FM Radio does not work



  • Daniel

    Just tried the FM radio for the first time (Netherlands, version 1.4, serial starting with 1501):

    - used the frequency from the table. Works for a while but then suddenly fuzzes out. Phonebutton sometimes helps.

    - then used the scan mode (2x phonebutton) while standing still. A lot of stations but when moving same problem again.

    Quite disappointing....

  • Wilhelm

    Hi Daniel,

    as I have mentioned eralier in this thread, you have to deactivate the option to switch to alternate frequencies in the setup (RDS).

    Sena don't seem to be able to fix that (at least not in the last 3 firmware updates).

    Apart from that. you radio will be fine, i think.



  • Ken

    I used FM radio quite extensively on a 2-week motorcycle camping tour of the Southwest US and Colorado.  (just got home yesterday).  Quite honestly, I was surprised how well the FM radio worked.  I could receive FM stations when 25 miles out from small towns (which probably have low-power FM transmitters) in Texas and Colorado.  I also used FM radio to receive my Zumo  audio (via a small FM transmitter on the bike).  This is so much better than my original unit last year.  It couldn't receive FM stations right here in the DFW area.  This is my first trip with the newer replacement unit that I received late last year.  It's working  much better than I expected.  


  • Eric
    My radio was poor too, but after changing regio to world, it works fine.
  • joe e
    joe e

    I was able to greatly improve my FM reception by a couple simple modifications.  Living near Seattle, I expected good reception in the metro area, but I was incorrect.  I had one stretch of my commute during which I'd lose reception every time.  Here's what I did to take it from unlistenable some of the time to perfectly clear all of the time.

    -If you haven’t already, run your speaker wire across the top of the helmet.

    -Take about 10” of thin gage wire, strip away a small section of the insulation in the center and then wrap the wire around your speaker wire so that you have a “+” at the top of your helmet.

    -Buy a roll of 3M aluminum foil tape (used to seal HVAC ducts) and cover/secure all of the wire with it.

    Unfortunately, I did them at the same time so I'm unsure which change made the biggest impact.  So far so good and it was really easy to do!

  • Harnold

    I managed to correct all the deficiencies in the Sena 20S.  I sold the 3 I had and went back to Cardo.  Everything works now and they're waterproof.


    Thanks for using us as beta testers, Sena.

  • DjPaul

    Fellow riders, We need your help!

    Please go to this thread  



    And show your support in this issue, by posting your comment / experience, Bad and good stories are welcome.

    Then go to the SENA help desk

    and formally request a ticket be issued about this.

    If we rally together, we may be able to do something about this BEEPS issue before it kills some one you love.



  • DjPaul

    So, why do we cling to the 20s? 


    It’s not waterproof dust proof etc


    It doesn’t have anywhere near the range it promised


    The Volume is mostly unsatisfactory


    It won’t connect GPS and phones properly


    Group connect is a challenge best debut with while not riding


    The unit doesn’t stay on the base, Yup, if it doesn’t fall off, it won’t even lock onto it’s base


    FM radio doesn’t work as promised 


    It shuts off at random


    It’s got killer beeps, Killer, not in a good way.


    Volume levels are inconsistent from Radio to music to phone to intercom to prompts 



    Runner ups on issues less complained about 


    Music sharing doesn’t work

    Cold temp shut off (likely a Canadian issue)

    Won’t connect to computer

    Customer support is lacking 

    Battery drains when the unit’s turned off

    Pairing the 20s to SMH 10 is tricky


    And there’s seemingly endless pages of issues… 


    Why Are we staying with this product? 



    Take your pick of any 3 items from above you’d like to have work flaulessly 


    Here’s how to activate them 












































    Go buy a competitors product 

    Think tis is joke answer? 

    Truth is, any of the 3 you picked, actually do work on just about any other motorcycle bluetooth intercom system. 

  • Marc Telkamp
    Marc Telkamp

    I don't "cling to it". I just own one and I'm not spending a few hundred euro's again for something like it.

    The Sena will wear down eventually, and Sena's attitude will make me think twice before I get something from them again.

    We'll see when the time comes.

  • Ken

    You sure are having a lot of problems with your.  

    While they had a shaky start in June of 2014, most of the issues have been corrected.  

    Reading through your list of experiences, I'm happy to say that I don't experience any of them.  Group connect is cool.  It works flawlessly every time.  FM radio works well.  It has been proven by the guy that brought up battery drain that it was a false alarm.  The line-of-sight range is totally adequate.   The shutting off at random is mostly a thing of the past.  Pairing and connecting to my phone and my GPS works every time.  My traveling friends and I have ridden for many hours in rain and  cold without problems.  

