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Thread: *iPhone in car set-up question

  1. #1
    Default *iPhone in car set-up question
    Okay, so I want to listen to my iPhone through my car stereo. Simple.
    What is the best way to do this for under $100?

    I know fm transmitters suck. (correct me if I'm wrong) and I don't know how well cassette players work either. There has to be a reasonable option for my iPhone.

  2. #2
    iPhone? More like MyPhone GreggSymington's Avatar
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    what kind of car do you have? Stock or Aftermarket radio. There are aux. input adapters for most cars. Some dissassembly of your car to get access to the back of your radio, not for the faint of heart.

  3. #3
    stock. I would rather just have a messy wired version though if its possible. if its not i dont have too much of a problem going to a mechanic to install something as long as i dont look like a fool

  4. #4
    <disclaimer: I work for a small town car-stereo / home theater store / install shop>

    Your options will depend mainly on the stereo already in your car. You say it's the stock radio. In this case you'll have your choice of FM Transmitter, tape adapter, after-market "Aux-in" adapters for your stock stereo, or the very rare factory aux in jack.

    I'll assume you don't already have a stock aux-in jack, as you are asking about other options. You also mention tape adapters so I'll assume you have a tape deck.

    If you could tell me what year / model of car you have I can look up any possible after-market aux in options there may be.

    pros / cons: FM adapter.
    + Can be no wiring for those that draw power from the iPhone / batteries
    + Simple setup, works with 99.99% of car stereos
    + Cheap / usually available at local stores
    - HORRIBLE sound quality compared to the alternatives
    - Placement of the transmitter will affect fm reception
    - Moving your own body within the car can affect fm reception
    - Real radio stations can interfere with fm reception, making you change settings on the transmitter when you travel

    Pros / cons: Tape adapter.
    + Far better sound quality than fm transmitters
    + no power required from batteries / car/ iPhone
    + cheap / usually available at local stores
    - sound quality not as good as true aux-in cables
    - tape decks make noise as they run
    - tape adapters have little gears inside that make even more noise
    - the gears in tape adapters tend to wear out, making their noise louder and louder as they age, until they break - forcing you to buy a new one


    Pros / cons: after market aux-in adapters / cables
    + comparable sound quality to factory aux in connections (very good)
    + some can control iPod music playback from the stereo (ranges from rudimentary "make the iPod look like a cd changer to the stereo" to full integration), these can often also charge the iPhone
    - expensive, especially those that have to have small computers built-in to translate between the iPod and the stereo
    - require access to the back of the stereo or where the factory cd changer would be located
    - some aren't compatible with factory cd changers, satellite radios etc. and would have to replace the existing factory add-on equipment.

    Pros / cons: factory aux-in jacks
    + best sound quality
    - very few cars have them


    For all of the above the iPhone presents special challenges beyond those of an iPod. The headphone jack is recessed, so an adapter would be needed to connect to anything except the aftermarket aux-in products that do iPod integration (those have an iPod/iPhone dock port cable).

    The iPhone is a GSM phone - hold it near speakers when the phone's transmitter is transmitting and you'll get noise. This can be worse when fed through and amplified by the car stereo.

    Older accessories that connect to the dock port will cause the iPhone to ask if you want to turn on airplane mode (disable the edge / wifi / bluetooth) to avoid such noise. Supposedly newer accessories could be built differently so that no cell-phone interference would bother them. Any sort of aftermarket aux-in system with an iPod cable available now will trigger this message.

    For most people a tape adapter works well enough. Audiophiles will want something clearer sounding. Nobody makes anything specifically for the iPhone yet, but cable adapters and products intended for iPods can get the job done.

    I sell / install this stuff for a living - so if you have questions feel free to pick my brain.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to smilr For This Useful Post:

    exclamation (2008-01-31)

  6. #5
    Thank you so much. I decided for now I'm going to buy a tape adapter and see how it works in my car. I have a Kia Optima and I can't recall the year right now but it's like 2002 or 2003. Not too recent. And if the tape deck isn't that good I'll deal from there.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by smilr View Post
    + some can control iPod music playback from the stereo (ranges from rudimentary "make the iPod look like a cd changer to the stereo" to full integration), these can often also charge the iPhone
    How much do you usually charge for this service ? Just because I know close to nothing about it, it would be really good to know what price range I should look for when getting this done to my car. Mind you, I drive an 01 Civic. Any estimates you can throw at me ? Because there is an advert I saw on my local Craigslist that says he/she will install this in my car for $150. Is that a reasonable price ?

