Sena SMH10R Bluetooth Helmet Intercom in My HJC IS-MAX BT

Freakin’ awesome!  That pretty much sums up my attitude about the Sena SMH10R Bluetooth headset and intercom.  I love the low profile and the total control the design gives me over how it’s installed in my helmet.

I’ve read some less-than-glowing reviews of this device, but I have to tell you, after installing it and testing it in my helmet, I think the “problems” listed by other people were more ‘user error’ than actual issues with the device.  This little guy is just perfect.

The HJC IS-MAX BT helmet helps a lot.  It is designed with some space for a Chatterbox XBi2-H Bluetooth intercom system, which, physically, is nothing like the Sena SMH10R.  What that means is there are cavities built into the helmet for a specific device that is not the device I put into them.  But it works wonderfully.

One of the biggest complaints I read over and over about the SMH10R was the external battery mounted on the back of the helmet.  I get that.  It would be ugly.  All the pictures I saw were really ugly.

Mine doesn’t look like that.  This is what mine looks like.  (ignore the charging cable hanging down there)  (click pics for big ones)

Sena SMH10R on HJC IJ-MAX BT Helmet

The back side of the helmet.

I have to go do other things right now, but when I come back, I’m going to show you step by step how I installed this wonderful little guy in my helmet.


Step 1 – look at the parts.

The box contains:

    • The unit
    • The speakers
    • Velcro covered foam pads for the speakers
    • The battery
    • Two types of microphone
    • Adhesive-backed Velcro pads for mounting things
    • Super gray double-sided sticky permanent pads for mounting the same things
    • Foam windscreens for the boom mic
    • A lighter socket charger and a USB cable

Sena SMH10R

Step Two – Poke around a bit and dry-fit some things.

There is actually quite a bit of space in the average helmet, and this one is a bonus because it is designed to accommodate a Bluetooth setup such as this one.  That means there are a couple of little things that made this install a snap.

The ear pads.They just snap out.The earpad removed.

Pull out the ear pads.
They just snap in. That’s so you can wash them once in a while.


Oh yeah.  Wash ’em.


Step Three – Stick the main unit on the outside.

There’s not a whole lot of choice about where you will put the main unit.  It’s designed to be stuck to the lower left side of the helmet.  You can use Velcro, or the Main unit mounted.super gray stuff.  Your choice. I chose the super gray stuff. This is a permanent install.

Step Four – Get the wires inside.

The wires must be hidden. They must disappear from sight as soon as possible. This is not negotiable.  Most padding in a helmet is formed to a high density Styrofoam backing.  Force your finger gently between the shell and the backing. That’s where the wires will go.



Step Five – Battery.

The battery is external to the main unit.  This is apparently a source of concern for some, but I think it’s awesome.  It reduces the thickness of the thing stuck to the outside of your helmet.

Battery and mount.

Sena’s instructions first say to mount it to the outside of the helmet.  Eh.  I fully intended to get that battery in the helmet some way some how.


Senna suggests it can be mounted inside the helmet, but the illustrations are rather sparse, and the battery bracket is obviously made to be mounted on a convex surface. The inside of the helmet is concave.  We’re on our own here.

Wire routing and void for module.
There is this hollow in this helmet, intended for some part of a Bluetooth intercom like this one.  If it weren’t there, I would be making one with a razor knife and a screwdriver, digging the foam out until I had a hollow that would accept the battery.





There are plenty of safe places to take out just a little of the Styrofoam stuff.  Use your brain.

The Sena battery fits perfectly.
Fortunately, I had a rare flash of forethought and bought a helmet that expects to receive a few small parts like this.  The battery fits in this hole like it was made for it.

Be careful to insure the wire coming out of the battery is not crimped or kinked.  That could cause problems later, like, say, a fire in your helmet.

Very bad.


Step Six – Speakers.

