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  1. #1
    Active Member Seattle's Avatar
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    Default 2018 & 2019 Spyders - Weak Signal and Speaker Crackling Noises

    Has anyone with the 2018 and newer model Spyders (RT's or F3's) who listens to their FM radio (I don't use BT music) experienced the following issues quoted below with their audio system.

    VIDEO of 2018 F3L Radio Crackling & Audio Control Failure
    VIDEO of 2018 RTL Radio Crackling

    My dealer has gone above and beyond the call of duty doing whatever is within their ability limited by the powers of BRP. They've updated the software for my '18 F3L on 8/19/19 which has not resolved the multiple audio system issues. This is my fourth service visit regarding this issue within 18 months. Service tech has submitted another case file to BRP engineering. The BRP customer service database indicates no other Spyder owner to date reveal any other Spyders with this issue other than my grievance. However, I have found at least three people who posted on Spyderlovers over the year who has shared similar occurrences. I've responded to them recently in hopes of learning if they've resolved the issues with their own Spyders.

    Curious how many others have noticed these issues and if you found a resolution to what's noted below. I'd like your help so I can forward this to BRP so that they can create a service bulletin to address this for all who are affected.

    After the latest software update was performed awhile ago, I've noticed in addition to the aforementioned issues that anytime the steering bar is turned left/right, static/stuttering crackle noise emanates from the speakers while in FM station is broadcasting (see video for reference). I brought in my '18 F3 Ltd to have the dealer service department take a look at this issue plus a few other things of concern. In the meantime I have a brand new '18 RT Ltd (sic, three more '18 RTL loaners since this original post) on loan which also makes the same identical staticky noise through the speakers when the steering is turned left/right. I've asked the dealer to relay this to BRP because I'm betting more '18 Spyders with the new digital dash cluster likely has this same issue.

    >Has anyone specifically only with the '18 model Spyder's (RT or F3's) that utilises the new digital display cluster notice if:
    1) ALL their speakers clip on music's bass points, even while at low volume
    2) the FM tuner signal seem is quite staticky and
    3) volume output has to be turned up nearly 80%+ in order to hear it at speeds above 50mph/80kph?
    4) Bluetooth music streaming device volume has to be at 100% and the Spyder volume output has to be set at 90% or higher which can barely heard on 40MPH or above.

    I compared my '18 F3 LTD radio volume output against a 2017 F3-LTD. On the 2017 I set the volume output (tuned to the same radio station AND using a music streaming device playing the same song) at 30% and then adjusted the 2018 to an equal level output. My Spyder had to be set at 60% to be equal to the 2017. I've tried this also with the 2018 models with my dealer's new floor models against the 2017's and reproduced the same results.

    Why would BRP reduce the volume output so significantly for the newly designed 2018 digital display Spyders' where we need to crank the volume output up so high? I've noticed even the bass and mid-range tones in the new models are no where as rich and deep as it was in the former Spyder model year sound systems. BRP has told my dealer they have no intentions of fixing this issue.
    Appreciate your help!!
    “Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter and
    those who matter don't mind.”
    ... Dr. Suess

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  2. #2
    Very Active Member DGoebel's Avatar
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    Bringing this reply from Skups thread about crackling to create better continuity about Seattle's radio issue.
    I replied over there
    "Seattle, I just listened to your video's and will share them with the aircraft electronics engineers I work with. Several of them would likely agree that's it's a wire that should have been shielded or some "bleed" over of other signals swamping the audio signal in the harness or at a connector somewhere. The turning the bars static was horrible. Just to verify have you ever found out where the stations are broadcasting from (antenna's not studio) and tested the radio in a fantastic signal area.
    I'd agree with you that speakers are not your solution, though better speakers on all factory spyders is some improvement sound quality and volume wise."

    They listened to your videos and thought there were at least two different issues and suggested doing some troubleshooting steps to prove/evaluate each issue separately.

    1st the nail tapping on glass during Bass beats issue. One Referred to it as audio clipping (as you did above), usually a signal overloading the next component, ie radio to amp, or amp to speaker. Asked if you had manually adjusted the Bass, Treble, or Mid-range response in the radio's settings. Failed/failing component or bad design is likely if your equalizer settings are at the neutral settings and you're getting that at other than max volume. IF your Bass is maxed out or significantly raised in the equalizer, does it happen if you reduce it back to neutral or just above neutral settings.
    Wanted to confirm if that same issue happens when you're listening to other audio inputs. Means you'll have to try the AM and or MP3 /USB sourced sound inputs. At least to test if it happens in all inputs or only FM Radio.

