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n80

Communicator Problems

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n80

I've only been instructing for 3 events. One student for each of the first two events and then two students for the last event. I have a ChatterBox Tandem Pro 2 communicator set. One headset failed with first student. Ron from Discovery Parts (where I bought it) was there and exchanged it for free on the spot. Another headset failed at the most recent event. I open it up today. Man what a bunch of absolute junk for $35 each! I repaired it t...blobs of solder and a bunch of tape. It works but I'm not an electrical repairman...no way it will last. I'll probably buy another headset as backup. That will put me in for about $175 on this junk and don't expect any of it to last.

 

So the question is, what else is out there? I know about the Nady units. The headsets actually look better than the ChatterBox ones but I can't even find one of those on the internet right now.

 

Communicating with a student without an intercom is very hard but I'm not willing to fork out $35 for replacement headsets every track weekend.

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NurburgringRacer

I've been using a Scala Rider Q1 and it's doing a great job so far.

 

I originally bought one in 2013 as a team radio via cell phone on the Nurburgring. Since then it has been constantly installed on my helmet and used at nearly every event I drove. Not a single failure so far.

I bought a second set to instruct last year and started using it this year. No problems so far, the only problem I ever had was caused by user error. I don't see any of the two sets failing any time soon.

 

This solution is a bit more expensive, but it actually ended up being cheaper for me for instructing since I already had one helmet set.

 

Pros:

- Bluetooth (some would say that's a disadvantage, but I never had connection issues in various race and street cars)

- using standard ear plugs (I got some cheap foam in-ear buds that do a great job while cancelling out noise)

- IMO much more comfortable than the chatterbox and a better sound quality

- long lasting (and you can replace single parts, like the ear plugs or microphone easily)

 

Cons:

- Price

- some unneeded functions (like a radio that I accidentally activated in one race...)

- must be installed to your students helmet...but: installation takes maybe 30 seconds and I've done it on grid multiple times before without missing the start of the session. Two helmet mounts would make handling 2 students easier since you'd just have to take the Bluetooth module from student to student, which takes 3 seconds.

 

Are you going to CMP? I should be going Fri-Sun and can show you my system if you're interested!

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n80

Yes, I'll be there and I'll try to look you up.

 

I did buy another unit from Chatterbox yesterday that is made for full face helmets and comes with two small ear pieces and a mic that is on a separate wire. It will probably require some tape or velcro for my helmet but I'll give it a try too.

 

http://chatterboxusa.com/collections/parts-accessories/products/headset-including-microphone-for-full-face-helmets

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kbrew8991

Nady is (or at least was) more cheaper and disposable than Chatterbox. May have changed a little since 2010ish, but probably not by alot.

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Ev
Yes, I'll be there and I'll try to look you up.

 

I did buy another unit from Chatterbox yesterday that is made for full face helmets and comes with two small ear pieces and a mic that is on a separate wire. It will probably require some tape or velcro for my helmet but I'll give it a try too.

 

http://chatterboxusa.com/collections/parts-accessories/products/headset-including-microphone-for-full-face-helmets

This is what I use, and it mostly works.

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n80
Yes, I'll be there and I'll try to look you up.

 

I did buy another unit from Chatterbox yesterday that is made for full face helmets and comes with two small ear pieces and a mic that is on a separate wire. It will probably require some tape or velcro for my helmet but I'll give it a try too.

 

http://chatterboxusa.com/collections/parts-accessories/products/headset-including-microphone-for-full-face-helmets

This is what I use, and it mostly works.

 

 

How do you attach the mic to your helmet?

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Ev
Yes, I'll be there and I'll try to look you up.

 

I did buy another unit from Chatterbox yesterday that is made for full face helmets and comes with two small ear pieces and a mic that is on a separate wire. It will probably require some tape or velcro for my helmet but I'll give it a try too.

 

http://chatterboxusa.com/collections/parts-accessories/products/headset-including-microphone-for-full-face-helmets

This is what I use, and it mostly works.

 

 

How do you attach the mic to your helmet?

My kit came with velcro dots. One for the mic one for the helmet. Speakers were attached in the same fashion

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MikeAtl

Despite me always using the same headset for my students (so at least mine stays in good shape), and zip-tying the cord to the boom, my last student still managed to rip the boom clear from the earpiece...Agree they are all crap, but the real problem is that at least one user will never give a crap about the hardware...

