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-   -   Cardo Scala Rider G4 Resource Thread (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=614864)

amackenzie 08-28-2010 10:00 AM

Cardo Scala Rider G4 Resource Thread
 
Hi Everyone,

This is my first post on advrider.com - so hello! A little about myself: I’m from Maine, 26 years old and have an ’09 BMW F800-GS w/ 12k miles. My girlfriend purchased a Cardo Scala Rider G4 Powerset for us in June and another riding couple purchased a set at the same time. We’ve been riding with them all summer. When researching the product I found the technology extremely confusing. It was unclear what devices work with the unit, how they work with the unit and even how well they work in general. They’re really too expensive to guess-and-check your way to satisfaction…

The purpose of this thread is twofold: (1) provide people with a layman’s description of how (and how well) these headsets work and (2) provide a place for people with the headsets to share their ideas on how they use the devices and make them better. I couldn’t find a thread like this here, or anywhere else on the internet. So let’s begin!

Helmet and Fitting:
I use a Shoei X-Eleven Helmet and yes, I had to remove the chin piece and cut blind holes in the Styrofoam for the speakers. The helmet is a size small and there is absolutely no room for the speakers. It was a pain in the butt and a little nerve racking modifying a $600 helmet. Speaker placement is not optimal because there’s really only one small area the speakers can be placed. My girlfriend has an HJC CL-16 and had absolutely no problem getting the speakers in and positioned properly – she didn’t even have to remove any padding.

Headset Functionality:
First Use – These headsets will not work as expected inside your house and it’s a waste of time to try. They need the ambient road noise to properly function. This makes it difficult to troubleshoot the system because you need to be on the bike and driving. It can get fairly distracting and I’d suggest going out on 40MPH roads with no one else on them while you play with the system.
Connecting – The instruction manual is a little weak, but the section for connecting other people and devices isn’t too bad. Just sit down and read it.
Intercom (2 People) – This set up works great except for the VOX (automatic voice activation) feature. When starting an intercom conversation just press the button of the rider you would like to connect to and the channel opens. Press it again and the channel closes. If you receive a phone call or GPS instructions the channel will be closed, you will receive the call or instructions, and then the channel to the other rider will open again (it beeps they know what’s going on).
The VOX feature has proven extremely unreliable for us. It’s basically unusable. It never opens a channel when you want it to. The only nice feature is if you do manage to get it to open up a channel it automatically disconnects after 30 seconds of no talking – which is great for hands free operation.
Intercom (3 People) – Haven’t tried this yet.
Intercom (4 People) – This set up is a little quirky but does work well if you know what to expect. It is meant for 2 motorcycles with 2 passengers each. The method of connecting the headsets is strange, so read the manual carefully. Basically, the two passengers connect to each other and can then page in the two drivers. Its fun having a big conversation just like you’d have in a car and you can always opt-out with the push of a button.
The one quirk with a 4 person intercom is that when you’re connected to all 4 people you cannot be connected to a GPS. I have the GPS in the group so when I’m using it I can only connect to my passenger.
Conference Calls – This is a really neat feature. If any one person in the group receives or makes a cell phone call anyone else can be paged in. So, if all 4 riders are connected and you receive a call everyone can then chat together.

Cell Phones:
iPhone (1st Gen) – I have a first gen iPhone and it works with the head set, but keep in mind that with no voice dialing you will only be able to receive calls. The volume control is also a little messed up and I’m not sure if it’s the phone or the headset. The volume is always lower than the GPS, radio, and intercom – it’s like the speed sensitive volume control doesn’t work with the phone. I have to crank it and cannot call on the highway; it’s just too loud to hear the phone.
My girl friend has some cheapo phone with voice dial and it works much better, but she still complains that the volume seems to be lower.

