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XM/Autocomm Static


WestTX RT

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My setup is an Autocom Pro M1 with a Delphi SkiFi. I have the XM on an RCU shelf with one audio extension a F/F coupler then the Ground Loop Isolater connected to the Autocom in the tail. The Autocom is powered by switched leads from the radio box. I run a cell adapter into the autocom and power the cell from an accessory port w/ a cigarette lighter adapter. I run Al's earplugs in the helmet on the old style splice mod.

Now for the problem, on trips where I ride several hundred miles back to back, or over a couple of days, later in the trip I get static from the XM. I know it's from there because when I turn the XM off, no static from anywhere. It seems to help to stop and reseat all the connectors, but it's like it has more to do with how long over time the setup has been running.

Has anyone had this problem or do any of you Autocom sages (esp. Fernando) have any ideas?

TIA

Darrell

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...stop and reseat all the connectors...

 

I had this issue with music and Autocom, my solution was to zip-tie the music plug into the intercom unit, nice and firm. Problem solved. My issue was intermittent as well, and would come up quicker with a passenger plugged in.

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ShovelStrokeEd

Darrell,

The connectors supplied by Delphi for both the Roady and the SkyFi are absolute crap. Just a couple of pieces of sheet metal soldered to the circuit boards. Until you replace them with true barrel connectors that provide some support you will continue to have this issue. Expect it to worsen over time to the point of utter failure within a few months.

 

My solution is to pay the $25 to Circuit City for their 2 year guarantee and I just replace the car kit when the connector fails. I have just switched to the Ski Fi system as at least I don't have to replace the receiver every time, just the car kit.

 

Ed

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Thanks guys for the response. I'll check all those connections out. I did misspeak in one description of my setup. The XM is powered from the radio lead, the Autocom is powered on the tailight. Don't know if that makes a difference.

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In addition to the quality of the connectors on the XM, you should look at a couple of other areas.

 

First, you have your system running the length of the bike, with a music input cable that must be running under the tank. If that cable is not shielded (from your description it's likely not) you could be picking up interference from the ignition system that the lead is running past.

 

Next, you have your cell phone hooked into the system. Since you have an 1150, I assume the power port you've got your cell charger hooked into is the one on the left side of the bike. This means that you're not running this wire under the tank (good thing) but it also means that your Autocom and the cell charger are sharing the same ground (i.e. the bike's electrical system). This can cause ground-loop interference.

 

Another issue is the charger itself. As rechargeable batteries reach maximum charge states, their resistance goes up. The charge is then fighting an uphill battle to top off the batteries, and this could be contributing to the fact that the static becomes more evident over time.

 

I'm not an EE, but first thing I would do is ride until the static starts, then unplug the cell phone charger. If there's no change, then I'd have another M/M lead ready to connect the XM to the isolator, only I'd run it over the tank. If that takes care of your problem, then it's the location of the under-tank lead.

 

Finally, I'd consider relocating the Autocom to the glove box. If yours has the BMW radio installed, there's still room to the inside and under the top plate, to slide the Autocom into the box, although you'll likely have to notch the front of the box in order for the Autocom's leads to exit as well as to be able to reach the VOX adjustment. This way, your rider lead will come from the front, while your passenger lead will have to go under the tank (don't worry, it's shielded), but it would still be a good idea to keep it away from the ignition.

 

Hope this information helps.

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Loose the Skyfi and get a Roady or figure out a way to completely secure the Skyfi in the cradle.

 

We went through two cradles on the wife's skyfi and then ended up having to send the whole thing back in, they replaced it.

 

IMHO, the cradle/connector arrangement on the Skyfi just wasn't made for bikes. Problems with both the audio connector and the connector in the base of the cradle. Lots of posts on many forums about similar problems and bikes. On my wife's radio I noticed some spots where the plastic on the radio and the cradle was rubbing as well

 

There have been similar posts about Roady's, but it's not as prevalent and easily circumvented on the Roady.

 

I bought her a Roady and we haven't had a problem since.

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Thanks guys for all the suggestions.

 

Fernando: The cell phone does have some issues regarding ground loop, but it's not bad. I get a different noise from ground loop than this static problem. With GL, I hear more of a whine than static. I have disconnected the power first and then the audio from the cell, so the static really seems to be isolated to the SkiFi.

I think you and Matt both have good suggestions. I'll start with securing the connections w/ zip ties. How do I go about shielding the M/M cable where it goes under the tank?