    2nd the Noise when turning the handlebars or when the Fan kicks in on two different models of Spyders. They were surprised that any vehicle could have that kind of signal noise and pass rudimentary inspection.
    We make/repair/modify sport / light plane instrument panel and avionics packages and test all of their audio capabilities (in-aircraft intercom, ac to ground communications, bluetooth and satellite radio before sending a harness/panel/plane out. Both agree that's gotta be some wiring that should have been shielded and isn't or that was shielded but the shielding was not grounded. Short of a complete disassembly to verify all the proper grounds are actually grounding they both agreed it would be terrible to troubleshoot.
    Sorry that doesn't help resolve it, but Keep taking it to the dealer and keep the dealer working with BRP.
    I am surprised that more haven't complained about this if it's really affecting all bikes.
    Safe Rides,
    David and Sharon Goebel
    Both Retired USAF Veterans
    2013 RT Limited, Pearl White
    Farkles too numerous to list
    See my Spyder Garage
    IBA 70020

  3. #3
    Active Member Seattle's Avatar
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    Dave, thank you for your very thoroughly helpful response.

    Regarding the audio clipping (nail tapping in F3L video): whether the EQ is set to neutral or the bass and treble are maxed (as was in the case of both video examples) and auto volume is set to "High", the bass point clipping occurred on the F3L, but not two of the RTLs. These Spyders only have FM tuners, Bluetooth and Auxiliary options; no AM tuner. My Bluetooth setup hadn't function for the past 17 months prior to the recent software update completed. However, I've observed it's barely audible while riding. If I don't increase the volume on out MP3/USB player to 100% and the F3L's volume output to 90% I cannot hear it. So I cannot provide an answer if the bass clipping occurs with the BT device player, but my guess it's unlikely since I cannot get enough volume output to hear it while rolling.

    Shielding: Here's what one electrical engineer shared with me today: One thing to consider is the shielding surrounding the battery. Power steering, amp, cooling fan… what powers each of these? Battery is a common denominator.

    Have the dealer piggy back the radio via a 12V ATO ATC circuit fuse tap’s pig tails and use an outsourced battery to power on the radio. They’ll have to run a cable from the outsourced battery to the bike’s main battery - thus allowing the steering and fan to work independently and see if this changes anything.

    This all comes back to shielding. Back in the olden days… Cars had to have filters installed, inline to one another, to take out the interference from the batteries. Which, you guessed it, caused a lot of static in the speakers.

    Today I asked my dealer if I could take out their new 2019 F3L to conduct similar audio tests. None of the audio system issues ever occurred on this machine on an hour-and-a-half ride (30 miles) unlike with my personal F3L and the RTL loaners I had each for a couple weeks. I'm curious what's the difference between the two years electrically. The dealer technicians are under the impression that there is no differences other than a few small aesthetic changes. Unfortunately there wasn't any other 2019 model Spyders at the showroom for me to test to see if it's just the one machine that worked flawlessly.

    I am drafting an email to send to BRP later this week which highlight the timeline of issues of concern since the purchase date. I'll mention to BRP how each of these instances were addressed including the technical suggestions you and others have shared with me to troubleshoot the audio system.

    Thank you again for your time and input. I'm hoping there's some resolution in the near future that can be addressed so that BRP can issue a bulletin for all the affected 2018 Spyders.

    Quote Originally Posted by DGoebel View Post
    Bringing this reply from Skups thread about crackling to create better continuity about Seattle's radio issue.
    I replied over there
    "Seattle, I just listened to your video's and will share them with the aircraft electronics engineers I work with. Several of them would likely agree that's it's a wire that should have been shielded or some "bleed" over of other signals swamping the audio signal in the harness or at a connector somewhere. The turning the bars static was horrible. Just to verify have you ever found out where the stations are broadcasting from (antenna's not studio) and tested the radio in a fantastic signal area.
    I'd agree with you that speakers are not your solution, though better speakers on all factory spyders is some improvement sound quality and volume wise."

    They listened to your videos and thought there were at least two different issues and suggested doing some troubleshooting steps to prove/evaluate each issue separately.

    1st the nail tapping on glass during Bass beats issue. One Referred to it as audio clipping (as you did above), usually a signal overloading the next component, ie radio to amp, or amp to speaker. Asked if you had manually adjusted the Bass, Treble, or Mid-range response in the radio's settings. Failed/failing component or bad design is likely if your equalizer settings are at the neutral settings and you're getting that at other than max volume. IF your Bass is maxed out or significantly raised in the equalizer, does it happen if you reduce it back to neutral or just above neutral settings.
    Wanted to confirm if that same issue happens when you're listening to other audio inputs. Means you'll have to try the AM and or MP3 /USB sourced sound inputs. At least to test if it happens in all inputs or only FM Radio.