GPSs:
I have a Garmin Zumo 660 GPS. When I connect my iPhone to the GPS, and then connect the GPS to the headset it is much easier to use the phone while riding. I can go through my contacts and call someone, I can see the person who is calling me on the screen and I can check the battery and signal levels (volume is still an issue). One thing that does not work, and this may be a 1st gen iPhone issue, is that there is no way to make music from the iPhone play through the GPS into the headset – very disappointing.
The only other strange thing is that the GPS voices (all of them) cause the speakers to crackle at higher volumes. This means I can be listening to the radio, or talking to my passenger on a busy highway just fine, but when I receive GPS instructions the speakers crackle badly. It works fine at lower speeds and volumes.

FM Radio:
The device has FM radio only (no AM). It works ok, it looses signal much more easily then a car radio does and tuning it can be a pain, especially setting pre sets.

Stability:
The unit does choke and crash every once and while. The worste thing about this is that you have basically no troubleshooting ability while on the bike. You just loose the headset and won’t get it back until you stop and play with it for a while.

Upgrade:
There is an upgrade available of the Cardo web site for the unit. I would recommend doing it, it increases the stability and also allows you to set up the device on your computer which is much easier then holding buttons and waiting for beeps on the device. Note that they only have a 32bit Windows program for this so you will be S.O.L. if you have a 64bit computer (like I do).

Battery Life:
Battery Life is pretty much as advertised. If you leave the intercom on or play music all the time you probably won’t get the full 10 hours of claimed use, but you’ll come close. Under normal use I regularly use it all weekend before needing a charge. The unit charges very fast, in about 30 minutes.

Upgrades:
I’m thinking about getting some new speakers to eliminate the GPS voice crackle, phone volume issue and to just be able to hear everything while I have my ear plugs in on the highway. Anybody tried these?

HS24 Iasus XSound2 Helmet Speakers


-Alec

GB 08-28-2010 04:41 PM

Thanks for the review! I was interested in learning more about the G4 and you provided it :thumb

Night_Wolf 08-28-2010 06:02 PM

My lady & I received a Cardo Scala 2 as a housewarming gift from our Real Estate agent and love it. If/when it craps out we will replace it with the Cardo 4 units. I like the fact it can be programmed through the computer. Thanks for the review

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Thanks for the review! I was interested in learning more about the G4 and you provided it :thumb


WF_Jester 09-03-2010 02:03 PM

MP3 Music
 
Can each G4 user listen to a different MP3 source and still have intercom and GPS?

BlueLghtning 09-04-2010 09:02 AM

Using one Scala G4 with two Q2's
 
Hey, I'm trying to get some help here and see if anyone has had any luck with 1 G4 and 2 Q2's connected together reliably.

My wife and I have Scala Q2's that we've been using a lot over the past year with great results. I'm very familiar with the Q2's and all the little quirks like using Vox, Manual connection, syncing with my cell, etc. I'm even familiar with resetting the connection between the two Q2's and resetting them up.

My dad just got a G4 to use on a trip we are currently on. He debated on getting the Q2 since technically him and I could still talk on channel B, but I told him the G4 would allow the 3 of us to connect and he would get stereo BT, so he opted for the G4. I've read the manual on the G4 and I think I understand everything, but getting the G4 to work like it should seems to be a bit more cumbersome then the Q2's.

The first thing I noticed is the G4 is way slower connecting to things. There is a much longer delay when you attempt to start a conversation. The other thing I noticed is getting the VOX to work is also way more PITA. It takes a much louder and sterner noise to activate it compared to our Q2's. The VOX on our Q2's works very nicely, but not so on the G4. I will say the actual voice letting you know Rider A & B have connected is nice ad on, but man that connection process is slow.

The original setup we tried was my wife and I are both connected on the Q2's on channel A as our default. Then I synced my channel B with my Dad's G4 (Channel A). Then we synced his G4 (Channel B) with my wife's Q2 Channel B. This should technically allow my wife and I to continue to talk to each other like normal. Then if I want to talk to my Dad, I can hit the MC button twice to connect to my rider B or hold the volume button up until I hear the 2 beeps and that tells me my VOX will default to rider B. If my wife and I are connected directly, then my Dad can't be in the conversation, but if he connects to each of us with his G4 using both Chan A&B, then it creates a 3 way with our connection going through his G4. Now we technically got this to work a few times, but its not reliable at all. Some of it is the learning curve of my Dad learning a new system, but we've ran into other issues.

