Car Radio

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by waltsar, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. waltsar

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 10, 2012
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    Has anyone had any experience using a high quality car radio/CD player in the house? I know about the power requirements, etc. but I'm Not sure if there will be any ground plane and antenna issues. I'd appreciate any suggestions regarding grounding and/or antenna types.

    The reason I'm even considering doing this is that my car radios seem to be a lot more sensitive than my audio receivers in the house. I can hear weak FM stations clearly in the car that I cannot even pick up on my indoor audio receivers.

    Thanks,
    Walt
     
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    You just need an antenna plugged into the antenna socket or a plug attached to a length of wire, and a decent pair of speakers.
    Indoor FM receivers don't usually come with a decent antenna fitted.
    You may find it a help to earth GND the chassis, but I have not found it necessary with mine.
    Max.
     
  3. adamclark

    Member

    Oct 4, 2013
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    they make an antenna called a hotrod antenna.. its just a long wire that has sticky tape on it. It plugs into the ant. socket on the radio and has a ground wire that goes to the radio chassis.. They are designed to be placed along the top of the windshield it the headliner groove. Very good and sensitive antenna. I use then regularly. I have been in the car audio industry for 20 years and have plenty of experience in this area. I actually have a flipout dvd radio on my workbench. The most important thing is the power supply. Make sure you have at least 5a 12vdc clean power.. don't use a battery charger or you will get a good hum..
     
  4. adamclark

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    Oct 4, 2013
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    I should add that I built my radio psu from an old laptop charger and a big voltage regulator, I cant remember which one, lm386 maybe.. anyways it was adjustable 5a regulator, it provides good clean power and plenty of current, and it has no noise floor. absolutely 0 noise..
     
  5. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Max is right. Cars come equipped with antennas. Home stereo's don't. You can use anything from a random piece of wire, to an FM band dipole made of twin lead, to a TV antenna on a pole. Just get it an antenna. Any kind of antenna is better than none at all.
     
  6. paulktreg

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 2, 2008
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    ATX computer power supplies work well for power.
     
  7. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    We were in a pinch in a cabin in Northern Minnesota and all we had for connection to the outside world was a car radio and a trolling motor battery. We literally used a dinner fork wedged into the antenna jack. It worked enough to get a 'local' station - about 40 miles away. We later upgraded to the fork to a piece of barbed wire. We could get stations from Duluth - about 100 miles away.
     
  8. waltsar

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 10, 2012
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    Hey Guys ....... Thanks for all the replies. It's all good news! I was worried that a solid earth ground might not work well with a radio that uses a car chassis as it's ground (insulated from earth by the tires). Now, the next question ...... about how much does a good car radio/CD player cost from a wrecking yard?

    Thanks again,
    Walt
     
  9. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    They are pretty cheap. $10 will get you most units. $30 - $40 for a higher end multi disk in my area.
     
  10. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    The difference in sensitivity between the car radio and you indoor receiver is likely just the antenna. What type of antenna does the indoor receiver have?
     
  11. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Really?

    Absolutely 0 noise?

    You really expect anyone to buy that?
     
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  12. #12

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    Nov 30, 2010
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    More likely, "Not measurable with the equipment I have".
     
  13. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    You do not need a precise regulated supply, if you have a linear supply that will supply anywhere near 10amps and with sufficient smoothing, the voltage can vary as between ~10.5 and 15v without any detectable effect as it does in an automotive application.
    That's what I have in the shop for a radio.
    From a wrecker the price can be anwhere from $10 to $100, depending on whether the wrecker has a strip-your-own policy or belongs to the automotive used parts ring, where they typically charge 50% of list.
    Max.
     
  14. adamclark

    Member

    Oct 4, 2013
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    Yes with the measuring equipment I have at least.. I do know that with power on and volume down There is no hum or noise floor at all.. I have been in the audio industry for 20+ years and have developed a good ear for it. If I put some nasa quality meter on it, there would probably be some noise. But for the average listener it is quite acceptable.. SORRY, I was unaware that we were talking on that super high nasa quantum physics level here.. I thought I was just helping a fellow audiophile out with a way to power his radio on his bench with a better than decent way for out of vehicle listening. I kindly and humbly bow down to your superior intellect. I do know and have proven that I can from ground up build a car, a motorcycle, a house and a computer, and now am well on my way in electronics with some projects under my belt and many more complex ones coming in the near future. Not to bad for an old auto mechanic huh? Can you say that? Please proceed....
     
  15. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Unfortunately I have reached an age where my hearing response is no longer 50hz-20Khz but around 1khz wide, the up side, my wife's vocal range is just outside of it!;)
    Max.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    #12 likes this.
  16. adamclark

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    Oct 4, 2013
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    Nice one. cant wait for my wife to be outside of my hearing range.:). This is merely a hobby of mine, I have other skills to provide a living (and a pretty good one at that). I have used an atx supply and the laptop charger is far superior to it. We have a 15a Astron psu at the shop that's designed for high amp car audio usage, and beside the ability to bench high amp high wattage amplifiers, I feel my old laptop psu on my home workstation is just as clean as the Astron (without scoping it of course).
    Ill try to be more specific in the future :cool:..
     
  17. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Let's not get personal or get into a ******* match, okay?

    I wouldn't have said anything had you said, "negligible noise" or "practically no noise" or something similar. But the term "absolutely" means just that and its use here is wrong and misleading.
     
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  18. adamclark

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    Oct 4, 2013
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    I concede, Like I said before Ill try to be more specific in the future. Im not as inclined as some here in the terms and meanings. Im from more of a grey collar world where as in conversation saying "absolutely zero noise" means "Its very quiet without any negligible noise and would be a good choice as opposed to battery charger or ATX supply". In a not so formal and straight forward world, absolutely can have many meanings.
     
  19. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Electronics is a funny business - some live in the analog world and some live in a binary world. In the analog world, you find all kinds of people and a wide range of problems. In the binary world, you find two types of people - those that are fine with 'absolutely', 'always' and 'never' and those that wish they were still fine with 'absolutely', 'always' and 'never'.
     
  20. adamclark

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    Oct 4, 2013
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    nice play of words.. I like that one too.. I must definitely be analog then. I always thought that an intelligent person would be able to distinguish between the two. I mean its a pretty safe assumption that I didn't mean absolute zero noise, anybody should have been able to figure that one out. There will always be some sort of noise, I don't think anyone can make an audio device that has absolute zero noise. I feel that statement made towards me was out of line and I felt the need to defend myself as such. Its truly a shame that this thread has gone so far off track because somebody felt the need to correct me on a plain statement that everyone else seemed to understand. As I have said before, I will try to be more "Sheldon-like" and pay better attention how I word simple statements. This is merely a hobby to me, I truly am sorry my vocabulary isn't on the same level as some here. I was only trying to help out with something that is more in my field than most other things here. I am still learning. Perhaps I should refrain from trying to help others until I reach that point and concentrate solely on only posting questions. Im sorry to have caused such a muck with my ignorance.
     
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