will be
provided by the LEDs and its status can also be checked
by using a key sequence described in the manual.
With detailed and timely
support provided by Spencer at BenchMark Helmets and the
Service and Support pages on the main
IMC website, all my information
requirements have been addressed.
Cost: Very Good. The IMC Camos products are not cheap. But in comparing design,
construct, features and function, the higher purchase
price is deemed to be worth it.
Value: Very Good. Even with
the observations made and known limitations, the BTS 300
system represents very good value. Purchasing one or
both of the Camos Bluetooth adapters as part of the purchase is
a worthwhile investment that will pay dividends.
Has progress been made with
the release of the BTS 300? Yes. Is there a lot of
unexploited potential in this design? Yes. Do we have a
perfect product? Not yet...
So, what is needed?
Increased rider to rider range, a little more attention
to VOX sensitivity and device switching and, the ability
to use Channel 2 for other devices, like the BHS
Depending on how much
versatility you want and how much you use the intercom
will largely dictate how good or bad performance of the
BTS 300 is assessed by other users.
The BTS 300 system moves the
yardsticks along in a big way, but whether it is the
game winning play cheered by the crowd remains to be
My bottom line – the IMC
Camos BTS 300 is an excellent system that deserves
serious attention. These systems are not being relegated
to the shelf and they are being used.
Product Review: IMC Camos BTS 300 Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom
|List Price: $279.95 USD for the
BTS 300 or $289.95 USD for the BTS 300H.
Product Evaluation: November - December 2008. Publication Date: January 2009.
Warranty: Two years. The Camos BTA-R Stereo Bluetooth and Two
Way Radio Bluetooth Adapter has a current list price of $140.00 USD
and the wiREVO S300 and D1000 bundle is $120.00.
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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From "L.D." (1/10): "In your Camos Bluetooth review,
Part II: BTS 300
System Configuration Options, in the section "Configuration Seven - BTS 300
and wiREVO Bluetooth Adapter and CAMOS Bluetooth Adapter", you indicate it is
possible the pair both the Camos BTA with GMRS radio plus the wiREVO BTA,
connected to a Zumo with Bluetooth disabled for audio out, on the BTS 300
I have the BTS 300 and will get the adapters to do this if it's really
functional. As lead rider that setup would be perfect for getting GPS
instructions then informing the group on GMRS.
The catch is: In the Configuration 6 section of the same article it seems to
indicate that if the Camos BTA using GMRS is on channel 1 of the BTS 300 no
additional pairing to that channel is allowed.
Bluetooth communication is a tough nut to crack and retailers of these system
are little help. I appreciate it if you can clear up my misunderstanding
and any advice you offer. My needs are relatively simple so I'm trying to
avoid the complexity of a hub based solution."
HBC's Reply: Thanks for the query and your observations.
In Configuration Six (BTS 300 With CAMOS Radio and
Stereo Bluetooth Adapter), I stated "If no other devices are needed on Channel
1, then the stereo/mono BTA and a paired radio, along with the supplied PTT
switch can be used for longer range and group communications while still
maintaining the Intercom on Channel 2."
While hoping to provide a more totally positive solution to your situation, I
must admit that the limitation identified under Configuration Six and stated
above, whereby Channel One is totally occupied/dedicated to a functioning
Bluetooth Adapter hosting a transceiver (ie - FRS/GMRS radio) is reality.
This prevents a second device like a GPS (either paired directly or via
another Bluetooth Adapter) from being paired and used on Channel One.
But while Configuration Six stated the limitation, the wording in
Configuration Seven did indeed appear to provide options in using one or two
Bluetooth Adapters to make things work. Unfortunately I did not
specifically reiterate the limitation(s) identified under the previous
configuration. My second paragraph was meant to review the singular
options possible in using the system with or without Bluetooth adapters.
While I continue to test other configurations (tried it all again this
evening but even being in a new year hasn't brought about success). I have
had additional information provided by the distributor but no other solution to
this issue has been offered up or found (yet).
I have also been informed on separate occasions that an adapter box of some
sort will likely be added as an option, although I do know that further delay
was incurred this summer due to technical/production issues. This
switch/interface/control module could or should provide the solution both you
and I, among others, are seeking for this system.