    2nd the Noise when turning the handlebars or when the Fan kicks in on two different models of Spyders. They were surprised that any vehicle could have that kind of signal noise and pass rudimentary inspection.
    We make/repair/modify sport / light plane instrument panel and avionics packages and test all of their audio capabilities (in-aircraft intercom, ac to ground communications, bluetooth and satellite radio before sending a harness/panel/plane out. Both agree that's gotta be some wiring that should have been shielded and isn't or that was shielded but the shielding was not grounded. Short of a complete disassembly to verify all the proper grounds are actually grounding they both agreed it would be terrible to troubleshoot.
    Sorry that doesn't help resolve it, but Keep taking it to the dealer and keep the dealer working with BRP.
    I am surprised that more haven't complained about this if it's really affecting all bikes.
    “Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter and
    those who matter don't mind.”
    ... Dr. Suess

    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")


  4. #4
    Very Active Member PMK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle View Post
    Dave, thank you for your very thoroughly helpful response.

    Regarding the audio clipping (nail tapping in F3L video): whether the EQ is set to neutral or the bass and treble are maxed (as was in the case of both video examples) and auto volume is set to "High", the bass point clipping occurred on the F3L, but not two of the RTLs. These Spyders only have FM tuners, Bluetooth and Auxiliary options; no AM tuner. My Bluetooth setup hadn't function for the past 17 months prior to the recent software update completed. However, I've observed it's barely audible while riding. If I don't increase the volume on out MP3/USB player to 100% and the F3L's volume output to 90% I cannot hear it. So I cannot provide an answer if the bass clipping occurs with the BT device player, but my guess it's unlikely since I cannot get enough volume output to hear it while rolling.

    Shielding: Here's what one electrical engineer shared with me today: One thing to consider is the shielding surrounding the battery. Power steering, amp, cooling fan… what powers each of these? Battery is a common denominator.

    Have the dealer piggy back the radio via a 12V ATO ATC circuit fuse tap’s pig tails and use an outsourced battery to power on the radio. They’ll have to run a cable from the outsourced battery to the bike’s main battery - thus allowing the steering and fan to work independently and see if this changes anything.

    This all comes back to shielding. Back in the olden days… Cars had to have filters installed, inline to one another, to take out the interference from the batteries. Which, you guessed it, caused a lot of static in the speakers.

    Today I asked my dealer if I could take out their new 2019 F3L to conduct similar audio tests. None of the audio system issues ever occurred on this machine on an hour-and-a-half ride (30 miles) unlike with my personal F3L and the RTL loaners I had each for a couple weeks. I'm curious what's the difference between the two years electrically. The dealer technicians are under the impression that there is no differences other than a few small aesthetic changes. Unfortunately there wasn't any other 2019 model Spyders at the showroom for me to test to see if it's just the one machine that worked flawlessly.

    I am drafting an email to send to BRP later this week which highlight the timeline of issues of concern since the purchase date. I'll mention to BRP how each of these instances were addressed including the technical suggestions you and others have shared with me to troubleshoot the audio system.

    Thank you again for your time and input. I'm hoping there's some resolution in the near future that can be addressed so that BRP can issue a bulletin for all the affected 2018 Spyders.
    Sadly, I suspect BRP will stand their ground and defer to an authorized dealer.

    I am unsure of the details accomplished by the techs. The advice about checking wire harnesses is valid, but as mentioned can be very labor intense, possibly easier to replace the wire harness. Not the exact same issue, but others with possibly RT series have been down a similar path, ultimately resulting in wire harness replacement to solve the problem.

    The suggestion to use a separate battery to power the audio for testing is viable and easy, and is a handy way to troubleshoot / isolate systems.

    Again, not sure what workscope your dealer has accomplished. If it were me, and I hate being a parts changer, I would start by replacing audio components starting first with the radio unit itself. Keep notes and uninstall the components swapped in back to originals if there is no change.

    All the best with it.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member DGoebel's Avatar
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    And what PMK said....
    Safe Rides,
    David and Sharon Goebel
    Both Retired USAF Veterans
    2013 RT Limited, Pearl White
    Farkles too numerous to list
    See my Spyder Garage
    IBA 70020

  6. #6
    Active Member Seattle's Avatar
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    I sent a detailed email to BRP Customer Care this afternoon which also includes the two videos I recorded of the audio system flaws in both my F3L and one of the RTL loaners I had use of. I asked engineering if there any electrical or mechanical build differences between the 2018 and 2019 model Spyder in order to effectively troubleshoot and resolve the aforementioned design or material flaws.

