Hooked up my iPod with a cassette adapter, but it keeps rewinding or ejecting. Help!
January 18, 2008 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Hooked up my iPod with a cassette adapter, but it keeps rewinding or ejecting. Help!

I'm connecting my iPod touch to my car's factory radio using a Griffin cassette tape adapter.

It worked for 3 days, then it started doing funky stuff.. trying to rewind, ejecting, etc. I tried a different adapter, and this one doesn't do it, but it sounds bad.

I suspect it might have something to do with the factory radio having an "auto metal sensor", but I'm sure.

Anyone know how to stop this it's EXTREMELY irritating and causes momentary bouts of insanity while driving (Next time you see a guy punching his dashboard, it's probably me!!)
posted by 0217174 to Technology (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tape adapters are really low tech. What's happening is that your tape player thinks the tape has hit the end of the reel, so it needs to rewind or flip sides or stop. This can happen with some combinations of adapter and tape player. Just about all you can do is try a different kind.

Nothing to do with "auto metal sensor" -- that's for detecting what formulation of tape is being played.
posted by xil at 1:03 PM on January 18, 2008

Or: jiggle the 'tape' around, if you can; it might only work if it's aligned just so. And make sure the wheels are spinning freely.
posted by xil at 1:04 PM on January 18, 2008

Oh god, this is so annoying. I've had it happen in my '99 Chrysler Sebring, and a Mercedes SUV, but not a '97 Volvo 960. I wish I knew what caused it.
posted by herbaliser at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2008

Try turning up the volume on the actual iPod (not the car stereo). Somehow this can help, not sure how. Try it at about 80-90% of iPod volume (then use the car stereo to adjust how loud you actually want it to be play).
posted by cushie at 1:08 PM on January 18, 2008

I found my cassette adapter did that more in the winter time. If the car was really warmed up, like I had been on the road for an hour or so with heat on, it did it less. I kind of just got fed up and got an iTrip.
posted by jerseygirl at 1:09 PM on January 18, 2008

Seconding jiggling the tape around. The car thinks the tape is done, so it's trying to rewind it/eject it/etc. My car would always try to play 'side 2' of the tape then realize there was nothing there and just continue to flip back and forth.

The best solution I could find was to forcibly turn the spokes of the tape to make sure they were moving well then put it back in. I would need to do it every so often, but it did help. You may have to get a different tape adapter.
posted by rooftop secrets at 1:16 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: This is why I need a new car, just for the AUX input!

Cushie-I know what you're gettin at. Maybe it senses too low of a signal so thinks the tape is over. See, I'm using a base adapter so the output of the iPod is coming via the data port, not the headphone jack. So the data port only sends out a very high signal-- but the base adapter has a "hi/low" swith, and it must be set on low otherwise the signal is too hot so comes out distorted. The tape adapter came with the base, so I think that's why it gets the best sound.

XIL-the wheels do spin freely, I tried puttin a pencil and 'rewinding' it thinking it would buy me some time, but didn't work. When comparing it to the other tape adapter that does work, I can't tell a difference--they both spin freely one direction but not the other. Only thing I can see a difference is if you look at the bottom there's a rubber wheel inside, the tape that doesn't work the rubber spins one way but not the other, but the one that works it spins one way and 'clicks' but does spin the other way.
posted by 0217174 at 1:17 PM on January 18, 2008

My tape adapter used to do this, as well. If you take it apart, you'll see that the two cogs that would normally spin the tape have rubber bands around them. These rubber bands don't spin as freely as they ought to, and when they jam, that's when the tape player thinks it's time to rewind/flip sides/eject. You can take the rubber bands off and then put the tape adapter back together. After I did this, it's never rewound/turned over/ejected. However, the sound of the cogs spinning can be a little annoying. Anyway, for me, the little whine of the cogs is way better than having the song stop and start every few seconds.
posted by one_bean at 1:26 PM on January 18, 2008