So, to the best of my knowledge and given my testing to this point, unless
you have a passenger who is paired to the GPS for listening/monitoring and
passes information along via the Intercom, allowing you to pass that information
along to others via a common radio, what you are hoping to do with one BTS-300
cannot be done, at least right now.
Having multiple wireless/Bluetooth channels available for mono/stereo
pairings provides flexibility, but in this case, changes made to the BTS-300
over older versions actually seem to have diminished overall flexibility by not
allowing both Channel One and Two to be configured as desired, which could/would
provide a solution of sorts for your requirements (and mine).
I have just sent another query off to the distributor regarding possible
changes or new options that might be forthcoming. I will pass any updates along
to the Editor for posting.
From "B.D." (12/09): "I bought two BTS-300 being impressed
by the features they suppose to have. In theory the features looks great
but in practice the story is different.
I was using the two units during a 7k trip trough Europe to connect to my phone
for music, to GPS and to chat to the pillion. We have seen a lot of
problems, some very annoying, some less:
1. The period the connection is established when either driver or pillion speaks
and the vox establishes the connection is 7-8seconds, too much for us.
2. If listening to music through 1st channel and interrupted by the pillion
speaking, the music is interrupted which is fine but the STOP command is sent to
the player (my phone Nokia 8800 or Nokia 5800). When the conversation
stops and the music starts again the problems is that the music track starts
from the beginning. This is very annoying since I end-up listening the
same track a lot of times. Instead of STOP command the BTS-300 should send
PAUSE command to the phone.
3. I miss the GPS instructions because the unit is activated too late. I
could only hear only leftovers.
4. While listening to music played from the phone (A2DP) and receiving a
phone call, the volume locks up so that after terminating the call I'm unable to
adjust the volume anymore. Only restarting the channel will make the
volume usable again.
5. Various locking situations happen that can be solved only by repairing the
units again and again.
The only good point in using these units is listening to music which is at a
very good stereo quality. Me and my wife actually ended up in switching
off the intercom and using the units for only listening to music.
I bought also
wiRevo D1000 adapter (review) (very good) and wiRevo A100 (ipod adapter -
also very good) but connecting sound and GPS on both BTS-300 units together with
intercom between them did not work as presented by specs.
I am a SW engineer happening to work in the Bluetooth area and I consider the
quality of the product very poor. It reacts very slow and lacks testing in
real conditions. I'm still expecting a good product that can be used by
motorcyclists with minimum effort and that will work as presented by manual."
From "T.H." (7/09) (FIN) : "Got a pair of Camos BTS-300.
I use it as a wireless rider-to-passenger intercom and as a headset for my cell
phone and navigator. The specs look promising, but in real use the system
was a huge disappointment.
First, the VOX doesn't work as it should. When the line cuts out, it takes
a minimum of 4 (four) seconds to get the line open again. The beep sound
from the VOX notifying the line will open soon is heard after the four seconds,
not immediately when you shout to the mic.
The voice must be louder than what I feel natural, despite having the mic
touching my lips. If the connection didn't wake up, you shout again and
wait for another 4 or 5 seconds. It takes easily 3 rounds and 15 seconds
to get the line open. How are we supposed to have any conversation over
such a system? How can I warn someone about something over such a system?
To avoid this you must shout to other's ears something between 30 seconds to
prevent the line from cutting out. This feels very stupid after 10 minutes
or so. This is not the case in higher speeds since there's enough noise to
keep the line alive. The VOX feature cannot be turned off for a permanent
link. Using the intercom is too much about keeping the line alive, not
about having conversation. Eventually we were totally frustrated and
simply gave up. No intercom like this anymore, thanks.
Second, the 4 second delay affects the navigator instructions also. What
you won't hear is the first 4 seconds unless the connection is already open.
To test the navigator with my Camos, I put my navigator into my backpack,
selected a destination and took a ride listening to the instructions. It
didn't work. What I heard the most of the time was some leftovers of the
sentences that weren't helpful at all.
Third, the mic in the BTS-300 isn't up to the job. It's noise cancelling
capabilities are pretty much non-existing, picking up too much noise from the
environment (like exhaust noise) and puts it on the line with some delay.