The speakers have Velcro on them, and Sena provides the matching part with an adhesive backing.  Peel and stick.
speaker sticky pads
speaker spacer pad
It’s not too hard to figure out where the speakers should go. The ear pads usually have a hollow for your ears. The speakers should be in there.

See if the speaker will stick to the inside of the helmet without the Velcro pad. If not, then you have to stick the Velcro pad on there first.



This pic shows the placement of the Velcro pad in my helmet.

Step Seven – The Microphone

You have two choices of microphone with this unit. There is a boom-style mic with its flexible snake-like boom, and then there is a small mic mounted on a tiny disk of Velcro with a six-inch (or so) long lead that you would use in a full-face helmet.

My helmet is a convertible, meaning the front chin guard unlocks and flips up.

So I’ll be using the boom mic.

This is where I wound up mounting the boom mic.


Determining the placement of the mic was probably the hardest part of this whole process, and it wasn’t all that hard. I opened the clear shield and put on the helmet. Then I positioned the mic. Holding it in place from underneath, I closed the chin guard and made adjustments. Firmly holding the mic base against the side of the helmet, I opened the chin guard and removed the helmet.


I probably did this three times.


Next, I stuck the Velcro pad in place where the base was to go, then attached the boom base. Ba-da-boom.


The cut made in the ear pad for the boom-mic base.


The last tweak I had to make was to cut a small hole in the hard plastic mounting surface of the left ear pad.


This allows the boom-mic base to recess into the ear pad about an eighth of an inch, which lets the ear pad settle into its normal position.


Here's what the boom mic looks like.


So here’s the final result. Perfect.


Maybe it’s because I have this helmet.


Maybe it’s because I do this sort of thing for a living. I dunno.


I think this Sena SMH10R is the cat’s meow. It works perfectly, and mounted just the way I hoped it would.


It looks great, too.

So, if you’re in the market for a Bluetooth intercom solution for your motorcycle helmet, don’t be put off by some of the negative comments you might read about this one. It really is a great product.

By the way . . . I am in no way compensated by anyone to write this post.

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A Little Less Mac: These Files Help Me Keep My Sanity

I bought a Macbook Pro last year for my business.  I did it because a lot of people in my industry use them.

Out of the box, the thing drives me nuts, though.  After decades of Windows and Linux, the Apple way of doing things seems at best strange, and at worst just plain stupid.

So, in order to keep my sanity and get productive use from this expensive piece of hardware, I add the following packages to the system.

ADOBE READER  No, isn’t good enough.  Adobe Reader has markup tools that I use on a regular basis.

BRACKETS  Brackets is my choice of replacement for Bluefish in Linux.

CANTATA  I hate iTunes.  Did I say that strongly enough?  Probably not.  At any rate, I run MPD (Music Player Daemon), a lightweight music server that runs in the background to act on calls for music.  Cantata is one of a few different clients for MPD.  I downloaded a .dmg file from somewhere, but it seems the developer is making some sort of transition and I can’t find where to download a pre-compiled package for OS X.  Sorry.

DROPBOX  If you don’t already know what Dropbox is, you need to.  Check it out.  If you do know what it is, then you know why I installed it.

– – –

OK.  That might sound a little harsh.  Dropbox is a cloud-based storage system that synchronizes files and folders contained in a local folder (one that is on your computer) with an account you have on the web.  You don’t have to worry about losing files, even if you delete them on your computer.  Dropbox keeps backup copies for you.  You get 2 gigabytes free.  More space costs money on a subscription basis.

DUKTO  AirDrop is great, but it only works on Apple products.  Dukto is an easy file transfer tool designed to transfer files from one PC (or other device) to another on the local network (LAN), without worrying about users, permissions, operating systems, protocols, clients, servers and so on. Just start Dukto on the two devices and transfer files and folders by dragging onto its window. That’s all.  Works between iOS devices, Windows, Linux, and Android.

