Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-12-2019, 01:55 PM
batsto is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Central New Jersey
Posts: 696

Why can't my wife and I talk hands free to each other on our phones in our cars?


The wife and I have the same phone, Galaxy S8. We both have it plugged into our stereos in our respective cars when we drive so we can talk hands free. If I call her from my car, and she's *not* in hers, there is no problem. Likewise, if she calls me from her car and I'm not in mine.
But if I call her from my car, and she's in her car, then she can't hear me at all (although I can hear her just fine).
I don't have this problem calling anyone else, nor does she. The only time this happens is when we're *both* trying to use hands free in our car (mine is plugged via wire into an aux port, hers connects via bluetooth).
Anyone ever experienced this? It's driving me crazy.
I've even replaced the aux port in the car (not because of this, it just stopped working altogether), and the problem remained the same.
  #2  
Old 08-12-2019, 02:05 PM
scr4 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 15,958
An AUX port is input only, isn't it? So when you make a call from your car, are you talking into the phone while sound is coming out of the speakers?

I'm wondering if this causes the phone to work in half-duplex mode (i.e. not transmitting and receiving at the same time), and when the other party is in the car, the constant road noise is preventing your phone from ever transmitting.
  #3  
Old 08-12-2019, 02:12 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 28,970
Quote:
Originally Posted by batsto View Post
The wife and I have the same phone, Galaxy S8. We both have it plugged into our stereos in our respective cars when we drive so we can talk hands free. If I call her from my car, and she's *not* in hers, there is no problem. Likewise, if she calls me from her car and I'm not in mine.
But if I call her from my car, and she's in her car, then she can't hear me at all (although I can hear her just fine).
I don't have this problem calling anyone else, nor does she. The only time this happens is when we're *both* trying to use hands free in our car (mine is plugged via wire into an aux port, hers connects via bluetooth).
Anyone ever experienced this? It's driving me crazy.
I've even replaced the aux port in the car (not because of this, it just stopped working altogether), and the problem remained the same.
Just to get it out of the way, can I assume that you've actually tried calling each other, car to car, in real world situations, that is...driving...right?
The reason I ask, is because if the two of you are both sitting in your cars, in your driveway, testing this, one phone may very well be connected to the bluetooth on the other car and that's causing the problem.

It's not common, but it's certainly happened when a couple, driving close to each other and one thinks their phone doesn't work only to find out later it paired with the other car.


But, as I said, I just want to rule that out. If the two of you are miles apart, and the phones work, while connected via bluetooth, to call anyone else, but just not car to car for the two of you, something else is going on.
  #4  
Old 08-12-2019, 02:42 PM
ZonexandScout's Avatar
ZonexandScout is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 1,591
Just dropping in to mention that my wife and I both have S8s and we have no problem talking with each other when we are in our respective cars. However, we are both using BT connections and I've never tried it when we are both in the driveway.

My first guess would be that the background noise for one car or the other is shutting off the mic/speaker. I know there's some kind of squelch circuit for noise reduction in the system when used with an external mic in a car. My first thought would be to try it when you are both sitting in your cars with the engine off, but "accessory" on, to eliminate the road noise as a factor.

Good luck!

Last edited by ZonexandScout; 08-12-2019 at 02:44 PM.
  #5  
Old 08-12-2019, 03:08 PM
BwanaBob's Avatar
BwanaBob is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 4,161
My wife and I do this all the time with no issues. I should add that by hands-free I mean our phones connect with blue tooth to our car "stereos" and we hear each other that way. The cars have microphones embedded in the rear view mirrors so the cellphone is out of the loop "speaker"wise.
__________________
Go wherever you can be
And live for the day
It's only wear and tear
-IQ

Last edited by BwanaBob; 08-12-2019 at 03:11 PM.
  #6  
Old 08-12-2019, 05:55 PM
EdelweissPirate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 516
Like SCR4 and Zonex, I suspect your problem stems from:
- both phones being on speakerphone (speakerphones are inherently half-duplex), and
- background noise causing both phones to think the person in the car is speaking.

When both of these things happen at once, neither person can hear the other. Both speakerphones can either transmit sound or play it back, but not both at once. When both are transmitting sound simultaneously, neither is receiving any sound.

Ideally, one or both of you would wear a headset, enabling at least one end of the conversation to be full-duplex. That way, at least one of you will hear the other regardless of background noise.

If you try what Zonex suggests—calling each other on your Bluetooth speakerphones with both cars at rest and with their engines off—and things improve, then double-half-duplex communication is the most likely suspect.

Personally, it annoys me to be put on speakerphone, especially without asking. It means I can’t assume that our conversation is private, but mostly, half-duplex audio sucks in a big way. The person who put me on speakerphone can hear me reasonably well, since I’m on a full-duplex device (my handset or a headset). Meanwhile, my audio quality takes a nosedive to the point where the other person is often difficult to understand. And any background noise on the other end interrupts what I’m saying without my realizing it, causing random gaps in my speech.

