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trinacriabob

Need to buy a small tech-y gadget - help, please

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Hi:

When renting cars, Bluetooth and advanced audio systems enable me to play my own music.

In my car, I never did because I never looked into it.  Buick and Pontiac did not have the MP3 connector in my year, while Chevy did.

Okay, so I ask the guy in the electronic department at a (ahem) big box store how to address this and he tells me about an item that goes into your cigarette lighter and might be called an FM transmitter.  That's because it works on one FM frequency reserved for this task.

Questions:

1.  What is this thing called and does it work well?  Any features to specifically look for on one I could buy?

2.  Does it pull your songs from your phone, recognize which ones you own, recognize which ones are from a subscription to one of the major providers, and use GB of data accordingly?  Or, does it not use data?  If I recall, when in Bluetooth mode in a rental car, I did not see data usage increase.  

3.  Do you know of any of these gadgets where I can toggle the steering wheel mounted audio controls to move up or down between songs?  Or do I have to tap the device, which would be slotted into my console somewhere, to move up or down between songs?

I know this will all be moot on my next car but, for now, let me know about something good and cheap.

Happy holidays.  Thanks. 

Edited by trinacriabob

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1. They only work "okay", sound quality isn't the greatest.... and you have to find a blank station in your area so you can transmit at that frequency.  You're not going to be able to override your local NPR broadcast for example. 

2. Depends entirely on the app you are using to play music. If you are playing music that is stored on your phone, no data usage. If you are using Pandora or Spotify, you'll have data usage. 

3. The FM transmitter devices will not control your phone playlist. All they do is transmit the music. Unfortunately, you'll have to control all the music playback from your phone's app. 

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I use Spotify and Tidal, around 25gb downloaded within those apps locally to the phone, it does use the local copy if present and stream otherwise.

Unfortunately audio quality over an FM modulator is not very good.  Auxiliary in jack would be much preferred.

 

 

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1 hour ago, frogger said:

Unfortunately audio quality over an FM modulator is not very good.  Auxiliary in jack would be much preferred.

 

I did like the auxiliary jack that was available in some cars.  It was available on the Monte Carlo and Impala, and thus a then newish Chevy 3.5 VVT V6 would be under the hood.  They did turn out to be fairly good.

Sadly, it was not available on the Grand Prix and LaCrosse, and item # 1 was getting the venerable 3800 V6 with a cast iron block and heads under my hood, which has served me extremely well for over 10 years.

I'll buy one of these gadgets within a week or so.

 

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@frogger

So, then 2 center stack areas would need to be pulled out - the CD player up above and the area near the cigarette lighter down below.

I'll have to look into this.  There's a shop that does great electrical work and I will need some small dash lights redone.  He has done work for me.

The important thing is that, if someone went this way, they should hopefully be able to toggle through their  music with their steering wheel controls.

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@trinacriabob I looked through the thread in the Forum Frogger posted and while cool that you can do an update yourself, even with Shielded wire there was low engine noise. I would save up and you can get some nice 300 to 400 Android / Apple head units for your auto that would get you modern current. Work great and I honestly cannot believe I waited so long to do it in my SS. Worth the money.

I went to Car Toys. You can also get the head unit, wiring harness, etc. all online and do the install yourself.

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After the holidays, most likely ...

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1 hour ago, trinacriabob said:

@frogger

So, then 2 center stack areas would need to be pulled out - the CD player up above and the area near the cigarette lighter down below.

I'll have to look into this.  There's a shop that does great electrical work and I will need some small dash lights redone.  He has done work for me.

The important thing is that, if someone went this way, they should hopefully be able to toggle through their  music with their steering wheel controls.

You won't be able to control whatever is hooked up to this new auxiliary port with the steering wheel controls (other than volume), but you shouldn't lose existing functionality if you are not using satellite radio.

 

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