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Old January 26th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why no built in FM transmitter?

I've never heard of an mp3 player with one. Can anybody think of a reason not to give devices this ability? I know it would drain power, but so what? It seems that just about every single person who owns a portable music player would benefit from having this functionality.

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Old January 26th, 2011, 09:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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transmitter? or do you mean a receiver?

My Sansa can pick up FM radio, so I wouldn't say that no mp3 players have them.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 09:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I meant transmitter.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 10:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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A transmitter would be nice. My daughter's phone has one and it is unbelievably clear!

Would be nice to broadcast Tune In Radio to your radio while driving or to your home stereo. I think you can get a plug-in transmitter though. Hate wired/external devices though!
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Old January 26th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A transmitter would be nice. My daughter's phone has one and it is unbelievably clear!

Would be nice to broadcast Tune In Radio to your radio while driving or to your home stereo. I think you can get a plug-in transmitter though. Hate wired devices though!
Which phone is that?

Many people use separate transmitters, as everybody knows. Mine takes the Bluetooth audio output from my phone and transmits it to an FM channel. Works fine, but it would be nice to eliminate a potentially redundant component from the setup.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 10:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It is a "dumb phone"(LG chocolate). But smarter in some areas

Not everyone knows you can use a separate device to transmit FM
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Old January 26th, 2011, 11:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i'm sure it has something to do with FCC regulations for why they transmitters are not in the phones.
i remember a couple years back when the FCC ruled that the ipod fm transmitters from belkin and the like had to have their output signal reduced b/c they said it was causing too much interference with normal FM transmissions.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 11:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had an mp3 player that did this.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 12:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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to answer the original question, why bother when there are iPhone hookups in nearly every car on the market? or at least an aux connector for headset input.

FM broadcasting is hard to get a good signal with in metro areas, as all stations are used, usually.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 12:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i'm sure it has something to do with FCC regulations for why they transmittors are not in the phones.
i remember a couple years back when the FCC ruled that the ipod fm transmittors from belkin and the like had to have their output signal reduced b/c they said it was causing too much interference with normal FM transmissions.
This is the exact reason why not. Back in the early days of satellite radio, all of the plug and play units contained a built in FM transmitter. In short, the FCC came in and changed the requirements. Some simply disabled the internal antenna, while others reduced the output power. Either way, the range of the FM transmitter was limited, even to the point of not being useful.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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to answer the original question, why bother when there are iPhone hookups in nearly every car on the market? or at least an aux connector for headset input.

FM broadcasting is hard to get a good signal with in metro areas, as all stations are used, usually.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 01:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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to answer the original question, why bother when there are iPhone hookups in nearly every car on the market? or at least an aux connector for headset input.

FM broadcasting is hard to get a good signal with in metro areas, as all stations are used, usually.
Wires are cumbersome and archaic for this application. It makes no sense for the FCC to be the reason for this feature omission. There are many add-on transmitters available and the ones I've used worked just fine nearly everywhere I used them.

I suspect the manufacturers simply don't think consumers are capable of understanding the benefits of this feature and don't include it to cut costs. Case in point: the response above from someone who thought I meant something utterly different. Most people, I imagine, would not think to want this because our minds tend to be limited by what we already know.

When the iPod was originally introduced I assumed it, and all subsequent music players, would be able to do this.

With all the innovative apps there are, I was surprised that there isn't one to correct this shortcoming. There must be a universal hardware limitation preventing this, but I don't know what.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 01:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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actually it has everything to do with the FCC since they govern the use of FM radio waves. and for the the best sound, a simple auxillary cable would send a better signal than the FM transmitter.
and I'm not sure where you've been and used a transmitter, but when i had my ipod (for years) i tried a bunch of them and never got one to reliably work which led me to changing out head units to ones that had ipod integration built in. (it was expensive then) now i just use a male-male headphone aux cable in our newer car. works great, and i can make and receive calls while everything stays plugged in, it just runs thru the car speakers
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Old January 26th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I've never had a radio station be interrupted by someone's Belkin
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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actually it has everything to do with the FCC since they govern the use of FM radio waves. and for the the best sound, a simple auxillary cable would send a better signal than the FM transmittor.
and I'm not sure where you've been and used a transmittor, but when i had my ipod (for years) i tried a bunch of them and never got one to reliably work which led me to changing out head units to ones that had ipod integration built in. (it was expensive then) now i just use a male-male headphone aux cable in our newer car. works great, and i can make and receive calls while everything stays plugged in, it just runs thru the car speakers
First, I know about male-to-male wires. I acknowledge that using one produces the cleanest signal, one that is not subject to interference. However, that has nothing to do with this discussion, which is about whether certain devices are capable of transmitting FM signals, and why they can't or don't. I do hope this doesn't sound inflammatory to you, because it isn't intended to be.

