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Thread: Zumo550 - Autocom Volume Problem

  1. #1
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    Zumo550 - Autocom Volume Problem

    Can anyone direct me to site/thread with solution or provide recommendations to solve the following problem?

    Problem: Zumo550 does not put out enough volume for me to hear through the Autocom to in-the-helmet speakers. This is with both the Zumo set to 100% and the Autocom set to 100%. I've found a few threads that concluded the volume out on the Zumo was "wimpy". I concur completely. I have 4 weeks to sort this out before my June trip of appx 7K miles to pacific coast, so I'm motivated to solve!

    Goals were GPS with voice prompts, MP3, XM for future, bike to bike for future, and intercom to girlfriend (also married to her for 35 years!)

    The equipment:
    a. 2004 1150RT
    b. Zumo 550, mounted on RCU shelf. Garmin's motorcycle mount ("docking station") current on hand built bracket while waiting for TOURATECH's Zumo motorcycle mount which is on backorder.
    c. Autocom Super Pro AVi Kit 300 Duo.
    d. Zumo to Autocom cable part# 1299 which is two cables from Zumo (mic in and stereo audio out) to one cable for Autocom Aux port #2
    e. Autocom's standard helmet speaker/mic that came with the duo kit.

    Contributing factors to the problem are I have some hearing loss and wear a good ear plug to cut the wind noise in my HJC Symax helmets. Since my bike is torn apart for installation I confess that I have not road tested my current configuration. Although the Autocom will increase volume with road noise, since I do not get enough volume even at max on Zumo and Autocom while sitting in the garage, I can't imagine that auto volume increase will solve anything. Having no room to adjust volume up just can not be a good starting point!

    Possible solutions seem to be an amplifier between the Zumo and Autocom, or in-the-ear speakers. I don't want to ride without the ear plugs and not real interested in in-the-ear-speakers because of the (perceived) hassle of putting wire plugs in ears then pulling on helmet etc. So amplifier seems to be easier way to go.

    Does anyone have advice for me? Will amplifier solve the Zumo volume problem? Is in-the-ear a better solution even with "hassle"? If in-the-ear how do you wire from helmet to autocom since still need wired mic output from helmet? Recommendation on amplifier? Anything else that you think might be installed wrong?

    Thanks for help in advance!
    Cheers!
    -Roger
    "...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery, Munjor, KS. 1902

  2. #2
    Registered User BernieEcht's Avatar
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    You may have the Vox set too low. If it is set to low, it will mute the inputs all the time. Read thru your manual on how to raise and adjust your vox setting.
    I installed a Zumo 550 for a friend using #1300 cable and a #200 kit, and he has plenty of volume.
    If that does not help, call autocom. They are very helpful.
    Bernie Echt
    Jacksonville, FL
    2007 R1200RT Double Silver, 2000 R11RT sold (103K)
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  3. #3
    I have an urge to surge. FPARISI's Avatar
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    This zumo forum has a strong following. I am sure they'll have some answers.

    http://www.zumoforums.com/zumo/
    Frankie Bones
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BernieEcht View Post
    You may have the Vox set too low. If it is set to low, it will mute the inputs all the time......
    Good to hear that volume was fine for you. That was with a different cable and system which could be a difference.

    Vox was set a mid-point, which was factory setting. With music playing, when my wife or I spoke, it would decrease the volume of the music by good amount, (assume it was the advertised 50%). So I think that means that vox is not overriding the volume control all the time and thus changing the vox setting is not a solution for the volume issue. Is that a correct analysis?

    Oh and the volume of our speech was much louder than the music ever was.

    On another front, my wife had more difficulty with her speech being broken up. I think it was not recognizing her female voice. This I think is a vox issue. Adjusting the vox seemed to help some but we need to test more.

    Thanks!
    Roger
    "...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery, Munjor, KS. 1902

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fparisi View Post
    This zumo forum has a strong following. I am sure they'll have some answers.

    http://www.zumoforums.com/zumo/
    Thanks...I'll check in there also. -Roger
    "...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery, Munjor, KS. 1902

  6. #6
    Registered User BernieEcht's Avatar
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    The problem with your wifes voice is not the vox setting, but rather the location of the microphone. Have her try to move the Mic around a little and then try to retry activating the vox. My wife has no problem activating the vox on our unit. But she does have to move the Mic a little sometimes if it gets bumped during the process of putting on the helmet, and speak up a little.
    You could try Aux #3 for the Zumo and see if that raises the volume, you may also want to maybe temporary hookup a Walkman or something like that and see if you enough volume from it.
    Did you have your Autocom unit redone for the 1299 cable, as per Autocom's instructions?
    There are more pdf's on the UK website, that maybe helpful.
    I am just trying to help, not give you a hardtime.
    Bernie Echt
    Jacksonville, FL
    2007 R1200RT Double Silver, 2000 R11RT sold (103K)
    MOA#92589, BMWNEF, BMW Outriders, BMW-RA, AMA

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BernieEcht View Post
    The problem with your wifes voice is not the vox setting, but rather the location of the microphone. Have her try to move the Mic around a little and then try to retry activating the vox. My wife has no problem activating the vox on our unit. But she does have to move the Mic a little sometimes if it gets bumped during the process of putting on the helmet, and speak up a little.
    You could try Aux #3 for the Zumo and see if that raises the volume, you may also want to maybe temporary hookup a Walkman or something like that and see if you enough volume from it.
    Did you have your Autocom unit redone for the 1299 cable, as per Autocom's instructions?
    There are more pdf's on the UK website, that maybe helpful.
    I am just trying to help, not give you a hardtime.
    Bernie, thanks for the reply. It never crossed my mind you were giving me a hard time, we're just digging for a solution...and I greatly appreciate your comments!