In my experience, many people put others on speakerphone without realizing that they’re making it much harder to communicate. I’ve been put on speakerphone only to have the person who did so comment on how terrible our connection suddenly became—and this has happened when I’ve called on land lines as well as my mobile phone.

ETA: This annoying feature of half-duplex voice communication is why radio operators say “over.” The idea is to convey “I’ve stopped transmitting and shall now wait for your response.”

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 08-12-2019 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Over and out
  #7  
Old 08-12-2019, 06:18 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 28,970
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
Personally, it annoys me to be put on speakerphone, especially without asking. It means I can’t assume that our conversation is private, but mostly, half-duplex audio sucks in a big way. The person who put me on speakerphone can hear me reasonably well, since I’m on a full-duplex device (my handset or a headset). Meanwhile, my audio quality takes a nosedive to the point where the other person is often difficult to understand. And any background noise on the other end interrupts what I’m saying without my realizing it, causing random gaps in my speech.

In my experience, many people put others on speakerphone without realizing that they’re making it much harder to communicate. I’ve been put on speakerphone only to have the person who did so comment on how terrible our connection suddenly became—and this has happened when I’ve called on land lines as well as my mobile phone.
I've found going back and forth between "What?" and "Sorry, say that again, I can't hear you at all" after every statement will eventually get them to take you off of speakerphone after just a few second. And, if enough people do it, maybe they'll actually stop using speakerphone.
  #8  
Old 08-13-2019, 07:26 AM
batsto is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Central New Jersey
Posts: 696
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Just to get it out of the way, can I assume that you've actually tried calling each other, car to car, in real world situations, that is...driving...right?
The reason I ask, is because if the two of you are both sitting in your cars, in your driveway, testing this, one phone may very well be connected to the bluetooth on the other car and that's causing the problem.

It's not common, but it's certainly happened when a couple, driving close to each other and one thinks their phone doesn't work only to find out later it paired with the other car.


But, as I said, I just want to rule that out. If the two of you are miles apart, and the phones work, while connected via bluetooth, to call anyone else, but just not car to car for the two of you, something else is going on.
yes, we can talk phone to phone with no problem, even in the car. And we're many miles apart most of the time (50+).

We can usually here each other fine for the first minute or two, and then she says she can't hear me any more. But it almost always works fine for the first minute or so.
  #9  
Old 08-13-2019, 07:31 AM
batsto is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Central New Jersey
Posts: 696
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
Like SCR4 and Zonex, I suspect your problem stems from:
- both phones being on speakerphone (speakerphones are inherently half-duplex), and
- background noise causing both phones to think the person in the car is speaking.

When both of these things happen at once, neither person can hear the other. Both speakerphones can either transmit sound or play it back, but not both at once. When both are transmitting sound simultaneously, neither is receiving any sound.

Ideally, one or both of you would wear a headset, enabling at least one end of the conversation to be full-duplex. That way, at least one of you will hear the other regardless of background noise.

If you try what Zonex suggests—calling each other on your Bluetooth speakerphones with both cars at rest and with their engines off—and things improve, then double-half-duplex communication is the most likely suspect.

Personally, it annoys me to be put on speakerphone, especially without asking. It means I can’t assume that our conversation is private, but mostly, half-duplex audio sucks in a big way. The person who put me on speakerphone can hear me reasonably well, since I’m on a full-duplex device (my handset or a headset). Meanwhile, my audio quality takes a nosedive to the point where the other person is often difficult to understand. And any background noise on the other end interrupts what I’m saying without my realizing it, causing random gaps in my speech.

In my experience, many people put others on speakerphone without realizing that they’re making it much harder to communicate. I’ve been put on speakerphone only to have the person who did so comment on how terrible our connection suddenly became—and this has happened when I’ve called on land lines as well as my mobile phone.

ETA: This annoying feature of half-duplex voice communication is why radio operators say “over.” The idea is to convey “I’ve stopped transmitting and shall now wait for your response.”
Well, the only one generally on speakerphone is the wife, who knows I'm almost certainly in the car alone. Every now and then I may have one of the kids with me, but this is almost exclusively me calling her on the way home from work.

And if I disconnect the aux port from the stereo, and just put the phone directly on speakerphone, she can suddenly hear me just fine. But because of road noise, I can't hear her that well through just the phone's speaker, which is why I prefer the stereo speakers.