I live in Minneapolis, which is the greater half of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. I almost never get interference on 88.1, 87.9, and a few others. Granted, it's tough to find a clear channel in Chicago, but rural areas are easy, and removing the antenna from my truck completely eliminated interference from broadcast stations.

So. It seems that you're saying that the FCC differentiates among devices and allows some to transmit on the FM channels while others cannot. Dedicated FM transmitters, such as iPod car docks, can, while devices classified as portable music players cannot. If that is what you're saying, and if true; then that is that. End of discussion. Is that what you're saying? If so, what is the source of your information? I'd be interested in seeing the details.

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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #16 (permalink)
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actually it has everything to do with the FCC since they govern the use of FM radio waves. and for the the best sound, a simple auxillary cable would send a better signal than the FM transmittor.
and I'm not sure where you've been and used a transmittor, but when i had my ipod (for years) i tried a bunch of them and never got one to reliably work which led me to changing out head units to ones that had ipod integration built in. (it was expensive then) now i just use a male-male headphone aux cable in our newer car. works great, and i can make and receive calls while everything stays plugged in, it just runs thru the car speakers
I spent $50 on one fm transmitter and $70 on another. I could rarely get it to work, but when I did the SQ was had. I ended up having to get a new head unit, and now the SQ is great and I never have a problem trying to find a station to transmit to. I ended up spending $10 more for my head unit than I did on transmitters, should've done that in the first place.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:10 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I've never had a radio station be interrupted by someone's Belkin
Now, since I haven't listened to broadcast radio since the 1990s, I can't remark on that, but I have had my transmitter overpowered by a nearby Sirius radio. Usually playing country.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:25 PM   #18 (permalink)
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So. It seems that you're saying that the FCC differentiates among devices and allows some to transmit on the FM channels while others cannot. Dedicated FM transmitters, such as iPod car docks, can, while devices classified as portable music players cannot. If that is what you're saying, and if true; then that is that. End of discussion. Is that what you're saying? If so, what is the source of your information? I'd be interested in seeing the details.

Matt
I think he is saying they had to weaken to signal of all consumer transmitters not just for devices.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Not everyone knows you can use a separate device to transmit FM
Quite right. I used hyperbole because I feared we were becoming sidetracked. Maybe that was a little heavy-handed.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 02:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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First, I know about male-to-male wires. I acknowledge that using one produces the cleanest signal, one that is not subject to interference. However, that has nothing to do with this discussion, which is about whether certain devices are capable of transmitting FM signals, and why they can't or don't. I do hope this doesn't sound inflammatory to you, because it isn't intended to be.
Actually, sir, it has everything to do with this discussion. If consumers can get the best signal quality (vs FM) via a hard cable, or, heaven forbid, use existing technology such as bluetooth which can allow the car to now access phone lists, etc., why in the world would phone or music player manufacturers worry with attempting to use a heavily FCC regulated broadcast media?

Most newer cars (hey big bad wulff, that means newer than 2004) have this setup already in terms of an Aux in or an ipod hookup, or an aftermarket headunit has it for cheap at Walmart, so it's very accessible to the automotive market.

FM transmitters have kinda gone the way of IR file transfer, IMO.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Actually, sir, it has everything to do with this discussion. If consumers can get the best signal quality (vs FM) via a hard cable, or, heaven forbid, use existing technology such as bluetooth which can allow the car to now access phone lists, etc., why in the world would phone or music player manufacturers worry with attempting to use a heavily FCC regulated broadcast media?

Most newer cars (hey big bad wulff, that means newer than 2004) have this setup already in terms of an Aux in or an ipod hookup, or an aftermarket headunit has it for cheap at Walmart, so it's very accessible to the automotive market.

FM transmitters have kinda gone the way of IR file transfer, IMO.
"Actually, sir"? How deliberately belligerent. I note your combative tone and now move on.

I think most people would agree that cars on the road with Bluetooth integration are still rather rare. Nearly everyone, however, owns a radio receiver in their vehicle, home, workplace, cabin, boat, garage, hunting shack, sauna, beach house, etc, etc, etc. It seems to me that the ability to wirelessly send music to those receivers is something many people would like.

Clearly, you are trying to say that manufacturers don't include this feature because they don't think enough people want it. It's a good explanation. I proposed the same idea earlier.

