Author Topic: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?  (Read 2240 times)

lifejoy

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We have a 2004 Jetta TDI. DH has wanted a device that he can hook his iphone up to and such swanky stuff like that. I don't really know much about technology, all I know is that we tried the super cheap options and they don't work (i.e. put a cassette in the tape deck and plug it in to your iphone). Does anyone mind walking a total newb through the process of getting something installed that would give him better capabilities? I don't even know where to start but I'd love to surprise him!

We recently paid our student loans and he has done nothing to spoil himself... I'd love to treat him to this small surprise!

Sailor Sam

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 09:56:29 PM »
When you select the music thingy of your choice, just read the box to make sure its compatible with is car. You'll also need to purchase the electrical harness for his specific car.

To install, you'll need detailed instructions on how to dismantle the dash. Some cars are complicated, and some are easy. Instructions are usually avaliable on the internet, just be sure you get the exact make and model. The harness installation kit should have detailed instructions on how to connect the wires.

You'll need a soldering iron, and solder to get the wires together. If you haven't soldered before, you'll probably want to watch a few youtube videos, and practice a little bit.   

Frankies Girl

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 10:26:13 PM »
My husband has a 2004 car, and he replaced the stereo system so it has bluetooth capabilities but also has a plug in port to attach a hardwire line to his phone to play through the stereo. You can get a reasonably priced one including installation for under $250-$300. You'll need to see if the car's current dash space is for a single or double deck so you know what kind to get.

He bought his stereo on Amazon for like $200 and then had an install done at Best Buy for like $50. But you probably could just go to some place like Best Buy that does installation of car stereos (and also sells them) and buy and install in one go. It only took an hour or so and you can make appointments even once you know what you want.

Goldielocks

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 10:40:29 PM »
We have a 2006 car without an AUX in... so went with a FM transmitter after that cassette options was just not quite....


We used a cheaper one and smaller, than in this article, about $30 (CDN, less if buying from Asia directly) and ours works about 3x better (clearer) than the cassette option.

To be clear,  it works quite well.  Very Good, even, but it is not the same as in-deck.... but a lot less cost, too.

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-bluetooth-kits-for-every-car-stereo/
The FlexSMART X2ís FM transmitter also performed comparably to our previous pick, the Mpow Streambot Y, when it came to the strength and clarity of its signal. Comparing the two directly, using the same iPhone 6s Plus, the same music, and the same FM frequency in the same location, both streamed music with practically no interference.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 10:42:37 PM by goldielocks »

Chris22

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 10:34:25 AM »
Crutchfield.com has a large variety of headunits (that's what you want) for cars, and they'll sell you a cable adapter so replacing it is literally plug and play.  They have a thing on the site so you can filter to just what fits your car.  A decent headunit will start around $100, and the adapter should be another $25ish.  They will include very easy to understand step by step instructions tailored to your car to show you all the different steps, and they have advisers you can call to discuss before, during, or after the job, or to help you pick out equipment. 

turketron

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2016, 10:52:52 AM »
You may be able to add an Aux plug to the existing head unit without having to replace it entirely. A quick look on Youtube found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6gTb2m4euE

I installed a similar unit on my Honda when I bought it, for about $50 and 1/2 an hour of labor I had a working Aux input that I could hook my phone (or ipod, at the time) up to. For another $25 or so you can add bluetooth functionality via a cheap adapter like this:  http://amzn.com/B00GJFGE0K

Spork

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2016, 12:39:17 PM »

A lot depends on the car and how standard the radio is.  I put a "music thingy" in my Toyota Matrix and it was super easy.  I was going to do the same for wife's Toyota RAV4... but her dash is really strange.  Yes, the actual head unit is takes a standard double DIN, but the stock radio is all curvy on the front with buttons in odd places.  You can buy adapters to adapt the space, but they all look really cheap.

Previous recommendations for Crutchfield are a good start.  You don't necessarily even have to buy it there if you can find better deals elsewhere.  But they'll give you an idea what parts you need for head unit, wiring harness and adapter plates.

My personal preference is to use a usb stick instead of relying on bluetooth or a wired connection to a phone.  Others prefer the phone integration.  It's a personal preference.

I wouldn't worry too much about soldering.  If you can find a wiring harness, crimp connectors will work fine.

Chris22

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2016, 01:03:52 PM »

A lot depends on the car and how standard the radio is.  I put a "music thingy" in my Toyota Matrix and it was super easy.  I was going to do the same for wife's Toyota RAV4... but her dash is really strange.  Yes, the actual head unit is takes a standard double DIN, but the stock radio is all curvy on the front with buttons in odd places.  You can buy adapters to adapt the space, but they all look really cheap.

Previous recommendations for Crutchfield are a good start.  You don't necessarily even have to buy it there if you can find better deals elsewhere.  But they'll give you an idea what parts you need for head unit, wiring harness and adapter plates.

My personal preference is to use a usb stick instead of relying on bluetooth or a wired connection to a phone.  Others prefer the phone integration.  It's a personal preference.

I wouldn't worry too much about soldering.  If you can find a wiring harness, crimp connectors will work fine.

Agreed, I usually look at what they offer (they have good reviews and such) and then buy it cheaper on Amazon, BUT if you do that you don't get the custom-made vehicle specific wiring harnesses.  For someone who knows what they are doing, no big deal, but for a novice, spending a little more for the tech help, documentation, and adapters is, IMO, worth the coin.

Spork

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2016, 01:08:04 PM »

A lot depends on the car and how standard the radio is.  I put a "music thingy" in my Toyota Matrix and it was super easy.  I was going to do the same for wife's Toyota RAV4... but her dash is really strange.  Yes, the actual head unit is takes a standard double DIN, but the stock radio is all curvy on the front with buttons in odd places.  You can buy adapters to adapt the space, but they all look really cheap.

Previous recommendations for Crutchfield are a good start.  You don't necessarily even have to buy it there if you can find better deals elsewhere.  But they'll give you an idea what parts you need for head unit, wiring harness and adapter plates.

My personal preference is to use a usb stick instead of relying on bluetooth or a wired connection to a phone.  Others prefer the phone integration.  It's a personal preference.

I wouldn't worry too much about soldering.  If you can find a wiring harness, crimp connectors will work fine.

Agreed, I usually look at what they offer (they have good reviews and such) and then buy it cheaper on Amazon, BUT if you do that you don't get the custom-made vehicle specific wiring harnesses.  For someone who knows what they are doing, no big deal, but for a novice, spending a little more for the tech help, documentation, and adapters is, IMO, worth the coin.

Actually, I used their part numbers for custom made wiring harness to buy said harness off of Amazon.  I think their deal is that the harness is included in the price.... so when price comparing you have to keep that in mind.

Gibbelstein

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Re: How to put a music thingy in the car as a surprise for my husband?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2016, 05:10:44 PM »
This might not apply to your car specifically, but there seem to be a large number of these types of videos out there for various years/models:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6gTb2m4euE

I'm not suggesting this particular thingy (never used them), but this at least shows you how to get access to the back of the head unit.  There are usually also bluetooth versions of these things, etc.  if you want to be super decadent. =)

Hope it helps.
Chris