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  #16  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:13 AM
Jeremy5848's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
. . . It's much better than broadcast type adapters since it cuts the antenna from the radio and feeds the aux signal through the radio's antenna jack. The signal isn't battling for attention with strong stations.

Sixto
87 300D
Interesting, but are you sure that it actually cuts off the antenna or does it just dump one of the two optional frequencies on top of everything the antenna picks up? One customer review said ". . . having the modulator on all the time didn't appear to interfere with normal FM reception . . ."

Regardless, it certainly should do better than the little wireless units, which I have tried, and which do OK until you drive a mile or two and all of the FM signals change strength.

I would probably build the input jack and switch into the console of my '87, using a Mercedes switch so it would look closer to factory. The rest of it would be inside the console and out of sight. The '96 would take a little thought, I don't want to drill any holes in it.

Jeremy

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"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #17  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:40 AM
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I don't know for sure that it cuts the antenna connection but most radios tune into FM frequencies without the antenna anyway.

To me the ideal setup would have the power switch as part of the jack. It should be possible in the way headphone jacks cut main speakers in just about any device that takes headphones.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #18  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
. . . To me the ideal setup would have the power switch as part of the jack. It should be possible in the way headphone jacks cut main speakers in just about any device that takes headphones.

Sixto
87 300D
That is possible. It would take a 1/8 inch jack with regular stereo contacts (for the MP3 player, iPod, whatever) plus an extra set of contacts for the power switch. Sourcing such a component might be difficult. I have seen such things in 1/4 inch but not in 1/8 inch.

Personally, I'd rather not have to hunt for the loose end of the cable from the player while trying to drive at the same time. Reaching for a switch seems safer. OTOH . . .

One of the 27 reviewers on the Crutchfield site said that he wired his so it turned on with the radio and didn't seem to affect FM reception. That might be the best option.

I think I'll get one.

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #19  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:58 AM
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smoke gets in your eyes
 
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Doesn't your PC have a 1/8" or 3.5mm headphone jack that automatically cuts the speakers? I doubt it's software switched.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #20  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:59 AM
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Got one!

Same item as Crutchfield sells, eBay, $35, free shipping.

http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?BinConfirm&_trksid=p4340.l1356&item=290339052911&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&fromPage=4340&f b=1

Oops, looks like I got the last one, the search function now shows none available.
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #21  
Old 08-16-2009, 08:25 AM
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There is one other possible option. Some of the newer Becker units are CD changer controllers. I managed to get a newer Becker 1492 out of an E500 and then I got an adapter from Becker that would allow the 1492 to plug right in to the existing harness of my 1987 300TDT. I also got another unit that plugs in to the CD changer input and adds an AUX input. The input on the radio just needs to be set to CD when using the aux input.

One other thing. The radio codes on some of the Becker units are a function of the serial number of unit. (For my Becker 1492 that was the case.) A search on the web can provide a serial number to radio code decoder that can be used to obtain the radio code for some Becker units. It will eliminate the need to call Becker up if the radio code is misplaced.
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1985 Mustang SVO
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Last edited by swogee; 08-16-2009 at 08:34 AM.
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  #22  
Old 08-16-2009, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
Doesn't your PC have a 1/8" or 3.5mm headphone jack that automatically cuts the speakers? I doubt it's software switched.

Sixto
87 300D
True, but all that does is to switch the audio signals. Switching the power to the unit is another matter, takes a separate set of contacts.

BTW, if the Crutchfield adapter turns out to be sensitive to the antenna still being connected in some urban areas with many strong FM stations, it would be relatively easy to add a relay to switch the antenna out of the circuit when the adapter was switched in. Probably not necessary, I'll see what it's like when my adapter shows up.

Swogee, that sounds like a good idea. Where did you mount the CD changer? And you are right about the s/n to code list, I had forgotten that such things exist.

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #23  
Old 08-16-2009, 04:42 PM
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I guess my thinking is too simple. My electronic abilities end with replacing batteries.

1) If plugging something in the jack opens or closes a switch, I can use that switch as a power switch. I might need a relay if the switch opens when the jack is in use. I only insist because the last thing any car dash needs is another switch. However, I see the case of wanting to listen to the radio while a device is physically plugged into the jack. And you might have the jack out of reach such as in the glove box.