    The 2019 model Spyder I test rode for over an hour putting on 30 miles didn't produce any crackling when the handlebar steering or engine fan engaged, nor any bass clipping issues while tuning to strong or weak FM stations even with the EQ bass and treble cranked at the highest setting. However, it still suffered from the weak volume output flaw especially more so with the Bluetooth music just like the 2018 model Spyders; it had latest software update (v.20.80).

    Whether or not BRP will defer to the dealers is anyones guess. However, I am in agreement it's highly unlikely they authorize (or pay the dealer for the time) to do the labour to troubleshoot as I had shared in my previous comment. If they're willing to let the dealers replace each of the associated audio components to resolve this issue then that's a potential win towards resolution for those of us who are affected.

    I hope that by writing directly to BRP Customer Care it will spur them to consider offering more assistance to the affected customers or if we're lucky issue a Bulletin to resolve it in all affected Spyders. Each of us has invested a lot for these motorcycles that brings us hours of enjoyment (aside from the wonky sound system flaws). "Inaction may be safe, but it builds nothing."
    “Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter and
    those who matter don't mind.”
    ... Dr. Suess

    (\__/)
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  7. #7
    Very Active Member billybovine's Avatar
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    I did not dig as deep as you in the FM issues on my 2018 F3L. My FM radio is useless. It works Ok when parked and not running. Once you start the engine the reception goes all to hell. Driving with FM radio. The station fades in and out. Like I said useless. The dealer did look at it once and was not able to make any improvement. I removed the antenna and clean off the extra loctite. Also found that the antenna base had plastic molding flash partly covering the threaded insert. Cleaned that all up. No improvement. Removed the antenna completely and went for a drive. Funny part is the reception is exactly the same with the antenna attached as without. I have basically given up on the FM radio.

    Now the BT audio is excellent. I go out and start my Spyder. My Android phone connects with the Spyder dash automatically. Without any intervention from me. The last song that was playing the last time I turned off the Spyder, will start playing from where it left off. The volume is excellent as well. Lots of volume at highway speed. Set at about 3/4 volume with the auto volume set to high. The audio quality is also very good. With none of the issues as you have described. But I am in BT mode not FM. Only 2 issues I have are my phone will pause sometimes and the dash will not show that it has paused. Right press of the joystick and playback will resume on the next song. If it starts happening too often a reboot of my phone will fix that for a while. Also from time to time, mostly after a phone update. There will not be enough volume. During playback to the Spyder. Increase the volume on the phone. Warning notification will come up about high volume destroying your hearing. Press OK and increase the volume anyway.

    2018 F3 LIMITED

  8. #8
    Active Member Seattle's Avatar
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    These are really very informative and telling details you've shared with your '18 F3L which may be revealing enough to share with BRP engineering. Mostly in regards to your antenna setup. I'm curious about your Spyder's Bluetooth setup which appears to function decently unlike any of the six Spyders (the four '18 RTLs and my own '18 F3L as well as the '19 F3L) I've ridden these past 18 months. The volume output from your Android phone possibly could produce a stronger volume output than I have from my iPhone (which is also set to 100% otherwise the rider won't hear anything barely at all). The couple hiccups you've mentioned with the music playback and volume output might be related more to the Android OS version being used more than the Spyder in particular.

    I appreciate you sharing your experience so that this can be included in the growing list of the audio system flaws with the 2018 Spyders I'll share with BRP engineering.

    Quote Originally Posted by billybovine View Post
    I did not dig as deep as you in the FM issues on my 2018 F3L. My FM radio is useless. It works Ok when parked and not running. Once you start the engine the reception goes all to hell. Driving with FM radio. The station fades in and out. Like I said useless. The dealer did look at it once and was not able to make any improvement. I removed the antenna and clean off the extra loctite. Also found that the antenna base had plastic molding flash partly covering the threaded insert. Cleaned that all up. No improvement. Removed the antenna completely and went for a drive. Funny part is the reception is exactly the same with the antenna attached as without. I have basically given up on the FM radio.

