How to Pair Cardo with Sena and Get Back to Riding

I’ll spare you the stories of annoyance on the side of the road trying to connect Bluetooth headsets. Here’s how to connect Cardo and Sena, depending on the model you’re rocking.

After reading this guide, you and your crew will never again be those poor souls finicking with your devices on the side of the road. That’s my promise. If I fail at it, please tell me how with an email at evan@motogearnuts.com.

Is it even possible to connect Sena and Cardo units over intercom?

Yes, Sena connects to Cardo with Bluetooth intercom, but it’s not the best setup. I’ll get it to why further down. Assuming you have a modern unit from the Sena 50 series or Cardo Packtalk series, here’s how to pair Sena to Cardo step by step:

  1. Cardo rider: Open the Cardo Connect app on your phone and go in to Bluetooth mode.
  2. Press the button on the Cardo until you hear it say it’s in Mobile Phone Pairing mode.
  3. Go back to the Cardo app, and tap “Rider A”. Wait… and now you’re connected.

However, this setup isn’t great. While you can flip your friend in to a group of up to 15 Cardo riders all connected via DMC Mesh, you can’t do the same in a group of Sena riders rocking the latest hardware. Cardo friend will be left out to dry.

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You’d hope that since every phone can connect to your headset that every headset can connect to each other, but that’s not quite the reality. Through years of experiences with these magic little devices, long phone calls with friends reminiscing about rides, and too much time on Reddit I’ve put together this guide to make syncing up easy for you and your crew. Let’s get into how to pair Cardo and Sena headsets. 

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Can Sena Pair with Cardo?

You can pair Sena with Cardo headsets, but if you have a new Sena model (30 or 50 series) there’s a more finicky process to follow. 

Older iterations of Sena motorcycle headsets came with universal connections, which meant the would pair with any other Bluetooth headset you used. Anything in the 20, 10, or 5 series of Sena headsets will easily pair with Cardo.

However, the newer 30 and 50 series from Sena dropped the universal connection feature. This has made it just a little but more difficult to pair new Sena models with anything made my Cardo.

Yes Kira the Wolfdog, yes they are.

The good news is that all Cardo headsets have the universal intercom feature, from the cheap Spirit and Freecom to the newest products like the Packtalk Custom and Packtalk EDGE. This is thanks to the Cardo 3.2 firmware update in July 2023. Cardo even added Mesh compatibility in September 2023, allowing for Sena Mesh groups to join a Cardo Mesh group with a Cardo unit as a bridge. Still, the easiest experience will be if everyone in your group is on the same brand.

Here’s how to connect Sena and Cardo mesh groups. However, if the two units “bridging” the groups go beyond about 100 yards, the connection will drop. The Cardo will keep searching for 5 minutes, else the groups will be separated until manually reconnecting.

I recommend you pick up a Cardo Packtalk EDGE or Packtalk Custom – both have 15 person intercom on DMC Mesh included standard, with 12+ hour battery life and are fully waterproof. The best of the best. But if you’re still undecided, find out whether Cardo or Sena is better for you with our guide.

Connecting Cardo and Sena Using the Cardo App (Sena 50S, 30)

There is an easy workaround to make sure you can pair all Cardo and Sena headsets, even a Sena 30 or 50 series device. Your Cardo headset will be able to pair through the universal intercom feature – you can only add a Cardo to a Sena as if it were a phone device. 

An easy way to make this all happen is to download the Cardo Connect app to your iPhone or Android phone using App Store or Play Store. 

Source: Cardo App
  1. In the app, tap the “intercom” option – here you can add two Sena devices to pair up to your Cardo headset via Bluetooth. 
  2. Put your Sena device in to phone pairing mode.
  3. When you get the “phone pairing” confirmation from your Sena device, you then choose which pairing slot you want to add it to on your Cardo app and choose “non-Cardo device”
  4. Both devices with confirm they have been “paired successfully”. Tap the intercom button on the Cardo headset once to confirm the connection. 

Once you’ve established this connection, on the Cardo Connect app, you can tap the “DMC” button – meaning Dynamic Mesh Connectivity – and bring your Sena headset into your Cardo mesh network that supports up to 15 riders. 

