Author Topic: Old car stereo hack advice?  (Read 1811 times)

englishteacheralex

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Old car stereo hack advice?
« on: April 09, 2018, 04:48:09 PM »
We have two old cars with CD player/radio stereos and no jack for an MP3 player or a phone or whatever. I gave away my CD collection after ripping it onto my laptop a long time ago.

My mom gave me my late father's 2007 iPod a couple of weeks ago. Guess she finally got up the courage to part with it. Anyway, I'm thinking I want to put my music collection on it and somehow play it in my car for my toddlers. God bless 'em, they are starting to complain about NPR all the time. Given that it's pledge drive season, can't say I blame 'em.

Questions:
1. What inexpensive (<$25) product can I buy to make this happen?

2. How can I clean one of the CD players? I bought a couple of kids' CDs at Goodwill last week and they skip like crazy when in one car's CD player, but they work fine in the other car.

shelbyautumn

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 06:14:22 AM »
You can find devices that plug into the carís cigarette lighter that will broadcast music from your iPod over the radio. Iíd look at Amazon and places like Ross, TJMaxx, or HomeGoods.

Here are two on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0775Y9WBJ/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1523362898&sr=8-7&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=radio+mp3+car+adapter&dpPl=1&dpID=41KnCUJa9-L&ref=plSrch

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B013UTB9V6/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1523362898&sr=8-8&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=radio+mp3+car+adapter&dpPl=1&dpID=41JJcAaKA7L&ref=plSrch

I also searched CD Player Cleaner on Amazon and it popped up with a bunch of results in the $10-15 range.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 06:23:59 AM by shelbyautumn »

nereo

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 12:28:44 PM »
easiest will be what shelbyautumn said; by an FM transmitor that plugs into the headphone jack of your iPod and lets you listen on your car stereo.  I had one back in the day... cost <$20 and worked well so long as there wasn't an FM station on the same frequency.  Sound was decent; about waht you'd expect from FM radio.

Alternatively, I'd make *sure* you have no aux connection into your car radio. Most CD players still had this option, even 15 years ago.  Often it's in the back (i.e. inaccessable) on older models. If that's the case what it will take is a $5 and a few minutes running the wire - a good place is into your glove box.  Google your model number and/or look carefully for the words "aux" printed (often it shares space with another button/dual function).

You can get a CD player cleaner which might help, but sometimes it's just the quality/condition of the CD player itself. The cleaner-disks cost about $6-10 and have tiny brushes which are supposed to wipe off dust from the laser head.  It can't hurt to try (other than costing you a few bucks).

FInal option is just to replace the head unit (receiver).  You can find new units with a dedicated jack for ipod/smartphone for about $45, but you can also find used ones for almost nothing. You could start by asking car installation places what stereos they have replaced they otherwise can't re-sell, or ask bodyshops.  A buddy of mine had his car stereo stolen and he found a basic replacement for $10 that had a CD player and a ipod plugin.

Just Joe

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 12:58:03 PM »
I bought a nice Kenwood head unit for our eldest teen for $50-$60 a year or so ago. Sounds good, USB and aux inputs. Works with Apple products to display music info text and enabling the buttons to change or pause songs.

ketchup

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 01:15:44 PM »
How old is your car? Does it have a cassette deck?  Cassette adapters are probably your best option.  My car (2001) is just old enough to have one in addition to the CD player, but if you're in the 2003~2007 car audio purgatory of too-new-for-tapes-but-too-old-for-aux, your only real option without replacing the head unit (which is not terribly expensive but a pain in the ass potentially depending on your specific vehicle) is probably an FM transmitter.  They tend to suck, but it's probably possible to find one that doesn't.

therethere

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 01:54:40 PM »
I was able to temporarily remove the stereo and solder on a piece to make a new aux jack in my car. Maybe $5 in parts. Works great and no static or extra battery use from bluetooth or radio. You can mount the jack anywhere that's accessible. Mine is down by the ashtray. Nice part is everything looks stock so no worries about someone breaking in to steal an aftermarket stereo.  Maybe there's a thread on the internet for your car?

http://snackeyes.blogspot.com/2011/06/2005-subaru-outback-aux-in-hack-via.html

englishteacheralex

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 02:40:11 PM »
This thread has been extremely helpful, as has some googling. I'm not a handy person at all, but my husband should be able to look at this thread and some of the googling and figure it out.

The cars are a 2003 Toyota Matrix with a CD player and a cassette deck, and a 2009 Mazda 5 with a CD player (no cassette deck; CD player not working well--I saw the CD player cleaners on Amazon, but I wasn't sure if they actually worked).

Several years ago I had an FM transmitter in my cassette deck in an old Corolla. It didn't work that well, though. I was hoping to go with some option that worked better than the FM transmitter (although that does seem like the cheapest and easiest option).

ketchup

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2018, 07:53:11 AM »
This thread has been extremely helpful, as has some googling. I'm not a handy person at all, but my husband should be able to look at this thread and some of the googling and figure it out.

The cars are a 2003 Toyota Matrix with a CD player and a cassette deck, and a 2009 Mazda 5 with a CD player (no cassette deck; CD player not working well--I saw the CD player cleaners on Amazon, but I wasn't sure if they actually worked).

Several years ago I had an FM transmitter in my cassette deck in an old Corolla. It didn't work that well, though. I was hoping to go with some option that worked better than the FM transmitter (although that does seem like the cheapest and easiest option).
For the Matrix, I'd definitely go with a cassette adapter.  They vary a bit in quality (I couldn't get the $12 one from Walmart to actually work correctly), but this one has been great: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DW92IE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

SimpleCycle

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2018, 08:03:27 AM »
Cassette adapters work great - I'd do that in the Matrix.

I have had zero luck with FM transmitters, especially living in a city.  We paid someone to add an AUX to our existing stereo.  It was about $130, but again, that's the big city have someone do it for you price.  I think the part needed was $40 or $50.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2018, 08:08:20 AM »
There's another option as well:  get a replacement head unit.  You can get radio/bluetooth/aux/whatever units from china for ~$20 and fit them in your dash in place of the stock unit.  It looks like the Matrix has a double-DIN head unit, so you'd also get a storage cubby in that same space.

I like therethere's solution as well, although personally, I'd look up the datasheets for the various IC's rather than probing around with a wire :)

Just Joe

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2018, 09:11:31 AM »
I never had much luck with the FM transmitters b/c the bottom end of the FM dial was too crowded here - mostly church channels grouped closely together. And NPR channels.

This might fix that though: https://www.amazon.com/iSimple-IS31-Antenna-Modulator-Aftermarket/dp/B002U5XPBE

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Old car stereo hack advice?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2018, 02:27:19 PM »
Used Casette - 3.5mm on my old 1998 dodge - cheaper if you dont want any money to be invested.
Got a Head unit for my brother - $50 JVC from BB
FM/Bluetooth-I wont waste money over here.

if I am you and decided to keep the car for atleast an year, then i would get a head unit for $20 from wally and not worry about all of above.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Car-Stereo-Bluetooth-Dash-FM-Aux-Input-Receiver-MP3-Radio-Player-USB/765439157