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  1.    #1  
    Hi folks,

    I'm really excited. I just received my Sony-Ericsson HCB-30 Bluetooth car handsfree kit, and it works flawlessly with my Treo 650.

    I connected the kit to my battery using jumper cables (I know, unsophisticated). I wanted to test it before taking to to a professional installer.

    Everything I tried worked perfectly. These are the things I tried successfully:
    - The two devices paired right away. I followed the HCB-30 instructions to make it look for devices (you press two buttons until you hear a high tone). I went to the 650's Bluetooth program -> Setup devices -> Hands-Free setup and followed the prompts. The 650 found the adaptor and after keying the passkey (from the HCB-30 manual) they paired.
    - When the 650 receives a call, the HCB-30 rings. There is a short delay (about a second) from the time the 650 first rings (vibrates, during my test) and the first ring of the HCB-30.
    - When the call is answered from the 650, it automatically goes to the HCB-30 . I was holding the 650 in my hand. I pushed the "Answer" button in my 650, and immediately the HCB took over and I could hear and talk over the HCB-30. The 650 displays a button to cancel the HCB-30 and use the phone where the button for "Spkrphone" normally is.
    - When the call is made from the 650, it automatically goes to the HCB-30 . When I make a call, after the phone dials (when it displays "Active" in the screen and the time counter starts) the call is transferred automatically to the HCB-30. The manual mentions something about voice dialing, but it is phone-based. This means that the HCB-30 itself does not do voice dialing, but it supports the voice dial feature on certain phones. I don't know if this will work with the voice dial software that comes with the 650. I haven't tried it yet. I was waiting to have a good working BT car adapter to do that. I'll try it after I have the HCB-30 installed. I figure the worst case would be that you initiate the call on the 650 using VoiceDial and then transfer it to the HCB-30.
    - After moving away and turning the phone off, the devices recognize each other. This was not a very good test, but I'll tell you what I did. I had the kit connected to my car battery in my garage. I went inside my house to the opposite end (about 40 feet away with three walls in between). I turned off my phone, turned it back on, went back to the garage, called my 650 and the HCB-30 rang and worked as before. I realize I did not turn off Bluetooth in the 650, but I never do that, so it didn't occur to me to try it at the time.
    - The incoming call can be picked up using the HCB-30. I think this is one of the things that people haven't been able to do with the integrated handsfree kits (Acura, Lexus, and so on). When the 650 is ringing, I press the "talk" button on the HCB-30 (it's a phone icon like the green phone icon in the 650) and I can talk and hear using the HCB-30. This means that I don't have to take my phone out of the case or pocket to answer a call. I don't see anything in the HCB-30 manual about call announcement. I don't think the HCB-30 does that.
    - After making a call, the call can be transferred to the HCB-30. If I dial using the 650 being out of range from the HCB-30 and then come within range, I can press the "talk" button on the HCB-30 and the call is transferred to the HCB-30.

    I had purchased the Parrot CK3000 before, but it routes sound through car stereos with ISO connectors. In short, there's practically no cars in the US that have those connectors. You would have to buy an amplifier and a speaker to use the Parrot kit. I was quoted $199 for those two things (bringing the total cost to $350). Both the Parrot and the HCB-30 cost $150. Needless to say, I returned the Parrot kit. The HCB-30 comes with a 8 Ohm speaker that sounds loud enough (in my opinion) for in-car use.

    I will have the kit installed in my car this week. Post any questions or tests you would like me to try and I'll post the results over the weekend.

    P.S.: Yipeee!!!!
    Last edited by adiascar; 02/14/2005 at 06:41 AM.
  2. #2  
    Thanks for the review. You may not have tested it this thoroughly yet, but how does the speaker sound on the highway or when you have the AC or heat on high? And how do you sound to listeners on the other end?
  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by cortjestir
    You may not have tested it this thoroughly yet
    You're right. The environment I used is exactly the opposite of what I would need to properly answer your question. I was in the garage with the front door closed (it's rainy today).

    Having said that, my wife couldn't tell I was using the HCB-30 instead of the phone. Maybe that means that you can expect a performance similar to that of the phone while driving. Hopefully the car kit has better noise cancellation than the phone.

    I will give you a better answer later this week after I install it and test it. During my test today, my main concern was the compatibility between the two Bluetooth implementations.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by adiascar
    In short, there's practically no cars in the US that have those connectors. You would have to buy an amplifier and a speaker to use the Parrot kit.
    I hadn't realized that that would be an issue...hmmmm
    La Vie En Diaspora: Enfin, une émission qui raconte votre vie aux Etats-Unis

    Treo 600 in December '03, Treo 650 in February '05, HTC TyTN Pro in August '06, and back to Treo 750 in January '07, find me at MyTreo.net

    About me: story of the 100thMonkey
  5. #5  
    Are all the different components encapsulated in that little square thing that is shown in the photo? (Microsophone, speaker, etc) ? Or are there other components?
    could you post pictures of how it is mounted and connected, etc?

