Lotus Elan

Hidden FM ipod Satellite USB Stereo Radio Controller System

PostPost by: holywood3645 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:16 pm

Has anyone installed one of these "hidden" radios in there cars? What are you thoughts. Any pictures of the insallation?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/320762583447?ss ... 1423.l2649

Thanks

James
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:59 pm

Salut James

I guess it depends what you want and/or need. This seems to be suited if you don't want something (that works) in the normal radio slot.

Otherwise if you want all the bells and whistles, the Parrot Asteroid is well regarded and also very shallow, so there should be no problem with fitting.

For a more period look there are a couple of companies that put the insides of a modern unit in the case of an old one, and variations on that theme.

Then there are original period radio, or radio cassette units that can take a line input, e.g. MP3/iPhone/etc headphone out. You need to check there is a shorted DIN plug at the back - and that the unit isn't too deep for your car.

The last is the cheapest and looks the most original. The others are way more expensive but have other features such as a USB input (and GPS plus more for the Parrot).

@+

Vernon

P.S. There are now some shallow non-CD multimedia units that are cheap - I bought one and it wasn't great sound-wise.
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:24 pm

Vernon, I was looking at everthing to be hidded. I thought either use the remote, or hide the little radio control unit behind the ashtry. I wanted the dash to look clean and appear not to have a radio installed. It looks like the small remote unit would fit inside the ashtray slot. Then I could figure out how a wat the ashtray cover would hide the unit.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:24 am

James, I installed that unit in my Plus 2, although may be an earlier generation. I also have a Kenwood amp. Both are mounted in the trunk under the floorboards, right hand side. Speakers are in the stock location on rear parcel shelf (tight clearance) and in the kick panel area (tons of room). If I am out working on the car I can post some pics; need to remove the floor boards to show the install.

I did not install a CD changer, although the unit has the controller built in for this. No need for CD's in such a small car anyways.

I use an older iPod Nano (fourth gen?) with the unit, and it works great. The SST will not work with an iPhone or iPod Touch. I just bought a used compatible Nano that I leave in the car and sync the unit on iTunes, so this is no issue.

The SST has USB, and mine shipped with a thumb drive and a couple of songs loaded to give the idea. Have not used this feature; with the iPod available it is kind of redundant.

I use a Sirius Stiletto for sat radio. The SST unit will not control the Sirius portable tuners, and the firm does not offer the required converter box to do so (like Kenwood, Alpine, etc. do) The Stiletto uses the 3.5 mm audio in jack and works fine. The Sirius antenna is mounted under the fibreglass roof panel at the rear of the car so does not show. Only issue is the wires for the Stiletto car kit are a bit short, so I mounted the holder between my two rear seats. Not a big issue, but requires using the Stiletto remote to change stations, etc. Secretaudio offers a Sirius tuner for this unit, and the SST will control this from the control head or remote. This would work well for your stealth install, but you have to pay an additional monthly subscription for the tuner; couldn't see this working for me with the car laid up half the year.

I fitted the small controller in the stock DIN cutout of my dash. This took a bit of fettling with a thin plastic plate. Why the manufacturer doesn't offer a simple DIN install kit is a bit beyond me. If I knew I was using this unit when I ordered the dash I would have changed the cut-out size for the unit; it is smaller than a DIN size and can be fitted though. The supplied multi-conductor cable is just long enough to reach from the trunk to the dash area. Colour in the controller window is a bright blue; I would have preferred green but it can't be changed.

The RF remote is very good. However, I would not want to try and operate the unit with this alone and not being able to see the info in the controller window. If the newer units have a screen on the remote, this install strategy would probably work well. The remote is so good I thought the unit was pouched as it was randomly changing stations; the wife had placed it in the glove box with stuff on top and buttons were being pressed every bump! :)

The sound quality of the unit is reasonably clear, but not audiophile quality by any means, at least in the challenged acoustic environment of a Plus 2. The tuner seems to be OK, but radio reception fades quickly outside the city. This may say more about my antenna than the unit itself. The FM tuner can be changed in a menu to Euro tuning standards for anyone on the other side of the pond; not sure of the standards for AM but the details are in the manual pdf. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy with the radio and its stealth install features. I have a constant buzz in my rear speakers, but I think this is electrical interference not a problem with the SST unit.

