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Sena Freewire Bluetooth Adapter Review (Long Term)


  • Sena Freewire Bluetooth Adapter Review (Long Term)

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Freewire01.jpg Views:	1 Size:	28.8 KB ID:	86016Ever since Bluetooth technology hit the market, Goldwing riders have been dreaming about cutting the cord and going wireless. Sena has made this easier with the introduction of the Freewire Bluetooth adapter.

    I have been testing the Freewire for several months on my 2012 Goldwing. I have been using the adapter connected wirelessly to the Sena 20S headset. The Freewire adapter connects to the Goldwing audio system via a special cord (included) that connects to the Goldwing audio DIN plug. So basically, that cord replaces the cord that would normally connect your helmet audio system to the motorcycle. If you have a cigarette lighter-style power port, you can also use the provided DC power cable to leave the Freewire plugged in and charging while it is in use. Since I have replaced my cigarette lighter-style charger in my glove box with two USB-style chargers, I have not tried this setup. Instead, I must remove the Freewire periodically for re-charging. I asked Sena support why they do not offer a USB-style DC charging cord. They said they would take that into consideration.

    The Freewire unit is small enough to be mounted in several locations on the Goldwing. I fabricated a mounting bracket to hold the Freewire and my Doran TPMS, but it could easily be mounted on top of the dash, or on top of the clutch reservoir, or even placed inside the left glove box. It is about half the size of a pack of cigarettes and has a rubbery finish. All of the ports (there are 3 of them) have waterproof caps and I can attest to the waterproofness of the unit having used it successfully in heavy rain.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Freewire02.png Views:	1 Size:	738.4 KB ID:	86018Since the Freewire connects to your Goldwing audio system directly, it allows your entire infotainment system (including CB radio) to be accessed through Bluetooth headsets. In addition, there is an AUX port where you can plug in external non-Bluetooth devices (radar detectors, GPS, etc.) so that you can monitor those devices as well.

    A slide switch on the side of the unit turns the Freewire on/off. When turned on, the red/blue light on top will illuminate. The Sena website claims that if the DC power cable is connected, you can leave the unit turned ON and it will shut off when the bike is off, and turn back ON when the bike is running (assuming of course, that your DC plug is a SWITCHED connection). If true, that would a convenience.

    Sena does provide a USB charging cable, but it is only for use when the Freewire is not connected to the bike. It uses the same port on the Freewire as the Goldwing audio cable. This port and cable are also used for installing any firmware upgrades when the Freewire is connected to your computer's USB port.

    I had an unusual issue with my first Freewire unit. I could not get the unit to turn off! I even tried using the reset button (small hole using a paper clip) but it would not shut down. I contacted Sena support and they shipped out a replacement unit immediately. Very good service. The replacement unit has worked flawlessly.

    The first order of business is to pair the Freewire with the headset, in my case, a Sena 20S. Pairing is pretty straightforward following the included instructions. Place the headset into Pairing Mode then press the large button on the Freewire for 5 seconds until the red and blue lights flash alternately. The blue LED will begin flashing slowly to let you know the pairing is complete. Once paired, the Freewire is ready to transmit the Goldwing audio to the headset.

    My ride routine begins by first turning on the Freewire, then turning on the 20S headset. An audible message is played through the headset speakers: "Audio System Connected". Once the bike is started, the radio/gps signal is clearly transmitted to the headset. The quality of the sound is much better than I expected. I have not experienced any occurrences of interference or static.

    The Freewire should seamlessly connect to any Bluetooth headset, but I only tested it with the Sena 20S.

    One nice feature of going wireless is the ability to get off the bike at a gas station and continue to listen to the radio (with ignition set to ACC) while rummaging in the trunk or trailer. No more jerking your head back because you forgot to unplug the cable! In fact, I have walked up to 40 feet from the bike and still had a good signal from the Freewire. I have not tried further distances.

    As for battery life, I have ridden up to eight hours on a charge with no problem. In a typical week of riding around town, I will use the Freewire for about an hour each day, then recharge it every Sunday. It can take a few hours to fully charge the unit. My only complaint is that when the unit does lose its charge, you are not given much of a warning. I also cannot tell if it is my headset losing charge, or the Freewire. You can get some indication of Freewire battery life, however, each time the unit is powered up.
    When the FreeWire is turned on, the Red LED flashes rapidly indicating the battery level:
    • 4 flashes = High, 70 ~ 100%
    • 3 flashes = Medium, 30 ~ 70%
    • 2 flashes = Low, 0 ~ 30%

    I mounted the Freewire to my mounting bracket (that I fabricated) using the included mounting cradle and 3M Outdoor Adhesive tape (see photo below). This allows the Freewire to easily be removed for recharging, or for security. There is no way to secure the Freewire to the cradle, or the handlebar mount in such a way as to prevent theft, something Sena should address.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	20170924_073511.jpg Views:	1 Size:	72.2 KB ID:	86019

    Sena Freewire mounted to my 2012 Goldwing

    Going wireless with Freewire could be an expensive endeavor, especially if you ride with a passenger. A separate Freewire would be needed for rider ad passenger, a near $500 investment, and then there's the cost of the Bluetooth headsets! It would also mean you would potentially have four devices tor recharge at the end of each day's ride (unless you connect the Freewire's to the DC charger).

    If you are looking for a seamless, reliable way to add Bluetooth to your GL1800 (or Harley Ultra), the Freewire is a great, affordable option. I have been using the Freewire for the past three months and am hooked. I don't think I could ever go back to the cord. The Freewire is extremely well built, durable, weatherproof and user-friendly. The kit comes with virtually everything you need to install and use on a Goldwing, no need to spend more on necessary cables, connectors, etc.

    You can purchase the Sena Freewire from our board sponsor,!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Cruiseman; 11-12-2017, 08:31 AM.

    • shrimpman
      shrimpman commented
      Editing a comment
      i have one couple in our pack and they only have a option to listen to music or talk on cb but cant do both at same time is this a problem of this unit

    • pastot
      pastot commented
      Editing a comment
      My Freewire allows all the audio functions of the wing very nicely Radio, Bike AUX-in, Intercom feed and CB without issue. It is annoying the if you plug anything into the Freewire's AUX input that it cuts off input from the bike's connector, a mix priority seems to have been overlooked or is not working (its a bit confusing in the owner's manual). I just don't use the Freewire's AUX-IN. I love it short of the bulky DC power plug. I'm using it with the Sena 10s headset no issues at all.

    • T-Cat
      T-Cat commented
      Editing a comment
      Saw this on Ebay - DC 5V 2A USB Port to 12V Car Cigarette Lighter Socket Female Converter Adapter
      It would solve your issue of having USB charger outlets instead of the standard 12V socket

    Leave a comment



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