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Human

Added an FM Modulator to my '95 Cutlass convertible

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This was a little project I'd had in mind for a while to allow me to bring the OEM Delco radio in my '95 Cutlass convertible into the twenty-first century by enabling it to play music from my phone or iPod. I have this hard wired FM modulator that I'd originally put in a Pontiac Bonneville I had a few years ago and then later transferred it to the Olds LSS that replaced it. It works much better than the ones that plug into the cigarette lighter socket and use a low powered FM transmitter. I needed a few things besides the modulator to bring the project together, namely a switch to turn the modulator on and off and a second instrument panel bezel from the boneyard so I wouldn't have to mess the original one up by drilling a hole to mount the switch. Finding the correct spot for the switch required a bit of measuring to make sure there was sufficient clearance behind it. Positioning the modulator itself was much easier since there's a nice little alcove inside the dash, right next to the radio's niche that's exactly the right size for the modulator and its wires but it did take a couple of attempts to get everything sufficiently tucked in to allow the radio and dash bezel to go back into place the way they should. The only thing that didn't quite go as planned is the push button switch works backward from how I expected it to. Somehow, I've got it where the radio plays normally when the button is pushed in and its LED is lit and the FM modulator is activated when the button is in the "out" position with the LED off and the radio is tuned to 87.7 FM. I'm not sure what I did wrong but at least for now, I decided to cut my losses and leave it alone. Someday, when I'm really, bored and looking for trouble, I may try moving wires around on the power switch to see if I can make it behave the way I want it to. The modulator also acts as an amplifier so I don't have to crank the volume on my phone all the way up to be barely audible like I do when I play it through the auxiliary input jack on my Impala's Delco/Bose radio. 

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Maybe you used a normally closed switch rather than a normally open.

So this unit basically takes a 3.5mm jack and broadcasts it at your selecred frequency, just at a better quality and higher volume than those plug in transmitters?

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Yes. It connects physically to the radio's antenna jack and the car's antenna plugs into it, so when active it interrupts the antenna and inserts its own signal. It's the same principle that VCRs used back in the day. The unit is equipped with two RCA plugs to which I have connected a cable with RCA plugs on one end and a 3.5mm male plug on the other. I keep the cable tucked up under the dash when not in use.

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I've been using the cigarette lighter one for a while but I did stick wires on it and wedge it into a cubby .... not that that constitutes any sort of "installation" but it works okay.

I'd like to see how yours turned out, there's a uart mp3 doodle for a few bucks online that looks like it would be easy to interface with a Nextion display/HMI.

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Now that everything's buttoned up, there's really not much to see other than a button on the dash and cable hanging out on the passenger side where the console and dash come together. To me, that's part of what makes it an elegant solution. The modulator is an Eiger Vision EV-F120 (see link below). You can tune its output frequency anywhere along the FM spectrum. It does require a pair of antenna adapters to fit it into a '90s GM car. I think I paid about $20 for the modulator itself back around 2011. With adapters, switch and output cable, I think I may have $30, give or take, in the whole setup. The only thing I still have left to do—and it can wait until the weather warms up a little—is to pull the dash bezel back out and clean up around where I drilled it out for the switch. I've got some Rustoleum hammer texture black paint that's a perfect color match but a little glossier than the factory finish. That stuff is very forgiving and the texture will cover a world of sins. I'll probably just mask off the vents and paint the entire bezel instead of just spotting in around the switch. I've already painted the passenger side corner where I had to sand off a big glob of super glue where somebody had stuck on a belt clip for a cell phone. It was a cool idea but poorly executed. The new paint job will give it a subtle custom look. Meanwhile, the original dash bezel is stored in my barn for safekeeping.

https://imged.com/eiger-vision-digital-fm-stereo-modulator-120-channels-new-4234412.html

Edited by Human
more info

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