Thank you for your replies.

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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:00 PM   #22 (permalink)
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also, based on some quick research on Ramsey Electronics' website, the below would have a big restriction on FM transmitters. While this is talking about an FM broadcasting kit, the #2 means that if you do get static on your frequency, there's not a thing you can do about it. Not something you want to tell a consumer when you can give them access to a $5 cord and have perfect signal.

The individual kit-builder and all users of this device assume responsibility for lawful uses
conforming to FCC Part 15 Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions:
1. This device may not cause harmful interference, and
2. This device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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"Actually, sir"? How deliberately belligerent. I note your combative tone and now move on.

I think most people would agree that cars on the road with Bluetooth integration are still rather rare. Nearly everyone, however, owns a radio receiver in their vehicle, home, workplace, cabin, boat, garage, hunting shack, sauna, beach house, etc, etc, etc. It seems to me that the ability to wirelessly send music to those receivers is something many people would like.

Clearly, you are trying to say that manufacturers don't include this feature because they don't think enough people want it. It's a good explanation. I proposed the same idea earlier.

Thank you for your replies.

Matt

I didn't spell it was a "C" and a "u", so it isn't combative, yet. This is, after all, the intardwebz.

I happen to own several of the electronics that you mention, and also have a car that doesn't have bluetooth. Ipod adapter kits for the car, aux inputs to the stereo, surround sound, and even my Black & Decker stereo/battery charger mean I don't have to carry an FM transmitter, or have it using my battery.

So yes, my original point stands; glad you did see that. I promise I'm trying to help, but your original tone didn't help.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:24 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I want the iPhone 4
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #25 (permalink)
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lulz
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:34 PM   #26 (permalink)
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So. It seems that you're saying that the FCC differentiates among devices and allows some to transmit on the FM channels while others cannot. Dedicated FM transmitters, such as iPod car docks, can, while devices classified as portable music players cannot. If that is what you're saying, and if true; then that is that. End of discussion. Is that what you're saying? If so, what is the source of your information? I'd be interested in seeing the details.

Matt
not only does the FCC differentiate between devices, they also differentiate between transmission frequencies. I know this from having hand held two way radios and also from back in the day of cb radios. it mainly comes down to money. In order to transmit on certain frequencies you have to pay the FCC for a license. They have spectrum open for public use, however, its the crappy end of the spectrum that is transmitted by line of sight only.
B/c radio waves comprise a range of freq. they regulate them differently.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #27 (permalink)
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i'm not saying that the manufacturer's couldn't put in fm transmitters if they wanted to. that doesn't mean the FCC wouldn't regulate it, but they already regulate everything else having to do with these devices anyways.
it could be something as simple as the amount of space it would require in the device to accomodate a FM transmitter. I know these are do almost anything devices, but they are limited to their thickness, battery consumption, and at present already have several radio transmitters in them. one for wifi, one for cell, a gps chip. i'm guessing that somewhere along the line someone in design said, we want all the functionality we can get, but what can we do without to make the devices as slim as people want them.
i'm just hypothesizing right now, but this seems to be just as logical a reason for no FM transmittor than others.
as for bluetooth transmission of music, from what i've read on this forum, that sounds to me to be the worst way to transmit the signal. when it comes to music, for me, it's all about how faithfully i can reproduce the sound. and the best way to do that at present is still with a heavy gauge cable. much less compression and decompression of the signal needs to be done, meaning higher fidelity.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:44 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I didn't spell it was a "C" and a "u", so it isn't combative, yet. This is, after all, the intardwebz.

I happen to own several of the electronics that you mention, and also have a car that doesn't have bluetooth. Ipod adapter kits for the car, aux inputs to the stereo, surround sound, and even my Black & Decker stereo/battery charger mean I don't have to carry an FM transmitter, or have it using my battery.

So yes, my original point stands; glad you did see that. I promise I'm trying to help, but your original tone didn't help.
I don't understand your first sentence. Maybe it relies on generational slang with which I am unfamiliar, or contains some key mispellings that make parsing it impossible for me. No matter. My point was that your use of "sir" is almost universally recognized to convey derision or disdain. I really wasn't offended, but I saw no reason to let it pass.

I think at this point, now that we've covered possible reasoning behind the manufacturer's failure or refusal to include this functionality, it would make more sense to move on.

Does anybody know if an app could be written to do this? It is no secret that some apps are able to control the phone's ability to transmit radio. Barnacle and Wireless Tether, for example.

I suppose no developer sees enough demand. I know I could learn to write in Android and make my own app, but that requires a time commitment beyond what I can justify.

