Camos BTS-200 bluetooth helmet headset review - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 2008, 1:41 pm Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Camos BTS-200 bluetooth helmet headset review

Camos BTS-200 bluetooth helmet headset review

I’ve had several Bluetooth devices that I intended to use on my motorcycle for a while; but searching for a right unit turned out to be hard as all lacked some functionality I was looking for in a headset. Last December I purchased the Nolan N-com helmet, hoping to use its unit once it became available but the reviews of that one were not very strong either.

While paying for my service at the BMW dealer I asked what was available in Bluetooth mainly to find out if they sold the new Chatterbox unit I’ve heard of but never seen for sale yet; answer was not but I was recommended the Camos which sounded like a fairly good deal @ $250. They had a demo unit installed so I paired it with my Treo 700WX and tried it out and it seemed OK. So I got one.

When I got the unit home I plugged it in to fully charge (took about 4 hours till the light went out, indicating full charge). The charger plug that goes in the same socket as the head phones/microphone harness is a “micro-USB”, very flimsy and difficult to align and plug in correctly as the socket is in a ½” hole and the plug is only about 3/4” long and tiny.

While it was charging I set out to install the wiring harness under the helmet padding. This is the first thing that made me mad about the Camos.

THE HARNESS
The harness is very poorly thought out. The unit is designed to be installed on the left side of the helmet. The dongle part (comes out and plugs into the unit) of it is 6” long, the left speaker is on 6”, and the right speaker is about 13.5”.
The way the manual illustrates the routing is over the top of your head. The wires are definitely NOT LONG ENOUGH to go that way. The shortest way to route a wire from left ear to right ear in a large helmet (average) is above the forehead, which adds up to 13.5”, NOT INCLUDING having to be tucked in around the padding and chin straps!
After about an hour I was able to make it fit, with millimeters to spare at best. The only way was to make the dongle come all the way in, leaving only about 1 inch to reach the unit. The junction (split to left, right, mic)then ends up being somewhere ahead of your left temple, pressing through the padding against your forehead (unless you cut up the protective part of your helmet to make it “sink” into it). Then the left speaker runs back along the dongle part to just barely make it past the ear padding into the cavity by your left ear. The right routs in front of forehead under padding and just barely makes it into the right ear padding, making it bulge from the tight wire in one spot.
Anyone with helmet large than LARGE WOULD NOT be able to install the harness without modifying (soldering on) longer wires, at least to the right speaker.

THE UNIT
Pairing the unit was fairly easy the first time. Press and hold the – (minus) button for 8 seconds, pair it with your phone (code 0000) and it is done. You can pair second unit by repeating using the + (plus) button.
There is no OFF button, the only thing I think makes it go into stand-by is disconnecting from unit(s) by – (minus) for 4 seconds, that is also how you re-connect, holding – (minus) for 4 seconds.

There are 6 keys on the unit:
Two top ones ( + and -) for pairing, volume up/down).
Two bottom ones, m (master) lines up with + (plus) and r (reset) lines up with – (minus).
Two on a side T (talk) and M (mute)
The keys (and key presses) can’t be felt through gloves.

Each time the unit is re-paired two things happen;
1) to press down on – (minus) naturally requires a thumb support for the unit from bottom, where the RESET is; if that’s pressed, pairing has to be re-done and it takes few minutes, including deleting pairing profiles on some BT devices (I tried Blackberry Curve and Motorola Razr besides the Palm Treo 700wx, only the Curve was able to re-write the pairing profile correctly) Very bad button (Reset) placement.
2) volume gets reset to middle, so it needs to be increased by +(plus) button; to press down on + (plus) naturally requires a thumb support for the unit from bottom, where the MASTER key is; if that’s pressed, “Pairing channel 2 as MASTER” happens according to the manual, but I don’t really know what that means as nothing happened for me.

The M button mutes all.

The T button is supposed to pick up and redial a call. On all 3 phones I was only able to redial the last number, and there was no way of disabling it or using it as a voice-command activation button. Only the Blackberry Curve was able to “answer” a call by pressing the T button, all others had to be picked up on the phone itself, so not hands-free! The redial is very annoying because there is no prompt; it just dials the last number.


ON THE ROAD
The unit inside of my Nolan flip helmet performed OK, but the volume was not sufficient for music/radio listening above 50MPH, much of it could be contributed to the extra wind noise the unit itself creates.
Answering a phone call did not work as it had to be done from the phone itself; T button did not work for me on 3/3 phones tested.
Talking on the phone, by pressing T button and calling the last person dialed only, worked up to about 30MPH before the person could not understand. Above 40MPH I could not understand.
Manual said that “pressing + and – for 6 seconds together from power off” should result in being able to setup microphone sensitivity; since there is no power button and I did not what to do “reset” I did not know when I was in “Power off” mode, from the “un-paired” mode I was not able to get to flashes of LEDs that looked like what the manual described as “Microphone sensitivity adjust mode”.

