Car Stereo Connections

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:23
ThreadID: 12264 Views:1676 Replies:11 FollowUps:13
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Hi All,

Can anyone tell me of a way that I can connect my laptop (in the car) to the car stereo system. I remember a few years back that you could buy a tape insert that used the tape heads to reproduce the sound from a CD player and the like. So you would be able to connect the line out of your device to this little tape like thing and insert this in the tape player. This seemed to give the car system a line input.
Is this still the way to do it - are there any better options other than replacement of the stereo with a line in unit? Is the quality of the plug in thing OK?

I have moved my home/office music collection to a plug in HDD and now use the computer to play all of our music. So I would kind of like to be able to plug the portable HDD into the car stereo. I do not want to write MP3 CD's as I have 40GB of albums on this HDD system so the best option I think is to make the HDD work in the car.

Any thoughts or help appreciated.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Reply By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:31

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:31
David,

I know there are head units around with AUX inputs, but to save having to purchase a new head unit, the tape insert method is one way, another is to use an FM transmitter and just tune into it. No sure of the quality of these though. I just use the tape insert from my discman when running MP3/WMA files off the laptop, but might look into a transmitter soon.

check out http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/itrip/
AnswerID: 55374

Reply By: SupaMav - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:41

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:41
I have had the tape thingy's and the sound was pretty ordinary. It was a Sony too. One of my mates bought a cheap headunit from the wreckers . . . from a Commodore I think . . . it had an input jack. He just called the manufacturers for the unlock code and now plugs in his iPod for heapz of tunes without needing his lappie.
AnswerID: 55375

Reply By: Member - ramp - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:41

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:41
hi david,strathfield car radio has a system that you can use where you tune your radio into a set frequency and any input say xbox, laptop etc. sound is thru car speakers, its not cheap at about $110.00.its been a while since i spoke to them so i cant give you to much detail. cheers rob
AnswerID: 55376

Reply By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:52

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 19:52
I picked up a wireless modulator from ebay some time ago for errrr can't remember how much...about $15...works well

Or you can get a wired job for about $30. Plug the car radio antenna into it and plug the modulator into the radio, run the audio from the laptop to it, connect it 12v
Tune the radio to the modulator frequency and hey presto big laptop sound.
AnswerID: 55380

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 20:18

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 20:18
David,

Jaycar have a FM transmitter for about $35 works a treat, just plug it into the Laptop and tune in the stereo.
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Reply By: Mark - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 21:43

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 21:43
David,
I have a portable HD type MP3 player & had the same problem as the new car came with only a CD player so the tape interface I had was no good. Bought an FM transmitter made by Belkin who make PC routers etc, very compact and can select 4 FM frequencies which allow you to find a quiet channel to use. Was quite impressed for a $49 unit & the first time we used it my mate in a car in front tuned in as well while we were driving down the F3, he made request over the CB while my partner played DJ in the passenge seat.
There is some degradation in sound quality which you would expect from a cheap modulator but still sounds pretty good. I have used it on the laptop also when playing MP3's & tuning in the home stereo, car stereos work better with these though as they have more sensitive tuners. check the details here:
http://www.streetwise.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=1975&
Also a later model with more freq's & features: www.streetwise.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=2132features:
Dick Smiths also sell them.
Cheers
AnswerID: 55402

Reply By: Member Eric - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 23:52

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 23:52
FM Transmiter is the way to go , plug it into the head phone socket of the laptop , tune in FM station away you go .
AnswerID: 55418

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - David - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 23:56

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 23:56
Thanks all - might drop past tricky dicky and see what I can see.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 00:35

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 00:35
Just be aware that the wireless option is more susceptible to interference from outside sources, the antenna is still connected to the receiver. A good hard wired modulator will disconnect the antenna when powered up. I have both types in different vehicles, the hard wired is better but more difficult to install.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 01:00

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 01:00
I tried the cheap fm transmitters and found in the tropics they go off tune every time you hit a bump (more humidity to affect the cheap RC tuning network). To overcome that would require a PLL transmitter and they don't come cheap.
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Reply By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 00:57

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 00:57
Kenwood, Pioneer and Alpine all sell aux adaptors that plug in where the stacker cable would normally go.