Here is the manufacturers web site for more info. Somewhere on the site you can download the SST's manual complete with control head dimensions and wiring diagram. This is where I saw the new Secretaudio SRMS, which has the improved remote that may be more suitable if you hide the control head.

http://www.casmfg.com/Secretaudio.htm

HTH

PS Another feature I really like is the radio does not loose all of the station presets when you disconnect the power. This allows disconnecting the car battery for service or storage without screwing up all the settings.

The SRMS model looks like what you are after. It was not on the market when I got my SST.
Attachments
Secretaudio SST head unit.JPG and
Secretaudio SST controller mounted in the Plus 2 in the stock dash cutout. I used a thin sheet of painted styrene as a blanking plate. It has to be very thin for the mounting hardware to work.
Last edited by stugilmour on Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:31 am, edited 4 times in total.
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PostPost by: Famous Frank » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:18 am

I am also a dealer for Custom Auto Sound Radios. As mentioned already, they are not for the Audiophyle but for the money are a pretty good buy. I will check pricing and see if I can come up with some better pricing for anyone on this forum.

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:28 am

Wow Frank, that's cool. Can you ask them to make a conversion box for the portable Sirius tuners to be plugged in to the unit and controlled by the head unit? I never understood why this would not be available, as most of the units are being installed in fun cars rather than daily drivers. The portable tuner is great as we can move it vehicle to vehicle without paying $10 a month for each car.
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PostPost by: holywood3645 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:07 pm

Frank, I had though about using my i-phone in the car with PANDORA app. Do you know if they plan to support the i-phone connection?

Stu, thanks for the reply its really useful. Question: Would the small tuner fit in the Ash Tray slot? I checked the sizes and it looks like it would fit.

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:56 pm

holywood3645 wrote:Stu, thanks for the reply its really useful. Question: Would the small tuner fit in the Ash Tray slot? I checked the sizes and it looks like it would fit.

James


James, it might just fit perfectly with some very detailed filing and trimming. I happen to have my door panels off right now, and the dash ashtray is the same as the door ones.

The actual hole in the dash for the ash tray is ~4" x ~2" based on measuring the ash tray shell. This is considerably smaller than the chrome surround with the two mounting screws that you see from the outside. The screw holes are about 5" apart when measured from the outside edges of the screw holes in the ash tray shell.

The rectangular hole required for the flush mounting tray from their drawing is 5 1/4" x 2 1/4", which from mounting experience has to be pretty much right on for the bezel to cover things up (say within 1/16" to be safe). Note the mounting hole in the dash also needs two 3/4" long slots on each side, 1/8" wide. This making the total width of the hole 5 1/2". This would mean the slots would be ~1/2" wider than the original ash tray screw holes. :)

Before being sure it would fit, perhaps remove the dash ash tray and check for any wiring etc. that may be in the way of enlarging the stock hole.

The mounting tray is really shallow. I think it may be thiner than the dash panel, or just a bit thicker. The ash tray shell is about 1 1/4' to 1 3/8" deep, which is much deaper than the mounting tray.

HTH

PS I wrote the manufacturer a letter asking about support for portable Sirius tuners in the future; will see what I get as a reply. Based on earlier contact over the phone with tech support on the Sirius issue, I would not hold my breath for iPhone / iPod Touch support. How does Pandora work; do you need to be using the cellular network for data all the time while driving? Just curious as recently got an iPhone but not familiar with the Pandora deal or the impact on the phone data plan. Would not generally work for me as the roaming charges for Canadians visiting the USA are ridiculously high.
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