    I don't blame you.  If  my experiences were the same as yours (or if Sena hadn't made  firmware changes to attend to most of the issues), I'd be looking elsewhere, too.  But at  this point, I'm pretty happy with mine and getting happier with every improvement they make.  One of these days, maybe they'll fix the drumming/popcorn noise (you didn't mention that one).   The first year was pretty rough.  But since then, the units are working quite well.  

    My only gripe is that they don't explain what we should expect from their firmware upgrades.  Which issues do they think they have fixed. 

    I know people that have given up on other brands and bought the 20S.  They've told me that they're happy with that decision. 


  • Liam

    Well put. Oh and add to your list that the ambient mode stop working some time ago for me (Used to work find and now doesn't). I had a previous model Sena SMH10. It worked flwalessly and did everything is said on the box, until I dropped my helmet on it. The brilliant operation of the SMH10 was why I bought the 20S which has proved to be rubbish. Sena refused to warranty it for the radio issue because I bought it when I was in the USA and when I moved countries they said that voided the warranty!? Will never buy another product from Sena again. I think some of my problems are related to the fact I got caught out in a rain shower on one ride. Imagine that an electronic device that clips on the outside of the helmet that is not even close to waterproof!? Don't waste your money on this rubbish.

  • Ken

    Ambient mode was almost useless for me because it greatly amplified low-frequency noise (Harley exhaust, thunder, etc. ) which drowned out conversations.  With earbuds in my ears, Ambient Mode was going to be wonderful for conversations with gas station attendants, park rangers at national park gates, road construction roadblocks, etc.  But the way it accentuates bass sounds, it didn't help much. 

    Then, it quit working altogether for me, too; until discovering that they changed it from ONE button push to a DOUBLE button push.   Tap, tap and it goes into Ambient mode every time.  

  • Harnold

    Sell them if you can and buy another brand.  That's what most of us have done.  Ridiculous that we were used as guinea pigs for such poor quality products.  Cardo works, remains waterproof and dustpoof, doesn't fall off the mount and won't deafen you.

  • Bill Henning
    Bill Henning

    Curious how some dissatisfied customers who have "sold theirs" remain on the forum to promote a different brand.  Why would anyone do that?

  • Harnold

    Should forums only allow cheerleaders who speak of unicorns and rainbows or should they represent the good and the bad to those reading the posts who are trying to determine what to buy?

    rah rah rah, Bill.

  • Bill Henning
    Bill Henning

    Of course not, but why you would say you have moved on to another brand yet continue to stay here and bash the Sena product just isn't believable either.  I have a pair of 20S units and they work well for me.  Sorry you have not experienced the same.  But does mindless bashing without specifics really serve any purpose here?  Go to the Cardo forum and sing their praises because what you are doing here really isn't helpful.  Move on.

  • Harnold

    "Mindless bashing"?

    I can and have cited many issues that hundreds or thousands of people have experienced with the 20S.  I had 7 warranty replacements inside of 12 months for the units I bought.  My situation is not unique as can be seen here, on their FB page and on lots of other forums like advrider.  I among many others were in the initial group that had these units in the US.  Many promises were made. 
    If you're the average, occasional, fair weather rider, you may not see the design or software flaws, but those of us who put tens of thousands of miles on our bikes every year can quickly ferret out what's ready for prime time and what isn't.


  • Liam

    Ken, i had noted that you now need two taps but that doesn't work on mine now. When it did work it was a really great feature as you say for talking to gas pum attendents etc with my helmet on and ear buds in. Bill I don't have the option of selling mine because unlike Sena my conscience won't allow me to sell a product that I know to be faulty to someone else. Sena just doesn't get the value of satisfied customers/fans. I was a huge advocate of their excellent earlier products like the SMH10 (I work for and recommended them to all of our customers even though we don't sell them or a competing brand). Remember a lot of people check out the forums before purchasing. The reason people like me and others here have posted our dissatisfaction is as a warning to other potential customers and that is helpful. I didn't buy the Cardo because I loved the earlier Sena SMH10 and was hence willing to be one of their first customers for their new flagship product.  I think the jog wheel is vastly superior ergonomical. Even after getting it and beginning to discover the initial issues I had hope they would solve them...but now of course like the others I realise I have pretty much wasted my money. This is what customer feed back should look like


  • Ken Kimari
    Ken Kimari

    Forums are for problem solving not product review.  Every forum I've been on has an inordinate number of negative experiences no matter how good the product is.  It's simple human nature, we tend to bitch a lot when things aren't working out or up to our expections but don't when things are going well.   