2) I still think the antenna has little to do with it. Any car radio from the last few decades will do a fair job of receiving an FM signal with no antenna. Using the FM converter to physically disconnect the antenna from the radio, which I think all such units do, will not eliminate the radio's ability to receive FM signals. What the device does is give it's wired transmitter a fighting chance.

Gilly once helped me obtain the radio code for my 91 300SE. When the dealer gave me the wrong code despite verifying the right s/n for the VIN. Is Gilly still around? If not, I think the folks at La Jolla auto sound who run the Becker forum can help with codes.

Sixto
87 300D
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  #24  
Old 08-16-2009, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy5848 View Post
Same item as Crutchfield sells, eBay, $35, free shipping.

http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?BinConfirm&_trksid=p4340.l1356&item=290339052911&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&fromPage=4340&f b=1

Oops, looks like I got the last one, the search function now shows none available.
Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Scosche-FM-MOD02-Modulator-Satellite-Portable/dp/B001QBG614) has it for about the same price (with free shipping), if that eBay seller runs out.
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  #25  
Old 08-16-2009, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swogee View Post
There is one other possible option. Some of the newer Becker units are CD changer controllers. I managed to get a newer Becker 1492 out of an E500 and then I got an adapter from Becker that would allow the 1492 to plug right in to the existing harness of my 1987 300TDT. I also got another unit that plugs in to the CD changer input and adds an AUX input. The input on the radio just needs to be set to CD when using the aux input.
I agree. Looks like the cable to the CD changer is not that complicated, according to the schematic in the FSM, I would build one if I had to. I think the trick will be to get a Becker head unit like the 1492 and then get a CD changer that will work with it.

Jeremy
__________________

"Buster" in the '95

Our all-biodiesel family
1995 E300D (W124) . .239,000 miles My car
1996 E300D (W210) . .313,000 miles Wife's car
Santa Rosa population 170,685 (2012)
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . 722,685
"Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."
-- Janis Joplin, October 1, 1970
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  #26  
Old 08-18-2009, 08:13 PM
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The CD changer to AUX input adapter fits in the area below the head unit on my 300TDT. I was able to just squeeze it in. I think there is some logic that must be used so the head unit properly "sees" the CD changer so I ended up buying an adapter unit that includes the logic and the proper connector. I have the 1/8" plug and cord stored in the ashtray area right now to keep it out of the way until I find another cleaner way of setting it up.

The new head unit also has four outputs for speakers so it eliminates the need for a center console fader so I need to take an old fader apart and use it to make an adapter to run wires to the head unit's other two speaker outputs. It will avoid the need to cut up any stock wiring to the speakers.

There's also a Weather Band on the 1492 in case anyone needs to know the weather as well.
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2000 VW Passat wagon indigo blue w/ beige leather interior
1985 Mustang SVO
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  #27  
Old 08-19-2009, 02:30 AM
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I used to listen to the usual 104.3 but got sick and tired of the stuff they play (like you very well described ) so I looked at other stations and now I stick to 100.3 The Sound LA.

If it's the stock radio, yes Becker can upgrade your unit if you send it to them. Only catch is you get the same unit back (in case you're expecting to get a pre made one), and you need to have a tape in the tape deck, in order to play the aux input. My friend did this with his W140 but the problem with the tape deck was that there was static when he played MP3. Radio, no problem. Not sure if he messed with it prior to installing it (thereby causing the static) but it's worth a shot if you want to keep it all stock looking.
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  #28  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:30 AM
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I don't have much mechanical experience, but I have a lot of experience tinkering with electronics... so here is my contribution to the board

I just modded my Becker Europa stereo to add an aux input. It took me about 1 hr including figuring out what the hell I was doing and how I was going to do it. These steps are what I did with that radio, but my guess is that the same could be done with many old radios.

I did this
a) because I am cheap and didn't want to buy another radio
b) because I like the look of the becker in the car and thought a modern stereo would look weird in a 30 year old car.