I had this happen with a few cassette adapters. Eventually I took one apart and removed the little rubber band that acts as a belt and some other plastic bits, basically everything except the electronics. I think the car cassette player tries to rewind/eject when it feels tension in the tape. Once I removed the rubber band there was no more tension and the adapter worked again. YMMV, good luck.
posted by J-Garr at 1:28 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: ONE_BEAN-I think I'm gonna try that. Or maybe see if I can somehow fix it to spin freely. Maybe some good ol' WD40 will do.
posted by 0217174 at 1:29 PM on January 18, 2008

This doesn't fix the cassette adapter, but you could get an FM transmitter made specifically for the ipod. I had an iTrip that plugged into the cig. lighter and charged the iPod while transmitting on any frequency that I chose.

It worked very well, but I stoped using it when I got around to buying a new stereo with an Aux connection.
posted by jjb at 1:46 PM on January 18, 2008

I've gone through a couple of adapters in the past, and sadly, this is part of how they work. If this is one of the dock-connector attached ones that's supposed to allow you to control your iPod from the tape controls, doubly so. Certain decks and adapters get along better than others, but it's a very hit-or-miss sort of thing. One adapter I ended up wedging a piece of paper against to keep it in its preferred position (much like John Cusack's character in 'Say Anything'- I took to calling this 'pulling a Dobbler').

Check Crutchfield, they have all sorts of other solutions for your problem.

And it probably doesn't help, but at least know you're not alone in this...
posted by pupdog at 2:09 PM on January 18, 2008

Maybe some good ol' WD40 will do.

I wouldn't -- it might melt the plastic. You might try lightly lubing it with some graphite spray stuff, provided you don't put actual cassettes into your deck. I do that to mine when it starts making grindy noises to shut it up.
posted by Camofrog at 2:12 PM on January 18, 2008

Not sure about your car, but you can also try having the tape player on pause. I've gotten things playing fine even when it's on pause.
posted by bindasj at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2008

I use a Griffin adapter in my car ('97 Nissan Maxima) and when I first insert it, it makes a loud grinding noise in the tape player. I can make it stop and behave properly by hitting the tape direction button twice, a few seconds apart. Not sure why this works, but it has saved me much annoyance.
posted by pmbuko at 4:23 PM on January 18, 2008

If your car is a 90's or early 00 GM model, Radio Shack sells a cassette adapter that works. Unfortunately, Radio Shack knows it solves the problem because they charge about $30 for the adapter (I cant see any difference in it to the other cassette adapters I have).

I had the same thing happen in a 94 Eldorado, 2000 Bravada, my friends 9? Impala and and another friends 97 Sunfire (Cadillac, Olds, Chevy & Pontiac)

Good Luck!
posted by sandra_s at 7:47 PM on January 18, 2008

Holy moly the same thing happened to me last week. Since I'm on my 4th tape adapter, I figured it would be easier in the long run to just replace my stereo deck. Thank you thank you thank you for asking this!
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:06 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for those links Pupdog, guess I'm not the only one lol.

Well I tried wigglin it, and so far I made it all the way home in LA traffic w/o problems, but now I'm left with this anxiety ridden fear that I'll destroy not only the tape but my entire car if it happens again.

I'll be looking for a new car soon anyway so I'm definately gettin one w/ an aux input, but most likely be hookin it up with a killer system so I'll go with a bluetooth setup-

haha cowbellemoo no prob.. join the club!!
posted by 0217174 at 9:37 PM on January 18, 2008

Put in a cassette tape. See what happens. My boyfriend's early 90s Volvo's tape player eats tapes. It has broken tape adapters, and the ones it doesn't break rewind and stop over and over.

I drive a late 90s VW and mine does that from time to time. It will flip sides. This mostly happens between songs, or if a song gets quiet. you said you use an adapter that goes through the dock port not the headphone jack so I'm guessing this isn't the issue.
posted by fructose at 9:24 AM on January 20, 2008

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