    Thanks!!
    Palm Pilot 1000 -> Sprint TP-3000 -> Treo 300 -> Treo 650
  6.    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by CySurflex
    Or are there other components?
    Yes, there are other components. The "little square thingy" is the wired remote control you use to answer/hang up, volume control and transfer calls to/from the phone.

    The box includes the wired remote control, the controller box (where the "brains" of the kit are), microphone, speaker, power cables and connectors (to connect to your car's 12 volt wiring). The power cable includes cabling to mute the radio if your car stereo has that feature. My stereo doesn't have that feature, I don't know how well it works.

    I've attached a picture of the wired remote control, the controller box and the speaker with the package box behind them. I found the picture on the web (I can't take pictures right now).

    could you post pictures of how it is mounted and connected, etc?
    Absolutely. I'll get to it later today. Keep in mind there's not a lot to see (that's a good thing). the microphone is very small, the speaker is partially hidden under the glove compartment and the wired remote control is about two inches long. People I've shown the kit working think the sound is coming from the stereo speakers because 1- They can't see the speaker, 2- It sounds good all around and you can't pinpoint the source of the sound.

    Looking back, I regret not taking a picture of the different component before installation, that would've answered your question more adequately.
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    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by CySurflex
    Are all the different components encapsulated in that little square thing that is shown in the photo? (Microsophone, speaker, etc) ? Or are there other components?
    could you post pictures of how it is mounted and connected, etc?

    Thanks!!
    ^^^
  8.    #8  
    Here are the pictures of my Treo 650/PDA auto mount/HCB-30 setup.

    1. Speaker: The speaker sits under the glove compartment, barely visible from the driver's seat. Passengers cannot directly see it. It's adequately loud. Depending on how loud the person on the other end is, I find myself occasionally wishing for an extra notch or two of volume. Nothing that "Please talk a bit louder" or "get closer to the phone" won't fix.

    2. Wired remote: The wired remote has adhesive in the underside to optionally stick it to flat surfaces. I like where mine is because I usually drive with my right arm on the armrest, my hand is naturally above the wired remote. When it's on, the icons are lighted with blue LEDs. There is a red-or-green light by the "talk" button that indicates status. You can only see that light when it's on (Its under the dark frame around the buttons).

    3. Microphone: The microphone works very well. I'm told that I'm heard clearly. People can tell that I'm in a car (light background noise), but I haven't received any complaints about how I sound.

    4. PDA auto mount: This piece is not part of the HCB-30 package. I have it for when I'm using Mapopolis, to hold the phone while I place a call or if I'll be in the car for a while, I place the phone there so I can see who's calling if a call comes in. It fits the 650 so well that it appears to be made specially for that phone. I changed the foot posts to the other end of the mount so the retractable side arms didn't touch the side buttons. The side arms are cushioned for better grip. The cushions combined with the egrips I have on my phone make for a very secure combination. I used generic egrips because the custom 650 egrips are not available yet. I highly recommend egrips.

    [Cont'd in next post]
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  9.    #9  
    [cont'd from previous post]

    This final picture shows the 650 in the auto mount and the wired remote. I'm very pleased with the installation.

    A final word about car kits: I decided to install the car adapter for my previous phone (Samsung I300) after I unintentionally ran a red light while I had the phone up to my ear. Luckily for me, it happened late at night, and the car in front of me, ready to make a left turn (with right of way), somehow realized I wasn't stopping and waited to turn. There's something about having a phone to our ears that takes our attention from everything else (you may not realize it but it happens to you too). After that, I figured my life/health is worth more than $300-400 extra for a car adapter.

    The drawback of a car adapter like the one I had for my I300 is that it's phone-specific, and it increases the replacement cost for a new phone (phone price + car adapter price + installation). However, with Bluetooth, that's no longer an issue (you don't have to replace the car adapter if you replace the phone, as long as your new phone has Bluetooth).

    Headphones can be an adequate substitute as long as you drive with them in place, to avoid having to look for them and stablish connection while rushing to get the call and driving 70mph.

    I strongly recommend the use of a car adapter or headphones even if your state law doesn't require it. For some of us, buying a $600 phone may be a bit of indulgement and gadget fever, but car adapters/headphones are a matter of safety.
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    Last edited by adiascar; 12/10/2004 at 11:16 AM.
  10. #10  
    This is great news! I have an HCB-30 and I want to use it with my 650 when it shows up.

