Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Ride with David Masse and ...

A Ride with David Masse & A Technical Breakthrough!

After a nice cappucino or two, we decided to get on our way.

David put it in reverse and ... no wait, reverse?

But, eventually we were ready to leave my house.

David took this one.

After traversing the twisty Sideroad 15 from Trafalgar Road to the Guelph Line, David needed to gas up and away we went.

I had taken a photo of this small place last Fall. Coffee and fresh bakery products can be had here. Also, in the Fall, they have a nice collection of pumpkins and gourds. See an earlier blog for pics.

And so, we went off up the adjacent Sideroad 1 north-ish to Fergus where we had lunch at Tim Horton's.

Our route back was Fergus - Rockwood - Guelph Line - Sideroad 15 - Trafalgar Road & Steeles where we parted ways. I took Steeles, David got onto the 401 and headed home.

He really liked the route, even the rough railway crossings which really hurt on a cruiser he advised, because without the pegs under the rider, the rider can't "post" by raising the bum and letting the bike bump up into clear air. It bumps up all right, into ... .

In any case it was a really nice ride. The is the second ride I have had with David. He has recently moved here from Montreal and is eager to see some of the riding areas that are in his new area of riding. I am enjoying showing him some of my favourite roads.

I tried to get Garmin Basecamp to show the route we took today. But, the track data shows I have recently traveled this route several times in various variations. So, I had to do a couple of screen captures (using Fastone Capture, a very useful program).

The red line is from my house to Fergus. Then, the return, is

sort of the continuation deep red changing to light red, then pink. Sigh. Must remember to download tracks daily and remove from the Nav V so I can get clean shots.

Or, ride less often on favorite roads. Nah.

Now for the technical breakthrough part.

David and I both have Bluetooth helmet communicators (BHCs for short). Mine is a Cardo G9 and his is a Sena ???. Recenly, Sena released a firmware update that was advertised as having a universal connectivity feature. Supposedly, this would allow his Sena and my Cardo to communicate with each other. Now, this is marketing heresy of the first waters. Engineers love the idea, but marketing guys would prefer either David should buy a Cardo or I should buy a Sena. We are talking about $300 USD here folks. Could a FREE firmware upgrade actually work?


In preparation for our experiment, I read the 25 page Cardo manual and condensed it a bit, yielding this:

See, Electrical Engineers love Functional Block Diagrams, which is what this is. It showed me there was no way I could listen to music from my BMW Audio System and use the same Cardo channel to talk to David's Sena (which was spoofed into appearing as a cellular phone - very clever). But it is trivial to repair with the audio system when David is not around, and reverse this. That assumes I will have the Block Diagram nearby, but ... it's on my phone now.

So, cappuccinos in cups, helmets on the table, diagram in hand, we tried to pair. Pairing was nearly instantaneous. I had to push one button to tell the Cardo to talk to a "cell phone" and David and I were talking to each other.

I suggested we turn the BHCs off and then back on. See, engineers want to test things so we don't get surprised when on the road, with no capuccino, and certainly no air conditioning. I expected problems of course. Took a few seconds for the BHCs to figure out things when turned back on, but they did and we were talking. This was repeated after lunch at Timmy's. Damn. Sena engineers are really good. I'm impressed. Cardo needs to get on the stick quick!

It was a delight to ride with full duplex communication, and the two units did not need to be constantly "operated" with button pushes etc. They simply stayed connected. So, I could warn David of approaching rough railway crossings, point out houses on left or right, and advise him of an antique horse-drawn plow on a farmer's fence, among other things.

Delightful. Both of us were impressed all to Hell!

I love technology that actually works!

(Note to Richard and Peter - the diagram should help us Cardo guys communicate too. I'm really eager to give this a try. Soon.)


  1. Ed that's a perfect account of our very pleasant summer's day riding in the southern Ontario countryside.

    I too was very impressed with how the Sena SMH10 was able to pair its intercom function with the Cardo Scala G9. The effective range was relatively constrained but worked like a charm for two wandering riders.

    Next techie challenge: pair a Sena and TWO Cardos!

    Thanks again for being a stellar tour guide.

    1. You are very welcome as usual David. Now to plan for our next trip. How does Paris Ontario sound?

      About the range. Next time, remind me to raise the little antenna that folds flat. I forgot to do that and it is supposed to be up for maximum range, although we did not ever have much of a problem.

      Try that experiment with Garmin Basecamp that we discussed.

    2. I have a pair of Scala G9 ...

    3. Thanks for the comment. If you care to tell us all more about how they are working out for you, please do so.

  2. So great you two can get out and ride together.

    Congrats on pairing the helmets. Troubadour and I have the Senas and it takes us longer than that to re-pair them up after he's paired his with PolarBear

    1. I find pairing takes a bit of practice, but it goes faster if you do it often.

      Maybe make a cheat sheet with the known good steps and keep it near / on the bike?

  3. It sure would be nice if the manufacturers all got together and agreed to some sort of standard. After all, what's the probability that all of your friends have the same brand...

    I usually forget to charge my Sena so it's rarely usable anyway.

  4. I think Sena has done a fine thing in releasing their "Universal Pairing" feature. I hope it brings them business which might / might get the others moving towards a proper standard.

    Keeping electronics charged seems to occupy a lot of hours. In the riding season, I keep the Cardo on its charger in the garage. As part of my "putting away" routine, the Cardo comes off the helmet and onto the charger cord.

    I really like using it for music from the USB stick as described in an older post.