  • Bill Henning
    Bill Henning

    Maybe you can take one of your 7 replacements and sell it and then buy your Cardo's? Or just ask for a refund, maybe they'll make an exception in your case.

     Like I said, I have had a good experience and don't appreciate your mindless bashing here, its not helpful.  And you really don't speak for anyone but yourself, so please spare me the "Those of us" statements like you are some kind of spokesman for a group.  You don't speak for anyone but yourself.    

    Just move on, Cardo has a forum you can probably join and do your unicorn/rainbow thing there. 

  • Harnold

    Thankfully, neither you or I are the arbiter of what can be said on any forum so I'll just be help some poor soul who is looking for a review.

  • Ken

    I get most of my reviews from Amazon.  They have a good review section on just about anything under the Sun.  The Scala G9 has only 58 reviews.  11% are one-star.  The Sena has 264 reviews, 8% are one-star.  Sena has 158 positive reviews.   I'm not saying that one is better than the other; but that there will always be people that love a product and people that hate it.  The haters are usually more vocal.  

    My theory is holding true here on this forum.  The haters come out of the woodwork to hate.   It seems to me that harping on and on about a product that you don't like on this product's forum is doing so just for spite; and it serves no purpose to the rest of us, especially when it appears that the majority of us aren't experiencing all of the problems in the posted rant.  

    So now that you've made your points, maybe you'll leave?  


  • Ken Kimari
    Ken Kimari

    Everyone is now off topic.  Realized it happened when a troll posted a bashing of the product on this thread.  He also pasted the same comments on numerous other threads in this forum.  Didn't even have the decency to start a new topic related to his rant.  Talk about being spiteful!.  How about we all get back to what this thread is all about - FM radio issues - which gauging by comments since the last one posted in Oct, has pretty much been mitigated - bad QC on the build.

  • DjPaul

    Wow, without mentioning any names, and,  acknowledging that this threads original topic has now been side tracked with name calling and bickering. I'd just like to bring a little something back into topic. 

    My post, "Why do we cling to the SENA 20s" which embodied a number of issues with the product, wasn't meant to provoke bashing or finger pointing.

    I admit though... ... ... I did post it, word for word, to spark conversation, many of the listed issues hadn't been talked about in months and thought to myself,

    I'd been fooled.

    I bought a product that's just, ... S**t. I don't even want to sell it off to assist my buying a competitors product as I feel the it's unsafe.

    I'm frustrated with the quality of the 20s And just wanted answers  

    So, before the start of the Canadian bike season, before ditching my investments with SENA,  I thought i'd get us talking and see just what you fine folks here are doing?

    The issues listed, as many as there are, are, not my personal experience, they're listed as they're thee most talked about issues among the 20's consumer base. 

    While some of you may never experience any of the issues listed, many of us have, and or, are. 

    I listed the issues so that all of us could possibly talk about any number of them and share our knowledge collectively to hopefully allow some us to correct problems that are not talked about in other threads.

    Mr. Ken Kimari, I am not sorry I've diverted your topic thread. 

    I hope you, as a gentleman will accept although the topic has changed, it's over all good for the thread as hopefully it will attract others to read, learn, comment, share and overall, become, better,

    Better people, Better riders... ... Better communicators!

    If you still consider me a troll. I accept that.



    Here's my personal experience:

    I've purchased 5 SENA 20s both dual packs and singles

    Probably 10 or 14 base plates,  some with wired headphones, some without.

    I've returned 3, 20's (had to pay for shipping) likey a canadian thing?

    I've lodged two official "tickets" with SENA support I got answers from them, but (got no results, both times)

    Fixed myself, probably a dozen or so base plates mine and for friends.

    With the 20s, my single biggest complaint is the Beeps.

    2nd place issue, is the non waterproof. A few of my units got washed out but luckily dried out over week or so and came  back to life. Now, I see rain, I just remove the unit, put it in a ziplock bag,  and revert back to old school sign language till the sun comes out again.

    3rd place issue, Range. Straight line of sight, maybe 80 meters or so, No issues at all, loud and clear. One turn, a few cars between us, Issues.


    When looking on the forums for solutions I found more and more issues talked about and very little offerings from SENA. so... The post, I was going to go with, but did not,  looked like this, 


    >>>> >>>> >>>> >>>WARNING! THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL POST. IT'S JUST AN EDIT OF MY INNER MIND <<< <<< <<< <<< <<<<


    The SENA 20s is the top of the line communicator. 

    Let's review The Top 5 talked about features on the SENA discussion forum

    The No1. feature is actually two totally separate features, both talked about equally.

    20s does not lock into it's base & FM radio doesn't work.