So after the second day of partial use, I was ready for a regular day test.
The unit was fully charged @ 7am. I paired with my phone that was streaming XM radio. I could hear it and understand up to about 50mph, worked until I got to work after 35 minute ride. I un-paired and put the helmet away for the day. At 5pm I re-paired with the phone streaming XM radio. After about 3 minutes of riding the unit disconnected. I stopped, re-connected all, got back on and 2 minutes later it shut down again, and would not respond to button presses again. It turns out the battery was dead.
So after maybe 40 minutes of operation the battery was drained; the main reason this unit is getting returned.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 2008, 3:35 pm
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Ive tried the Nolan and didnt like the sound, I heard bad stuff about some others.

So I than decided to build my own. If you have the right helmet. Mine is a piece o shi KBC. You get any headset(note not ear phones) that is bluetooth and is LOUD. Break it apart completely, put it inside the ear comforting part with the foam on each side. Wala stereo!

Charging it and turning it on is not as professional looking, plus I cant talk to the passenger with it but IT SURE IS LOUD listening to music and is great talking on the phone. Especially with my watch thats a phone and an mp3 player off ebay.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 2008, 4:46 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18yrold-k12-rydr
Ive tried the Nolan and didnt like the sound, I heard bad stuff about some others.

So I than decided to build my own. If you have the right helmet. Mine is a piece o shi KBC. You get any headset(note not ear phones) that is bluetooth and is LOUD. Break it apart completely, put it inside the ear comforting part with the foam on each side. Wala stereo!

Charging it and turning it on is not as professional looking, plus I cant talk to the passenger with it but IT SURE IS LOUD listening to music and is great talking on the phone. Especially with my watch thats a phone and an mp3 player off ebay.

So what brand/model did you use to rip into?
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2008, 3:36 am
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I'm still looking out for a BT set-up. I'm guessing that Garmin will come out with a Zumo soon that'll have A2DP profile, and that stores your music. And then a good helmet kit that can pair to the Zumo and to the mobile phone.
I can't believe it's taken this long for a viable solution to surface.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:24 am
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Camos

I agree with the use of a Camos and the WiRevo set up it pretty much sucks. I bought one and it worked initially but then everything went crazy and it would not pair properly. Customer support from the U.S importer was also not good. So I now have $300.00 worth of stuff that is pretty much useless. I was very disappointed with the response I got from the importer. I purchased mine from the Scooter Shop in Orange Co. CA. They were unable to be of any help, all they did was recommend I contact the importer. Their name was something Helmet something. I can't recall at this time. It has been a year and I've given up. I just read your post and thought I'ld jump in and save some one the money and trouble of purchasing a Camos. All I want is my money back and that isn't happening.

My two cents

ride safe
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2008, 11:10 am Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Chatterbox XBi

So I got the Chatterbox XBi last night, almost $100 less than the returned Camos, and so far only complaint a bit of crackle from left speaker but nice and loud and clear, only used in on my way to work this morning but I was able to listen to XM all the way up to 100mph in one spot; had a call come in and with the mic touching my lips I sounded like I was next to her, not going 85mph.
Great!
I'll do a more thorough review later.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2008, 9:16 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCzech
Camos BTS-200 bluetooth helmet headset review

I’ve had several Bluetooth devices that I intended to use on my motorcycle for a while; but searching for a right unit turned out to be hard as all lacked some functionality I was looking for in a headset. Last December I purchased the Nolan N-com helmet, hoping to use its unit once it became available but the reviews of that one were not very strong either.

While paying for my service at the BMW dealer I asked what was available in Bluetooth mainly to find out if they sold the new Chatterbox unit I’ve heard of but never seen for sale yet; answer was not but I was recommended the Camos which sounded like a fairly good deal @ $250. They had a demo unit installed so I paired it with my Treo 700WX and tried it out and it seemed OK. So I got one.

When I got the unit home I plugged it in to fully charge (took about 4 hours till the light went out, indicating full charge). The charger plug that goes in the same socket as the head phones/microphone harness is a “micro-USB”, very flimsy and difficult to align and plug in correctly as the socket is in a ½” hole and the plug is only about 3/4” long and tiny.

the tight connection keeps water out. if you gently push it in, you should have no problem. after a couple times, you should be able to do it blind foled behind your back.

While it was charging I set out to install the wiring harness under the helmet padding. This is the first thing that made me mad about the Camos.