This, after all, is just a relaxed, casual conversation about extending the usefulness of devices that most of us could live without.

I am grateful for your replies and for your sincere attempt to contribute to the thread. Swords are made by hammering them, and so are sharp minds.

Matt
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:47 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Does anybody know if an app could be written to do this? It is no secret that some apps are able to control the phone's ability to transmit radio. Barnacle and Wireless Tether, for example.

I suppose no developer sees enough demand. I know I could learn to write in Android and make my own app, but that requires a time commitment beyond what I can justify.


Matt
I don't think so. The X has a FM receiver that uses a headphone cord as an antenna. I don't think the X has a FM transmitter within, even if the software could be written.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:49 PM   #30 (permalink)
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i'm not saying that the manufacturer's couldn't put in fm transmitters if they wanted to. that doesn't mean the FCC wouldn't regulate it, but they already regulate everything else having to do with these devices anyways.
it could be something as simple as the amount of space it would require in the device to accomodate a FM transmitter. I know these are do almost anything devices, but they are limited to their thickness, battery consumption, and at present already have several radio transmitters in them. one for wifi, one for cell, a gps chip. i'm guessing that somewhere along the line someone in design said, we want all the functionality we can get, but what can we do without to make the devices as slim as people want them.
i'm just hypothesizing right now, but this seems to be just as logical a reason for no FM transmittor than others.
as for bluetooth transmission of music, from what i've read on this forum, that sounds to me to be the worst way to transmit the signal. when it comes to music, for me, it's all about how faithfully i can reproduce the sound. and the best way to do that at present is still with a heavy gauge cable. much less compression and decompression of the signal needs to be done, meaning higher fidelity.
If accurate, that clarifies things a bit. I thought that since these devices all used radio for everything that they could simply use the onboard transmitter for whatever frequency they wanted. If that is actually impossible because of the hardware, then the question is answered.

Also, my Bluetooth receiver/FM transmitter produces really high quality audio. Sure, it's not as good as using a cable, but I doubt many people could tell the difference.

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Old January 26th, 2011, 03:50 PM   #31 (permalink)
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as for bluetooth transmission of music, from what i've read on this forum, that sounds to me to be the worst way to transmit the signal. when it comes to music, for me, it's all about how faithfully i can reproduce the sound. and the best way to do that at present is still with a heavy gauge cable. much less compression and decompression of the signal needs to be done, meaning higher fidelity.
I have a pair of Moto S9 Bluetooth headphones. Not bad audio quality. Good for gym workouts so you don't have to deal with wires around you. No way audiophile though.

I am using my X with a pair of Seinheiser HD555s, due to the low impedance of them. The X seems to drive it fine. I wish the X had a line out jack, so I get get myself a quality headphone amp.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:02 PM   #32 (permalink)
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If accurate, that clarifies things a bit. I thought that since these devices all used radio for everything that they could simply use the onboard transmitter for whatever frequency they wanted. If that is actually impossible because of the hardware, then the question is answered.

Also, my Bluetooth receiver/FM transmitter produces really high quality audio. Sure, it's not as good as using a cable, but I doubt many people could tell the difference.

Matt
Well, again, our X comes with wifi, bt, 3g, 1x - all of which are send/receive mediums by nature. (Wouldn't make sense to have a phone that you could only listen to...)

However, FM reception requires our phone to have an external antenna attached, and knowing the size of electronics required (think of how big the one you use is) and the battery hog that a transmitter can be, our phones just don't package that size very well.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #33 (permalink)
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It would be interesting to compare the power consumption, range, and data density of the X's WiFi Hotspot function to that of a standard Scoche or Belkin FM transmitter. Wonder if that information is available somewhere...

I've had a couple that would work for many hours on a single AAA battery. Or maybe two.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 09:34 PM   #34 (permalink)
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If only there were a way to globally connect a bunch of computers to connect information so that I could share the answer with you...

Lol

Simple 30 meters range FM transmitter

Note: the power consumption isn't bad for 30m, but the sheer size of the transmitter isn't really feasible in a thin phone.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 10:20 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Yeah. I saw other stuff like that. Those seem to be intended for low cost, DIY projects. I think the mojo way to get a definitive answer is to ask a manufacturer. I had hoped to avoid that, since they're generally unhelpful and slow to respond.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #36 (permalink)
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yeah you will probably just get a form letter response to this kind of question from moto.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 11:48 AM   #37 (permalink)
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well, why not try posting up on the moto forums?
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Old January 27th, 2011, 11:56 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm going to try the developer forum when I get a chance. I'll report back he anyone's interested.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:01 PM   #39 (permalink)
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You mean an FM transmitter/modulator for your car stereo. long answer short, they are used so rarely by people that nobody would pay for the item and carry its weight in the device with all the other martketable features.

