Nolan N103 & Bluetooth Interface - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2009, 5:53 pm Thread Starter
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Nolan N103 & Bluetooth Interface

I just purchased a Nolan N103 helmet with both the installation kit and Bluetooth interface. I have installed everything into the helmet and I am currently charging the battery for the first test run. I would like to know if I can interface my Zumo 550 via Bluetooth and also my Valentine 1 via the multimedia cable and have both units function simultaneously. There is provision to interface both units, but I cannot figure out if both will work the way I want them to.

Thanks for the help!
Karl Riemer
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 6th, 2009, 6:08 pm
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I have a N-102, and the zumo550 works great with the Helmet. I use the Bluetooh for the telephone, and the mulimedia wire for the MP3 player, and turn by turn directions. Once you set it all up it connects automatically each time you turn the devices on. Not sure about your radar question sorry

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 4:34 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriemer
I just purchased a Nolan N103 helmet with both the installation kit and Bluetooth interface. I have installed everything into the helmet and I am currently charging the battery for the first test run. I would like to know if I can interface my Zumo 550 via Bluetooth and also my Valentine 1 via the multimedia cable and have both units function simultaneously. There is provision to interface both units, but I cannot figure out if both will work the way I want them to.

Thanks for the help!
Karl Riemer
2007 K1200GT
Hi Karl; I bought the same as you; tried it for a month and then returned it for a full refund. The Bluetooth coonection will connect to your Zumo, but like you I wanted a regular cable to attach to another device (and MP3 player). It was impossible to get the two to work together.

So I got my refund and purchased an Autocomm unit; it's brilliant and I haven't looked back.

Cheers

John

John I. Stephen - Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 5:27 pm Thread Starter
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New Info on N103 interface

I have now successfully interfaced my Zumo 550 and my Valentine 1 to my Nolan N103. I have the Zumo synced to the N103 Bluetooth and I am running the audio output adapter of the V1 to the Aux input on the Nolan via the Nolan supplied multimedia cable. After the Zumo is powered up and has acknowledged that is is synced, as long as there is no Zumo audio output and seconds after the last time a Zumo button was engaged you will hear a slight thump in the Nolan speakers. Then the Aux input of the N103 is active and the V1 comes through the system. The only problem with this is that the Zumo has priority and will override any output of the V1. I am willing to live with this setup until someone can figure out how to interface both the Zumo and the V1 wirelessly to the N103 and be able to give priority to the V1 output.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2009, 5:55 pm
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I've got a N-103 with their n-Com Kit II and Basic Kit II headphone setup.

To do all you want - and more - get the Autocom (it's a mixer). Plug everything into it that you want: radar, Zumo, cell, iPod, XM radio, etc. Put the radar unit in the priority input socket of the Autocom so it will have preference.

On the Autocom's output lead, put a stereo dongle like a Jabra A-120s. The Nolan n-Com II will talk to it via Bluetooth and you will be wireless to the helmet and in stereo.


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2009, 8:35 pm
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Nolan 103 is loud

Since you all have a Nolan 103, maybe you can give me some perspective. I just purchased one and I can get the bits to work together. However, at any speed over 30mph I can't hear a damn thing! The helmet is just awful. Is it me or am I missing something. I have a HJC SY-Max II, so I'm aware that these "flip-ups" are louder than a full-face helmet. The HJC is substantially quieter, and it doesn't have a chin seal installed.

Do you find the 103 acceptable at highway speeds? If I can't fix this, I'm taking is back.

I briefly had a 102 and it was quieter than the 103.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 19th, 2009, 9:10 pm
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Regarding the noisiness of the N-103 helmet, yeah, it does seem a bit nosier than my Shoei Multi-Tech flip-up. I don't know why it does since the Nolan has more neck wind protection than the Shoei. Nolan is slick if for nothing more than the internal dark shield and their BT is integrated rather than some bolt on affair.

Regarding the loudness of the n-Com. In town it is fine, but you are right about high speeds. Seems to hold true for any helmet speakers though. I've got the n-Com II series which provides better BT connections and is in stereo over their mono n-Com I series which flat sucked coming off one of those mono-sound pigs.

Since a helmet on the freeway runs about 110 db in noise alone, you need a lot to overcome that. Problem is that driving a speaker to that sound level is not only deafening, but very hard for a speaker to do since they are not that big to begin with. That is one of the reasons trying to accomplish active noise canceling in a helmet is almost impossible to do. You would need a huge speaker to cancel the amount of positive pressure wind traveling around your ears to make a negative speaker recoil enough to cancel it out. Active noise canceling works in an airplane or tank because their is no positive air pressure or currents. Motorcycles are a whole different matter. Shoei was working on that idea several years ago but nothing has transpired since.

If the companies were to provide speakers with enough power to overcome 110 db wind noise levels in a helmet, we'd all be stone deaf by now. If you've bought any recent MP3 players, they are almost all limited in audio output now. Plus, they'd probably all be sued by now for causing hearing damage even though they weren't designed to do what we are subjecting them to. The 32db (more like maybe 25db cancellation of noise via drug store variety foam ear plugs) helps a lot, imo.