    Another great option to consider with this handsfree kit is to get the stereo adapter cable. With this installed between the handsfree unit and your stereo head unit, an incoming call mutes the radio and routes the call output to the car's speakers. Very nice, and no little speaker box for the handsfree unit. There is a generic cable that SonyEricsson sells that may require rewiring to work with some head units, but there are also third-party cables that you can find for specific head units. I bought the latter and it worked with no problems.
  11.    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by jimf
    there are also third-party cables that you can find for specific head units.
    Can you give some links to get those cables? I'm curious to see if there's one for my system.
  12. #12  
    adiascar - thanks so much for the write-up and the photos - that was great
    Palm Pilot 1000 -> Sprint TP-3000 -> Treo 300 -> Treo 650
  13. #13  
    Yeah nice! Nice install as well - did you do it your self or have someone do it? Rough cost if third party install?
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by adiascar
    Can you give some links to get those cables? I'm curious to see if there's one for my system.
    I bought mine from these guys:

    http://www.handsfree4cars.co.uk

    I'm sure there are others out there if they don't have what you need. Basically, you need to match the handsfree unit model to the stereo headunit model in your car.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by adiascar
    Hi folks,
    Everything I tried worked perfectly. These are the things I tried successfully:
    Adiascar,

    I don't mean to rain on your parade, but one thing you didn't mention trying that the car kit claims to be able to do is make a call from the car kit using your bluetooth phone. I don't think that will work right now, for two reasons:
    • Defect in the Treo 650 (apparently acknowledged by PalmOne and being worked on) that a bluetooth car kit can't initiate a connection to the Treo -- Treo has to initiate
    • You may need a bluetooth compatible voice dialing program on the Treo 650, and so far I don't believe any have claimed this feature yet


    The good news is that both problems are likely to be fixed, and it sounds like you're happy with the capabilities you have. However, I believe most people's main problem with bluetooth car kits have been in initiating connections from the car kit to the phone, not the other way around.

    John
  16. #16  
    Good point. This is a general PalmOS Bluetooth limitation (no external BT connection initialization), not specific to the Treo 650, but unless PalmSource has fixed this in 5.4, it would mean that the handsfree unit could not initiate a call. Could you give this a try and report back, Adiascar?
  17.    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by robotron
    Rough cost if third party install?
    I had it done for $100. I paid an extra $25 to have my previous car kit (for Samsung I300) uninstalled.
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDiamant
    I don't mean to rain on your parade, but one thing you didn't mention trying that the car kit claims to be able to do is make a call from the car kit using your bluetooth phone.
    Don't worry about my parade, I'm still a pretty happy camper.

    To be fair, the car kit claim to support call initiation is conditioned to the phone's support of voice dialing. We all know our beloved 650 doesn't support that natively.

    Indeed, there is no way to initiate a call from the car kit. When I hit the "call" button on the wired remote, I can see the 650's bluetooth icon turn to opposite colors (blue on white instead of white on blue), but nothing else happens. So it seems like the car kit is doing its part (sending an "initiate call" command), it's just that the 650 doesn't know what to do about it.

    The reason I'm still a happy camper is because this is nothing different than what I had to do before. To initiate a call using my I300 and its car kit, I had to take the phone out and place it in the cradle. So I initiate calls the same as before (placing the 650 in the PDA car mount just for easy access). Receiving calls is a lot more convenient because I don't have to place the phone anywhere to answer, I just hit the "call" button on the wired remote.
  18. #18  
    Hey. I think I will get one of these. Few other qeustions:

    1) How is the PDA AUto Mount Mounted - sticker? Screwed in to car dashg - I have an AUdi A6 and hate the idea of mucking up my dash with screws or glue...

    2) Did u have to have any holes or other permanent stuff done to get the remote control on the center console mounted?
  19.    #19  
    1) I share your reluctancy to make any permanent modifications to my car. I have the PDA mount screwed to a universal mount that is screwed underneath the panel. I think it uses screws that are already there. Talk to a professional installer, they should have those laying around. I can take it apart and post pictures if you need me to.

    2) The remote control has a sticker on the backside. They used that sticker to affix the remote to the panel.
  20. #20  
    I use ProClip dash mounts for my PDA/phone. They are "non-destructive" mounts, either clip-on or sticky mounts, depending on what type you get. The sticky stuff comes off with a bit of Goo Gone or similar degreasing cleaner. I stuck the HCB-30 remote control on the side of my phone dash mount.
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