We’ve observed that once the intercom is used it becomes an indispensable part of each our ride. It’s not only our point of view, but also other familiar couples. Under the condition that it works correctly. After two seasons of using the common solutions available on the Polish market, we decided to release us from encircling cables and arduous processes of assembling all the equipment every time when mounting a motorbike. We thought about some inexpensive and functional wireless intercom.
Klaudiusz Slezak offered us his support. He sales motorcycle intercoms online and you can find his offer on the website: motosmile.pl. To our delight, he gave us a new kit of BTS-200 by IMC Motorcom. After the meeting with Klaudiusz, we broadened our knowledge about: How to assemble professionally the intercoms in our helmets. If we had known these things earlier, we wouldn’t have so many problems with torn cables.
We invite you to get to know the results of our over month-long intercom testing.
- wireless devices BTS-200
- 2 pairs of thin head-phones (6 mm)
- 4 microphones (2 for integral helmets and 2 for open helmets)
- buckles for fastening the intercom
- intercom handles fitting on double-sided 3M tape
- extra double-sided 3M tape
- velcroes to attach to microphones
- two plug-in chargers
- the instruction manual in German and English
BTS-200 is a wireless intercom for a driver and passenger. Because of small range of radio (10 m) it can’t be used as a intercom for communication between motorcyclists. The reduced range does it good because thanks to it, it uses smaller amount of energy and the working time is almost 14 hours at full battery. It is imposing result in comparison with other intercoms available on the markets, where their working time is between 7 and 8 hours. The device producer is the German company IMC Motorcom, that is well-known and valued by the users all over the world, among others for the intercom models MIT-30 and MIT-100.
To 3 devices at the same time
In case of BTS-200, it is also important to praise the German engineers for the intercom functionality and solid workmanship. We have at our disposal 2 Bluetooth channels and we can connect 3 devices at the same time. One channel is dedicated for connection with the passenger’s intercom and the second one is for multimedia service. So, it can be connected with the mobile phone what makes it possible to answer the phone calls and to listen to music. Moreover, there is a possibility to connect the navigation and to listen the voice guidelines or audio device, which play the stereo music. The mobile phone can be used for answering phone calls only. Last but not least, we have another channel for connection with the passenger.
The whole communication between devices works in system of sending the priorities. The highest is entitled for the connected mobile phone, thanks to it the conversation with sender won’t be disturbed by other devices. Answering the phone calls can be configured in two ways. In the first one, default, the conversation is answered automatically after a while. And the second one, in order to answer the phone call, the button placed on the intercom has to be pushed.
Then, the applied VOX function, controls the connection between driver and passenger. This function quietens the channel when the microphones don’t detect any signal and resumes the connection if we have another active channel with music. Resuming the connection driver-passenger is done by loud articulation of some sound to the microphone. The VOX function can be configured between two modes. It is set up knowingly on the mode of continuous work, in which the channel is active all the time and the connection with the second channel with music is possible after pushing the button on the intercom. In the second mode with the lack of the passenger and driver’s activity for 30 seconds, the channel is quietened and switched into the channel with music, if it is active.
The device has 3-gradual adjustment of microphone sensitivity, the system of filtering the interferences and the function of checking the battery condition. On the tight, waterproof case, there are big, easy accessible and palpable buttons, which are used to connect the devices, answer the phone calls, quieten totally and to make the sound louder or quieter. Each device connected to the intercom has own independent volume adjustment.
The volume of the conversation with passenger, phone calls or music from audio device can be changed individually.
The intercom assembling takes about 30 minutes for one helmet. It can be done faster without assembling the wires of headphones and microphone inside the helmet and without
sticking the handles on the intercom by 3M tape. I checked how the intercom keeps which is attached to our helmets with the buckle that is put to the helmets. The result wasn’t satisfying, the device didn’t keep stably what caused that it was difficult to operate the buttons. Besides, there was a risk that the intercom would come of the helmet. In the case of our helmets, the location of cables and microphones turned out to be quite easy and drilling the holes was unnecessary. When the covers and padding were dismantled, it was possible to thread the wires in such a way that nothing was tangling at the end.
Connecting the devices
The first channel is dedicated for media. Phone connecting means keeping the button “-“ on the intercom for 7 seconds and turning the visibility mode for all devices. After a while, we have the intercom connected with the mobile phone and it allows to answer the voice calls and to listen to music. The second device can be also connected with the first channel. We usually connect one intercom with the mobile phone by the Bluetooth divider in order to listen the same music. We connect the second kit with the following divider through which the mp3 melodies get to our headphones and with the mobile phone that is used only for answering the phone calls.
The button “+” is used for connecting the intercoms at the second channel, which means for communication between driver and passenger. In order to connect you have to hold the button for 7 second on the first intercom. On the second, it is important to hold the small button “M”. In this way, we connect the intercoms with the division: SLAVE and MASTER. It means that in the intercom headphones MASTER there will be the informative sounds, i.e. alarm signal of VOX function which informs that the channels will be quietened in a while.
