Invisible MP3 Player for Cars

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These instructions are for cars that have an FM radio, but otherwise limited options for listening to music. I wanted to invisibly incorporate an mp3 player that plays through my car's speakers, which I did using a hidden FM modulator that connects to an mp3 player small enough to fit in the ashtray.

Materials:
MP3 player that fits in your ashtray
A wired FM modulator
A cable with dual-RCA to 3.5mm stereo plug

Tools:
Hacksaw
Pliers
Whatever is needed to remove your radio and install the FM modulator (probably a screwdriver, wire cutter/strippers, electrical tape)

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Step 1: Install an FM Modulator

I installed an FM modulator that hides behind the control panel and connects directly to the antenna and power, as opposed to one that hangs down from the cigarette lighter. I just followed the installation instructions that came with it. FM modulators of this type have an on-off switch for the antenna, which I put in a discreet place below the steering wheel.

My 97 Ford Escort is weird, and required a special tool made from a coathanger to remove the radio. Since all cars are different, I won't discuss how to install the modulator. Generally speaking, though, you'll probably need a screwdriver, some wire cutters/strippers, and electrical tape. It may or may not be easy.

Step 2: Pull a Stereo Cable From the Modulator Through the Ashtray

There are two RCA jacks that come out of the modulator. I extended these with a cable that adapts the RCA jacks to a 3.5mm stereo plug. The stereo plug was then pulled through the opening for the ashtray.

Step 3: Modify Ashtray

I modified the ashtray slightly, to allow the cable to fit through the back, and to fit an mp3 player. I made these modifications easily with a small hacksaw and a pair of pliers. To cut out the square opening in back of the ashtray, I made several parallel cuts, then snapped the pieces off.

Step 4: Plug in the MP3 Player and Put the Ashtray Back In

That's it. Here are a few comments, though..

The player I used (irock ezmp3) uses sd cards for memory. Given the minimalist interface, it'll be difficult to manage a lot of music on a single card. I plan to save music on multiple small-memory sd cards, maybe with a few albums each, and just keep the cards in a Sucrets tin.

Using an FM modulator to listen to a $20 mp3 player is definitely low-end. It sounds pretty good, though.

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    39 Discussions

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    vref_guyDeus

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    I've never been in a car with a smoker who actually uses the ash tray. Even in the dead of winter they put the window down it seems.

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    toogersDeus

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    load subliminal hypnotism on the player saying "smoking is gross"

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    abadfartDeus

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    well you can ether splice it in like i did with my spare lighters or buy a lighter

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    Derinmunchman

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    then this mat happen: ok you can drive*hands keys to friend* ty your welcome *drives*hmm i want to listen to music*presses tape button* *ipod flies out*HEY WTF?WHERE DID THAT IPOD COME FROM!? well who cares*inserts cassette**listens to music*

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    Guy.FawkesDeus

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 4

    Since you can buy many gigabytes of flash memory (SD cards, CF cards, etc.) for the cost of a carton of smokes, and to the best of my knowledge, listening to music doesn't cause lung, throat, or mouth cancer, perhaps you should re-evaluate where you're spending your entertainment money.

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    RENATO.ROSS

    10 years ago on Introduction

    não teria um outro lugar para colocar o mp3? aonde vou apagar os cigarros???

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    ktalex

    10 years ago on Step 4

    pretty cool till u get bored of the same music over and over.

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    tcup

    10 years ago on Step 4

    I'm impressed. Now if only you could add a CD player. I just bought a car, no CD player but it has a cassette player and AM/FM radio. Any suggestions?

    4 replies
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    Bazzatrontcup

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    you can buy cassette tapes that have a lead coming out of them, you plug your cd device/mp3 or whatever into them and they just play through your speakers as if you were playing a cassette

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    tcupBazzatron

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Ahhh, it took me a moment, but I think I know what you are referring to. They're still available? Any idea where?

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    Bazzatrontcup

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    they are yea, my sisters boyfriend just put on in and ran the wire behind the console of his ford fiesta so he can plug his ipod in and not have a dangly lead. Look on amazon i guess, i live in the united kingom so it might b different, look for a cd/mp3 to cassette/tape converter. Ill look into it, message me back so i can easly respond on my iphone ;-P

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    tcupBazzatron

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    thank you, thank you, thank you. you given me more reasons to love this website! Amazon.com has a huge variety and they are very inexpensive. My CD collection is saved.