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Thread: Stupid iPod questions

  1. #1
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    Stupid iPod questions

    The CD changer on my car has died and my initial inquiries indicate that it is not cost-effective to fix it, given the small amount that I drive. The problem only affects the CD player, so for now I've been using the tape player and a fist-ful of cassettes left over from my last car...at this point I don't even have a cassette recorder on the home system.

    So I got the bright idea of getting an iPod or equivalent and one of those FM transmitter/charger widgets: there's a "lighter" socket inside the console compartment, which is plenty big enough to hold everything once I take out the aforementioned tapes.

    A few questions immediately occurred to me:

    1. Do these FM widgets actually work, in the sense of decent sound quality? (Fry's has the Kensington 'Liquid FM' model on sale, which is what prompted this whole exercise.)

    2. If I'm not mistaken, that power socket is switched. Is the iPod smart enough to realize the power to the docking connector just cut off, or will it keep playing and drain its battery every time I park the car? Me remembering to turn it off every time I get out of the car is one of those things that Just Ain't Gonna Happen, especially since the music will go away anyway when the ignition key turns off the radio.
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

  2. #2
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    Can't answer to the fm transmitter, but my boss uses the tape adapter with the cord that plugs into his player. Worked well the last time I heard it and was something like $2.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    Just a thought here, with electronics getting so cheap, why not have a new changer installed and not mess around with yet another format? No wires dangling out of the dash and no bulking cassettes sliding all over the place

    If you have a factory system you can go to a local stereo shop and see what's available in the aftermarket stuff. Doesn't hurt to check
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Royall Clark View Post
    Just a thought here, with electronics getting so cheap, why not have a new changer installed and not mess around with yet another format? No wires dangling out of the dash and no bulking cassettes sliding all over the place

    If you have a factory system you can go to a local stereo shop and see what's available in the aftermarket stuff. Doesn't hurt to check
    It's a thought...assuming I could find a shop I'd trust to do the installation.

    Just to give you an idea what I'm up against, a used Bose/Pioneer OEM unit goes for about $260. The Acura dealer wants $110 for the removal/installation. I've looked in the shop manual and that price sounds like a bargain: you basically start at the very back of the console and move farward removing stuff until you finally get to the four screws that actually hold the radio in. I've replaced water pumps that were easier to get at.
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

  5. #5
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    Lee, I think that one of the best solutions for you could be the cheapest. Let's say you buy an Ipod. In the package you will get a USB cord that plugs into your computer and the other end into your Ipod. You need this to transfer music onto the Ipod. This cord also charges the Ipod while it's plugged in. Charge it up whenever you're at home, and as for playing the Ipod in your car, as long as you have a tape player in there, I would highly recommend buying one of those Tape adapters (those tapes with the cord attached and an aux plug on the other end that Darren mentioned). I got a nice quality one for maybe $15. That was AFTER I spent money on the am/fm transmitter, and I have not had luck with those at all. Lots of static, cutting in and out, you need to find a radio station that has almost NOTHING else coming in on it (example 88.3, 88.5, etc.) and depending on where you go, not even those stations will be "empty" enough for you to transmit through. My girlfriend's mom got her a really nice Monster brand transmitter for her Ipod and it does work better than mine, but not always perfect. Plus I think the thing was like $100, and I have had much better luck and better sound from the simple ol' tape adapter. Hope this helps, sorry for talkin your ear off

  6. #6
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    Lee, I don't have an iPod, but I've got a Walkman-sized portable XM Radio receiver that I use in the car. It has built-in FM transmission capabilities, but I was never happy with the sound and the intermittent signal. It also came with a cassette adaptor, and I use that with no problems. Yes, I have a wire draped down the dash of the car, but it was a cost effective solution.

    Dunno about the iPod, but the XM Receiver, which is plugged into a lighter socket, is not smart enough to know when I shut off the car. I have learned to turn off the XM box as part of leaving the car overnight. It charges when the car's running, and will stay up for a few hours after the car's been shut off. And if I forget and leave it on all night, the battery in the XM box is drained, but I don't care...it still fires up when I start the car. I occasionally also use the XM unit in my shop, plugged into a docking station, so it gets fully charged when I use it in there.

    I'd love to have an in-dash XM unit, but the audio system on my Lexus is tied into the touch screen on the dash, and I don't think there are aftermarket units to replace it. If there are, I suspect they'd cost way more than I'm willing to spend.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I'd love to have an in-dash XM unit, but the audio system on my Lexus is tied into the touch screen on the dash, and I don't think there are aftermarket units to replace it. If there are, I suspect they'd cost way more than I'm willing to spend.
    I'm starting to run into that researching aftermarket units. There are a couple of relatively cheap receivers that I like*, but then you start adding in things like harness adapters and the widget that lets the steering wheel controls work, and it starts adding up. I made the mistake of leaving my wallet on the desk while I was doing this: the Crutchfield website makes my Amex card whimper.

    *Alpine makes a nice little "un-CD" unit: it has an SD card slot in the front panel to play MP3/WMA/whatever...very trick.
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

  8. #8
    I've using xmradio with the cassette adaptor for the last 3 or 4 years now and it's always worked great.

    Same problem here with the am/fm adapters.

    as of late, I got an Iphone through work with the unlimited data plan.... I've been either playing mp3's from it, or using the free online service called pandora.... you rate the songs you like, choose the artists that you want to 'seed' your collection from, and over time it will end up playing only music that you like. and a great variety too.

    I'm so happy with how it works that I'm cancelling my XM subscription.

    sorry for the long reply, the essence is, the tape adapters work really well, and as long as you're willing on having cables in the car, you're set.

    -J

  9. #9
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    Lee,

    If you're gonna buy something, you should buy what I bought...

    I tried the FM transmitter trick. Complete fail!

    Just to prove what a doofus I am, I decided the unit I had was too cheap, and got a "better" one! Same result!

    So I gave up, and got a new player. It plays regular cds, and plays MP3s on a cd. I can get hundreds of songs on one cd, or several hours of podcasts. It will also read a flash drive (has a usb port), and I can play mp3s off that (2 gig flash drive, 5 meg a song, easy math equation... It's even got an outlet for a patch cable.

    It wasn't all that expensive (less than 200, with free install on special). Now I can listen to whatever I want, and actually look forward to the commute...

    The only disappointment I had was that the specs said it was "Bluetooth ready". What that *actually* meant was that I could buy an additional bluetooth doohickey, and patch my phone through it. Haven't gotten around to doing that yet...

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Lantry; 02-21-2009 at 03:41 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    So I gave up, and got a new player. It plays regular cds, and plays MP3s on a cd. I can get hundreds of songs on one cd, or several hours of podcasts. It will also read a flash drive (has a usb port), and I can play mp3s off that (2 gig flash drive, 5 meg a song, easy math equation... It's even got an outlet for a patch cable.
    I'm starting to lean that way: I'm pretty much convinced that the Crutchfield people actually have all the specialized bits I need to make it work like the factory unit, i.e. faceplate matches dash, steering-wheel controls work etc.

    Still have to get over the mental hurdle of disassembling half the interior to install it: I am not letting some "Geek Squad" guy bugger up a bunch of interior trim that I am perfectly capable of buggering up myself.
    Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?

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