  8. #7
    iPhone? More like MyPhone elsgk2's Avatar
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    Default FM Transmitter or Metal Tape
    I bought one of those BELKIN FM transmitters from eBay. I found one for $60 plus shipping. It works great because it can store two clear stations, and it also has a clear station finder.

    But My metal tape i bought years ago works even CLEARER. I first had to buy one of those headset adapters to plug in the Metal Tape.

  9. #8
    I,ve tried all sorts of fm transmitters for ipods over the years and never been happy with them at all.

    I have just tried one of these http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/FM-Transmitter...QQcmdZViewItem

    I have to say this has been great, the sound has been more than acceptable and once tuned in doesn't need adjustment and the signal is a strong one so can override any station.

    Above all - they are cheap and look the part when plugge into the iphone (a charger can still be used too)

    Oh, and no I don't sell them

  10. #9
    I have a chevy and I used the PIE interface. It gives you the best signal plus I can also hear the callers from my speakers and talk to them via speaker.

  11. #10
    iPhone? More like MyPhone iChopPryde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom q View Post
    I have a chevy and I used the PIE interface. It gives you the best signal plus I can also hear the callers from my speakers and talk to them via speaker.
    So are you serious when you say you find this transmitter works really well cause like you I have used a lot and they are really annoying cause when you go from one city to another you got to be switching stations looking for a good signal, you got to be constantly moving your hand around holding the dam ipod trying to get a clear signal!

  12. #11
    Hey Smilr - You might be interested to know... I came across this hack to a Belkin Auto Kit that allows compatibility with the iPhone.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=333876

    In your experience does it sounds like this hack will work? I've got an 06 Civic EX (with aux in) so this solution would be great for me. I'm looking to set-up a relatively clean install that will charge the iphone, and play audio through the dock (to minimize wiring) the only question left for me is the cradle. I think at least temporarily, I will be using the Griffin iSqueeze cupholder style cradle. That seems most unobtrusive.

    Have you any suggestions for cradles that don't look totally ridiculous slapped onto my dashboard?

    Thanks-
    ba
    Last edited by bad andy; 2008-02-05 at 11:00 PM.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by iChopPryde View Post
    So are you serious when you say you find this transmitter works really well cause like you I have used a lot and they are really annoying cause when you go from one city to another you got to be switching stations looking for a good signal, you got to be constantly moving your hand around holding the dam ipod trying to get a clear signal!
    The interface in connected to my factory radio. Then I plug in the rca jack to the interface and to the iphone. It doesn't use radio staions. It uses either auxiliary or xm.

  14. #13
    iPhone? More like MyPhone
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad andy View Post
    Hey Smilr - You might be interested to know... I came across this hack to a Belkin Auto Kit that allows compatibility with the iPhone.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=333876

    In your experience does it sounds like this hack will work? I've got an 06 Civic EX (with aux in) so this solution would be great for me. I'm looking to set-up a relatively clean install that will charge the iphone, and play audio through the dock (to minimize wiring) the only question left for me is the cradle. I think at least temporarily, I will be using the Griffin iSqueeze cupholder style cradle. That seems most unobtrusive.

    Have you any suggestions for cradles that don't look totally ridiculous slapped onto my dashboard?

    Thanks-
    ba
    Fantastic!

  15. #14
    iPhone? More like MyPhone Loyalty's Avatar
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    OK I've found a thread on this forum that I actually may be able to contribute too !!!!!!!!

    First off let me start by saying that I DO NOT have an iPhone yet. I'm only using my 5th gen 30GB iPod as a reference. I'm very big into modding cars so I have quite a bit of personal experience......

    Here's the deal, any of you have an aftermarket radio DO NOT PAY SOMEONE TO DO THIS FOR YOU!!!!!!! Take this opportunity to learn something about your car and get that satisfaction of saying "Yep I did that myself!"

    First thing to do is get a set of RCA jacks. Personally I have the Apple AV Cable. The reason I have those is because I have a flip up screen in the Jensen head unit I have.....so YES those will allow video (again I'm not sure if the iPhone have a 'TV Out' function like a regular iPod does...I would assume so???)