I like the idea of putting the Autocom in the radio box, I'll have to take a look and see if I have room with my cigarette lighter adapter setup for the XM in there. (see att.)

One more question. I have a very touchy cable lead to my helmet. It cuts out the right speaker lead in my helmet. All I have to do is touch the connector and the speaker comes back on. Can you open the connectors and re-solder them?

415421-DSC00145.JPG.b70cc95deddb8098158393d52337c492.JPG

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I think you and Matt both have good suggestions. I'll start with securing the connections w/ zip ties. How do I go about shielding the M/M cable where it goes under the tank?

 

If you want to shield the cable rather than purchase a shielded M/M cable, buy some braided shielding from an electronics store. Make sure it's of sufficient diameter that the plugs will go through. Then make sure you ground the braid to the frame somewhere. This is a Q&D fix. You'd still be better off by not running that unshielded cable under the tank.

 

I like the idea of putting the Autocom in the radio box, I'll have to take a look and see if I have room with my cigarette lighter adapter setup for the XM in there. (see att.)

 

One more question. I have a very touchy cable lead to my helmet. It cuts out the right speaker lead in my helmet. All I have to do is touch the connector and the speaker comes back on. Can you open the connectors and re-solder them?

 

If your system is less than a year old, call Autocom (888-851-4327) and have them warranty the repair for you. Since you're not sure if the problem is with the extension lead plug or the headset plug, you'll likely have to send both of them in.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had some time to cover some of the suggestions, and it seems Fernando was right about the helmet lead. You can pull the cover back and the plug comes apart. Apparently I had some play in the plug housing causing the cutout. I got in about 350 miles on Saturday and didn't have static, but I did lose the volume in on side of my EarInc. custom earplugs. It was in the speaker earplug and not the Autocom, that was easy enough to check w/ a Walkman. This is the third time I've had to send them back to replace the transducer. They keep saying it's probably ear wax or moisture. I've done my best to keep them clean, but this last one only lasted about 6 weeks.

I worked over the M/M plug on Sunday and did a shielding job on it by using a shielding wrap I got from a local electronics shop. I won't know whether I got a good fix until my earplug speakers get back.

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If your system is less than a year old, call Autocom (888-851-4327) and have them warranty the repair for you. Since you're not sure if the problem is with the extension lead plug or the headset plug, you'll likely have to send both of them in.

 

I thought Autocom now has a lifetime warranty?

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Hi Darryll,

 

Dude, looking at this pic you posted above:

 

 

415421-DSC00145.JPG

 

 

Do you have any idea how much space you're wasting? eek.gif The next time you've got your Tupperware off, yank that stock radio mounting bracket and the rest of that unneeded radio related crap out of there! thumbsup.gif You'll find you've got 4-6 times as much space as before. Was there some other reason I'm missing as to why you felt the need to leave the bracket?

 

I also have occasional trouble with static on the inputs to my AutoCom. Mine is mounted behind the dash (post radio, speaker and antenna-ectomies! thumbsup.gif ) and wrapped in clear vinyl. The leads exit to the side of the unit on the left inner side of the dash panel right above left of the triple tree. This way I can get to the VOX controller to adjust it for the (few bncry.gif ) times Leslie rides on the back. I find the connections eventually get a bit corroded and the volume drops significantly or I get a loud and very annoying hum or buzz. If I reach up above the triple tree and wiggle the ends of the wires, it seems to move enough of the corrosion out of the way to give a better contact and the problem goes away temporarily. If I take the mini-plugs out of the AutoCom's jacks and clean them, lube them with some dielectric grease, and work them in and out a few times, the problem goes away for 6 months or more. I need to re-wire my whole set-up sometime, so my 2610 can talk to me along with the SkiFi, the V-1, and the GMRS. I got a splitter from Sean Daly to make a cell-phone available as well someday. Maybe then I'll look into a more permanent solution.

 

Good Luck!

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Jamie,

Up until now, I didn't need the room, and I figured some of that stuff would just rattle around in the box. I think my next project will be to get the Autocom out of the tail and into the radio box. The bracket will have to come out. I'll have to check out the dielectric grease of which you speak at the electronics store. I like the idea of the Autocom in the radio box, because I tweak the VOX on mine more than some people do. It's so windy out here, sometimes you have to crank the VOX all the way up or the wind keeps the path open all the time.

Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions.

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  • 5 months later...
WestTX RT

Just reviving an old post for an update. Hopefully if anyone else is having these problems, they won't have to back track or repost.