It sounds really odd and makes difficult to hear what the other is saying.
You want the line cut out after a while.
And forget about using the cell phone over this headset, your voice is badly
messed up by the mic. It's possible to adjust the mic sensitivity, but I
didn't see it really affecting anything.
Fourth, the connection to the navigator is overridden by the rider-to-passenger
connection. It's either intercom or navigator instructions, not both.
To sum it up, this system's design and operation is far below what can be
expected from such of a pricey system. I doubt if the design has been
validated on the road at all.
The only good thing found so far is the stereo music sound quality. As a
wireless headset for music this system is pretty good albeit far too expensive,
but as an intercom or a headset for your navigator or cell phone it's not up to
the job. Eventually after a week or so we got rid of the system and
haven't looked back."
From "C.C." (6/09): "It appears the MotoSonic 700BH,
MotoSonic BTS-100 and the Harley Davidson Road Tech Bluetooth 2.0 Helmet System
are all cut from the same cloth. They function pretty much the same way,
with the MotoSonic and HD versions looking more like the older Camos BHS600 but
functioning similarly to the BTS-200.
To my knowledge, the MotoSonic BTS-100 is the HD unit. My best guess is
that Camos BHS600 was version 1, the new MotoSonic and HD versions are version 2
and the latest Camos units are version 3. Interesting the HD Bluetooth dongle
seems to be the same as the Camos unit and appears to be interchangeable.
Also they all use the same power system which I believe is a USB 8-Pin Mini B
interface, but I haven't confirmed that yet. An interesting note is that
the motosonicusa.com site has some very good video walkthroughs that applies to
the Camos units. Not sure if it helps anyone, but was interesting to me."
From "I.F." (2/09): "This is a reply to “T.Z.” (below)
(addressing the issue) about Camos not having a stereo jack for earbuds.
Here’s what I did to my Camos BTS to be able to use
an earbuds. It’s not an easy mod, and I think IMC MUST make it standard!
I bought small 2.5mm 5 connectors jack (~$0.50).
This type of jack wired properly disconnects the main speakers when an earbud’s
plug is inserted.
I disassembled Camos and found enough space to put
the jack where the microphone (in “H” models) goes out of the unit (look at the
attached pictures). I also precisely cut a small PCB board to tight fit in
the available space and soldered the jack to it.
The biggest challenge is to find and cut the correct
wires on the original Camos PCB board. They are extremely thin, and I
don’t recommend to do this mod, unless you have proper tools (very-very small
low wattage soldering iron is a must!) and a lot of experience in electronic
devices! Then, I used plenty of silicon to keep the unit waterproof.
Now, I have the helmet with the original speakers in
it, which I use in town, and when I fit a highway I just plug my ER6i in Camos
and enjoy a high quality sound! ER6i are very small and comfortable, so I can
even wear them in the helmet with the original speakers."
From "T.Z" (2/09): "I am very interested in the Camos BTS
300 but there are two limitations that keep me from pulling the trigger.
One is that there does not appears to be a way to plug in in-ear style
headphones such as the Etymotics style earbuds.
I don't understand why IMC does not make a simple adapter for this by
eliminating the speakers and providing a female 3.5 stereo jack instead.
There are micro USB to 3.5 mm adapters available but I believe you would lose
the microphone function. In any case I am sure that cutting off the
speakers and wiring a 3.5 mm female adapter inline would resolve this issue.
My real question is this? How could I get both
my Valentine1 Radar detector and my MP3 player to connect using one BTA adapter?
I am under the impression that these two devices could be connected to a two
into one adapter cable and the adapter cable could be connected to the WiRevo.
Have you tried any configurations like this?"
HBC's Reply: 1. Use of personal
in-ear headphones with BTS 300 - this is a real limitation of most BT systems
and something that (could) be could easily addressed via an output port, or as
an optional harness of sorts. I agree that a micro-USB to 3.5/2.5 adapter
could be adopted and it know that some other users have done just this with
other systems...and if done carefully, the microphone connection should still be
2. I have not specifically tried running two wired
devices via a 2-into-1 adapter that is plugged into the BTA, but I have used it
on many occasions for wired systems. In theory it should work, but you
would have to live with the (probable) concurrent audio streams and manage the
devices manually: as far as the BTA is concerned it will just be streaming from
3. I am still playing around with using two BTAs
with the BTS 300, with each using different profiles, and that is a possible
option, albeit more expensive.
