Author Topic: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner  (Read 675 times)

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Online DaleReid

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Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« on: September 05, 2019, 05:37:08 PM »
I wasn't sure if this was in Chit-Chat or other tech questions so to be safe I stuck it here.

With so many here having a lot of experience with all things electrical and technical, I thought I'd give this a shot to see if I can find a solution.

I have an older 2004 Subaru Outback which is just fine, solid, runs well, my dogs and I like it and it is a truck for hauling things my wife won't let near the Honda.

I have an AM-FM radio, plus a CD player.  My youngest son loves his music, and the CD player allows a choice for us over broadcast or even Sirius with the FM tuner addition.

On vacation last year I saw a review in USA Today about a (surprisingly cheap) gizmo that would plug into what most would call a cigarette lighter plug, that allowed communication with your cellular phone and a function to play .mp3s and other sources of music on a chip through a changable, selectable FM frequency.

This way the CDs wouldn't get scratched as  my son, who has some disabilities, swapped them out.  Simple, just put each of his CDs or other chosen music into separate folders on the chip and jump around.

Turns out that once in a directory, there is no way to jump back up and select another to play.  I posted several questions on Amazon about how to do this (seems like a pretty basic, required, function) and every time I got back that it just didn't work that way.  There was no way to navigate to a desired directory, and once there to step back up and choose another.  Or repeat the song if you'd just played it.

All the ones I've seen on Amazon seem to be about the same design, to have different names but slight changes in layout, so buying another one (although admittedly cheap) would not be the right thing to try while I search for the one that works well.

So, to the group of technically savvy folks or those who like bright shiny objects:

Is there a car device which will play, though selectable FM frequencies to the radio, music stored on a micro chip or other source, all the music in a directory, and allow navigation through the folders to find and play the music you'd like?

Thanks.
Dale
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Offline CW2274

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2019, 06:17:54 PM »
I know this doesn't answer your question (someone will), but your request reminded me of the mid 70's when I couldn't yet afford a true FM stereo radio for my mom's car, I got one of those FM adapters that plugged into the AM radio and received FM, albeit mono, but was certainly better than no FM at all.

Online DaleReid

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2019, 06:52:58 PM »
I recall the '49 Dodge my dad had (with the suicide doors) that had an AM radio (big deal!) that worked some of the time.  All the jarring and shaking made the tubes loosen up some and never knew it it was going to come on or not, after waiting when you turned it on and waited for it to warm up.  Heck even some of the switches like lights and the blinkers were never a slam dunk to work.

Now we have power windows, power doors, trunk openers, window defrosters, complex radios, satellite transmitters, anti-skid sensors and controls, computers monitoring the engine and so on with little fear of failure, and very few failures to count despite the huge number of vehicles an hours in hot sun and freezing temperatures.

I shake my head in amazement when thinking about it.
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Online Jasiu

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 07:14:46 PM »
Question which may lead to a simpler solution: Does the Outback have an AUX input?  My 2008 does - it's in the console between the seats (along with a "lighter" plug). I have a USB plug in the lighter to power my phone and use a cable to connect the phone to the AUX port. So I can do music directly from the phone (plus Waze and anything else that generates sound).  Less than $20 worth of hardware involved.


Offline nincehelser

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 07:21:33 PM »
It might be easier to get an FM transmitter that also has AUX and Bluetooth inputs, then use an external MP3 player (or tablet or smartphone) with decent folder and album support.

I used to have a car that I could hook up my iPod and control it through the stereo front-end, but the user interface was awful.  It was far easier to use the iPod's own interface.

Online DaleReid

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2019, 08:13:47 PM »
The 04 does not have an aux input that I can find, or a way to toggle to it.  The 05s introduced that improvement, I believe.

I was trying to do something simple and with limited space in the front try to not ruin something like an iPod or iPad.  I actually have an old iPad that no longer is upgradable, so I can't upgrade the security program that work requires, so it pretty much is a doorstop right now.  Maybe I can find a bluetooth adapter to link, but then I have lots and lots of wires for power, but as you say it might give me the versatility I need.  And I agree the interface would be a lot more dependable and he could just poke at the touch screen.

I'll look to see and thanks for thinking outside the box for me.
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Offline vreihen

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2019, 08:35:46 PM »
Double-face tape the iPad to the dashboard and pretend that you're driving a Tesla! :lol:

Seriously though, I've been using Pandora to stream music off of smart phones via bluetooth in my vehicles for over 10 years.  Haven't listened to broadcast radio or satellite in any of my vehicles since then.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Online DaleReid

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2019, 08:39:52 PM »
I know that not having CDs or even chips with music on them would be great.  Your suggestion of the double sided tape makes me re-think the Gorilla Tape Camo that I was thinking of using....

