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Thread: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

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    Lightbulb Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    I've noted in several posts that some of the limitations of the wired setup of the 2018 Star Venture can be overcome with a Sena Freewire setup. I wanted to put up this post to explain how this works, what you need, some gotchas to look out for, and the various ways you can use the setup to accomplish what you want.
    BEFORE I BEGIN

    Let me say up front that I'm not a Sena employee, nor am I getting any kind of monetary compensation for any of this. I mention these products because a) I own them or have ordered them, b) I know that they work, and c) I use them because they work and/or I like them. This post isn't meant as an advertisement for Sena. Honest!

    PROBLEM STATEMENT

    The issue at hand is that the 2018 Star Venture does not have the capability to pair a wireless Bluetooth headset to the infotainment system. The only way to get a headset hooked up to the system is via a 7-pin headset connector (available for both rider and passenger). This is all well and good, but poses some issues. 1) You and the passenger are tethered to the bike. Step away, and you have to unplug, losing your connection, among other annoyances. 2) You are forced to use the on-board intercom to speak to each other. This causes issues because the PTT for the intercom is also used for the CB, so if you use both, every time you talk via the on-board intercom, you broadcast the conversation via CB.

    You can certainly use BT headsets and chat with your rider via the BT intercom, and then have your bike audio play out via the speakers, but then you have no way of talking out via the CB.

    SOLUTION

    The Sena Freewire is a wired-to-Bluetooth adapter. The adapter plugs into the wired connection on your bike; then, you pair your BT headset to the adapter using the BT headset's phone pairing feature. This allows two-way audio (speakers and mic) between your BT headset and the bike's on-board audio system. The 2018 Venture uses the same 7-pin connector as modern Harley-Davidsons, so the Freewire for Harley-Davidson is the version you need to buy.

    PROS

    Your helmet is no longer tethered to the bike. More flexible options on how to handle intercom. One headset can accomplish music, intercom and CB communications without overlapping.

    CONS

    Expensive. Current price is $225 per unit, and you'll need two if you want to include your passenger's access to the on-board audio. Keeping the various options straight can be a bit of a learning curve. It's wireless/BT, so expect some delay when using the mic. Passenger can't have access to their own phone AND a Freewire at the same time (the infotainment system only allows one phone to be connected for calls at a time).

    SETUP - NO PASSENGER

    Sena has a video on Youtube that quickly shows how to pair the Freewire with your BT headset (see below). Thus, it's just a matter of 1) plugging the Freewire into the bike helmet socket, 2) mounting the Freewire on your bike (handlebar is easiest), 3) turning the Freewire on, and 4) pairing your BT headset with the Freewire.

    Once this is done, you're pretty much set. You can leave the intercom off in the infotainment system and use the PTT for the CB. If you're using a smartphone, pair the smartphone with the infotainment system on the bike, not the BT headset. This is because most headsets only let you pair one phone, and since the Freewire uses the phone pairing feature, you wont be able to use it for phone and Freewire at the same time. This isn't a problem, as the Venture infotainment system shows you when someone calls (along with their number) and flashes text messages on the screen, etc etc. You can answer the phone, and the Freewire will handle all the audio for the phone call, both in and out.

    SETUP - WITH PASSENGER

    Follow the same setup as before, adding a Freewire to the passenger mic socket. You'll need to find a place to mount the passenger Freewire; I'm going to try to put it on the side of the passenger grab handle. Now the passenger has access to the infotainment audio, and this is where the fun begins.



    Intercom and CB

    Most motorcycle BT headsets come with a built-in headset-to-headset intercom feature. Probably the biggest limitation for CB enthusiasts on the Venture is that the PTT button functions for both the on-board intercom and the CB, as I previously mentioned. With this setup, you can use the BT headset intercom instead of the bike intercom (which you can turn off). Now the PTT button only has to be used for CB, and the headsets can function as your intercom.

