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Thread: How do I rig an audio-in jack for my car?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2001
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    Question How do I rig an audio-in jack for my car?

    Feel free to refer me to some FAQ.. I am considering using an iPod MP3 player (1/8" headphone jack) with two cars:

    * A 2002 Subaru Impreza (CD only, with no other options--but there is an empty stereo bay).

    * A 3rd-party Sony stereo (in a '96 Civic), which has the ability to use a trunk-changer but there isn't one.

    I'd like to find out if--and how--I can add a an audio-in jack to these cars (neither has a cassette). What do I need to find out about the stereos? What parts might I need to seek out? How would it work--would I need to "select" the input somehow, or simply refrain from playing the radio/CD at the same time as MP3s? I do want the radio and CD still to work.

    I'm not familiar with car stereos, but am hoping wiring could be attached someplace behind the dash, leaving a 1/8" stereo cable hanging our someplace.

    I'd like to avoid replacing any part of the stereo system, and just add this if possible.

    Thanks for any help--right now I just want to know what questions I should be asking!

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
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    Aug 2000
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    Post

    the easiest way is to use an FM modulator-

    intall it in the glove box with the rca inputs exposed, this way all you have to do is plug in your mp3 player and it will send a signal to the headunit

    (you will need one modulator for each car, they are pretty cheap)

  3. #3
    Raw Wave Rob Withey's Avatar
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    My website contains details of how I modified my head unit for a line in.


    Rob
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tips! How is the quality with an FM modulator? I've heard that a cassette adapter has quality issues. Is this better than that?

  5. #5
    I've got no answer! Question's Avatar
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    well both have their problems..

    a) tape adapter - this sounded great when I used it with my Sony head...*BUT*...thanks to that tape adapter, it loosened a few belts and now it plays tapes slightly slower than it should..

    b) FM Modulator - though I haven't tried this, I've heard that it does not sound as good and has static issues..

    hope that helps
    1999 Plymouth Voyager (That's right, big-pimpin' in a minivan.)
    PC built into console
    worklog with pics: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/worklogs/46359-1999-plymouth-voyager-computer-in-console-between-seats.html

    Some of my music: http://www.myspace.com/markquestion

  6. #6
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    I have been using an FM modulator for over a year now and have no problems with it at all. There is no static at all (you are thinking of an FM transmitter). It sounds just as good as a radio station would if you were parked right next to the tower. Since it connects directly between the head unit and the antenna it gives the cleanest FM signal you can get. It sounds way better than tape adapters.
    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/Maveric/ M.A.V.I.C. System
    Asus MB, PII 266, 192 MB Ram, 6.8" LCD, 6 Disk CD-ROM, 21 Gig HD, All-in-Wonder Video w/ TV Tuner, Irman, Windows ME, Winamp, Cobra III -- All in a custom acrylic case.

    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/listings/ MP3car Listings - Please add to it! :)

  7. #7
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    Very helpful! Making some educated guesses, now.... have I got this right?:

    1. An FM modulator solution should work with any stereo at all (if it has a radio).

    2. I just need to figure out where the connection for the antenna is, and insert the device that will provide my line-in jacks.

    Now, getting even more ignorant...

    1. How would I actually use it? Does the modulator let you pick a frequency and then you tune to that on the radio? Can you change frequencies if you drive to an area that uses it for a radio station?

    2. Does the FM modulator need a power supply?

    3. And is an FM modulator just something I can go grab at Radio Shack?

    Thanks for all your help--I'll try to post a full FAQ for anyone else in my position--assuming I go ahead with this.

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate
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    The FM modulator connects to the antenna right where it plugs into the head unit. Most of them can operate on two frequencys set by a switch on the box, and requires 12v, if I remember right I tapped into the head units power and ground. I just looked through Radio Shacks site and it doesn't seem like they offer them, I got mine off of eBay, you can also look around at automotive audio stores. I know Crutchfield.com has some, but they can be kinda pricey (but are some of the best).
    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/Maveric/ M.A.V.I.C. System
    Asus MB, PII 266, 192 MB Ram, 6.8" LCD, 6 Disk CD-ROM, 21 Gig HD, All-in-Wonder Video w/ TV Tuner, Irman, Windows ME, Winamp, Cobra III -- All in a custom acrylic case.

    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/listings/ MP3car Listings - Please add to it! :)

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