THE HARNESS
The harness is very poorly thought out. The unit is designed to be installed on the left side of the helmet. The dongle part (comes out and plugs into the unit) of it is 6” long, the left speaker is on 6”, and the right speaker is about 13.5”.
The way the manual illustrates the routing is over the top of your head. The wires are definitely NOT LONG ENOUGH to go that way. The shortest way to route a wire from left ear to right ear in a large helmet (average) is above the forehead, which adds up to 13.5”, NOT INCLUDING having to be tucked in around the padding and chin straps!
After about an hour I was able to make it fit, with millimeters to spare at best. The only way was to make the dongle come all the way in, leaving only about 1 inch to reach the unit. The junction (split to left, right, mic)then ends up being somewhere ahead of your left temple, pressing through the padding against your forehead (unless you cut up the protective part of your helmet to make it “sink” into it). Then the left speaker runs back along the dongle part to just barely make it past the ear padding into the cavity by your left ear. The right routs in front of forehead under padding and just barely makes it into the right ear padding, making it bulge from the tight wire in one spot.
Anyone with helmet large than LARGE WOULD NOT be able to install the harness without modifying (soldering on) longer wires, at least to the right speaker.

Follow the direction of the cord running off the back unit and run the right speaker around the back of your head and unless you have a two foot wide head, you will have plenty of cord.

THE UNIT
Pairing the unit was fairly easy the first time. Press and hold the – (minus) button for 8 seconds, pair it with your phone (code 0000) and it is done. You can pair second unit by repeating using the + (plus) button.
There is no OFF button, the only thing I think makes it go into stand-by is disconnecting from unit(s) by – (minus) for 4 seconds, that is also how you re-connect, holding – (minus) for 4 seconds.

the manual may be confusing here as it indicates on/off as activate/deactivate

There are 6 keys on the unit:
Two top ones ( + and -) for pairing, volume up/down).
Two bottom ones, m (master) lines up with + (plus) and r (reset) lines up with – (minus).
Two on a side T (talk) and M (mute)
The keys (and key presses) can’t be felt through gloves.

with the benefit of having a small sleek unit on the side of you helmet comes the drawback of having smaller buttons. It takes getting used to, but you do get used to it.

Each time the unit is re-paired two things happen;
1) to press down on – (minus) naturally requires a thumb support for the unit from bottom, where the RESET is; if that’s pressed, pairing has to be re-done and it takes few minutes, including deleting pairing profiles on some BT devices (I tried Blackberry Curve and Motorola Razr besides the Palm Treo 700wx, only the Curve was able to re-write the pairing profile correctly) Very bad button (Reset) placement.
2) volume gets reset to middle, so it needs to be increased by +(plus) button; to press down on + (plus) naturally requires a thumb support for the unit from bottom, where the MASTER key is; if that’s pressed, “Pairing channel 2 as MASTER” happens according to the manual, but I don’t really know what that means as nothing happened for me.

The reset button and master button are inset. Your thumb needs to be nearly vertical to push those buttons in. You quickly learn where to put pressure on your thumb after resetting the unit once. We do agree that placement could have been better.

The M button mutes all.

The T button is supposed to pick up and redial a call. On all 3 phones I was only able to redial the last number, and there was no way of disabling it or using it as a voice-command activation button. Only the Blackberry Curve was able to “answer” a call by pressing the T button, all others had to be picked up on the phone itself, so not hands-free! The redial is very annoying because there is no prompt; it just dials the last number.

the redial button is exactly that, it is meant to call the last person you were connected to in case your phone disconnects. if you don't want to call the last person you spoke with, don't push the redial button. the unit is more meant for receiving calls than making calls. i have my cell running though a zumo 550 for address book access through the zumo's heads up display. we have not experienced any problems picking up a phone call through the headset, we will look into this further. so far phones we have used are (cingular 8525, att tilt/8925, blackberry pearl, sprint mogul) the two phones you had trouble with will be reported.


ON THE ROAD
The unit inside of my Nolan flip helmet performed OK, but the volume was not sufficient for music/radio listening above 50MPH, much of it could be contributed to the extra wind noise the unit itself creates.
Answering a phone call did not work as it had to be done from the phone itself; T button did not work for me on 3/3 phones tested.
Talking on the phone, by pressing T button and calling the last person dialed only, worked up to about 30MPH before the person could not understand. Above 40MPH I could not understand.

the min and max volume can be indicated by a beep once you reach them. (ie if you have the have the unit at max volume and hit the + button over and over, it will beep every time you press it.) that being said, from the volume at its lowest point, it takes 30 presses up (you must press the button, you cannot hold it down or it will turn the intercom chanel on/off)to reach max volume. You should be able to ride with earplugs and have no problems with volume. if you do, then you probably have a defective unit.