    Of course, if you don't plan on using the CB, you can turn the CB off, and now you have the option of using either the BT headset intercom or the bike intercom, whichever you prefer.

    Dual-Zone Audio

    Since your passenger is connected into the bike's infotainment system via the wired connection (via the Freewire), they can take full advantage of dual-zone audio.



    That's it for now. This post is meant to be a living document, and I'll update it as my setup gets some shake-down runs in.
    Last edited by Zelthian; 07-10-2018 at 11:05 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Updates:

    - My Freewires came in today. Fully tested with me and my son. Works like a champ!

    - I called Sena to let them know the units are compatible with the 2018 Star Venture. The tech seemed quite pleased "someone in the field" had tested them. Hopefully this will lead to an official support situation. Fingers crossed, but not holding my breath.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelthian View Post
    Updates:

    - My Freewires came in today. Fully tested with me and my son. Works like a champ!

    - I called Sena to let them know the units are compatible with the 2018 Star Venture. The tech seemed quite pleased "someone in the field" had tested them. Hopefully this will lead to an official support situation. Fingers crossed, but not holding my breath.



    OK not really worthless, but is there any chance you could post some pics of the setup? It would help with visualizing how the wiring can be handled.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippie View Post
    OK not really worthless, but is there any chance you could post some pics of the setup? It would help with visualizing how the wiring can be handled.
    There's really nothing to it. You attach the Freewire somewhere on the bike with the included mount (either stick-on or handlebar, which I've done here). Plug the cable into the Freewire, then the other end of the cable into the headset socket. Turn it on, pair it with your bluetooth headset as a phone device. Done.



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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelthian View Post
    There's really nothing to it. You attach the Freewire somewhere on the bike with the included mount (either stick-on or handlebar, which I've done here). Plug the cable into the Freewire, then the other end of the cable into the headset socket. Turn it on, pair it with your bluetooth headset as a phone device. Done.


    http://i.imgur.com/YzB45Chl.jpg
    Yea figured it would be easy but i like tucking in/hiding wires as much possible.
    On to more important things, show us more of that pinstripping you got going on.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippie View Post
    On to more important things, show us more of that pinstripping you got going on.
    Already done: http://www.venturerider.org/forum/sh...ure-Pinstriped

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Cool man. Great looking bike and thanks for the info and testing it out. Funny enough, I did call Sena and asked if that Freewire would work, but was told no. This was probably Feb time frame when we had about 25 ft of snow. Or at least it felt like that.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippie View Post
    Funny enough, I did call Sena and asked if that Freewire would work, but was told no.
    I can't see that there would be any way they could have known. I don't think Yamaha calls around and says, "Hey, Comm Manufacturers, we're using the same pin-out as the Harley 7-pin, so, you know, test your gear with our bike!" It would be nice if they did, though...

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelthian View Post
    I can't see that there would be any way they could have known. I don't think Yamaha calls around and says, "Hey, Comm Manufacturers, we're using the same pin-out as the Harley 7-pin, so, you know, test your gear with our bike!" It would be nice if they did, though...
    You are right, I wouldn't expect Yamaha to do the calling, but I would think Sena would be all over it in an effort to sell more units.
    Actually when I called, they were nice, but still the woman on the phone stated that it's does not work with the Yamaha Venture. She then directed me to post up on the community forum to request the engineers to look into it, which I did. I noticed there were a few other people asking about future compatibility with the Yamaha Venture, so I tagged myself with that group. Think there were some people asking the Can Ams too if memory serves, which I didn't realize also had the wired type unit.
    Now that I look at them though, I noticed that the Harley version has a yellow button and the Honda one has a red button.
    Maybe the Yamaha version can have a blue button?