Tools/materials: soldering iron, insulated wire, 1/8" female jack, drill, 12v DC wallwart, speaker.

So here are the steps:

1) I took the radio out of the car, brought it inside. Hooked it up to a 12V DC power supply and a speaker.

2) Took off the top and bottom lids of the stereo - they just pry right off - held in place by friction.

Most (about 3/4) of the insides of the radio is for the AM and FM tuner part of the radio. There is a separate circuit board for the amplifier circuit, which is what you want to find. It is easy to find because it is located directly behind the volume knob, extending from the knob to the back of the unit.

Make sure you have the radio oriented so that the solder side of the amplifier circuit board (as opposed to the component side) is facing up towards you.

3) Now we will take a little aside and you need to make a simple audio probe:
a) Take an old pair of headphones - how about those crappy ones you got for free on the airplane that time? Cut off the headphones so that you have just the jack and the wire coming from it. Strip the wires back to find the left and right wires (usually insulated) and the ground (usually just bare wires wrapping around everything else...

b)Attach the ground to the ground lug on the back of the stereo or in some way make sure it is making constant contact with the metal chassis of the radio (aligator clip?), and twist the left and right wires together to form one wire.

c)plug the jack into anything with a headphone jack and turn the device on with the headphone volume turned up half way.

There, you have an audio probe.

4) With something playing on your audio device, take the audio probe and hunt around on the amplifier circuit board poking it on solder traces on the board until you hear audio from your device coming through the speaker.

Hint: Look near the back of the amplifier circuit board, you will see a few wires coming off of the tuner board and connecting to the amplifier board.

Another hint: if you see a little spark when you probe a trace, avoid that spot - you won't blow anything if you just hunt quickly, but don't dwell on spots that don't work.

5) When you find a spot where the audio comes through, test to see if the volume knob works to turn your sound up and down, also check the tone knob. If both work, make note of that spot. If the volume knob does nothing, or if you hear audio but it sounds colored or unclear, move on, you will find a better spot.

6) Solder a wire to the good spot you found on the circuit board.

7) run the wire to a 1/8" female jack and solder it to the tip connection of that jack. If you use a stereo jack, wire it to both tip and ring spots (the europa is a mono radio... so I guess calling it a stereo all along was a misnomer )

8) solder the sleeve connection of the jack to the ground on the stereo - you could use the chasis or run a wire to the lug on the back, or if you are really daring, look for the ground on the circuit board and solder to that.

9) If you haven't already, you'll need to take the faceplate off, but I think you had to do that to get the radio out of the car. Drill a hole in the faceplate in a spot where the jack won't be in the way when you put it all back together. The hole should obviously be big enough for the 1/8" jack.

10) Mount the jack in the hole.

11) put it all back together! and put it in your car! Use a 1/8" to 1/8" male to male cord to plug your audio device into your stereo.

The best way to do this would be to have a switching jack that disconnects the connection from your tuner to the amplifier when you have something plugged in the jack. However, what I have found is that when you have audio going to the radio from an external device, it totally drowns out the radio and I do not hear anything at all from the radio - even between songs, and even on the best tuned in FM stations. I think it is because the output from the headphone jack on an ipod or other device is so much stronger of a signal than the un-amplified signal from the tuner board.

For me, the radio automatically returns when I unplug from my MP3 player.

You could also set it to an AM frequency between stations, where there is very little background noise...

Also note this is for the Europa, which is mono (even though the signal is split to two or more speakers). If you were modding a stereo radio, you would need to find the left and right channels and wire separate wires from those traces to the jack. A little more work, but still not that complicated - just hook up a speaker to each channel and probe around and take note of which traces go to which side.

I know this is a ghetto way to do it, but for me it has worked to total satisfaction - way better than an FM transmitter. When I have something plugged in to my aux jack, it works flawlessly, I completely forget it is a 30 year old radio
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Last edited by chetwesley; 08-19-2009 at 03:40 AM.
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  #29  
Old 08-19-2009, 02:51 PM
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This ^ is an AWESOME post!! I have been wanting to add in input to my radio for a long time, but didnt want to spend a bunch of money doing it. Thank you Chet!

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