Manual said that “pressing + and – for 6 seconds together from power off” should result in being able to setup microphone sensitivity; since there is no power button and I did not what to do “reset” I did not know when I was in “Power off” mode, from the “un-paired” mode I was not able to get to flashes of LEDs that looked like what the manual described as “Microphone sensitivity adjust mode”.

by using the - button to turn off 1 channel of the unit and the + button to turn off the second channel if you have it on, you should see no lights on. no lights on indicates the unit is off. now hold down the + and - button together, count to 6 seconds and release both buttons. the red led will blink over 2 seconds indicating what the microphone sensitivity is. if it blinks 4 times, it is low. if it blinks 2 times, it is in middle sensitivity. if it is a solid red led over 2 seconds, it is in high mode. the sensitivity is changed by repeating the process. this can be found on page 27 of the manual. if you hold the + and - button down for over 10 seconds, it will give you battery status, indicated on page 13 of the manual. so if a light flashes while you are holding down the + and - trying to adjust the microphone, you have held on too long and are checking battery status.

So after the second day of partial use, I was ready for a regular day test.
The unit was fully charged @ 7am. I paired with my phone that was streaming XM radio. I could hear it and understand up to about 50mph, worked until I got to work after 35 minute ride. I un-paired and put the helmet away for the day. At 5pm I re-paired with the phone streaming XM radio. After about 3 minutes of riding the unit disconnected. I stopped, re-connected all, got back on and 2 minutes later it shut down again, and would not respond to button presses again. It turns out the battery was dead.
So after maybe 40 minutes of operation the battery was drained; the main reason this unit is getting returned.
if your unit only lasts 40 minutes, it is defective. from a full charge your actual use time will be a minimum of 7hrs. you should be getting closer to 14hrs.


Crazy,

We are sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience with the headset. Please see the above underlined text regarding your concerns.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2008, 9:28 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan44
I agree with the use of a Camos and the WiRevo set up it pretty much sucks. I bought one and it worked initially but then everything went crazy and it would not pair properly. Customer support from the U.S importer was also not good. So I now have $300.00 worth of stuff that is pretty much useless. I was very disappointed with the response I got from the importer. I purchased mine from the Scooter Shop in Orange Co. CA. They were unable to be of any help, all they did was recommend I contact the importer. Their name was something Helmet something. I can't recall at this time. It has been a year and I've given up. I just read your post and thought I'ld jump in and save some one the money and trouble of purchasing a Camos. All I want is my money back and that isn't happening.

My two cents

ride safe
we have had many happy users and do what we can to help anybody having problems. please give us a call at 949.544.1735 if you are having issues. if you do not get a hold of anybody, leave a message and somebody will get back to you to help you out. you can also email your number to [email protected] and we can call you. we will figure out what is wrong and help you out, but you have to give us a way to get a hold of you as we currently have no idea what your issue is.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:12 pm
 
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Okay - I don't have the Camos BTS 200, but I have the BTH-500 paired to a Blackberry and am using a Nuvi 660 paired to the same headset via an iCombi dongle. I haven't had any issues and am very happy with the overall performance of the system. The GPS voice prompts are very clear and so is the MP3, and the GPS/MP3 mutes when I receive a call. Pairing the headset to the phone and the dongle was a breeze. I agree though, that installing the headset in the helmet was

Last edited by bwbcpa; Jul 25th, 2008 at 10:14 pm. Reason: spelling
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2008, 12:36 am Thread Starter
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Thanks for review, you seem to care...

Quote:
Originally Posted by benchmarkhelmets
we have had many happy users and do what we can to help anybody having problems. please give us a call at 949.544.1735 if you are having issues. if you do not get a hold of anybody, leave a message and somebody will get back to you to help you out. you can also email your number to [email protected] and we can call you. we will figure out what is wrong and help you out, but you have to give us a way to get a hold of you as we currently have no idea what your issue is.

I'll get back to doing a nicer detailed review of the Chatterbox XBi. That unit is just what I was looking for!
If Camos I tried was defective I feel kinda bad about not trying again; but, after getting the XBi I'm also glad I didn't.
XBi cost me almost $100 less.
Installation of the harness was a breeze, about 5 minutes.
The volume level is amazing, hear everything even @ 100mph. Completely comfortable @ regular cruising speed of 70mph with 2 click from highest volume.
The Camos mic was poor, I could not be heard above 25mph, maybe 30 at best. I was told by the only 4 lucky callers so far that it was like I was standing next to them with the XBi, @ any speed (100mph tested).
After 35 minutes of streaming in the morning and about 50 minutes on the way back (stopped at the place I bought XBi and tested a different harness with my unit to see if that's the crackle in the left, same thing) I plugged it into the charger and was done in 10 minutes, barely any usage.
The ergonomics of the XBi are awesome, can feel the click tactile feedback in each button press, no miss-presses.
The XBi is about 1/2 size of the Camos.

I'll be back.......
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