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    I'm about to pull the trigger and go with the Sena solution. There is a lot of good info in here, but I just wanted a good part list for what I need to get in order to be up and running. I understand I need the adapter (https://www.amazon.com/Sena-FreeWire...=sena+freewire), I think this cable? (https://www.sierra-mc.com/proddetail...E-SNA-HD-SMH10), and a Bluetooth headset. I guess my question would be is this the equipment I need? If not what am I missing? Also, anyone have a recommendation for a good quality headset/mic setup? Thanks in advance,

    John

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyroid View Post
    I'm about to pull the trigger and go with the Sena solution. There is a lot of good info in here, but I just wanted a good part list for what I need to get in order to be up and running. I understand I need the adapter (https://www.amazon.com/Sena-FreeWire...=sena+freewire), I think this cable? (https://www.sierra-mc.com/proddetail...E-SNA-HD-SMH10), and a Bluetooth headset. I guess my question would be is this the equipment I need? If not what am I missing? Also, anyone have a recommendation for a good quality headset/mic setup? Thanks in advance,

    John
    If you're going the BT heatset / Sena adapter (Freewire) route, you don't need that cable you linked to. The Sena Freewire comes with the cable that connects the Freewire to the bike.

    The "cable" you linked to would hardwire a Sena bluetooth helmet mount to the bike, bypassing the Freewire.

    I'm also a proponent of the belief that, for the best experience, certain parts should be paired with other parts from the same manufacturer (in general). In that regard, I would recommend either the Sena 20s EVO or the Sena 30K, whichever fits better into your needs for rider-rider and/or rider-passenger communication.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelthian View Post
    I've noted in several posts that some of the limitations of the wired setup of the 2018 Star Venture can be overcome with a Sena Freewire setup. I wanted to put up this post to explain how this works, what you need, some gotchas to look out for, and the various ways you can use the setup to accomplish what you want.
    BEFORE I BEGIN

    Let me say up front that I'm not a Sena employee, nor am I getting any kind of monetary compensation for any of this. I mention these products because a) I own them or have ordered them, b) I know that they work, and c) I use them because they work and/or I like them. This post isn't meant as an advertisement for Sena. Honest!

    PROBLEM STATEMENT

    The issue at hand is that the 2018 Star Venture does not have the capability to pair a wireless Bluetooth headset to the infotainment system. The only way to get a headset hooked up to the system is via a 7-pin headset connector (available for both rider and passenger). This is all well and good, but poses some issues. 1) You and the passenger are tethered to the bike. Step away, and you have to unplug, losing your connection, among other annoyances. 2) You are forced to use the on-board intercom to speak to each other. This causes issues because the PTT for the intercom is also used for the CB, so if you use both, every time you talk via the on-board intercom, you broadcast the conversation via CB.

    You can certainly use BT headsets and chat with your rider via the BT intercom, and then have your bike audio play out via the speakers, but then you have no way of talking out via the CB.

    SOLUTION

    The Sena Freewire is a wired-to-Bluetooth adapter. The adapter plugs into the wired connection on your bike; then, you pair your BT headset to the adapter using the BT headset's phone pairing feature. This allows two-way audio (speakers and mic) between your BT headset and the bike's on-board audio system. The 2018 Venture uses the same 7-pin connector as modern Harley-Davidsons, so the Freewire for Harley-Davidson is the version you need to buy.

    PROS

    Your helmet is no longer tethered to the bike. More flexible options on how to handle intercom. One headset can accomplish music, intercom and CB communications without overlapping.

    CONS

    Expensive. Current price is $225 per unit, and you'll need two if you want to include your passenger's access to the on-board audio. Keeping the various options straight can be a bit of a learning curve. It's wireless/BT, so expect some delay when using the mic. Passenger can't have access to their own phone AND a Freewire at the same time (the infotainment system only allows one phone to be connected for calls at a time).

    SETUP - NO PASSENGER

    Sena has a video on Youtube that quickly shows how to pair the Freewire with your BT headset (see below). Thus, it's just a matter of 1) plugging the Freewire into the bike helmet socket, 2) mounting the Freewire on your bike (handlebar is easiest), 3) turning the Freewire on, and 4) pairing your BT headset with the Freewire.

