Cooley On Cars
How to install an FM modulator in your carBrian Cooley shows you how to get key tech features like Bluetooth hands-free calling by installing an FM modulator in your car.
[MUSIC] A lot of you are driving cars that are six, eight, ten years old. You're kinda like me, you hang on to them as long as they're still good. But, that means you're probably missing two of the greatest hits of Cabin Tech, which is hands-free calling, And streaming of media from your mobile device on your factory stereo. So what we're going to do today is we're going to add a device that will solve that. We're going to put in an FM modulator here on the 04 Crown Victoria. Now I can hear some You groaning now because you may have tried something similar called an FM transmitter. They typically stick in your power port in the dash and transmit your phone's audio over the air to your car's antenna. That means they're fighting with more powerful radio transmitters in your area. The quality can be meh, but they're about a one minute install, and transportable between cars. The FM Modulator that we're doing today is integrated with your audio system and sends it's FM signal to it via a closed circuit that interrupts your cars antenna completely. That give you much better quality, but it does take an hour to install, and it's not transportable between cars. Additionally, the FM modulator I've selected today gets audio from your phone via either Bluetooth or it's own aux cable. Many others only use an office cable, but I prefer a little tidier cabin. [MUSIC] Okay, now before you start, a couple of steps of prep. First thing is, if your car has one of those radios that has an unlock code if the power is interrupted, anti-theft, get that code ready. Make sure you have it first, because we are going to pull the power. Next step, locate your fuse box. In the Crown Vic it's. It's down underneath the steering wheel. And [UNKNOWN] fuse, it's gonna be able to give you a source of switch 12 volt power. In this case, the radio fuse is perfect because our adapter is never gonna be called upon to work when the radio's not powered up. And these don't draw much current so I'm not worried about overloading that Circuit so I'm gonna go ahead and gang onto that fuse. Okay, now go and disconnect the battery. We did this before in one of our battery segments. Take of the negative and safe that thing so it's not gonna go back by cable memory and touch the negative post again and suddenly your cars alive. Next step, you're gonna pull the radio out of the dash. Now, most radios these days require some kinda special doohickey or tool. These little tool kits are like, you know, seven, eight bucks on Amazon and they've got tools for just about every car out there. In this case the ones for a Ford are, you know, simple little U-shaped thingies. [MUSIC] Put those in these little holes. There's that one. And now we're gonna pull this guy out. I pull these things to the out, and that's how you get that to release. Hold, then the radio comes out like so. Okay do yourself a huge favor. Do something low tech. Get yourself a nice, soft, thick rag and pad this part of your dash where the sharp underbelly of this radio is going to be coming and going a couple of times as you work and fiddle with connections. I'm gonna pull out the antenna connector. I'm gonna pull connectors off here There's one, there's another, and now that one comes off. [MUSIC] Now with the radio out, you get access to the well back there. Try and find a clear space to mount your actual modulator body. You want this to be close enough, so these antennale Reach to the antenna lead from the car and the back of the radio, that same region back there. So you can't go mount this thing in the back seat or something. And the other thing is, plan to mount this away from any hot air ducts or any Moving levers back there that are part of the climate control system that might get snagged on it or pull on its wires. When you mount this, you'll be tempted to use velcro. Which is a great idea, except velcro sucks for this. Instead, you wanna use the cousin of velcro. This really super strong [ MUSIC PLAYS IN BACKGROUND ] Stiff locking tape. This stuff doesn't have the kind of fabricy softness of velcro. It's really rigid and really strong. These are great for this kind of chore. [ MUSIC ] Okay next up we're going to mount the control button. Which either turns the thing on and off. Or in our case it also does that and it operates blue tooth pairing. Now this little button provided to us, it's a surface mount thing with a piece of adhesive on the back. What could be tackier? I'm going to go find an actual button that mounts in panel, and mount it somewhere discreetly Whenever you decide to do that, use a stepper bit to drill the button hole, not a traditional drill bit. You get a much cleaner hole, and it'll pop automatically to any of a number of standard sizes that your button's gonna want. [MUSIC] Okay, now we're gonna connect the antenna lead from the car's antenna to the female antenna lead on our modulator. And then this end, the male end is going to go back in the radio and the radio goes back into the car. Remember, this is an interrupter of the antenna circuit. Now, a couple things unusual about the device we're putting it, because it's also a blue tooth hands free adapter, not just a media playing adapter. It's got a microphone that you need to tuck Somewhere. Again, I'll leave that to you, every car is going to be different but that microphone has to get plugged into the body of this thing, right over here, before you start tucking this all away and buttoning things up. Make sure you've got a way to route this up and out Your headliner somewhere in the upper console. [MUSIC] Now I connect my red power lead that I found over in the fuse box into the red power lead coming into my modulator box. I also have a black ground wire there. You're gonna run that the ground which shouldn't be too hard to find. Anywhere inside the dash here. [MUSIC] Okay, now we're putting things back together, here's the fun part. Let's complete the antenna circuit by taking this antenna lead from the modulator and that now goes into the radio instead of the antenna that used to go here directly. And now just put all the factory connectors back. [MUSIC] Transit BLU HF. I'm going to pair that and now it says connected right there. We're going to go to that menu and I've got phone audio and media audio. It shows that I've got both streaming and hands free calling. Okay, so our system works pretty well. Now, to use this, I'm listening to FM radio on another frequency that isn't my modulator frequency, I've gotta do several things. I have to get up to my modulator frequency which in my case is currently 98.1. I've gotta switch my modulator into phone mode so it's grabbing and listening to this and no longer passing FM antenna Surreal. And then I gotta go fuss with my phone and get it to play stuff. I can use this button to advance tracks on my Media Player as well. And it's always very sensitive where you set the volume on your phone going out to a modulator to make sure you're not overdriving it, so it's not sending crappy sound. Into the FM of your radio. So you've got several stages here that you're gonna have to fiddle with a little bit and learn what sounds best. This one, right off the bat, is sounding pretty clean as these things go. I like the fact that it's bluetooth wireless. And I like the fact that it's not that hard to switch between different modes. [MUSIC] [MUSIC].