It’s worth noting that one Cardo headset can only bring in up to two Senas into your mesh network. If your group has few people with both brands, you should be able to add a couple of Senas to each Cardo to get everyone into your pack. 

This won’t affect your phone connection to your Sena device, by the way. You can have two Bluetooth devices connected to your Sena headset so your phone can go in the first pairing slot and the Cardo in the second pairing slot. 

Pairing Cardo and Sena without Using an App (Sena 50S, 30)

You don’t need to use the Cardo app to pair your Cardo and Sena devices. Here’s how to do it directly:

  1. Turn on both the Sena and Cardo devices.
  2. Put your Cardo device into “gateway” or “intercom” mode. For PackTalk Bold, do this:
    • Change to Bluetooth mode (press intercom button and phone button, top and bottom)
    • Press the phone button (bottom) for 5 seconds until the LED flashes red and blue
    • Press the phone button twice
    • Roll the jog dial until the LED now flashes red and blue more slowly.
    • You’re ready to pair the Sena to the 2nd slot of your Cardo’s Bluetooth (leaving #1 free for your phone or GPS)
  3. Now back to the Sena 50S.
    • Push in the jog dial for 10 seconds – until you hear “configuration menu”
    • Turn the dial until you hear “universal bluetooth pairing” mode initiated
    • Tap the “phone” button once (on the back of the device)
  4. Both devices should say they’ve paired successfully.

To then add the Sena device to DMC mode, turn off Bluetooth on the Cardo device, turn on DMC mode, and it will bring the connected Sena device into the mesh network. 

Pairing Sena with a Cardo Device (Only for 20, 10, or 5 Series)

It would be possible to use Sena as your primary unit to make the same connection we’ve just covered, but only if it has universal pairing. This means you can only do it if you have a 20, 10, or 5 series device. 

It’ll work in the same way:

  1. Set your Sena device to universal pairing – check your user guide to confirm how.
  2. Set your Cardo device as if you were pairing it with a phone.
  3. The connection should be established through Bluetooth intercom.
  4. Switch the Sena device over to the mesh network to bring the Cardo in. 

It can be easier to remember the process to pair Cardo with Sena using Cardo as the primary device since all Cardo headsets have universal connection while not all Senas do. Quick tutorial video here.

Can Cardo and Sena Pair with Different Brand Headsets?

As popular as these two brands of Bluetooth motorcycle headset are, they’re not the only horses in town. There are alternative Bluetooth headset brands that you or your riding buddies might have and you’ll still want to be able to communicate with them. 

Let’s start with a good rule of thumb. When you connect two devices together, one needs to be in universal connection mode – called “gateway” mode on Cardo devices – and the other needs to be in phone pairing mode. 

Since Cardo and Sena have their own Mesh technologies, it’d be worth using either of these as the primary unit so the other one can be taken into the Mesh. Remember though, not all Senas will connect outside of the brand. 

Sena’s to every other Bluetooth unit.

Another good rule to remember when you’re setting up your connections before a ride: Make the mesh connections between the brand with the most units in the set up, then add the other headsets in on phone slots.

Here’s an example: 

  • You’ve got six riders; four with Cardos, one with a Sena, and one with a Fodsports.
  • First, connect all the Cardos together on DMC following your normal process.
  • Next, add the Sena to one of the Cardos using one the phone slots on the Sena.
  • Then, add the Fodsports headset to another Cardo using one of the phone slots.
  • Once the Sena and Fodsports are connected, the Cardo headset can change from Bluetooth to DMC mode and the extra headset will drop into the network, too. 

All the headsets will still work with their standalone functions. That means that you’ll still be able to take a call or play your favorite playlist without everyone listening to what you want for dinner or your Meatloaf collection again. 

And you’ll still have the exceptional range of each headset and Mesh networking.

I still recommend you pick up a Cardo Packtalk EDGE or Packtalk Custom and get your whole group on this standard. Cardo units are made for riders by riders; they are fully waterproof with easy-to-use physical and voice assistant controls, and the EDGE and custom both have 15 person intercom on DMC Mesh included standard. Seamless and easy. Get back to riding!