FILEZILLA  Filezilla is a long-time friend that makes it easy to keep track of my stuff across multiple computers.  I use Google Drive and Dropbox, but I also keep a copy of my most important archived stuff on a server of my own at home.  Filezilla is my sFTP client of choice.

FIREFOX  Firefox the web browser.  One of my favorites.

HANDBRAKE  Handbrake is a video transcoder.  I use it to get my DVD’s off the disk and onto my media server hard drive.  It does not decrypt the contents.  You need LIBDVDCSS (see further down) for that.

KARABINER  Karabiner lets you remap keys to do what you want them to do.  For instance, getting the Home and End keys to behave like they do on every other system on the planet is very helpful.

KEEPASSX  KeePassX is a password manager I’ve used on all my different OSs for years.  It’s open source and it works.  I use Dropbox to make the encrypted .key file available to my devices so I always have my passwords at my fingertips.  There are clients for every major OS.

LIBREOFFICE  With the free availability of LibreOffice, I don’t why anyone needs Pages or Microsoft Office at all.  This software suite does everything I need plus.  And it’s free.  Open source.

MENUMETERS  I like to see what’s going on (or isn’t) with my computer.  This Mac has no indicators at all for drive activity or for network activity.  You just have to wait and hope something is happening.  That’s stupid.  MenuMeters allows me to select one or more indicators to show activity and places them on the menu bar at the top of the screen.  I chose a CPU bargraph, Network throughput, and disk read/write indicator.  It makes me feel good.

VIRTUALBOX  I run Windows 8.1 in Virtualbox to use AutoCAD.  It works great.

VIRTUALBOX EXTENSION PACK  The Extension Pack is a needed part of the whole package, but is provided separately.  Download it after Virtuabox is installed, and it’ll add it in automatically for you.  (Look for that option after you press ‘Download’.)

SSHFS  This package extends OSXFUSE to facilitate logging into remote drives using SSH.


TAGGER  I use this to add album art and such to the ID3 tags on my ALAC (.m4a) files.  Works for .mp3 too.

XNVIEWMP  I searched long and hard to find a replacement for the new (and incredibly stupid) Photos app. XNViewMP (MP stands for Multi-Platform) is a great cross-platform photo manager.  The most important thing about it is it lets me decide where my pictures are going to live.  Open source.

XTRAFINDER  This neat little app extends Apple’s to do more useful things.  The one thing that seals the deal is it lets you sort folders with any sub-folders at the top of the list.  To me, this behavior is a huge DUH factor for any operating system.

GIMP  I’ve been using The Gimp for years to do graphics work.  Open source, and works great.  Very full-featured and as such, can be quite complicated.  But you can do nearly anything with a picture using Gimp.  Think Photoshop without the pricetag.

GOOGLE CHROME  Another great web browser.

IBROWSE  This app allows you to browse your iPhone like a thumb drive via a USB cable.

GOOGLE DRIVE  Like Dropbox, but you get more free storage.  I use both.

LIBDVDCSS  You have to have this library installed to decrypt encrypted DVD content.

MAKEMKV  MakeMKV helps me get movies off of BluRay disks and onto my media server’s hard drive.  This gets them off the disk, then Handbrake re-encodes them to a useful (.m4v) format that saves some space.  This is, to the best of my knowledge, the only way to get BluRay movies off the disk.

OSXFUSE  The FUSE system for supporting the mounting of disks formatted in foreign formats has been around quite a while.  Read more about it here.

OVERLOOK-FING  If you want to get information about the network your computer is connected to, Fing is a great tool to help you do that.

SYNERGY  I love Synergy.  It lets me use one keyboard and one mouse to control multiple computers at once.  Multi-platform and quasi-open source.  I use it every day.

VLC  VLC is the go-to media player for everyone I know.

That’s the bulk of the extra software I load on this Macbook Pro to make it useful to me.

Good luck.  Your mileage may vary.  Batteries not included.

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