Wolf's Motorhome Modifications

... and Other Stuff

Modifying a MP3 Player

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Electronics get better and better.  Many of the pages here are dated.  Take a look here at how we used to connect to get our email.  So this too, written in March of 2006, will be dated.  This is written when cars came standard with CD players.  A CD holds about twenty songs.  Newer radios can play music off of a DVD which can hold thousands of songs.  A way to navigate around those thousands of songs has not yet been worked out.

Click for a larger imageA new device has become available that plugs into your cigarette lighter socket.  You then plug a USB thumb drive (a memory storage device, a solid-state disk) into this device.  The device searches the memory for songs and then plays them.  There is a very low power transmitter that operates on the lower part of the FM band.  You tune your FM radio to the frequency the device is on to hear the songs.  You program your FM radio to the same frequency the player is set and the player allows you to play your songs over the radio.  The device has play, pause, foward, and reverse buttons.

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The problem is that the player doesn't have enough power to overcome ignition noise or the radio stations using those frequencies.  Problem solved.  Opening the device reveals there are two circuit boards that host a lot of electronics.  There is a single chip transmitter that uses a small disc-shaped piece of copper tape as an antenna.  The copper is about half an inch around.  The solution is to provide an antenna.  I cut off one end of a test lead.  I drilled a small hole in the case and soldered the test lead to the copper disc.  The particular length I used allows me to clip the lead to a microphone holder.  The signal is now strong enough to overcome any contenders, including engine noise.

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