What's a good tape adapter for use in my car?
December 9, 2004 4:53 PM   Subscribe

What's a good tape adapter for use in my car? I'm using it to listen to my Rio Karma MP3 player. My second adapter is dying, and I need a new one. Both times, the cable seemed to wear out where it meets the plug into the MP3 player. How can I avoid that?
posted by punishinglemur to Technology (8 answers total)
I just had the same happen to mine.
This used to be a simple thing to repair, and the part cost a dollar. But Radio Hack is radically downsizing its electrical componant biz so now all they sell is a 5 dollar gold plated plug. So I bought a new adapter for $8 (somewhere else)
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:02 PM on December 9, 2004

It's not the same as a tape adapter, but I rather like the IROCK wireless FM transmitter. It works up to 10 feet from your car antenna so you can pass it around the car if you want, and not have wires trailing out of your deck. You do lose a little sound quality though (my speakers suck already, so I don't notice).
posted by OpinioNate at 5:11 PM on December 9, 2004

Two words: strain relief. There's a sharp edge where the cord goes into a connector. Since most of these are molded plugs, you can try using some silicone RTV (or possibily hotmelt glue) to build a bead around where the wire goes into the plug. Alternatively, you might be able to use shrinkwrap tubing to do something similar. But tubing large enough to go over the plug may be too large to shrink sufficiently, the RTV idea may work better. The idea is to move the point where the wire bends away from the plug edge.
posted by tommasz at 5:38 PM on December 9, 2004

IMHO, tape adapters and FM transmitters don't give you the full potential quality of your digital signal. Check out BlitzSafe (and a couple of competitors) and see if they have a direct-wire adapter for your vehicle & stereo. It'll put the Rio signal through an AUX/CD changer channel, or override the main CD channel, depending on your existing system. The sound quality will be hugely better and you won't have cords hanging out of your dash.
posted by Tubes at 5:54 PM on December 9, 2004

Tubes-- Thanks for jogging my memory about Blitzsafe. I bought one their adapters to get hook up an aftermarket CD changer a few years ago. Now I never listen to CDs anymore and the iTrip and FM modulator for my XM radio suck. Cassette adapter sounds a little better but still crappy.

The part is $60 bucks though. But that is cheaper than a new stereo or a new car.
posted by birdherder at 8:04 PM on December 9, 2004

You can get replacement plugs at Radio Slack or elsewhere

(I haven't had the problem that Fupped Duck had in finding a replacement plug...my problem is finding people there who know what I'm talking about. Bypass the callow, pimply youths who accost you with their faux, feigned helpfulness. They'll tell you the store doesn't have what you're looking for. Look for the oldest, grizzliest, cranky-looking guy working there. Hopefully there'll be one guy there who's at least sixty. Tell him what you want (an eighth-inch stereo replacement plug), and he'll take you right to it.)

Then an $8 soldering iron kit, and you're set.
posted by Vidiot at 8:34 PM on December 9, 2004

http://streettech.com has instructions for making your own adapter, too.
posted by mecran01 at 10:03 PM on December 9, 2004

The part is $60 bucks though. But that is cheaper than a new stereo or a new car.
Yep, and it's soooo worth it. You've already invested in the Rio player, and (presumably) the music you play on it, might as well go the extra yard and make it all sound good. (IMHO.)
posted by Tubes at 12:09 AM on December 10, 2004

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