4s -> car stereo

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by diane143, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. diane143 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    This is my thread from a long time ago http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=14834284&highlight=4s+car#post14834284

    This system is working for me except it seems my Kensington cable is finally developing symptoms that others have mentioned. I've tried three different Y adapters in the car and the left side still randomly cuts out (other reviews have said the same thing). I've tried taping the adapter and wedging it in my console or under the mat but it never lasts long.

    I've been poking around all night and have found the Griffin AutoPilot and Belkin F8M118 Vehicle Audio Transmitter. Reviews are all over the place.


    - right now charging and audio is going through the dock. Do I need to keep it this way or can I pull audio through the headphone jack? (If so why didn't i do this 3 years ago?!) Will that affect sound quality or volume?

    - the gps needs to play through the stereo speakers else I can't hear it

    - I have an Otterbox Commuter so any dock solution needs to work with this preferably without an additional adapter cost. The Kensington adapter fits perfectly

    - I don't have BT in the car so that's not an option for streaming. No real desire to upgrade my deck at this point unless I can do so cheaply (under $100)

    - I don't care about using the phone hands free. If a call is that important I'll pull over.

    - No FM receiver or cassette adapters

    Any thoughts? 4s with Otterbox Commuter. I also realize I won't have this phone forever so I don't want to spend a small fortune either

  2. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    When you say y-adapter, do you mean the Mediabridge mentioned in the other thread? If so, any idea why they keep failing? Looks pretty robust to me. If not, could you still get one of those?

    IIRC the dock connector output is line level so using the headphone jack will alter the volume compared to now. However, AFAIK you could theoretically get a car charger, male - male 3.5mm cable and the Mediabridge or similar (or even I guess a male 3.5mm to L & R RCA cable) and run like that with your existing Alpine cable. It just means more cables hanging round the dash cf. the dock solution.
  3. diane143, Jan 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015

    diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    Yes, though I never ended up with the Mediabridge. I first bought one from Radio Shack, and another couple from Amazon. I had forgotten about that one and it does look more solid than what I have.

    I'm not really convinced it's the Y adapter though. It's failing on the single side that attaches to the Kensington cable. If I pick it up and rotate it a bit while it's plugged in, it will come back to life. The left side is what cuts out and I found other Amazon reviews that said the same thing about the cable and they weren't using Ys. I'm only stuck with it due to the old deck.

    The cables don't even bother me because when they work, I can tuck them behind and under the console up front. It's now that they drive me crazy as I have them pulled out so I can wiggle when needed. It will give me one additional cable to plug in though.

    I did see a ton of complaints about the Belkin and Griffins cables but I do think I can deal with it.

    My alpine cable comes from behind the deck and it's not very long, so everything starts back there.

    I can make the charger work with that I have now..... Wonder if I can dig up an RCA/3.5 mm cable to test. Maybe I need a quick trip to Radio Shack today.

    <edit> - so without buying the Belkin or Griffin, I have 2 choices for audio? I can either get a male-male cable and run it into the current Y, or get a longer male 3.5 - RCA - which would eliminate one set of connections.

    Using the Belkin or Griffin would give me no advantage to running my own cables? Except that one of them supposedly allows for calls, which isn't important to me.
  4. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    Went to Radio Shack and found a male 3.5 - male RCA. Had to go through about 6 of them to find one that plugged into my case, but I found one and it works. Cable sticks up further than I'd hoped but I can deal with it, once everything is set I'll run it more neatly along the glove box door.

    Now I need to bring another charging cable out there as when I plug the Kensington it, it assumes everything is going through the dock.

    It's actually cleared up some of the popping noises coming through the rear speakers too.

    Not as nice as just having one plug but if everything actually keeps playing out of both sides I will live with it. The Griffin and Belkin were going to do the same thing - 2 cables into the phone.

    Thanks for the help!
  5. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    Cool, glad it worked out. There are loads of car cigarette lighter chargers on Amazon with USB outs, so that shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like you will have a neat, workable solution when you've secured all the cable runs.
  6. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    Actually, the Kensington unit came with a cig lighter charger that's separate from the cable so I'm good to go with that. I had bought an additional one for using with work vehicles but I put it "somewhere safe" and haven't seen it in a couple of months lol

    Going to try and beat it up this week and see how it does! :D
  7. DJLC macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2005
    North Carolina
    Not sure if this would help, but I just grabbed a Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth add-on for my car from Amazon. Plugs into a headphone jack (or you could get an adapter for stereo RCA input). The major advantages that I see are that it's wireless (and the cig lighter adapter for this has a USB port so you can charge) and it provides perfect Siri / GPS / everything else over my car speakers. Having controls on the dash are a huge plus as well as I don't have to pull my phone out to play music, skip a track, make a call, send a text, etc.