My problem is that the radio is pretty behind the times, since I think this is basically '01 vintage and lots has changed in 19 years.  I have the gizmo that does take the bluetooth from the phone and send it to the radio so I might have to use that (no cost, already got it) and link the phone/iPad to the device and go from there.

Thanks for the ideas, now if I can just figure out a use for the Camo Gorilla Tape.
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Offline davidmc36

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2019, 10:46:20 PM »
I just recently replaced the useless AM FM CD in a car with Bluetooth enabled Media Receiver. Only 100 bucks CAD.

Spotify from phone or whatever has BT to send sound.

Also has USB and Audio input on front panel. Just plug stick into USB with music on it.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 10:48:10 PM by davidmc36 »

Online DaleReid

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2019, 08:02:03 AM »
Dave,
the number of units on the market seems a bit overwhelming.  Other than being able to fit the dash cutout for a radio, my needs would be to do am/fm, and plug in a USB or such.

Would you care sharing what make and model of unit you selected and it sounds as if it works for you and are happy with it.  Thanks for your idea of pulling the old radio and putting in something fresh.
Dale
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Offline davidmc36

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2019, 08:59:36 AM »
This is the one I got.

https://www.crutchfield.ca/p_113KMBT325/Kenwood-KMM-BT325U.html?tp=73156

I got it there at Crutchfield. Only Boo Boo was getting the full adapter kit. The plastic part was for removing a double DIN and installing this little single.

JUST the wire adapters was all I really needed. So whatever is proper for you..........

The unit is very small, only half the depth of regular radios and came.with trim ring so install is clean

Many choices there to get just what you like. I'm sure other sites are out there too. It just fit very well for me ordering within Canada.

Actually a bit of a lie there. I linked the 325 at $139CAD. I got the 225 at about $100CAD

These units also display the station, DJ, artist, song info when on FM radio.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 09:03:41 AM by davidmc36 »

Offline alanb

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2019, 02:15:05 PM »
Some of the older Garmin navigators (like the nuvi 765T) had a built in MP3 player and an FM transmitter so you could play the MP3 playlists on your car radio. I have one of these devices (actually a nuvi 755T) and it works OK, but it was frustrating to find a clear FM frequency where you didn't get interference from broadcast stations. This was especially true when you were traveling. You would get a frequency locked in to play your MP3 files, then 25 miles down the road you would start to pick up interference and had to search for a different frequency. In the end, it just wasn't worth the hassle and distraction.

Maybe that was just the nature of the nuvi or because of the density of FM stations where I live and travel.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 02:18:30 PM by alanb »
Alan

Offline davidmc36

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2019, 05:00:30 PM »
Trying to find clear stations anywhere but way out on the boonies is why I gave up trying FM transmitters.

Online DaleReid

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2019, 05:04:11 PM »
The use of the gnat-powered FM transmitter in a very local device that really doesn't reach beyond your car, but has to shout loud enough to be heard at the rear of your car where the antenna sometimes is, and overcome 100,000 watts a few miles away is a reality.

When I was a kid, finding an FM station with music you liked was tough.  But now if one just plays with the scan button on the radio it seems every slot has been allocated.  I don't envy the FCC engineers doing frequency allocations, especially with low power stations popular around Universities and communities.

I think your observation about frequency crowding is spot on and reflects my experience.  That is why a plug in USB on a radio/amplifier in the dash would be superior.

Dale
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Offline davidmc36

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2019, 06:33:47 PM »
They might work better with the antenna lead unplugged and a paperclip in the back of the radio.

Our spectrum in my area does not miss many decimal points on scan.

Wife pulled her hair out every time I opened the dash of a new car to look for a way to put an AUX input in before they started putting them factory. Warranty Schmorrranty  :lol: \:D/

Offline Bushman

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2019, 07:35:30 PM »
Four dollar Bluetooth adapter from Aliexpress or DX.com  Use BT on your phone to stream everything.
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Online DaleReid

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Re: Device to play music through vehicle's FM tuner
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2019, 07:49:34 PM »
Bushman:
Yet another option I hadn't thought of for a conduit. 
Thanks everyone.  I probably will end up with a cassette player!
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Offline Bushman

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