    Both of these topics have been talked about since 2014, Each of the threads are 2 pages long with no apparent solutions.

    Haven't got a "Lock on that Static" yet . Keep reading! 

    What's assuring about these two subjects is, each thread has received a whopping 1 time only, totally anonymous comment from  SENA directing their apparently confused customers, to contact customer service by phone. 

    Best of all, one of the two phone numbers provided doesn't even work!!!

    * * *)) ) BUT WAIT ( ((* * * THAT'S NOT ALL....

    Combine the two threads together and You get a lucky 88 dislikes! If that's not enough, check it out!!! They've got well over 300 comments! 

    UNBELIEVABLE!!! HA that's almost 1  comment a day, for an entire year!?

    WowzA, SENA didn't just "tune out" on this one, They've totally locked their customers out of the base!

    No 2 Maximum volume 

    This topic has also been talked about since 2014

    Has garnered 1 seemingly passive aggressive comment left by another totally anonymous SENA bot.
    And, this two page thread, that's practically on its knees, could bring you preyer with a back slap to the church like regard of 39 dislikes and a whopping 126 comments

    Even at Maximum volume, Sena may give you the distinct impression they're listening, but " LA LA LA THEY CAN'T HEAR YOUUUUUU"

    No 3. Shuts off at random

    It's just a single page thread issue with just 16 dislikes and only 63 comments... Wait... Are you kidding? It shuts off... At random?

    Talk about shut off? More like Shut out, SENA hasn't even addressed this issue with even so much as a single comment?

    No 4. Intercom range is a lie

    This subject is actually a close runner up for 2nd place, it's also split into two separate threads that talk about the same issue. 

    But even with two single page threads started all the way back in 2014, with only 14 dislikes and a meager 40 comments, it seems this subject is 
    "out of range" of SENA's help desk or even it's ever supportive diplomatic anonymous bot replies.

    No 5. Dangerously painful beeps.

    Well Ladies and Gent's this one's gone world wide. 
    Forget the dislikes 
    Forget the comments 
    Forget scarcasm or anonymous feed back...

    Before we get into this one, please take a seat, remove all sharp objects from reach. And enjoy a word from our sponsor.

    Today's top five list is brought to you by.

    Cardo packtalk

    klatkcaP odraC

    The spelling may be backwards, SENA'S got it all wrong

    Dishonorable mentions go to the following facts!

    The 20s is Not Dust proof, water proof or even water resistant. 

    As a street/touring rider, staying connected as we’re caught in a rain shower/storm/drizzle etc. is even more important as visibility is increasingly  limited, and the general riding posture of most riders in the start of rain is intensified. 

    For dual sport riders I’d say this is more of an issue as even in the driest of environments , riding through puddles, streams, rivers, shallow ponds etc is the norm.

    Seems to me that the Non waterproof top of the line of SENA communications device 20's loses big time there?

    Group riding and connectivity. 

    The 20s. when a group of riders are connected, if the group leader 

    (the one rider who’s started the group) 

    leaves or gets disconnected, the rest of the group gets disconnected as well.

    For the rest of the group, for safety, the remaining riders must all pull over in a safe spot and and re-establish connection to each other.

    This is even more of an issue when pairing with SENA 20’s & SMH10, they connect, but it’s tricky to re-connect when connection is lost. 

    Additionally, the blue tooth connections between the SHM10 and 20s usually creates noise for the 20’s user.

    It’s not the ssssshhhhhhh noise of static like from a radio,? 
    Its more electronic clicks, pops, high frequency buzz or something that came from the noise of an older dial up Internet connection from 90’s.

    The range SENA claims,  up to 2klms not even close even in perfect conditions. 400 meters.

    Charging while using

    Doing this usually creates a noise/wining sound that coincides with the speed of the engine, and on the subject of noise, here is, 

    in my opinion, The biggest Beeping issue of the SENA 20’s

    And may this serve as a warning to anyone looking to purchase this top of the line product. 

    The 20’s has a maximum volume limit alert. 
    When that max limit is reached, an audio alerted (beep) is sent the user/riders ear phones.

    This beep or beeps are also present for phone calls, radio stations, connections lost and or reestablished etc.

    The beeps are are made audible by SENA's built in software which is (thus far known) to be exclusive to the 20s?  

    The factory alerts/beeps can not be turned off, removed, deleted or even lowered in volume, and, are then sent to the riders earphones, or ear buds, in access of 140db

    Db = (DeciBels) /a measure of audio strength.

    Perspective of 140db

    A quiet bedroom at night is about 30db this is actually 10db more then most public libraries, And At this volume, most humans can sleep quite peacefully.