My Dad can connect fine to me or my wife by pressing the respective A or B button that we are each on. However once one of us is connected, getting that 2nd person connected just doesn't seem to work. He should at any time be able to add/delete Rider A or B from the conversation by pressing the respective button on his G4, but it just doesn't work like that. You hit the button and nothing happens. The other big issue is that the majority of the time, I cannot establish a conversation with my Dad once my wife and I have connected. All 3 of us can be on standby and I should be able to just connect to him, but most of the time I just get a beep/beep. Its funny because I think my wife and I will both get the beep/beep even though her and I aren't in a conversation and its just one of us trying to connect to him. So at that point, if I want to reach my Dad, I have to point at my headset so he can start the conversation. :huh If we want to get a 3 way to work, he's got to turn his off, then back on, then he's got to establish the 3 way with my wife and I. Once we disconnect from that conversation and my wife and I just connect to each other directly, it seems to break something and after that, I can't re-connect to him. Its become very frustrating.

Things I have tried. We have reset all syncing between the G4 & Q2's multiple times. I tried first syncing each Q2 to the G4 on their respectable channel A's and having my wife and I be on channel B with each other. I also thought about just breaking the connection between my wife and I meaning we'd always have to connect through my Dad, but we do like to talk to each other in private and honestly, we shouldn't have to go through that garbage to get them to work!

Just for reference, my Dad's G4 is synced to his Zumo 550 which is synced to his cell. My wife and I have our cell's synced to our Q2's, but none of this should affect the way the G4's & Q2's talk to each other.

I haven't tried updating the firmware on the G4, and I think I might try that today. I'll play around with this some more, but so far I'm a bit disappointed in how the G4 is interacting with the Q2's.

Ron from BC 09-04-2010 02:42 PM

iPhone 4
 
From the specs I guess you could also listen to music stored on your iPhone via Bluetooth on the G4 rather than having to a standalone MP3 jack and cable.

I guess then it's off to find a wireless remote for the iPhone 4.....wonder if the Scorsche or Monster iEZ Click would work with it?

:ear

JurgenB 09-05-2010 10:12 AM

More than 4 Riders
 
Has anyone tried the Cardo G4 with more than 4 Riders? It seems like one could connect them by extending the daisychain:

Riders 1-2 - Channel A
Riders 2-3 - Channel B
Riders 3-4 - Channel A
Riders 4-5 - Channel B
Riders 5-6 - Channel A

and so on. Would this work? Where is the limitation?
I first thought each channel can only be used for one connection but connecting 4 riders according to the Cardo manual already requires using channel A twice.

JurgenB 09-05-2010 10:18 AM

Cardo works with Schuberth
 
Yesterday we had two Cardo G$ and one Schubert SRCS (made by Cardo). It took a while to figure out how to pair them up but eventually it worked great. Distance limit Schubert to Cardo was about 800 - 1000 ft.
I was impressed with the system - conversations were clear, little wind noise and all day battery life with lively conversation. Good stuff!

BlueLghtning 09-06-2010 08:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JurgenB
Has anyone tried the Cardo G4 with more than 4 Riders? It seems like one could connect them by extending the daisychain:

Riders 1-2 - Channel A
Riders 2-3 - Channel B
Riders 3-4 - Channel A
Riders 4-5 - Channel B
Riders 5-6 - Channel A

and so on. Would this work? Where is the limitation?
I first thought each channel can only be used for one connection but connecting 4 riders according to the Cardo manual already requires using channel A twice.

Theoretically, I guess it could work. At first I was going to say distance would be the limitation, but technically, if everyone is riding in the order they are connected, you only need to keep each rider in front and behind you in range since the voice is being passed through each unit.

