Need help picking an FM transmitter & Holder

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by TEG, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #1
    For some background...

    I currently have a 40GB iPod, an iRock, and an Powerbook G4 Ti. I travel accross the county 4 times a year by car, (To Flint, MI, and College) and enjoy listening to my iPod while traveling. I also, sometimes watch videos, movies, DVDs or listen to MIDIs or play games on my TiBook while traveling (At a rest area of course), and enjoy listening to said things through my car speakers. However, in several locations on my last trip, and even in Seattle and Portland, OR (My home and work locations respectivly) I have a hard time getting a good signal from my iRock to my Radio. I bought the iRock a year ago, and it has a problem keeping a stereo signal, sometimes is only sends out one channel, and I don't know why.
    I bought it to use with my Powerbook while waiting in a traffic lineup for a bridge between Seattle and Portland that is under repair and only has one lane open causing 20-30 minute delays to cross.
    I decided on the iRock, because my radio in my POS Ford Taurus is only AM/FM, there is no Tape Deck, and no inputs or outputs I can find on the back.
    I currently use the $40 Belkin Auto Charger w/Audio for iPod with the iRock plugged into the audio out on the charger. But now in Seattle and Portland, I'm having to plug the iRock into the remote on the iPod to get any useable signal.


    Now...

    I'm getting ready for my first trip cross country this year, and am going to buy one of those Belkin Cup Holder iPod Holders to keep my iPod out of my passenger seat (Because my Dad is traveling with me, and I don't want it sliding around all the time) and I figure that this is also time to ditch the iRock for something better... but I'm conflicted as to what to get. But what ever I do get, it MUST NOT be limited to just 4 stations (Used primarily for non-commercial stations, which are heavily used in WA, OR, MT, WY, IA, IL, and IN).
    I'm torn between the iTrip, and Belkin TuneCast II FM Transmitter (The New Digital One). I'm looking for a transmitter I don't have to spend money on batteries for, one I can easily tune with out taking my eye's off of the road, and has a wide range of frequencies to choose from.
    I was all ready to get an iTrip, but have been hearing some "not-so-good-things" about it here and other places. Plus I'm a little confused how one would listen to the music library, without the random setting selecting the file to change frequencies, and then taking time to fix it.
    I'm looking at the TuneCast II because I can run it off of the Belkin iPod Car Charger (Not the one I have, but the "new one") and you change the stations on the transmitter, not throught the iPod. Also, the ability to put the transmitter anywhere is a big selling point, as I might mount it on the dash to get better signal. Also, its ability to work with other devices (i.e. my Powerbook) is a big selling point for me.

    I'm also now torn (while looking on Apple's site while writing this) about the Holder idea. I saw the TuneDok and liked it, but then I saw the Leather10/15/20 GB iPod Case, and It mentioned something about mounting in the car. Plus, the leather is a little more stylish than grey plastic, and I could use an alternative to the Apple iPod Holder (still with tag).

    I'd like to know your thoughts, alternatives, or is this really a moote point.

    TEG
     
  2. theipodgod16 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #2
    itrip. it has over 100 frequencies, and doesnt need batteries.
     
  3. ExoticFish macrumors 6502a

    ExoticFish

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    The inner depths of madness, aka Kent, OH
    #3
    i second the iTrip, i just got one and as long as you can find a frequency it works great for us users who don't have rca inputs or a tape deck in our car.
     
  4. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
    I have the Belkin cup holder, Griffin PowerPod Charger and an iTrip for my treks along the 401 highway. I like them all, but they aren't perfect.

    For example if I use the smaller cup holder in the center console in my Matrix, while charging my iPod, I have to turn the iPod in a funny angle to keep it from interfering with my drink in the cup holder above and the handbrake... but then again it's only one model of a car and I have a thing about having all controls accessible when I'm driving. ;)

    If you find a good station the iTrip is amazing, but changing those stations on the fly can be a pain also changing stations doesn't work all that well if you have sound check on. It's best to turn the sound check feature off when picking a station, and do so before you set out. You could always have a friendly navigator change stations when needed, :) but doing it on the road would be very distracting.
     
  5. toughboy macrumors 6502a

    toughboy

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Izmir, Turkey
    #5
    One of my friend has bought Belkin's FM transmitter, and he hates it.. He says that in the city, with lots of radio stations around, Belkin FM Transmitter doesnt seem to do its job well.. But you are going to use it on the road, probably in the middle of nothing, no radios etc, so it may work for you.. But iTrip seems like a better choice to me, as it doesnt require batteries.. the advantage of Belkin is that you can use it with other music players like discmans, MDs and etc..
     