 

While running a SS1k yesterday, everything started off fine with the remedies that I'd done as mentioned above. About 500 miles into the ride, the static started showing up. This time I had lots of time to play with everything I could reach. Plugging my headphones (a home made pair, because my custom plugs are back for thier 4th transducer) directly into the XM showed the problem in the XM connectors, as Ed suggested. The problem seems to be in the connection between the reciever and the cradle. I'll work them over w/ contact cleaner and see if I can make a better connection. My helmet lead is also acting up again. I shut the whole mess down for the last 150 miles and put in earplugs. frown.gif

The 1k put enough miles on for me to go over the 24k mark, so I'm going to move the Autocom into the glove box when I have all the tupperware off.

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  • 1 month later...

Some more news to post on the saga of the static.

 

On a trip to NM this weekend, the static got really bad. I figured it was loose connections on the XM cradle, but didn't really know what to do. I finally came up with the idea of putting two foam earplugs between the reciever and the cradle, no static for the rest of the weekend, and the reciever was a lot more secure. I just put the earplugs behind the reciever and gave them a bit to compress, then I secured the latch that holds the reciever.

Now if I can just get my custom earplugs to work for an entire trip. The transducer I just got back went bad, making this number 5.

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Darrell

 

I would check that your modified headset (that allows you to plug in you in-ear speaker plugs) has attenuation resistors fitted, as if not you could be driving up to 8 volts peak to peak (from old 5 pin Autocom’s or even 16 volts from new 7 pin Autocom’s) into you mini speakers that are probably more suited to about 3 to 6 volts peak to peak, and this may be why you have to keep sending them back?

 

Also as Fernando suggests if your Autocom is less than a year old your lead may be covered under warranty, however even it its over a year old we still service and support out of warranty products where possible.

 

There is nothing worse than trying to put up with something audio that is playing up, so if its got a problem that you cannot solve yourself then get it in for repair without delay before your next trip and keep your investment working in tip top condition.

 

If you sent ALL your Autocom parts back in when require or say every 3 to 5 years for a check up and recondition it will give you many more years of top quality pleasure. Please remember there are some consumables that may need replacing from time to time and some parts like headset leads and connectors that are subjected to more use/wear than other parts that are often not frequently used

 

You are very welcome to call the fitting team at Autocom UK +44(0)1926 431249 who fit 100s of bikes every year so they have loads of top tips or email them on enquiries@autocom.co.uk and of course TopGear in the USA can often help with most enquiries if you don’t find the answer you want on great forums like this.

 

Autocom-UK-Tom

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Tom,

Thanks so much for the information, and being such a good source of information for us.

 

I hadn't really thought about the Autocomm causing the probems with the earplugs since so many on this board use their product and don't seem to have a problem. I'm sure my lead to the monitors is not attenuated, I modified the headset using Arizona Al's instructions for the Pro M1 5 pin unit. Do the new earplug adapters provide said attenuation? If so I can "unmodify" my headsets and purchase the adapter, which I'm sure would be the appropriate thing to do anyway.

 

All of my other noise problems seem to have been taken care of by rerouting the unit to the front of the bike in the radio box and grounding to the battery. I think part of my cutting out problem was caused by the cheap inline volume control I was using.

 

Thanks for the suggestion on sending my unit back. The only problem with that is being without it for the time it's gone. It's such a great product, I'd hate to be without it for any period. I really enjoy the system and all it does. I'll keep pushing the envelope, as I intend at some point to add ham radio to the mix.

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Darrell

 

You are very welcome, however just to clarify a point, Autocom did not cause the problem, just tried to help solve it, but I know you know that; its just that others may have misunderstood!

 

We have a service manager at the UK factory and ANYTHING that comes in will usually be fixed and sent back out the very same day, whenever possible, save occasionally when we let him have a holiday. But he is paid to make customer happy and that’s what he does. So apart from to and from postage time, there should be no delay getting it back to you, especially if you mark it FAO Doug Sant, Service Manager URGENT. That’s the UK service. If you speak directly to Chris at TopGear USA I bet he will do the same service for you in the USA, as like me he cares.

 

Take a small window of opportunity when you get it and use it to let us, or TG service it for you, it won’t cost much and will make it like new.

 

The 5 pin leads for use with your in-ear speaker plugs are part 27 and they do have the attenuation fitted to help protect the small in ear speakers. Give your local Autocom dealer a call or contact TG

 

Best regards

 

Autocom-UK-Tom

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