Golden Rules for Pairing

Sena Headsets with Universal Bluetooth

We’ve covered the slightly annoying and really frustrating fact that the newer Sena headsets don’t support universal pairing. 

It seems like Sena sneaked it under the radar – the only way you’ll notice is if you very carefully read the product descriptions on Sena’s site. 

The Sena 50 Series: Can it Connect?

Sometimes you’ll get told specifically that pairing is Sena to Sena only, like on the Sena 50S product page (1) it says, “Traditional four-way Bluetooth Intercom mode continues to be an option for connecting other Sena Bluetooth-enabled users within a 1.2-mile range.” you’ll find pretty much the same words on the 50C product page, just a slightly shorter range (2). 

When it comes to the 50R, we’re making the assumption it doesn’t have universal connectivity because if it was a feature they’d be sure to tell us about it. Instead, Sena’s website just says (3):

“All riders and their ever-changing riding scenarios will surely benefit from the incredible flexibility and technology engineered into the 50R Mesh and Bluetooth intercom modes.:

You should still be able to pair a Sena 50 series headset to a Cardo using the Cardo universal connection feature, but Sena or Cardo might cut off this ability at any time.

The Sena 30 Series: Can it Connect?

The Sena 30K cannot connect to a different brand for Bluetooth intercom, although the workaround to put the Sena in another unit’s phone slot and then transfer over to the Mesh network should still work.

You’ll be able to connect into an established mesh network through a Cardo headset that you pair to, but if your pairing partner drops out of the DMC network, you will too. 

Earlier Sena Models

The Sena 20S Evo does come with universal intercom! Although not noted in the description, you can see it’s a highlighted feature:

Image Source: Sena

Other Sena products that note the universal intercom feature are (5):

  • Sena 10R
  • Sena 10S
  • Sena 10C Pro
  • SMH 10

You may get some lower specs on these headsets like a shorter Bluetooth range, but if universal pairing is important to you, it may be a compromise worth making. Or just get a Cardo.

Cardo Headsets with Universal Intercom

The Cardo line is much simpler to understand; all Cardo units in the Spirit, Packtalk and Freecom ranges have universal connectivity. This means any headset from Sena or another brand can pair to a Cardo and be involved in the intercom or DMC network between riders. 

Since these are the two most common motorcycle Bluetooth headset brands on the market, even if your Sena doesn’t have universal connection, your friends’ Cardo headsets should fix pairing issues. 

The Cardo headsets with universal intercom are (6):

  • Spirit (and HD)
  • Packtalk Edge
  • Packtalk Neo
  • Packtalk Slim
  • Packtalk Black
  • Packtalk Bold
  • Packtalk Slim
  • Freecom 4+ / 4X
  • Freecom 2+ / 2X
  • Freecom 1+

How to Pair Sedici Helmet Bluetooth

So you decided to purchase a Sedici helmet, and you’re wondering how to pair it. Maybe you’re struggling with Sedici Strada 2 bluetooth pairing. Thankfully, Sedici helmets make use of Sena headsets like the DWO-5, so the process will be similar to pairing other Sena helmets. Pairing Sedici helmet to phone is even easier – just open your phone’s bluetooth settings, put the helmet in pairing mode and connect. You can find detailed instructions on pairing the DWO-5 unit on Sedici helmets here.

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28 thoughts on “How to Pair Cardo with Sena and Get Back to Riding”

  1. Pairing between Cardo (gateway) and Sena (phone 2) worked but after about 15 seconds the connection drops. Not sure which device is at fault. With Cardo to Cardo I could hear my iPhone’s map directions and my passenger’s conversation at the same time. With Cardo to Sena it’s one or the other.

    1. Sorry you’re having an issue. These things are fickle! Which units are you using from both Cardo and Sena? And are the firmwares of both fully updated?

        1. Is that SC2 only mesh? Your issue might be that newer Sena units will only connect to Cardo units over Bluetooth, and even then sometimes they need to connect through a Phone bluetooth slot (which would explain why Carl isn’t able to hear map directions and conversation at the same time).

    2. Eero Virtanen

      I have the same thing with updated hardware. If I had to guess it’s intentional to prevent the connection.