    Check it out, maybe: http://www.amazon.com/Kinivo-BTC450-Bluetooth-Hands-Free-Input/dp/B009NLTW60
  8. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    So then I'd need a female 3.5mm - RCA Y adapter. :)

    I'll definitely keep it in mind. I have another car I'm working on that will need a new deck and I will absolutely get one that has a more updated input. I'm just happy I can make the old Alpine work!

    I have a custom holder for the car so no problems with reaching the phone to change tracks. You know what I really miss though? That little controller you could get for the original iPod. I used to clip it to my key ring on the ignition and control it from there. I love the touch screen but it's not as easy to control without looking so I try to stick with just "next song"
  9. ecschwarz, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015

    ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    I used to use a Griffin AutoPilot with my 5th-generation iPod, iPod touch, and iPhone 4 - it pulls the line-level signal, offers some playback controls (almost like the old iPod remotes), and charges. I ended up using it with a Lightning adapter with my iPhone 5, and only recently switched to a Bluetooth solution so I could use a more powerful charger with my iPhone 6 (10 watts). That could work with your setup and would be relatively clean and the older AutoPilots are available really cheap on Amazon.

    Griffin just introduced a new one called the iTrip Aux with Autopilot controls (that's a mouthful) that takes the same concept and adds a Lightning cable and digital-to-analog converter to the mix, so I'll be trying that out.

    Update: Mine arrived and I found it works quite nicely - still trying to decide if I want to use it in the power outlet under the door in my dash or ignore the control buttons and put it in the console bin... :)
  10. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    Is the iTrip still and FM transmitter based unit? I had an original one and it drove me nuts. I could never find one station that would work for the entire 8 mile trip into work. I went back to the cassette deck. We have a ton of radio stations here.

    I do like the look of the autopilot though!

    Is there anything that works off one cable since the change to the lightning connector?
  11. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    My car came pre-wired with an AUX input. I love it. Simple $30 for the part and 30 minutes to drill a hole and connect it. I combed the office store for a $2 Belkin flat Aux cable. It was the coolest mod to my car.
  12. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    The iTrip Aux (technically iTrip Aux with AutoPilot controls in some documentation) is basically the 2015 version of the AutoPilot - not FM transmitter-based, but rather has one cable that goes to the phone (Lightning cable on the iTrip Aux, 30-pin on the old AutoPilot), and then both charges the phone and has a 3.5mm output that you can run a cable to your car's AUX-in (or a cassette adapter). This allows you to connect one cable to your device to charge and pull the audio signal out. On the charging "bulb", it also has 3 buttons to skip tracks or play/pause. I think there was a limitation with Apple's Lightning program that didn't allow third-parties to use it for certain things until more recently, but the iTrip Aux handles that (although about 2 years overdue for me).

    Apparently Griffin also introduced the iTrip Aux Bluetooth which is just a charger and Bluetooth audio receiver. I suspect they're moving all their car products under the iTrip family for branding purposes, but neither of these are FM transmitters.

    Anyway, here's what it looks like in my car and a closeup of the unit itself:

    Attached Files:

  13. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008

    Thanks for the details! So just one plug into the phone through either the Lightning port or dock? That's how my Kensington and Monster setups were. My current setup is two cables..... But no left channel cutout anymore which is good
  14. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    That is exactly the case - the AutoPilot was similar to the Kensington and Monster products (there were some others, too) with a single 30-pin cable at one end and a charger that has aux out jack on the other. There really weren't any similar product for the iPhone 5/5s/6 and other Lightning devices until the iTrip Aux.

    If you have a 30-pin device, the old AutoPilots can be found online cheap (look for the 2010 version that improves compatibility with iPhones), otherwise the iTrip Aux will probably start showing up at the usual retailers and online outlets soon. I bought mine direct from Griffin because I was eager to try it out.

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