 

You might try showing the student how to place it, i.e., show them how to grab the earpiece part and not mangle the boom and wire. Other than that, you might bag the communicator and try yelling (typically, something along the lines of gas, gas, gas...) and hand signals..

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n80
. Other than that, you might bag the communicator and try yelling (typically, something along the lines of gas, gas, gas...) and hand signals..

 

I've had an instructor who used a set of hand signals. They worked okay. I had an instructor who only said "throttle" or "brake" but that had more to do with that being all that I could process at the time (I was a hopeless student to begin with).

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jimbow

So one of my two year old headsets bought the farm a couple weeks ago. At least it was at the end of the day and I was able to show my student the hand signals while on grid. Was able to borrow another setup from another instructor for Sunday.

 

ordered another new headset and the cable into the plug is much better

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n80
So one of my two year old headsets bought the farm a couple weeks ago. At least it was at the end of the day and I was able to show my student the hand signals while on grid. Was able to borrow another setup from another instructor for Sunday.

 

ordered another new headset and the cable into the plug is much better

 

The headsets that broke for me broke because the wire pulled out of the ear piece. On the headset that has not broken so far there is a lug or thick place molded into the black insulation on the wiring. This 'lug' is held in place by the two halves of the ear piece. This should help a little with the problem of loose wires pulling out. The ones that broke did not have this lug. The wiring was just held in place by the two halves of the ear piece compressed against the insulation. Other than that it was just the soldering holding it in. However, the soldering of the tiny wires inside the ear piece is shockingly bad so any impact of twisting is likely to break it loose.

 

The full face unit I ordered may work. I will not velcro the ear pieces into my helmet as it is not made to accept them. I'll just stuff them in like the others. The mic will velcro in just fine. The mic can be unplugged from the ear pieces. The only problem with this set up is that the main wire is short and will probably need an extension. Headpohne extension cords are cheap.

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Discoveryparts

Communicator update 03-2018 - We have seen some technology bumps since this thread started so here are some more current items in a detailed blog type form.

 

#1 - A good choice if you are going car to car with different students - https://www.discoveryparts.com/blog/15-discoveryparts-product-duel-racecom-s-trac-com-vs-chatterbox-s-tandem-pro-2

 

#2 - A good choice if mounting in your car and giving rides, portable, but a little larger - https://www.discoveryparts.com/blog/19-speedcom-s-2mp-i-coaching-intercom-system-the-best-of-both-worlds

 

We are always looking for items racers would like feedback on, so if you would like a racing item taken apart, tested, reviewed and put into a blog form, please let us know - Ron

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n80
Posted (edited)

double post

Edited by Guest

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n80

Thanks Ron. The Race Com unit is about twice as much as the Chatterbox. But I've had to repair one Chatterbox headset, which worked out fine, and purchase a backup. So, if I had to do it over again I'd bite the bullet and go with the Race Com.

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UrbanKnight

I have 3 nady units and "like" them... They don;t make them anymore, but for $50 they got the job done.

 

I bit the bullet with the new speedcom unit through discoveryparts after looking at the racecom. Its definitely more expensive, but man is the audio quality light years ahead of the Nady and chatterbox.

 

I will put it through its paces at Sebring April 21/22, but I am happy so far. Just note, it is a bit "bulky" so I have come up with a creative solution that will also be tested. I mounted the unit in a camera bag and made a leg strap to use on track for instructing, so we shall see!

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takjak2

In my own helmet I have a permanently installed IMSA boom arm with noise cancelling microphone and an earbud port. I also use this for endurance racing. I have an adapter from the IMSA plug to the chatterbox tandem pro 2 (from Discovery Parts).

 

The weak link in the chatterbox student headsets is the connection keeping the boom arm inside the speaker. When that fails quickly, then the wires are pulled on. To address this I carefully dissect the earpiece, add a small zip tie to the end of the boom arm as a stop, and reinforce the connection with hot glue. The wire is then taped to the boom arm on the outside (commonly seen) so that if the wire is pulled on the pressure is put on the now reinforced boom. In this configuration I have not had a failure in 20+ events.

 

If you have the time or sense, tell your student to remove their helmet and let the earpiece fall. This is the least amount of stress you can put on it. At $35 you could consider the student headsets disposable. You're spending a lot more than that on fuel, tires, and brakes. Considering the value of my time, my modified headsets are worth about $100 and I would be comfortable warrantying my work. I carry the tools for this regularly, so catch me at the track!

 

www.facebook.com/TeamSparrowSpeed

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