But as much trouble as we are having getting 3 units connected, I couldn't imagine trying to get everyone connected and keeping them connected. That would be a fun experiment to try.

thewarrior53 09-08-2010 01:53 PM

Wind noise
 
My wife & I have the G4. My problem is we both have open face helmets & the wind noise is awful. I tried some Windsock wind deflectors from CycleGadgets but they haven't helped. Also it says that when you use the wired connection for an iPod that it disables the Vox. Does that mean you can't communicate with another rider at all? Also when headsets are fully charged should you disconnect them or leave them connected until you use them again?

niemerbeemer 09-08-2010 05:24 PM

Just bought these for a recent trip. We had 3 bikes and 3 headsets. No problems what so ever synching them together. We did have problems with wind noise with my dads (open face helmet) but he would just flip the mic up and it went away.

the sound quality was great, sounded like we were talking on the phone...

my only complaint is that one of my speakers went out on day two of the trip, hopefully cardo will replace the unit. Also in intercom mode the batteries were drained by the end of the day ~ 8-9 hrs of riding.

BlueLghtning 09-08-2010 05:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thewarrior53
My wife & I have the G4. My problem is we both have open face helmets & the wind noise is awful. I tried some Windsock wind deflectors from CycleGadgets but they haven't helped.

My dad has a 3/4 helmet with a shield and although he has a bit more wind noise in the back ground then my wife and I with our Q2's, its not bad and we can certainly communicate with him easily at speeds of 80mph. Are you guys making sure the mic is facing the correct way?

Quote:

Also it says that when you use the wired connection for an iPod that it disables the Vox. Does that mean you can't communicate with another rider at all?
I saw that in the directions about the VOX being disabled with the MP3 input. Since my Dad has the G4, I haven't played with it yet, but no it doesn't mean you can't use them, it just means you'd manually press the A or B button to open a conversation. And when doing a manual connect like this, your conversation will stay open until you press it again to close it.

Quote:

Also when headsets are fully charged should you disconnect them or leave them connected until you use them again?
Not sure what you mean here? Wouldn't they be powered off if you aren't using them.

BlueLghtning 09-08-2010 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niemerbeemer
Just bought these for a recent trip. We had 3 bikes and 3 headsets. No problems what so ever synching them together. We did have problems with wind noise with my dads (open face helmet) but he would just flip the mic up and it went away.

the sound quality was great, sounded like we were talking on the phone...

my only complaint is that one of my speakers went out on day two of the trip, hopefully cardo will replace the unit. Also in intercom mode the batteries were drained by the end of the day ~ 8-9 hrs of riding.

Were you leaving the intercom open the entire time? 8-9hrs isn't bad if so. Our Q2's can be drained pretty quickly if we leave them open in intercom mode for hours on end. We usually could easily make a 12+ hr day if we didn't stay connected in manual mode for long periods of time. One thing we did start doing if we knew we'd be leaving them open for long periods is let them charge on the bike at lunch. That's usually at least an hour and allows you to pretty much talk all day in manual mode without killing them.

thewarrior53 09-08-2010 05:58 PM

When not in use:
 
My question is will they stay charged while not in use? Or will they drain down if not plugged to an outlet?

BlueLghtning 09-08-2010 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlueLghtning
Hey, I'm trying to get some help here and see if anyone has had any luck with 1 G4 and 2 Q2's connected together reliably.

My wife and I have Scala Q2's that we've been using a lot over the past year with great results. I'm very familiar with the Q2's and all the little quirks like using Vox, Manual connection, syncing with my cell, etc. I'm even familiar with resetting the connection between the two Q2's and resetting them up.

My dad just got a G4 to use on a trip we are currently on. He debated on getting the Q2 since technically him and I could still talk on channel B, but I told him the G4 would allow the 3 of us to connect and he would get stereo BT, so he opted for the G4. I've read the manual on the G4 and I think I understand everything, but getting the G4 to work like it should seems to be a bit more cumbersome then the Q2's.

The first thing I noticed is the G4 is way slower connecting to things. There is a much longer delay when you attempt to start a conversation. The other thing I noticed is getting the VOX to work is also way more PITA. It takes a much louder and sterner noise to activate it compared to our Q2's. The VOX on our Q2's works very nicely, but not so on the G4. I will say the actual voice letting you know Rider A & B have connected is nice ad on, but man that connection process is slow.

