Belkin Tunecast... Impressive crap

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by frescies, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. frescies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    My dad is desperate to play music from his iPod over his car radio. He has tried the Belkin tunecast and some other peice of crap that looks like a mouse, and has expressed his dissapointment with each. So I'm gonna assemble a quarter watt transmitter, as he wants something with serious (illegal) power... way to much power... but oh well, he likes the idea of something illegal.

    So I asked if I could take the belkin and play around with it. Well, after analizing the circuit design and location of the internal antenna, I am humbly impressed. So impressed that I got the chills thinking about the hours of research and electrical know how to intentionally design something to be as sh***y as possible. Perhaps the crappiest mass marketed LPFM transmitter EVER, and certainly the worst I've seen. My hat is off to you, engineer at Belkin, for without your countless hours spent with your head crammed into the depths of your colon, the world would not behold such an example of electronic misshap to use as a reference of designs to avoid.

    If anybody out there is looking for a real transmitter, don't get this peice of crap, for this thing not only has a preamp that CAUSES out of band harmonics (WORSE THAN MY MODIFIED RAMSEY FM10 KIT WITHOUT A FILTER); it picks them up and sends them through the signal. Thats why you get zero range with this POS.

    After reading the similarities with the iTrip, I'd venture to say thats a piece of crap too.

    My advice (and I rarely get worked up enough to give out advice in this manner):

    1.) If you want something practical and mobile, (but will require work to get perfect sound) get the FM10c kit from ramsey (http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=FM10C). This kit is pretty cheap and includes everything, except i think you need to make an antennae if you want one (2.4 ft of copper wire works). The kit comes with all the parts and peices in a bag and should take you less than 3 hours to solder. This is STILL a POS by technical standards, but sounds a little better than the belkin out of the box. However, this thing has some horrid frequency drift. It can drift over the course of a day. If you apply the 1st frequency drift mod, and the power filter mod on this guy (found here http://www.repairfaq.org/filipg/LINK/F_FM10.html) you'll have a professional sounding broadcast with at LEAST a 100 ft range with 2.4 ft of copper wire for an antenna. After that you can apply the other mods on the page, many of which are illegal in some places and many more of which are illegal in practically all places :D .


    2.) If you want something that is impractical and imobile (and illegal), but with great reception, get a 1 watt exciter from freeradio.org. and use a cigarrette lighter to AC outlet adapter for yer car.

    3.) You can also get a "pro" kit from ramsey (fm25 i believe) which requires no modifications, has synthesized frequency setting with dip switches (no drift) has everything you need, and has OK power. You will have to solder, but it comes with the box, antenna and everything.
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    With reference to the iTrip I think your reference is to the old models. I have one of the most recent ones (for 3G iPods only) and it works excellently as long as you are in an area with some space on the FM band. It is PLL locked so gets no drift. Around London it is no use (but this is true for most FM transmitters), but when I was in Austria (the car radio could only get 3 other stations) it was perfect.
     
  3. ibookin' macrumors 65816

    ibookin'

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #3
    The iTrip works even worse than the Tunecast in Los Angeles. Mind you, this was the older iTrip, so the new one may be better.

    I too am quite frustrated trying to get the iPod to work in our Saab. The FM transmitters suck, and the cassette adapter I tried sounded hollow and hard. I wish car manufacturers would ship cars with line in jacks. I believe this is an option on the Mini Cooper, actually.
     
  4. nargot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    it appears that most belkin ipod accessories are junk, there are numerous threads about this kind of thing
     
  5. aaron128 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    #5
    That's quite a hilarious post, my friend. Thanks for the heads on on these POS transmitters. I was thinking of checking out one of these as the wireless options seem too problematic.
     
  6. excalibur313 macrumors 6502a

    excalibur313

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #6
    For $150-$200 US you too can have no loss in quality from your ipod and you can control it from your dash. The bad news is that if you want it installed by a professional it will probably run you an other $100
    http://icelink.densionusa.com/
     

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