    Once this is done, you're pretty much set. You can leave the intercom off in the infotainment system and use the PTT for the CB. If you're using a smartphone, pair the smartphone with the infotainment system on the bike, not the BT headset. This is because most headsets only let you pair one phone, and since the Freewire uses the phone pairing feature, you wont be able to use it for phone and Freewire at the same time. This isn't a problem, as the Venture infotainment system shows you when someone calls (along with their number) and flashes text messages on the screen, etc etc. You can answer the phone, and the Freewire will handle all the audio for the phone call, both in and out.

    SETUP - WITH PASSENGER

    Follow the same setup as before, adding a Freewire to the passenger mic socket. You'll need to find a place to mount the passenger Freewire; I'm going to try to put it on the side of the passenger grab handle. Now the passenger has access to the infotainment audio, and this is where the fun begins.



    Intercom and CB

    Most motorcycle BT headsets come with a built-in headset-to-headset intercom feature. Probably the biggest limitation for CB enthusiasts on the Venture is that the PTT button functions for both the on-board intercom and the CB, as I previously mentioned. With this setup, you can use the BT headset intercom instead of the bike intercom (which you can turn off). Now the PTT button only has to be used for CB, and the headsets can function as your intercom.

    Of course, if you don't plan on using the CB, you can turn the CB off, and now you have the option of using either the BT headset intercom or the bike intercom, whichever you prefer.

    Dual-Zone Audio

    Since your passenger is connected into the bike's infotainment system via the wired connection (via the Freewire), they can take full advantage of dual-zone audio.



    That's it for now. This post is meant to be a living document, and I'll update it as my setup gets some shake-down runs in.
    So I am a little slow so please bear with me. I have a Freewire for the Goldwing.. If I get the Harley cable do you know if it will work in the Goldwing Freewire. Also, you have no problems transmitting on the CB? The reason I ask is I am told I have to hardwire myself to the bike to use the transmit function. Thanks for your patience with my dumb questions.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by NGM View Post
    So I am a little slow so please bear with me. I have a Freewire for the Goldwing.. If I get the Harley cable do you know if it will work in the Goldwing Freewire. Also, you have no problems transmitting on the CB? The reason I ask is I am told I have to hardwire myself to the bike to use the transmit function. Thanks for your patience with my dumb questions.
    My best guess is no. My gut tells me that the firmware on the two versions, or perhaps even the hardware, would be different between the two; otherwise, they wouldn't go through the trouble of selling two versions and even giving each a different accent color.

    I haven't transmitted on the CB yet, but I HAVE listened to CB conversations and taken phone calls with my phone connected into the bike with this setup. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to transmit on the CB and have the audio from your heatset go through.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zelthian View Post
    My best guess is no. My gut tells me that the firmware on the two versions, or perhaps even the hardware, would be different between the two; otherwise, they wouldn't go through the trouble of selling two versions and even giving each a different accent color.

    I haven't transmitted on the CB yet, but I HAVE listened to CB conversations and taken phone calls with my phone connected into the bike with this setup. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to transmit on the CB and have the audio from your heatset go through.
    I appreciate your quick reply. I need to know if the transmit of the CB works before I order another Freewire.

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    Default Re: Take your 2018 Star Venture wireless with Sena Freewire

    I admit I did not read thru all the posts. But to me it seems ludicrous you pay out the butt for the bike and it does not have BT audio system. So on I go. My 13 Victory tour has an "option" of a SENA BT module sold seperatly. Arggh so I located the parts, problem to me is supposedly to allow the passenger to participate with audio you have to use 2 of the dongle things @ $90-125 ea.. I have the SMH 10 and they will allow share music. So I connect mine to the bike and then do the share music with passenger.
    2013 Black Victory XCT
    Trailers are for when your bike is broke, aint they?


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