FM Transmitter

Portable digital players are great for listening to music on the go, but they can also be a distracting nuisance while driving and even pose a safety risk. It would be ideal if a player could be plugged into the car radio and heard through its speakers, but most radios are several years old and do not have that capability. Instead of buying an expensive new radio, an FM transmitter is a more affordable solution to this common problem. This tiny accessory allows audio from a player to be heard through the speakers of any FM radio that is a short distance away. It can be used with any MP3 player, CD player, notebook computer, or other device that has an audio output.

An FM transmitter is a simple and compact gadget that sells for less than fifty dollars in most electronics stores. It operates just like an FM radio but in reverse. Instead of receiving radio signals, it transmits them on a frequency within the same narrow band used by FM radio stations. This means that an FM transmitter can be heard on any radio that is tuned to the same frequency, provided that it is less than thirty feet away. The short range is due to their low power output, which stops them interfering with other radios in the area. The antenna is normally located inside the case to keep the size down, which also limits how far it can transmit.

Many different models have been released in the years since the FM transmitter first appeared. The early models were rather bulky and unattractive, but the current models are more compact and stylish. They vary considerably in appearance and design, but the majority are small enough to be held in the palm of one’s hand. Some models are designed to integrate with a particular player, such as the iTrip for the iPod Nano. Other models remain separate from the player and use a short cable that plugs into the headphone jack. Several models even have a plug built into their body that fits the car accessories socket, or cigarette lighter as it is commonly known. There are not many controls on front face of an FM transmitter, usually just a few buttons next to an LCD display.

Some of the buttons on an FM transmitter are used to changing the frequency, which is shown on a small LCD screen next to them. In addition, the advanced models have buttons for changing the music selection on the player. They also have support for automatic frequency scanning and sound level adjustment, as well as preprogrammed slots for storing favorite frequencies. Some models are designed to be used with a cell phone and have buttons for handling calls. The power to operate an FM transmitter comes from either the car accessories socket or from batteries, but it may also come from the player itself. A USB charging port is also included on many models for charging the player from the car battery.

It takes only a few minutes to install an FM transmitter and get it working with a radio. After the FM transmitter has been plugged into to a portable music player, both it and the radio need to be tuned to the same frequency. The way this is done depends on whether the model can automatically scan for an empty frequency. Models with automatic scanning should be tuned before the radio, but models without it should be tuned after a suitable frequency has been found on the radio. To minimize interference from other stations, the frequency should ideally be in the middle of a large empty band between two stations.

Like every other wireless device, an FM transmitter is susceptible to electrical interference, which causes a whole range of undesirable noises to be heard from the speakers. Finding a suitable frequency is the best solution, but it can be difficult to find one in places where there are a lot of FM radio stations operating. In this situation, it helps to disconnect the external antenna from the car radio, so that the signal from the FM transmitter is not overpowered by the local radio stations. Another cause of interference is poor grounding in the car’s electrical system, but this can be easily fixed by an automotive electrician.

This FM Transmitter Review is Written/Updated on Oct 26th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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