Can You Hear Me Now? - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Can You Hear Me Now?

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Photos by Lorie Swaffer
Talking on the phone while driving is illegal in most places. Fortunately, most new vehicles have Bluetooth connectivity built into entertainment/media systems — but for those without such a convenience, there’s a tiny aftermarket device that steps up to the plate.
Everyone has a cell phone these days, but talking on it while driving and held up to your ear is prohibited in most states — and rightly so; we don’t need any more distracted drivers. But missing a call while driving is worse than missing a meal for most people, which is why Bluetooth interaction between your phone and the vehicle entertainment/media system has become a popular feature offered by all vehicle manufacturers. Voice commands can handle phone calls, text messages and e-mail, not to mention GPS directions.

Unfortunately, older vehicles may not have Bluetooth connectivity — and installing expensive, replacement components in the dash may not be practical. All is not lost, however: There are several add-on devices that simply clip on the sun visor and transform your phone into a hands-free device using voice commands. After a little bit of research, I found a nice unit on Amazon — the Sunitec model BC980SA — that fit the bill perfectly. As an added plus, it was less than $40.

a man sits at the driver seat of a vehicle with one hand on the wheel and another holding a phone to his hear
Talking on the cell phone while it’s held to your ear is not only illegal in most states but can lead to dangerous distracted driving. My dinghy vehicle was older and did not have Bluetooth connectivity, so making and answering calls was left to the co-pilot.
the Sunitec Bluetooth module, it's included parts and user manual
The Sunitec model BC980SA Bluetooth device is a great buy at less than $40. Everything needed for a super simple installation is provided in the kit.

The Sunitec device is one of those products without a recognizable name, which means it’s built in China, but it’s a sweet little hands-free Bluetooth device utilizing wireless 5.0 connectivity and is equipped with an integrated speaker. It even has an auto power On/Off feature that detects vibration when leaving or entering the vehicle. It will also support two phones at the same time, and it has “voice assist” so you can send a text or ask Siri for guidance to the nearest fuel station, grocery store or a campground. It comes with a charging cord that can be connected to a 12-volt DC outlet adapter or it can be plugged into a laptop computer for recharging; talk time is about 20 to 22 hours while standby time extends to 100 hours.

As a bonus, if you have multiple vehicles, it can be moved very easily from one sun visor to the next. You can even put it on a table in your RV and use it to participate on a conference call. This svelte device is packed with features and is a real bargain for the money. And speaker clarity is very good.

close up view of the Sunitec Bluetooth module with the included charging adapter attached
Charging the Sunitec Bluetooth module can be done via an adapter that plugs into the vehicle’s 12-volt DC accessory outlet or while connected to a computer. A full charge provides 20-22 hours of talk time and 100 hours of standby time.
back view of the Sunitec Bluetooth module with the spring clip held close to its mount area
close view of the Sunitec Bluetooth module attached to a sun shade on a vehicle
A spring clip is used to attach the module to a sun visor. It’s very small, so it takes up little real estate, and can be positioned so that your voice can travel directly to the built-in microphone. Physical controls are clearly marked with icons and are easy to activate, but the real benefit is the ability to use voice commands and keep your hands on the steering wheel. It even senses vibrations when entering and leaving the vehicle, providing automatic activation.
I’ve been using it in my dinghy vehicle (that predates factory-installed Bluetooth components) for several months now, and I’m pleased to report that it hasn’t even hiccupped once during countless hours of service. The device activates within just a few seconds, and I only have to charge it once a month (unless the car is used more often or I get loose jaws). I don’t even bother turning it off. This Bluetooth device is very simple to pair to the phone, which took less than a minute; it takes about two hours to achieve a full charge.
the Sunitec Bluetooth module sits next to an iPhone displaying the Bluetooth menu screen
The Sunitec module can be paired easily with your phone, taking less than a minute to complete the sequence. Voice assistance from the phone is recognized and the device can be used by two phones at the same time.

There’s no question that this device will provide much-needed safety while driving your motorhome, dinghy or tow vehicle. The biggest question is whether your partner can stand the incessant jabbering.

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