All the devices connected to the intercoms will be in memory and you don’t have to connect them once again after switching off and switching on again.
The conversation during a ride
Thoughtfully, the microphone sensitivity is set at the lowest. With such setting and higher speed the voice is a bit too quiet in the headphones. We ride wearing helmets, that are rather of middle class, concerning the level of let in noise so that is why we had to increase the sensitivity at the medium level. Such setting allows us to communicate freely at the speed 140 km/h. It is also possible with the higher sensitivity, but you have to talk louder.
The system of filtering the interferences works very well and the wind that reaches the microphones doesn’t deform the sound. The microphones collect the sounds from surroundings only at minimum level, so we don’t feel discomfort of too loud noise in the headphones during a ride.
Listening to music
The music form smart phones delights the ear with very good quality, and thanks to implemented Bluetooth A2DP the music is played in stereo. The volume scale is appropriate enough that set at the max it becomes really loud in the helmet. Luckily, there is easy available button on the intercom, that makes the volume quieter. We bought the divider and the Bluetooth transmitter of Monoprice brand in order to listen together the same music, because the Smartphone can be connected only with one kit. It seems to be the perfect solution for us. Unfortunately, during listening to the music one of use very often looses the sound and then switching into music solves the problem, but not for long. Such problem doesn’t appear when we listen to the music separately from two different phones. In conclusion, it is possible to say that intercoms and transmitters don’t go well together.
Answering the phone calls
When there is a phone call, the other devices are quietened. After short signal in the headphones, the phone call is answered automatically, if we don’t change it in the mode of manual answering. The quality of phone call is the same as a quality of standard conversation through the phone. The conversation of good quality can take place even with the really high speed on the motorway.
In BTS-200 the VOX function can be really irritating. Especially, when the microphones are quietened in the half of sentence or it forces to raise the voice in unnatural way. This is exactly the problem of too weak sensitivity of gained by the VOX sound. Changing the level of microphone sensitivity on the higher level doesn’t help. Maybe, it performs well in the open helmets, where the sound strength is supported by the wind. We noticed that with the high speed and louder noise in helmets, the VOX function works well and it doesn’t break our dialogues. But, on the other hand, when the music channel is active, the wind breaks the note and activate the conversation channel. So, when we are riding on the motorway, we have to switch off the intercom channel in order to listen to music on the second channel.
Luckily, VOX function is configured between two modes. The default mode is the mode in which the conversation channel doesn’t quietens and there is a button which helps to switch into the music channel. In order to activate the mode of automotive quetening, you have to hold the certain button on the device configured as MASTER while switching on the intercom at each time.
Built-in battery allows to make use of the device for a whole long day. Is it working for 14 hours as the producer offers? We can’t say that because we haven’t got a possibility to use it for such long time, when it is still switched on. Moreover, we always have 2 active channels what can make the working time shorter. I checked the working time on the full battery leaving it switched on and connected at the second channel till switching off. The result was over 14 working hours.
When the level of battery charging is low, there are two shorts sounds in the headphones every 30 seconds. It is also accompanied by quieting the intercom at the level, where the conversation is impossible. It is sometimes very irritating because you can talk. It is caused by the fact that the sentences are disturbed by this sound and quieting. The more delicate sound notifying in the background and lack of disturbance in volume setting would be better solution.
The lack of 12V charger or the USB wire used for connecting the devices in the field can be treated as disadvantages. The delivered network charger generates the electricity of 5V and the amperage of 1A at the beginning so as most of the available phone charger. It is so inviting that there just had to create universal charger with USB port and separate input.
- Thin, comfortable headphones
- The possibility of connecting 3 devices at the same time
- Sending the priorities
- Big, palpable buttons
- Separate volume adjustment for each connected device
- The system of filtering the interferences of high quality
- The microphone sensitivity possible to regulate
- The high quality of played music
- Long working time of battery
- The unfinished VOX function
- Poor solution concerning informing about low battery
- The lack of mobile charger in kit
Despite some weak points, intercom BTS-200 is a good kit for a travelling couple, who doesn’t demand from the intercom the connection with another motorcyclists in group. The headphones of high quality makes that listening to favorite melodies from the connected audio device becomes real pleasure for the ear. It concerns not only the sound values, but also the comfort, because its thin structure causes that the ears aren’t chafed by them even in helmets without especially prepared places for them. Although, the VOX function doesn’t cope with stated tasks, the possibility of its configuration and other intercoms functions eliminates this inconvenience. The buttons, accurately placed make that it is possible to cope with intercom and to make use of some connected devices at the same time. The system of filtering the outside interferences of the high quality allows the free conversation even at the speed of 140 km/h, and the efficient battery holds on not only short trips but also the farther. Even when the producer didn’t think about adding the charger for globetrotters, who travel into places, where the civilization hasn’t reached already and the things that are connected to it: electricity and access to 230V in socket :)
See also test of Sena SMH5 intercom.