CD changer - what's this strange box?
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  1. #1
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    Default CD changer - what's this strange box?

    Howdy,

    I've removed the original head unit from the Mi in the course of replacing it. Attached to the power wires was a small box a bit bigger than a cigarette packet, with a few connectors attached to it. It's something to do with the CD changer that was in the car at one stage - a controller box of some sort. However, it also has connectors for the radio antenna to go through it (which it was still doing) and a switch marked '88.3 / 88.7'. I figured it might be for different region's FM bands, but the Japanese band is 76 odd MHz onwards.

    So, any ideas why the antenna wire would be routed through the CD changer controller box? Is this how they work - via the FM radio?

    Incidentally, I'm fairly sure the CD remote control was hard wired to one of the connectors and not a radio controlled one.

    Stuey

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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    This sounds like a useful FM modulator to me. These are a way of connecting other devices to your audio system using specific frequencies on the radio. Essentially they cut out normal transmission (obtained through the aerial) on the frequencies on which they operate. The next best thing to an "audio in" input on your car stereo in fact. Many people use them to hook up iPods and the like to car stereos. Another favoured use is playing sound from a DVD or TV through a car stereo.

    You can see an example of the use of this sort of setup for an iPod here. (of course, once you have had an iPod as your vehicle audio source things like CD changers seem like refugees from the 18th century What would you prefer? 10 piddly CD's (say 120 tracks if you are lucky) or 10,000 tracks! An iPod actually costs less than many 10 disc stackers too! )

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by Rod Hagen; 18th December 2004 at 10:20 PM.
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  3. #3
    UFO
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    Hmmm, sounds like a good idea Rod, and you are right about the cost of the IPOD v a CD Changes (and space should be considered too). I suppose then you can leave all your CDs at home too and they are less prone to heat problems. Another advantage is that you don't have to try to fit the changer and get access to it to change CDs (esp with those fiddly cartridge things!)

    As our XM does not have a CD player this is getting very tempting - esp with a trip across to Perth coming up next Easter.
    Craig K
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by UFO
    Hmmm, sounds like a good idea Rod, and you are right about the cost of the IPOD v a CD Changes (and space should be considered too). I suppose then you can leave all your CDs at home too and they are less prone to heat problems. Another advantage is that you don't have to try to fit the changer and get access to it to change CDs (esp with those fiddly cartridge things!)

    As our XM does not have a CD player this is getting very tempting - esp with a trip across to Perth coming up next Easter.
    Yes all of the above, UFO. For people like me, iPods are simply stunning. If you have to jump into a hire car for the trip from Mt Isa to Townsville you can play it through the car stereo even without one of these modulators, either using a little radio transmitter or using a cassette adaptor (depending on what sound system is in the hire car). Then you simply hook in your earphones for the flight back to Melbourne, and listen to the latest audiobook, or music, or the fieldnotes you have recorded using an add on microphone directly onto the iPod or whatever suits your need or your fancy! Hey, I can even use it as an emergency start-up drive for my laptop. Try doing that with a CD changer!

    Even the little mini's will handle a thousand tracks, and a 40 gig number holds 10,000 (roughly a thousand CDs). That is more than enough to get you from Woolongong to Perth and back and still be way less than half way through your play list. The same number of CD's would just about fill the boot! If you have a digital camera with an adaptor you can use them for storing your photos of the trip too.

    I warn you though. These things are very, very addictive.

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by Rod Hagen; 18th December 2004 at 11:41 PM.
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    Craig's credit card is afraid - very afraid...
    Craig K
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  6. #6
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    Actually, the stacker was taken out of the car before I bought it anyway.

    In buying the Sony head unit I was thinking of getting the MP3 version so that I could fit a few CD's worth on one disk, but I'm happy enough with the radio half the time anyway, so i just went for a plain single CD jobbie...

    Stuey


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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UFO
    Craig's credit card is afraid - very afraid...
    Go on, credit card, no time for cowardice! You KNOW Craig really needs one! - http://www.apple.com.au/ipod/

    http://www.mac1.com.au/ - Applecentre Wollongong
    Cnr Crown and Kembla Streets


    http://www.strathfield.com/ - Strathfield Car Radio WOLLONGONG
    85 KEIRA STREET


    http://www.dse.com.au/ - Dick Smith Electronics
    263 Keira Street

    David Jones Wollongong
    Church Street Off Burelli St

    Tandy Electronics
    Shop V02D, Crown Central, 200 Crown Street

    Bing Lee - Wollongong
    202 Keira Street

    Cheers

    Rod
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey
    Actually, the stacker was taken out of the car before I bought it anyway.

    In buying the Sony head unit I was thinking of getting the MP3 version so that I could fit a few CD's worth on one disk, but I'm happy enough with the radio half the time anyway, so i just went for a plain single CD jobbie...

    Stuey
    Even if the stacker was taken out its worth hanging onto the FM modulator. They are "device independent" , so you can use them to hook up other input sources later on if you wish to.

    Cheers

    Rod
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  9. #9
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    Hi Stuey,
    I'm just confirming what Rod has said above.
    This box would be a FM modulator for a CD changer.
    I got a full kit myself a couple of years ago but have never got around to hooking it up. They are regarded as a cheap way to hook a CD changer into your existing car FM radio without having to replace your existing head with one incorporating a CD changer control.
    It is a bit like connecting your VCR into your TV via the antenna cable.
    When you select 88.7 on your car radio you will pick up the signal from the CD changer. There is a separate control unit to operate the CD changer.
    They are made by at least: Panasonic, Clarion and Kenwood. Being a bit of a tightarse I got mine on a special from the now defunct Marlows - including the 10 CD changer it cost $200. I think the other brands were about $400 for a kit.
    The Clarion site has a good diagram:
    http://www.clarion.com.au/Car/index.html
    (Put "FM modulator" in the Search box)

    One of the reasons I got one was that I like the original Ford (Philips) radio, very good in the country, plus the security code on the original radio is preferable to having removable faceplates, etc. Plus if you sell the car you can remove the CD changer and modulator and leave it all as original.

    BTW did you know the original Marlows people have re-opened in opposition to SuperCheap who bought them out last year? They have called the new business MALZ and the first shop is at Hometown, Cannington.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Fordman; 23rd December 2004 at 03:15 AM. Reason: Add website direction

  10. #10
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    Thanks Fordman. It looks like the previous owner couldn't be bothered pulling it out of the car. BTW it was a Denon changer.

    That's great news about Marlows; hopefully they've considered that Supercheap didn't fill the market that Marlows used to and they'll cater more for the DIY'er by stocking more bits and pieces like they used to. I just hope they spread branches around.

    Stuey


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