And it's *always* her that can't hear me. I can always hear her. Any idea why she's always the one with the problem? The only difference is that she's on bluetooth and I'm not. But if she calls her sister in her own car, with both of them on bluetooth, there's no problem. It seems to only be my phone to her phone, when we're both hands free in the car.
  #10  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:36 PM
Doug K. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Hutchinson, KS
Posts: 3,968
Quote:
Originally Posted by batsto View Post
Well, the only one generally on speakerphone is the wife, who knows I'm almost certainly in the car alone. Every now and then I may have one of the kids with me, but this is almost exclusively me calling her on the way home from work.

And if I disconnect the aux port from the stereo, and just put the phone directly on speakerphone, she can suddenly hear me just fine. But because of road noise, I can't hear her that well through just the phone's speaker, which is why I prefer the stereo speakers.

And it's *always* her that can't hear me. I can always hear her. Any idea why she's always the one with the problem? The only difference is that she's on bluetooth and I'm not. But if she calls her sister in her own car, with both of them on bluetooth, there's no problem. It seems to only be my phone to her phone, when we're both hands free in the car.
My guess is that when you plug into the aux port that the built in mike on your phone gets shut off. You may need to use a cable like this.
  #11  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:43 PM
BigT's Avatar
BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 36,455
I use speakerphone all the time, and I've never had any problem with it being half duplex. We can even both being speakerphone. We're always going to be "taking turns" in talking, with even interruptions being in those little pauses between phrases or clauses.

I think that, if half duplex didn't work well enough for most people, they would have a better solution by now, like using noise cancelling to remove the speaker's audio and stop any feedback loop.

Privacy is, of course, a different issue. I'm not going to take a call on speakerphone if other people are around and I can't go out of earshot.

Last edited by BigT; 08-13-2019 at 12:45 PM.
  #12  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:47 PM
scr4 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 15,958
Quote:
Originally Posted by batsto View Post
Well, the only one generally on speakerphone is the wife, who knows I'm almost certainly in the car alone. Every now and then I may have one of the kids with me, but this is almost exclusively me calling her on the way home from work.

And if I disconnect the aux port from the stereo, and just put the phone directly on speakerphone, she can suddenly hear me just fine. But because of road noise, I can't hear her that well through just the phone's speaker, which is why I prefer the stereo speakers.

And it's *always* her that can't hear me. I can always hear her. Any idea why she's always the one with the problem? The only difference is that she's on bluetooth and I'm not. But if she calls her sister in her own car, with both of them on bluetooth, there's no problem. It seems to only be my phone to her phone, when we're both hands free in the car.
This all seems consistent with mine and many other responses you have received so far.

I think the solution is for you to find another way to connect your phone to your car's stereo. A hands-free kit that has its own microphone and connects to the aux port, like this.
  #13  
Old 08-14-2019, 02:29 AM
EdelweissPirate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug K. View Post
My guess is that when you plug into the aux port that the built in mike on your phone gets shut off.
I’m pretty sure Doug K nailed it. And the cable he linked to would work fine with, say, headphones. But the mic on it will be terrible if you try to force it to be a speakerphone. You want either a Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone kit for your car (which can send audio to your aux port) or a headset that incorporates a mic.

OP, standard aux cables have three conductors and cannot carry microphone audio. Doug K linked to a four-conductor cable with a built-in mic, so it should work—but as I said before, if you try to use it as a speakerphone, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Among other things, that mic may produce feedback from your car’s speakers. That mic was designed with the assumption that it couldn’t possibly pick up the other person’s voice.
  #14  
Old 08-14-2019, 03:02 AM
EdelweissPirate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I think that, if half duplex didn't work well enough for most people, they would have a better solution by now, like using noise cancelling to remove the speaker's audio and stop any feedback loop.
First of all, “they” absolutely do what you’re suggesting and have for years. It doesn’t help very much. The problem isn’t feedback—high-pitched screeching—but rather that half-duplex audio inherently mutes one party or the other at all times. That’s the definition of half-duplex audio.

Some telepresence systems use fancier signal processing and do ok, but they typically have at least three microphones with significant spatial separation.

It’s nice for you that you don’t perceive the problems with half-duplex speakerphones. But that doesn’t mean that the people you’re talking to on speakerphone also don’t mind.

I’m not saying this applies to you, BigT, but the few colleagues who’ve routinely put me on speakerphone also have no qualms about having entire peripatetic speakerphone conversations in public places, like while waiting to board a plane. Those guys seem blissfully unaware that they’re pissing off the entire departure lounge, so it probably hasn’t occurred to them that the person they’re speaking to might not like it either.

I concede that half-duplex conversations bother me a bit more than some. But I’m far from alone in my annoyance at being put on speakerphone. Most of my colleagues—not the ones who share their conversations with the flying public—dislike being put on speakerphone as well. It can read as discourteous, especially when it’s done on the sly.

For example: https://peterbrownhoffmeister.wordpr...speaker-phone/

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 08-14-2019 at 03:07 AM. Reason: Added link
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:35 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017