    I'll work more with the position of the mic for my wife.

    As to where the 1299 is plugged, the instructions that came with the 1299 said to only plug this into Aux2 so I haven't tried anything else. I have not yet sent in the Autocom in for modification because as I understand this issue it has to do with the SuperProAVi muting inbound phone volume. I've looked at some of the threads on zumo forum and found numerous difficulties with volume, muting etc with 1299 cable. I'll do some more research and update this thread with latest tests. Thanks for your help!

    Cheers,
    Roger
    "...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery, Munjor, KS. 1902

  8. #8
    Registered User LARGE JOHN's Avatar
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    boostaroo makes a great amp to pump up the volume. myself i like Etymotic er4p noise canceling headphones.

    my $.02
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    john merrick

  9. #9
    Chairman of the hoard wmubrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHaack View Post
    Possible solutions seem to be an amplifier between the Zumo and Autocom, or in-the-ear speakers. I don't want to ride without the ear plugs and not real interested in in-the-ear-speakers because of the (perceived) hassle of putting wire plugs in ears then pulling on helmet etc. So amplifier seems to be easier way to go.
    Looks like a good number of options have been suggested to try first, but *IF* you find you still need an amplifier (which is possible because I think others missed that you are using earplugs) you do NOT want it between the Zumo and Autocom, that will likely overdrive the Autocom and cause distortion. You want the amp on the output of the Autocom.
    John A. Brown - Kalamazoo MI
    '09 K1300S 'Zoot' (Wicked, bad, naughty, evil, Zoot!)
    '96 K1100LTA 'Dusty'
    '94 K1100LT 'Desert' (the horse with no name)

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice on which amp and where to place it.

    An update since I last posted. I tested the Zumo direct to iPod earplugs and volume was pretty good. Certainly much louder than through the Autocom. Why? Why? Why? Didn't make sense. All the connections had been apart and back together several times etc. But as I was jiggling connections while listening to Zumo music via Autocom, there was crackling on the line. I rotated the audio connection - Zumo to 1299 port - and there was static. Rotated it back and forth several times and got a much better connection! So although this was fully snapped in place, and several times, it still was not making good connection until I rotated it. Should not have made any difference because the connector is round, but it did! So I electrical tapped the connectors from the Zumo to the 1299 cable box hoping that they will stay in place and well connected.

    Now for more testing to see if I need an amp or not. Yes I wear ear plugs and that will require a bit more volume. Thanks all, and I'll let you know what i end up with.

    Just a thought: why don't they design a helmet that has Bose noise cancelling over the ear phones factory built in? I used these when flying. They cancelled out the jet engine noise and i was still able to hear announcements. I know you should ride with all external sounds cut off, but in the ear speakers attentuate sounds also. Oh well....back to the Autocom testing.

    Thanks all! -Roger
    "...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery, Munjor, KS. 1902

  11. #11
    Registered User RTRandy's Avatar
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    Roger,

    Not trying to run your life for you, but there are many of us from the school of not listening to your GPS talk to you on the bike. It gives you a visual heads up warning anyway before a needed turn and the voice can be pretty annoying when you intentionally go off route and it keeps telling you to "Make a U-Turn". On the other hand you may need the audio from your Zumo for the XM radio or the bluetooth phone.

    Your earplugs should actually help hearing your intercom, bike to bike, or phone since they filter out so much wind noise. Don't stop wearing them !

    My experience with Autocom is they can be very helpful if you call them.

    This diagram is not from me though I came across it on another forum. Could be worth a try. Good Luck.
    Randy
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  12. #12
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    Randy, thanks. I agree that wearing ear plugs is a requirement and believe it actually helps hearing because it cuts the background noise which, when loud, causes me to tune out everything!

    I have the Super Pro AVi so it's wired a bit different, but other than that your diagram is what I'm doing. The difference is the mic and audio between the Autocom and Zumo. The mic-to-Zumo plugs into one port on special connector part # 1299, while the audio-from-Zumo plugs into the other port on this 1299. Out of the 1299 is one cable which plugs into Aux 2 per Autocom instructions.

    I do need to investigate, through Autocom and my BMW dealer where I bought the Autocom, the wiring in the diagram you show as I have seen on another forum some recommending separate ports for mic and audio even with the Zumo. Wish it were easier....and better thought out on part of Garmin and Zumo. I like plug and play! Better yet, I prefer plug and ride!

    Cheers!
    Roger
    "...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well." Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery, Munjor, KS. 1902

  13. #13
    Chairman of the hoard wmubrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHaack View Post
    I rotated the audio connection - Zumo to 1299 port - and there was static. Rotated it back and forth several times and got a much better connection! So although this was fully snapped in place, and several times, it still was not making good connection until I rotated it. Should not have made any difference because the connector is round, but it did! So I electrical tapped the connectors from the Zumo to the 1299 cable box hoping that they will stay in place and well connected.
    You probably have a little corrosion on the plug or jack contacts. Get some ATF-II automatic transmission fluid (the red stuff) and put a little in each jack (1/2 to 1 drop of fluid) and then work a plug in and out and around in the jack, it will clean it right up and last at least a few weeks and typically longer. The stuff is fantastic on electrical contacts!
    John A. Brown - Kalamazoo MI
    '09 K1300S 'Zoot' (Wicked, bad, naughty, evil, Zoot!)
    '96 K1100LTA 'Dusty'
    '94 K1100LT 'Desert' (the horse with no name)

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