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  #1  
Old Yesterday, 12:05 AM
LeftyAce LeftyAce is offline
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Default MP3 player for use in car

Hi all,

I just added an aux-input to my car audio system, and would like to get an MP3 player to pair with it. I'm in the US, and would like to spend $40 or less, although I'm flexible if there are good solutions available.

I currently have a Sansa clip, and it plays audio successfully, but I would like to overcome the following shortcomings:

The clip cannot play audio while charging from the car's 12V Dc port. Based on some research it seems like some protection is being triggered by a ground-current loop inherrent in having the player plugged into both the AUX input and the DC socket. It looks like I could buy an isolator, but that seems like a kludgy solution (clip->isolator->aux adapter. Holy mess of cables, batman).

Is there a player with the headphone output sufficiently isolated from the charging to play audio in this set-up?

Is there a player that will automatically pause and/or turn off when it loses power (when I turn off the car)? Or is that something I can customize using something like RockBox? Or, in an ugly way, by removing the battery from something like a clip so it just dies when external power disappears?

The player cannot have touch interface, I'll get in a wreck :-) The larger/easier to manipulate by feel the controls are the better.

Ideal solution: The aux cable adapter I have also has an ipod plug. This would let the player charge and play, make it pause when the car gets turned off, and also let me use the buttons on the steering wheel to skip tracks. Is there such a thing as a non-ipod that uses the ipod cable interface?

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

EDIT: It looks like RockBox has a "car-mode" that auto-pauses when power is lost, and auto-resumes when power resumes. So my main unsolved problem is the ground isolation.

Last edited by LeftyAce; Yesterday at 12:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old Yesterday, 05:10 AM
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FreeZ5 FreeZ5 is offline
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LeftyAce:

First, having an older car without an AUX socket, this is not a problem that I have encountered.

a) the only player in that price range that I would recommend is a Clip.

b) the player does not need to be plugged in to the DC power all the time, only when it needs charging. How often will you need to charge it?

Personal situation...I am using an original Sansa Clip purchased in August 2009 in my car through a cassette adapter. When the Clip needs charging I usually bring it into the house and charge it. This is not every day, but you may use the player more than I do (ie much longer trips on a daily basis). My biggest problem is that if I am in a hurry (or distracted) when I park the car, I may forget to turn the Clip off, and the next day it's battery is drained. Since I usually have my Clip Zip with me, if I really want music, I just use it instead. "Plan B" is the CD player which has one of my mixed CDs in it. "Plan C" is my phone. "Plan D" is "no music". Unfortunately I recently had problems with the car radio and "Plan D" was the only choice till I got it fixed.

I know that this doesn't solve your problem, but I suspect that there is no solution to your problem, so you will have to find a way to adapt.

Steve
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  #3  
Old Yesterday, 12:27 PM
LeftyAce LeftyAce is offline
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Hmm. The motivation for all of this was that my car's CD player died, so unfortunately the mp3 player _is_ my plan B :-)

Perhaps I should update my pricepoint. I'd like to have a dedicated player for the car, so I'll be purchasing an additional clip. If I go clip+isolator, that's $55.

Regarding whether the player needs to be charged all the time: it doesn't. The clip will run for quite a while. But it looks like RockBox would provide auto pause functionality based on loss of power, so it has to be plugged in to know when the car is on or off.

Or, since clip+isolator+the aux input adapter I bought is almost the same price as replacing the CD player, maybe I just rockbox my current Clip+ and buy an isolator. How likely am I to brick the player installing rockbox?
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  #4  
Old Yesterday, 12:52 PM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftyAce View Post
How likely am I to brick the player installing rockbox?
Unlikely. Especially if you take a look at the manual before rockboxing. http://www.rockbox.org/manual.shtml.
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  #5  
Old Yesterday, 12:59 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftyAce View Post
How likely am I to brick the player installing rockbox?
I've Rockboxed ~50 sansas now without incident. Installing Rockbox is a firmware update. As with any firmware update there's a small but definite risk of bricking it. I'd use the automated installer, following the directions for a standard update (battery at least at 50%, card removed... etc.) and it all should just work.
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  #6  
Old Today, 03:03 AM
Mikerman Mikerman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
I've Rockboxed ~50 sansas now . . . .
Wow. Big family.
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  #7  
Old Today, 11:05 AM
LeftyAce LeftyAce is offline
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Alright, I took the plunge, and aside from a near-bricking, works great! (I think I over-filled the player and rockbox started crashing while "checking disk." Managed to get it back into the original firmware and delete some stuff).

I love the fact that it reads out menus and folder names. Great for operation while driving. Thanks for pushing me to finally do this :-)
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  #8  
Old Today, 12:54 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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If you want to avoid an isolator, you'll need a device that includes blocking capacitors on the headphone output (or line out). These have become less common these days as the capacitors do nothing for actual headphones and can degrade audio quality when not used with an AUX.

Alternatively, you can buy cables with capacitors/transformers built in: http://www.amazon.com/PAC-SNI-1-3-5-...TRI/ref=sr_1_3
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