The original setup we tried was my wife and I are both connected on the Q2's on channel A as our default. Then I synced my channel B with my Dad's G4 (Channel A). Then we synced his G4 (Channel B) with my wife's Q2 Channel B. This should technically allow my wife and I to continue to talk to each other like normal. Then if I want to talk to my Dad, I can hit the MC button twice to connect to my rider B or hold the volume button up until I hear the 2 beeps and that tells me my VOX will default to rider B. If my wife and I are connected directly, then my Dad can't be in the conversation, but if he connects to each of us with his G4 using both Chan A&B, then it creates a 3 way with our connection going through his G4. Now we technically got this to work a few times, but its not reliable at all. Some of it is the learning curve of my Dad learning a new system, but we've ran into other issues.

My Dad can connect fine to me or my wife by pressing the respective A or B button that we are each on. However once one of us is connected, getting that 2nd person connected just doesn't seem to work. He should at any time be able to add/delete Rider A or B from the conversation by pressing the respective button on his G4, but it just doesn't work like that. You hit the button and nothing happens. The other big issue is that the majority of the time, I cannot establish a conversation with my Dad once my wife and I have connected. All 3 of us can be on standby and I should be able to just connect to him, but most of the time I just get a beep/beep. Its funny because I think my wife and I will both get the beep/beep even though her and I aren't in a conversation and its just one of us trying to connect to him. So at that point, if I want to reach my Dad, I have to point at my headset so he can start the conversation. :huh If we want to get a 3 way to work, he's got to turn his off, then back on, then he's got to establish the 3 way with my wife and I. Once we disconnect from that conversation and my wife and I just connect to each other directly, it seems to break something and after that, I can't re-connect to him. Its become very frustrating.

Things I have tried. We have reset all syncing between the G4 & Q2's multiple times. I tried first syncing each Q2 to the G4 on their respectable channel A's and having my wife and I be on channel B with each other. I also thought about just breaking the connection between my wife and I meaning we'd always have to connect through my Dad, but we do like to talk to each other in private and honestly, we shouldn't have to go through that garbage to get them to work!

Just for reference, my Dad's G4 is synced to his Zumo 550 which is synced to his cell. My wife and I have our cell's synced to our Q2's, but none of this should affect the way the G4's & Q2's talk to each other.

I haven't tried updating the firmware on the G4, and I think I might try that today. I'll play around with this some more, but so far I'm a bit disappointed in how the G4 is interacting with the Q2's.

Just an update on this. We are still on the trip. I did update my Dad's firmware from 2.1 to 2.3 on his G4. That didn't seem to change anything though.

He seems to be able to reliably connect to me at will if he wants, but I still can't connect to him with any regularity. Whether I have him as Channel A or B on my Q2, I can only get a connection with the manual tap and it still doesn't work all the time. I don't think I've ever been able to get my VOX to connect to him, even by changing the priority of connecting to Buddy A or Buddy B. Also, getting a 3 way connection going is hit or miss.

Today at lunch, we tried something different where I re-synced all 3 units, but instead of syncing my wife and I to each other, I only synced our Q2's to his G4 on his A & B channel respectively and didn't sync our Q2's together at all. That seemed to make a 3 way conversation very easy, but obviously we can't talk to each other alone and can only talk through my Dad's unit. I guess that is how we'll stay for the rest of the trip since it allows all 3 of us to talk reliably, but that shouldn't be the way we should have to do things. Our Q2's have 2 channels also (albeit, they can't be used at the same time), but we should have no issues connecting to each other when we want and to another G4 unit with out getting the screwy behavior we are.

I will say that even though we are on Q2's and he's on a G4 and they say the limiting factor on distance will be the lower unit, but just having his G4 in the mix seems to help. I'm usually in the lead with my wife behind me, and my Dad bring up the rear. So on a 3 way, my Dad and I have the greater distance between us. There were times where he was out of sight and I know if it was just my wife and I on our Q2's, we'd be getting the static, but it stayed crystal clear. I guess that little antenna on his G4, does help some.


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