GPS Connection + Car Stereo
November 5, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

My PT Cruiser has a satellite radio receiver installed. I don't care for it. Can I make the antenna more useful?

I bought a 2007 PT Cruiser Limited (Non-Turbo) used. It has a satellite radio receiver installed, which came with a year of free service when it was new. Of course, I bought the car after the year. So, my car has a radio receiver on the roof I can't afford service for.

I have a GPS, but I tend to park in a parking garage on a college campus. When my GPS (A Tom-Tom) loses signal, it takes a while to get it back. It usually comes back while driving, but it's a bit unnerving when I'm running late for something. Could I possibly take out the radio, get the cable for the satellite receiver, plug that into the external antenna port on my TomTom and put the radio back in without too much fuss? If the cable could be rerouted so it doesn't look too awkward, say through a vent for the windshield blower, that'd be a plus.

Also, while I have the stock radio out, could I install a new radio built for the odd shape in the PT Cruiser with a better iPod interface? I'm only asking because I'm curious. The AUX port is perfectly fine (Save for having a lose grip of the jack), I'd just like something to make it easier to change songs while driving with the bigger screen with an integrated charging option (I currently use a cigarette-lighter to USB adapter). If it's relevant, I use a 20 GB iPod 4G Clickwheel in the car, but I could also use a second generation 4GB Nano, and I'm planning on getting an iPod touch as soon as one of those two iPods dies. Failing that, is it possible to install an aftermarket radio in the car without it looking too funny? The two knobs that stick out from the side worry me.

Other specs I would like in the radio, aside from iPod docking, include AM/FM with at least 4 presets per band, MP3/WMA playback from a burned CD, and the ability to remember what station you were playing last when changing sources (A minor annoyance on mine, because when I switch from AUX to radio, it automatically gives me satellite, and I have to fiddle to get the FM stations again). Being able to see the song playing or selected on the iPod would be nice, too. If it's affordable, HD radio would be great but not essential. I have no need for satellite radio, because I like my local stations and my iPod tracks. If I could buy that for under or around $100, I'd be interested.

As for technical aptitude, I'm a pre-engineering education major. I'm comfortable with some minor electronics, and wouldn't mind crimping a cable or two if I don't need to buy too many tools to get the job done. I'd prefer to install these tweaks myself, but I could look into an honest person to install them. If it's not obvious yet, I know very little about cars.

Sorry if Travel/Transportation isn't appropriate. If you think I should re-categorize this, let me know. Thanks!
posted by mccarty.tim to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
 
Could I possibly take out the radio, get the cable for the satellite receiver, plug that into the external antenna port on my TomTom and put the radio back in without too much fuss? If the cable could be rerouted so it doesn't look too awkward, say through a vent for the windshield blower, that'd be a plus.

That doesn't sound easy to me, but I don't know anything about antennas. I do know that they are different satellite systems, and it strikes me as very unlikely that something intended to work with one system could be easily adapted to another. Why not just use something like this, or the right antenna for your model GPS.

Also, while I have the stock radio out, could I install a new radio built for the odd shape in the PT Cruiser with a better iPod interface?

Yes. Check Crutchfield or similar sites. There are a million options and there will be tradeoffs (including installation issues) with each. It might be hard to get a system installed that will be as seamless and bulletproof as a factory system, but a good car audio installer should be able to do so.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 11:39 AM on November 5, 2008


Does anyone know specifically if I could get the GPS to work with the antenna? That's really the main question I have.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:52 PM on November 5, 2008


Antennas are built to pick up a specific frequency and (when properly designed) should have negligible gain over other frequencies. GPS operates at ~1.5 GHz compared to satellite radio's ~2.3 GHz, so the antenna on your car is likely to be almost worthless for the purpose of picking up GPS signals. However, there are plenty of external GPS antennas on the market designed for sticking on top of your car and you might be able to use the cable routing for the radio antenna to route the aftermarket antenna's cable.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:43 PM on November 5, 2008


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