    Now the BT audio is excellent. I go out and start my Spyder. My Android phone connects with the Spyder dash automatically. Without any intervention from me. The last song that was playing the last time I turned off the Spyder, will start playing from where it left off. The volume is excellent as well. Lots of volume at highway speed. Set at about 3/4 volume with the auto volume set to high. The audio quality is also very good. With none of the issues as you have described. But I am in BT mode not FM. Only 2 issues I have are my phone will pause sometimes and the dash will not show that it has paused. Right press of the joystick and playback will resume on the next song. If it starts happening too often a reboot of my phone will fix that for a while. Also from time to time, mostly after a phone update. There will not be enough volume. During playback to the Spyder. Increase the volume on the phone. Warning notification will come up about high volume destroying your hearing. Press OK and increase the volume anyway.
    “Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter and
    those who matter don't mind.”
    ... Dr. Suess

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  9. #9
    Very Active Member billybovine's Avatar
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    You may know this but in case you do not. Every BT audio device paired to your phone will have its own volume and control setting. When you say that you have your iphone volume turned up to 100%. Is that the volume for the BT device "BRP CONNECT"? Just turning your phones volume up when not actively using your music app will do nothing. Also some apps will have their own volume control in the app. In my case I had to turn the volume down for the waze app, because it was way too loud.

    For my BT setup. I have set it up just the BRP says to do it. Except I just do not plug my phone in. I use BT connection only. The phone is mounted on the handlebars or in my pocket. Depending on what apps I want to use. I will not put my phone in the pizza oven again. All the phone functions and audio functions work.

    Also just remembered. I had some volume issues in the beginning and it had to do with front and fade settings.

    2018 F3 LIMITED

  10. #10
    Active Member Seattle's Avatar
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    You highlight an important point, which I'm also aware of as well. My phone has been linked to the BRP Connect app. However, I play Apple's native music app via Bluetooth. The music app itself requires the volume output to be set at 100% or it's inaudible. The phone's volume itself has no effect on the Spyder's volume output. I haven't much opportunity to wholly utilise the BRP Connect features because it never functioned up until my Spyder was updated to v20.80 last month. What little I could determine isn't enough to confirm similarities to your experiences playing music or beyond that. I have no idea how it functions with any of the other apps.

    If I can ask, does your Spyder still use the stock amp and speakers? Is your EQ set at neutral or is the bass and treble set higher? Do you hear any stuttering while your music is playing whenever you turn your steering handlebar or whenever the engine fan kicks on similarly like my videos reveal while you're listening to the Bluetooth music? I've noticed the dealer mechanic had a difficult time replicate the steering stuttering until I showed him how I turned my handlebar. He was smoothly turning the handlebar left and right without stopping between the turns which doesn't produce the stuttering. You can see within my videos how I'm moving the handlebar to better clarify my words I may not be articulating well enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by billybovine View Post
    You may know this but in case you do not. Every BT audio device paired to your phone will have its own volume and control setting. When you say that you have your iphone volume turned up to 100%. Is that the volume for the BT device "BRP CONNECT"? Just turning your phones volume up when not actively using your music app will do nothing. Also some apps will have their own volume control in the app. In my case I had to turn the volume down for the waze app, because it was way too loud.

    For my BT setup. I has set it up just the BRP says to do it. I just do not plug my phone in. I use BT connection only. The phone is mounted on the handlebars or in my pocket. Depending on what apps I want to use. All the phone functions and audio functions work.

    Also just remembered. I had some volume issues in the beginning and it had to do with front and fade settings.
    “Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter and
    those who matter don't mind.”
    ... Dr. Suess

    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
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  11. #11
    Very Active Member billybovine's Avatar
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    I use the Google Play Music app. It does not have a volume control in the app. Not that I can find anyway. The volume control on my phone makes a big difference on the volume from the Spyder. Just note I am not plugged into the Spyders usb. If you plug in the phone locks and the volume is not adjustable any longer. Everytime I try to increase the volume higher than 60% I will get the notification. The speakers and amp are stock. I have never noticed any stuttering from steering or fan.
    Attached Images Attached Images

    2018 F3 LIMITED

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    Were you having static issues before you installed the LED lights?

  13. #13
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    I have 2 - 2018 F3 Limited and both have the static using FM. Using BT its more rare but occasionally still get it. One has the latest 20.8 and the other has the previous software level, I cant tell any performance difference in the music between the 2 software levels. Overall the volume and sound performance is pretty good but really wish they could figure out that static it does get annoying.

    Thanks,
    TK

  14. #14
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    Has the battery and alternator been tested on these for output under load? Both the steering and the fan startup are high loads, and seems to correspond w/ the noise in the radio. A momentary drop in voltage will cause problems w/ the amp resulting in noise - if the amp is unregulated it will produce less power and cause problems like clipping.

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