    Conversation, for most humans, is about 60db at approximately 1 meter spaced apart.

    The threshold of discomfort (for most humans) =120db at any distance

    The threshold of Pain = 130 Db at any distance

    An Aircraft jet engine at idle rpm, from 50 meters or 164 ft

    That's approximately the distance of 17 car lengths end to end. 
    Nearly 30 motorcycles also end to end 
    The average length of a single city block

    Comes in at cool 140db
    Btw, an aircraft engine can be heard,  on land, from several kilometres away.

    SENA brings these alerts/beeps to an unsuspecting riders attention at 0 distance away or in many cases directly within the human ear, At, or around 140db. 

    There’s been over a half dozen software updates since the 20’s debut in early 2014, and while SENA Has made considerable effort to insure it's consumers can have access to languages, Seri, or other "bug fixes" 
    SENA has knowingly and repeatedly ignored this issue.

    Consumers  from around the world have lodged complaints. Many of them outraged. 

    A growing number of Law enforcement agencies (State patrolmen and women) in the US condemn the product.

    Dealerships, both in Canada and the US have not only returned the product but also refuse to carry/sell it. 
    Singled out as minorities, the abject few are Undoubtedly  aware of the liability the product warrents.

    What does that look like?

    If the rider’s very lucky, the risks  this… top of the line product offers, is: 

    Non reversible hearing loss. 

    The not so lucky gets:
    Non reversible hearing loss + low speed accident + mild injury + minor damages to the bike.

    The very unlucky gets:
    Non reversible hearing loss + high speed accident + sever injury to rider and passenger + expensive damages if not complete loss of the bike + months of hospital time, healing and medical bills.

    And, the most likely, for those of us who enjoy riding twisty roads where the other lane is on coming traffic a road barrier, cliff drop off or rock face...

    We get:
    Multiple vehicle accidents resulting in multiple deaths road closures, and funeral costs for the living.

    All one needs to to do to encore any of the above is simple. 

    Remove one (1) hand from the handle bar while riding, at any speed.

    Turn the Jog dial on your spiffy SENA 20’s  clock wise, 1 turn past 5 turns and you too can truly experience what it means to have invested in the “Best Premium level communication systems SENA has to offer"

    For most of us the heading loss is permanent. You never get it back. And that's affordable considering 
    That for some of us, a sudden  UN expected audio signal, delivered loud enough, for long enough, can render humans unconscious almost immediately, and in some cases cause death.

    So with that, 
    How do you know that some one you love, and loves you , right now, has been subject to the dangers of a SENA 20`s and is laying some where out of sight, in a ditch or at the bottom of a cliff, dead, or worse, dying, right now?

    If don’t wanna to comment on what’s been written here, that's not cool,  You know in your heart what you need to do!

    Take a minute, or read it again,

    You're probably thinking a little more about this with some anxiety, that's a feeling I'm sure you enjoy?



  • Ken

    DjPaul, please stop.  

    Your long-winded rants may be gratifying to you, but are a nuisance to me.  This one is downright silly and a waste of my monitor space.  I wish I had a way to delete it and your other posts that take up so much room but are inaccurate and worthless.  

    It may make you feel good to go on and on and on (the definition of a troll), but it's quite annoying to several of us.   Please post your dribble on a review site somewhere.  


  • Harnold

    lol @ ken...tells others that they don't speak for others and then does it himself.



  • DjPaul

    Ken, you gotta know, I do agree with Harold

  • Liam

    Ken there is obviously a goodly percentage of us here who are very frustrated with this product. I recently dismantled a unit here and they are right the units are not even close to being waterproof. Which is kind of funny because they have rubber covers for the ports (which makes the unit look like it is designed to over some level of waterproofing - or maybe that is to fool you when you buy the unit) But there is no attempt to waterproof between the two main halves of the main unit. In addition the base unit on the helmet is not water proof either.....what were they thinking, we would never get caught in a rain shower? Worst piece of industrial design I have every seen (which as I type it seems hyperbole...but currently I can't think of anything worse, so maybe it's not hyperbole).

  • Ken Kimari
    Ken Kimari

    Unsubscribing from the thread.  Suggest others do the same to regain some sanity to their email.  Let the hijackers have the plane for now.  Perhaps Sena will shut this all down.  I know, how dare they, freedom of speech, blah, blah, blah.  It's too bad bullies come in and ruin what forums are useful for - helping people solve problems.  May I suggest starting a blog rather than hijacking what was once a useful forum.

  • Harnold


    "suggest others do same"

    Spoken like a typical middle manager.


    go away


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