4. Configurations - I will do the 2 into 1
configuration and see how it goes, but I don't see any problems with it, other
than the concurrent inputs. For what it's worth, I believe that Camos is
working on an interface box, which should address your situation.
5. On a related note, the Blue Virtu BAT-01 control
module that I reviewed for wBW back in
June 2008 does exactly what you want to do. Unfortunately, the product
is no longer distributed in North America.
If you do the 2-into-1 test, let me know how you
make out...I will send any configuration updates to the Editor for posting.
And for what its worth, as a broadcast to the
Bluetooth manufacturers: these issues are requirements...
From "J.T." (2/09): "Great investigative articles; objective
and coherent. I have some questions about configurations:
I ride with a pillion passenger and have a Zumo 550.
So, my main requirements are: rider and passenger hearing the GPS voice prompts
and MP3 and simultaneous intercom between rider and passenger.
From the review it looks like the BTS 300 supports
both individually via two radio channels. I didn't see any mention of the
passenger hearing the Zumo /MP3 nor simultaneous intercom. Can it do both?
I have looked into the J&M HS-BLU277EDR-FF system
and it does support both at the same time. However, there is one Bluetooth
unit on the rider helmet and a connection cable that ties the Bluetooth unit to
a headset in the passenger helmet.
For my application that does the job but the
The hard wire connection
to the passenger helmet.
Stereo is not supported
in the wireless connection. Monaural sound only.
No return policy from
J&M. Meaning all sales are final. If there's a problem you eat $500.
They actually discourage the purchaser by mentioning
poor performance and high price tag. Go figure."
HBC's Reply: (Some of this
information is...in the owner's manual). However, it raises some other
(frustrating issues) that many users are experiencing or have found between the
older BHS models vis-a-vis the BTS 200 and 300 units. So, some of the
information provided below might address those points as well.
1. Sharing of audio - the current BTS 300 allows
each system user to have two devices configured on Channel 1 and have the
Intercom on Channel 2, but audio from phones, music players and/or GPS
peripherals can only be heard on the system they are directly connected with. In
other words, no sharing of an audio stream.
2. From an individual system perspective, even with
the 'simultaneous' connections, an incoming call on Channel 1 will cause any
other stream on that channel to mute, as will the Intercom on Channel 2, if
active. Once the Channel 1 VOX circuitry is silent, the Intercom will be
available and the music (should) resume depending on the peripheral.
3. The BTS 300 has multi-channel capability in that
it will support Channel 1 and Channel 2, but its flexibility is limited to the
profiles being used (Wireless Stereo, Headset, Hands-Free, etc) and it is based
on a single chip design rather than a true dual chip design of the older BHS
models, which obviously had greater flexibility of use between the two channels.
Point to note - with the BTS 300, the BT Adapters
will only work on Channel 1, whereas with the BHS models, either Channel could
be configured to pair with a BTA.
4. Sharing audio, even on a directional basis (ie -
from rider to passenger) is a great feature that can be overcome per se, and
should be, other than wiring up the passenger as some earlier units did.
There are one or two systems on the market that allow sharing in a limited way
(I did get the Midland system to do it) but typically not without some
limitations, again usually due to channelization.
5. For what its worth - I spend a fair bit of time
chasing down various threads related to the Camos systems...a lot of users,
especially those who also have or had the BHS systems, are frustrated at the
relative lack of flexibility in the new BTS models.
To some degree I agree with them. But whether
consumers are willing to pay for a (possibly) more expensive unit that has more
aggressive engineering and additional features is always a consideration that
the manufacturers and distributors must keep in mind. In reality as costs come
down in some areas, it should allow 'more' to be built in.
6. I do know that IMC is working on a controller or
input/output box of sorts that might be similar to the devices currently offered
by AKE. This type of device will typically provide the ability to share
audio from single sources...
The question posed is relatively black and white,
but the overall issues are not. Hope this helps."