Kenwood one was around $40
AnswerID: 55433

Follow Up By: Michelle from ExplorOz - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 01:29

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 01:29
Ok this sounds good but can the stacker still be plugged in at the same time? I have a stacker in the car and would still want to use this when the computer is out of the vehicle. Do you or anyone else happen to know?
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Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 06:56

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 06:56
My guess is you may be able to utilise an "A/B" switch to run the two aux inputs, much like running to printers through an A/B switch.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 08:26

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 08:26
The lead I have for my kenwood doesn't allow a stacker, but they have another lead that costs a bit more that allows aux and a stacker to both be plugged in and you can select which one to use from the head unit. Not sure about pioneer or alpine, but they may have similar.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 13:49

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 13:49
Nigel,

That is exactly the reason for this post - I think this would be a perfect solution I will contact a radio shop and see what the go is. We have a newish kenwood head unit so I should be able to get a cable.

Thanks very much.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 19:00

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 19:00
I think the Kenwood part number you want is KCA-S210A

I have a CA-C1AX cable but that is aux only (not aux + cd changer)

I have two different models of head unit in his and hers cars and the cable fits both.
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Follow Up By: Member - Nigel (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 19:11

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 19:11
If you grab the car audio catalogue in pdf from kenwoods website it show you a pic of the KCA-S210A
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Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 13:32

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 13:32
The other option David is to just by an MP3 Player for your car. I just picked up a VDO for $251 from Strathfield that plays CD's and MP3s and AM, Shortwave and FM, allows you to enter in song names and search for song or album and has 4x50w hooks up to my amp in the back and sounds pretty bloody good. You just burn a couple of cd's full of MP3's and you've got days of music. The other bonus is because it is Mp3 it caches the songs so you don't get any skipping while going over corrugations (tried it out in dwellingup last weekend doing some silly speeds over rough gravel). Mind you the CD player part of it was usless on gravel, but I don't realy plan to play normal cd's very often anyway, why would you?
AnswerID: 55494

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 13:39

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 13:39
Jeff,

Do you not need to have the MP3's on CD to use the player in this setup?

I have 40Gb around 1200 albums stored on an 80GB laptop HDD that is mounted in a caddy and plugs into USB. I do not want to have to make multi copies of this data or burn CDs if I can avoid it (takes too blooby long and uses too much media - even on DVD at 4.7GB would require 10 disks on CD at 800MB I would need a little over 50 disks). I also really love to be able to hit all play random and even though I have had these albums for years and years it is the suprise of what the next track could be that makes the albums seem fresh again.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:02

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:02
one remaining option is to get a head unit with built in HDD such as pioneer's DEH - P900HDD, but at $4500-$5000 its a little pricey (It is in their Pro range after all). I am not sure if there are other similar models by other brands at cheaper prices. There are also units like http://www.mstation.com.au/ms/products/?ID=165, but for simplicity and saving money, the FM transmitter is probably the better option, seeing as you already have the data stored and readily available.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:12

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:12
I rang today to be told the cable for the changer & line input costs $160 (I will find it cheaper - no time to do it yet), FM Transmitter $65 (I think). iPod $700+ for the capacity. I think I will work on the cable and back down to transmitter at this stage.

I have just started the data backup to DAT now because it has taken me so long to get it uploaded, sorted and arranged I would not be a happy camper if the (touching lots of wood now) HDD decided I had worked it too hard.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!

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Follow Up By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:22

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:22
hehehe

yes, not something one would want to have happen

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Reply By: Wombat - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 15:30

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 15:30
David,

I would humbly suggest that you investigate an iPod. It should suit your needs perfectly.
AnswerID: 55516

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - David - Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:14

Thursday, Apr 22, 2004 at 21:14
Wombat,

Yeah I looked at those however at $700 + for the capacity I want it is a little expensive when I already have so much of the equipment. As mentioned in reply above I am going the cable/transmitter option.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!

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