  6. TEG thread starter macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #6
    I'm not talking about the original analog Belkin Transmitter. I'm talking about the new Digital version, powered from the Powercable or batteries.

    TEG
     
  7. phrancpharmD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    Location:
    Historic Norcross
    #7
    iTrip

    I'm quite pleased with my iTrip; it took a while to find an unused station in frequency saturated Atlanta, but I finally did. We just drove to Orlando last week (about a 6 - 7 hour drive) and I had to reset the iTrip frequency twice. My only gripe is that while it's not a particularly difficult process, it does pretty much require nearly undivided attention for about 15 seconds, which can be a long time at 80+ mph. Overall though, it works well and I'm happy to have it.
     
  8. Inspector Lee macrumors 6502a

    Inspector Lee

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2004
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    #8
    I've had the iTrip for about 7 months. I use it at home with a Bose Wave radio because it eliminates one more cord. I've taken it on trips to Yellowstone/Teton and whenever I go camping in Northern Michigan. In rural areas it works great but if you are driving in/around a large city (read: Chicago) or find yourself between mid-sized cities, you may experience a signal problem. This usually entails finding a signal only to have it go weak in under an hour because another station is using it. Still, it beats the sh** out of the iRock because you have every possible FM station as an option. Your only other alternative may be to get a new car stereo with an AUX in jack. But this will cost significantly more than 35 bones.
     
  9. TEG thread starter macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #9
    Has no one had any experience with the Belkin TuneCast II? I'd really like some comment about it. Also, could I get more detail on how you tune with the iTrip, like what it intails. I'm thinking about buying with in the next week here in Tax Free Oregon and would really like some more indepth feedback, instead of the sales pitch given at either "The Apple Store" or "The Mac Store".

    TEG
     
  10. ExoticFish macrumors 6502a

    ExoticFish

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    The inner depths of madness, aka Kent, OH
    #10
    in order to tune the iTrip it puts a playlist in iTunes of all the frequencies and so you go to your iPod, go to the iTrip playlist and select a track (frequency) and then when it starts to play (each track is 5 seconds long) you pause it and the LED on the iTrip starts blinking really fast and then stops and then flashes 3 times and then it's set to the fequency. you can have as many or as few frequencies as you want since you can't just delete them out of the playlist if you want which is nice i guess although i left them all.

    the problem is that if you shuffle your whole iPod it will play those files since they're in your library but if you go to iTunes and just deselect those tracks then they won't play and all is well and good.
     
  11. Wash!! macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Location:
    here, there, who knows
    #11
    I just bought the Tunecast II

    It's Ok, but in NY city it's hard to find a clear channel, it has 4 memory so you can select your favorites.
     
  12. TEG thread starter macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #12
    Thanks Wash!! fortunately We don't have that many stations here, just a lot of lower band stations (and the ones in canada can even cut in over the local ones even when you are in the station's studio... Long Story).

    I'm going to head over to "The Mac Store" and "The Apple Store" (Which are just accross the freeway from each other), and possibily CompUSA to get some more opinions, maybe by the end of this weekend I'll be selling my Car Power Adapter with Audio.... You never know.

    TEG
     
  13. dmf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    sf
    #13
    Do Not buy the Tunecast 2. I just bought it. The reason why it sucks is because it has no RANGE.

    I Cannot even sit a foot away from ANY FM Radio and get reception. I had to lay the thing on top of BOTH FM radios I tried on it. It does work in the car, but barely.

    The iTrip has a good range of about 3 feet. Only problem, the first one i bought was defective. So I can't risk buying another, im going to try the monster.
     
  14. TEG thread starter macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #14
    I bought the iTrip, and love it, I just wish it had the range of my iRock. It also might help if they tell you NOT to play the entire station file to set the broadcast station. That one oversight had me fiddling with it for 20 minutes, thinking it was FUBAR. I've instead spent the last two days driving and listening to my iPod... Instead of listening to a local station giving away iPods. Had I listened, I may have one.

    SMEG...

    TEG
     
  15. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #15
    iTrip is awesome. Don't even touch the Belkin....eeek!
     
  16. Wash!! macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Location:
    here, there, who knows
    #16
    I have the Tunecast 2

    That's strange I have one and it works fine for me.
     
  17. frescies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #17
    Ya know... with a soldering iron, 6 feet of 18 gauge wire, and a 10uF electrolytic capacitor and a simple homemade amplifier board, you can get the tunecast I or II up to half a mile range
     

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