    3. I have the same issues with my srl2 and Cardo Packtalk , l see my Sena on the Cardo intercom screen , l open it and after 15 seconds , l lost the connection ?

        1. I have a Cardo Black and a Sena 20S Evo
          My Cardo is connected as Phone #1 to my bike (A Goldwing DCT) and as Phone #2 to a Bluetooth CB radio.
          Can I still intercom this Cardo with my 20S Eco??
          I’d appreciate your input!!

  2. how do you connect both cardo spirit duo through a BMW TFT to use as a intercom without disconnecting from the TFT and using the app alone

  3. Hi, I have Sena SRL Mesh and SRL Ext for my Shoei helmets. Both are having Universal Intercom Pairing function but there is no way to connect it with that option to Cardo. I can connect it with cardo only using phone slot but after 10-15 second connection is closed. Can You help?

    1. Hey Damian – have you tried connecting Cardo to the phone slot of the Sena devices instead of the other way around?

  4. Ok, I have a couple issues. 1: I want to get the SRL-2 system to use with my GT Air 2 helmet. My friends use Cardo, will I be able to connect with them? 2: I have a 2010 Harley Ultra Limited with a hardwired intercom / audio. Can I use Sena’s Freewire system to connect to the Harley system? If so, would I have full use of the Harley systems? Would I be able to talk to my passenger (hardwired) and communicate via CB to other vehicles? (There isn’t any better traffic info than getting it first hand from truckers). 3: Here is the killer, could I patch into my Harley wired system, AND link to a Cardo group, all at the same time?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hey thanks for your comment! Let me go through and see what I can help with.

      1) You should be fine pairing the SRL-2 to any Cardo systems since it’s based on the Sena 20S, which has universal intercom.

      2) Freewire is likely the right solution for you – you can access music, CB radio, GPS on your Harley though from this video it sounds like no hardwired intercom is accessible. Your passenger either needs a second Freewire and Sena device (full access to Harley system) or just a Sena device paired to yours (intercom only)

      3) Yes, that’s what the Freewire enables! You’ll have intercom as normal through your Sena, while also being able to interact with your Harley systems

      Good luck out there and let me know how it goes setting this up!

  5. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for a great article.

    I have the Harley branded SENA 50S so I’m assuming that the connection will be the same.

    My question is, if I connect to my riding buddies Cardo Packtalk Bold via the Bluetooth slot and then transfer it to the mesh element, do I still have the restrictions of the Bluetooth distance, or do I then get the benefit of the mesh connection distance?

    D

    1. Thank you for your comment, Dion! If you’re using the Bluetooth slot of a Cardo Packtalk Bold, I think you’ll need to stay within Bluetooth distance of the rider with that Cardo unit. But I believe the connection is then carried via Mesh to the rest of the riders.

      So as long as you stay close to that one rider you’re connected to, you should get Mesh distance with everyone else.

  6. Thank you Evan for your tips reg connecting the two systems.
    Even if my Nexx X-Com (Sena 10R) support Universal Bluetooth I was not able to establish a connection to Packtalk.
    What I could do was connecting to one Cardo Device over Bluetooth and then I could join the Packtalk group. Everyone could hear me and I could talk with all other. However my connection was creating a lot of background noises and thus it was very disturbing.
    Even if I lower VOX level to lowest on my sena and I did activate noise reduction.
    Do you maybe have any other hint for me how to join the DMC packtalk?

    cheers Mario Wöll

    1. Hey Mario, thanks for your comment. Is the voice activation not working at all, or is it just too sensitive? Sounds like you’re dealing with a voice activation problem rather than a connection problem. I think your workaround is the right way for the Sena-Cardo connection.

  7. So we paired my Cardo via the gateway to my husband’s Seno 10U as the second phone. I can connect to him, but we cannot figure out how he is supposed to connect to me. Any ideas please?
    Thanks!

  8. My Sena 20s EVO and Cardo Freecom 4+ aren’t having any of it tried via the Cardo app and with Sena as the lead unit and they both claim to be connected to each other but no audio can be heard via either party

  9. Cardo’s 3.2 software is supposed to unlock one button pairing with Sena, UClear, and Midland units. I’m going to try it out on my next trip.

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