Now yes you can get modulators that standalone, for the people that need them, this is perfect and works wonderfully. They draw quite a bit of power, hence why they typically plug into lighter/power adapters.

This is why your phone won't have one. BT takes much less power as its a discrete digital signal and much weaker than analog FM for similar coverage distances.

FM analog has to have the power to push through interference.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #40 (permalink)
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So the phone can transmit in the 2-5 GHz range, but not the 87-108 MHz range? Bummer.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #41 (permalink)
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So the phone can transmit in the 2-5 GHz range, but not the 87-108 MHz range? Bummer.
yes. more or less.

that 87-108mhz transmitter, can only be 10 watt or less without a license from the FCC. (IIRC). meanwhile, the other transmitters on the DX is 6 milliwatts or less.

major difference in scale. also your FM antenna needs to be significantly longer (due to frequency and wavelength) than a cell, cell data, or BT antenna.

BTW, old timey bag and car analog cell phones, were 6 watt transmitters.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #42 (permalink)
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So those small, self contained cigarette lighter units have a coiled antenna or the equivalent?
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #43 (permalink)
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So those small, self contained cigarette lighter units have a coiled antenna or the equivalent?
yes, usually or the power cord wire is the antenna line. Like the power cord of the Sirus radio unit you can buy at Walmart for $60.

or te Belkin ipop fm adapter that charges the pod while broadcasting a signal to the radio. the antenna is in te back of the ipod stand.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Many thanks for jumping in. It was pretty frustrating when I thought the phone was just crippled. The fact that it would actually require a costlier design makes the absence of this feature easier to accept. It is baffling to me that I seem to be the only one who wants this, though. It seems odd that most people rely on three hundred year old technology when there is one hundred year old tech can be used.

Ah, well. Thanks again, and to the rest of the contributors.

Matt
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Old January 27th, 2011, 02:41 PM   #45 (permalink)
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You are not alone. I would love the FM transmitter. As I said earlier I really dislike having external items that can be lost/misplaced/be in another car/etc.
To me this is like saying using an ethernet cable is better than having a wireless router for internet use on a laptop.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 02:50 PM   #46 (permalink)
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You are not alone. I would love the FM transmitter. As I said earlier I really dislike having external items that can be lost/misplaced/be in another car/etc.
To me this is like saying using an ethernet cable is better than having a wireless router for internet use on a laptop.
Exactly.

I still can't buy a dash mount with an inductive charger, but at least I know I'm not alone here. The world isn't totally senseless, after all.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 02:59 PM   #47 (permalink)
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It's pretty easy why you wont find a phone that has an FM transmitter inside of it:

The FCC has ruled in the past couple of years that any device that transmit on a licensed band (Cell freqs) can not transmit on an unlicensed (Or, actually, "licensed by rule" is the FCC term) band.

It has nothing to do with required antenna size, since your Part 15 FM-band device must have a terrible antenna in order to comply with specs( 25 uV/m at 3m distance, might be incorrect on the 25, but it's a tiny amount).

Add to that, if by some chance you WERE able to squeak it by the FCC, your phone now must meet ANOTHER round of testing, to ensure it will not cause "Harmful Interference".

Now, that being said, I can not for the life of me fathom why it would be so difficult to use a COTS Part 15 FM device attached to your phone, or a car dock solution connected to the FM stereo with one of these:
Scosche Universal FM Modulator FMMOD02 - Car FM modulator

You can't beat that, it's damned near direct cable to your stereo, and only an audiophile would notice. But, they'd noticed your compressed audio before that.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #48 (permalink)
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I use a stand alone transmitter. I know it's not exactly what you're talking about. It's an inelegant and inconvenient method. I wound prefer a more sensible solution. It's disappointing that a bizarre, double standard law prevents that.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Well it's the same "logic" that kept/keeps VW from importing cars that get 50 mpg. Friggen stupid control insanity. The sooner we get the control freaks out of Washington, the better.

We have 2 of the VWs that were imported before the stupids laws were introduced and will have them until they rot.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:45 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Well it's the same "logic" that kept/keeps VW from importing cars that get 50 mpg. Friggen stupid control insanity. The sooner we get the control freaks out of Washington, the better.
"One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils of this world are to be cured by legislation." Thomas Reed
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