Here's a little PDF file to help you understand this.

For now, I've given up on the Bluetooth stuff and gone back to wired in-ear speakers off the Autocom. Fidelity is far better than BT and they are more comfortable and no ear ringing at the end of a ride. More expensive ones have as many as four drivers (little speakers) and can be used at a lower volume than needed to blast any bass into your ears wile holding onto the highs. Something like the Ultimate Ears UE-11's come to mind, but they are over $1200 (Yes, I own a pair and they are sweet!). They will also attenuate the wind down to around 35db so you arrive less fatigued from noise and can hear in the restaurant or hotel.

Good luck, and save your hearing.


Mack
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2009, 8:27 pm
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My head is not round

It turns out that my head is not round enough for the Nolan. I returned to DeSimone Motorsports in New Jersey and they had me try on many many helmets (essentially every one they had on display). What became apparent was that none of the Nolan helmets fit my melon correctly (for me that is). The best fit was with the Shoei brand. All of them seemed to fit my head shape better than the others. I purchased the Shoei Multitec, which actually works great with the cheap earbuds that come with the iPhone.

I really wanted the Nolan to work, as I liked the integrated system. Alas, it was not to be.

I highly recommend DeSimone to anyone in the Delaware Valley. They allowed me to return the helmet and equipment with a full refund. The parts manager even bought me a Coke during the whole process. I'm in the service business and I was amazed at how much time they spent on this whole process... all with a smile. They have a customer for life.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2009, 9:00 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFoster
It turns out that my head is not round enough for the Nolan. I returned to DeSimone Motorsports in New Jersey and they had me try on many many helmets (essentially every one they had on display). What became apparent was that none of the Nolan helmets fit my melon correctly (for me that is). The best fit was with the Shoei brand. All of them seemed to fit my head shape better than the others. I purchased the Shoei Multitec, which actually works great with the cheap earbuds that come with the iPhone.

I really wanted the Nolan to work, as I liked the integrated system. Alas, it was not to be.

I highly recommend DeSimone to anyone in the Delaware Valley. They allowed me to return the helmet and equipment with a full refund. The parts manager even bought me a Coke during the whole process. I'm in the service business and I was amazed at how much time they spent on this whole process... all with a smile. They have a customer for life.
That's good to hear. My local dealer's policy is once you bought it, you own it as far as helmet stuff goes. That really sucks. No refunds. Exchanges. Nothing.

Cycle Gear is more lenient - maybe one month with an exchange for fit.

I liked the Nolan for the features like their strap latch, internal flip-down sun visor, and clean looks of their integrated Bluetooth and n-Com. However, it is a bit noisy without a good shield in front of it of some sort. Weight-wise, it's touted as being one of the heaviest flips out there, but that didn't seem to bother me on the road.

What I grew to dislike was Bluetooth in general. It is an absolute "PAIN" to deal with - especially on a motorcycle. Fidelity of Bluetooth speakers - or any helmet speaker - is poor and you can discover that using their Multi-Media wired cable which improves that one alone with their Basic Kit II (Speaker) system. After a few hours, my ears were ringing from wind noise and me needing to run the n-Com at full volume plus the added boost off the Autocom volume setting.

Better, imho, is in-ear phones if just to save your hearing to say nothing of better fidelity and at a lower volume. I prefer quality sound which seems to be only achievable with wires. Ugh!

With Bluetooth, you need a charger else it may run out of juice and drop out requiring you to charge and re-pair it back up to some silly stereo dongle that will also probably need charging at the same time. No charge = No sounds -- and for miles....

Some things will not link up to their BT protocol (although their BT version II n-Com was much better and in stereo). I got tired of pulling over and fiddling with the BT stuff which seemed to be a curse at times and I often had to resort back to a hard-wired setup. The old fashioned wired Autocom is far easier to deal with. No wire = No sound.

With Bluetooth, who knows what causes it to drop out, not be in stereo at times, where's the charger, why do I need to sit and wait 3-4 hours for a charge, I need more 110 volt AC outlets for 2 helmets and one for the stereo dongle's charger too, etc. Where's the gain? Bluetooth has a ways to go, imo, to be biker friendly.

<my 2 cents, of course>


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 25th, 2009, 5:24 pm
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Mack, I agree with you. I decided that I'd had enough of trying to make the bluetooth work... for now. Once the iPhone is upgraded to support A2DP this summer (stereo streaming), then I may revisit the issue.

In the meantime, I ordered a set of Shure E5c earbuds from Amazon for $329. Sounds like a lot but these are the best money can buy. I got them in one day (even though I paid for UPS ground).

It was recommended to me that I use the yellow foam inserts, so I did. They fit well under the Shoei flip up helmet. All I can say is WOW! With the direct connection to the iPhone, the music clarity at 70 mph is amazing. The sound isolation with the yellow foam tips is great and the whole setup is very comfortable. I road to the beach yesterday (over 2 hours) and it was more comfortable than not having anything in my ears at all, given the lack of wind noise.

The only downside, is that I can tell that all of my compressed music files are now lacking in fidelity, which means the size of these files are going to double.

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