    Second.....if you don't know how to take your head-unit out search for a forum for the particular vehicle you drive. On those forums I would imagine there should already be a thread about how to take a head-unit out. The reason I say to find a thread about this is because SOMETIMES the entire dash has to be taken out. It's not near as hard as it sounds. If you find a good forum with people that make good How-To's there will even be pics that show you exactly where all the screws are .

    Once you have your head-unit out plug the cable into the Audio In jacks and run the cable from the back of the unit out the back and up to where ever you plan on putting the iPhone during driving. My car has a cup holder right between the 2 seats so I have my cable ran there .

    BEFORE you put everything back together make sure it works . Once that's done put everything back together. THAT'S IT!!!!!!

    In my SRT-4 it took all of about 5 or 10 minutes for me to do this. I didn't have to take the dash apart so it was just popping my head-unit out and running the cable.

  16. #15
    iPhone? More like MyPhone MREY's Avatar
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    ok any ideas for an 04 altima

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    What's Jailbreak?
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    Crutchfield: LCD TV, Car Stereo, Home Theater, Speakers, Plasma TV. That is where I got the USA Spec iPod adapter for my infiniti G35. I did the install myself. Took me a solid hour to pull the dash apart properly.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by exclamation View Post
    Okay, so I want to listen to my iPhone through my car stereo. Simple.
    What is the best way to do this for under $100?

    I know fm transmitters suck. (correct me if I'm wrong) and I don't know how well cassette players work either. There has to be a reasonable option for my iPhone.
    I've been foolin around with wires and modding stuff for a number of years and I personally think you'd be better off spending the $100 on a stereo with an aux in and run a double male plug from the headset jack to the aux in on the stereo. This is the setup I've been using since I've had my 2G from day one.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osLFRLL7qOw]YouTube - iphone handsfree iphone in car setup[/ame]
    Sometimes you can get a free install with places like BestBuy but if not, thet are really quite simple to install. You get an adapter kit specific to your car so all you have to do is plug things in, no splicing of wires etc. Yea, you'll probaly end up spending more like $150 but you'll have a guaranteed connection. If you check out the video there is also one where I've added a charging cable in the same fashion. It may or may not be what you're lookin for but you may want to check it out.

    Iphone 3G, Mac Book, Ipad Mini, Vista, Windows 7

  19. The Following User Says Thank You to ronzo For This Useful Post:

    MREY (2009-08-04)

  20. #18
    iPhone? More like MyPhone MREY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronzo View Post
    I've been foolin around with wires and modding stuff for a number of years and I personally think you'd be better off spending the $100 on a stereo with an aux in and run a double male plug from the headset jack to the aux in on the stereo. This is the setup I've been using since I've had my 2G from day one.
    YouTube - iphone handsfree iphone in car setup
    Sometimes you can get a free install with places like BestBuy but if not, thet are really quite simple to install. You get an adapter kit specific to your car so all you have to do is plug things in, no splicing of wires etc. Yea, you'll probaly end up spending more like $150 but you'll have a guaranteed connection. If you check out the video there is also one where I've added a charging cable in the same fashion. It may or may not be what you're lookin for but you may want to check it out.
    Not quite how I would set it up but pretty friggin awesome
    I'm debating on switching out the stereo the cost is pretty similar
    Thanks

  21. The Following User Says Thank You to MREY For This Useful Post:

    ronzo (2009-08-05)

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by MREY View Post
    Not quite how I would set it up but pretty friggin awesome
    I'm debating on switching out the stereo the cost is pretty similar
    Thanks
    Ya, it's not for everybody. Most people like to have theirs in a center console setup. There's a guy that has a vid on youtube where he modified a miked headset and isolated the mic line to his sunvisor and keeps his phone centered on his dashboard. A really cool setup. I personally love having mine on the visor. I'm so use to it now that at a quick glance I can hit a fav or advance to the next song no problem. But like I said, it's not to everyone's particulars. Probably wouldn't work well in a convertible!

    Iphone 3G, Mac Book, Ipad Mini, Vista, Windows 7

  23. #20
    I use this Belkin set up with my AUX port in my 4Runner. I can speak on the phone hands free through the built in mic and car speakers, ipod music or streaming through the speakers is perfect, and it also turns landscape when I'm using the Navigon app on my phone. $69.99 at BestBuy

    Belkin : TuneBase Direct with Hands-Free

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