N2DS

Dave's Whole House FM PodSender

Dave's FM PodSender Hardware

Dave's FM PodSender Project


Hi Friends! This little project idea started out as part of another endeavor, my FM MP3 Broadcaster, and my Chinese MP3 Entertainment Devices pages on my other website. Buying all these Chinese audio trinkets was addictive. But I finally broke myself of the habit (I think). Once I find homes for this stuff, I'll be looking again.

While I was perusing though eBay, I saw some little FM transmitters for as low as 4 bucks each, including shipping! Use these search words to find these devices: 200 Channels LCD FM Transmitter.

You get a little box that is a frequency agile FM transmitter. Also included is a cord that plugs into a cigar lighter socket and reduces the voltage to 5 volts to plug in to the transmitter. These two pieces are shown above. The rest of the items were added and are used, depending on what you need.

What good is this?

I am an avid podcast listener. Most of the programs I enjoy come from the TWiT Network in Petaluma, CA. I download mostly the lower bandwidth audio except in the cases where video adds to the content of the programming.

Since these downloaded files reside on my computer, I wanted a way to listen to them in any part of my house, or even while sitting on my back porch. Instead of stopping the MP3 player app each time I wanted to inventory my fridge, I wanted the audio to follow me. Sometimes I listen live and I don't want to miss anything. Months ago I had looked at buying a Logitech Bluetooth remote speaker, but at about $90, I didn't feel it was a good value for me. I forgot about doing this until I saw these little FM transmitters.

I doubt there is any FCC Type Acceptance on these as they are imported directly. But I felt that these wouldn't cause anyone else problems and I tested the range with a typical receiver. The signal was pretty well faded out at about 30 meters.

What Else Is Needed?

The idea is to connect this FM transmitter to an audio device. My first test was with my computer. I first plugged in the FM transmitter to the speaker output jack on the front of the computer. I thought I would still get audio from the rear panel jack to drive the speakers, but I was wrong! Plugging in to the front jack, muted the rear jack.

So back I went to eBay and found a seller offering 3.5mm stereo Y splitters. Five of them cost me less than 3 bucks. The extra ones may come in handy later. By placing two AAA cells in the battery holder, I had FM stereo to my portable radio! But batteries are fine if you really need them, but this was not in my plan.

As mentioned earlier, this FM transmitter came with a cigar lighter adaptor cord. In my earlier project I had added a female lighter socket to the end of a 12 volt dc wall wart power supply. This gave me a solution to my power situation.

But this is a bit clunky when thinking that the computer I was connecting to has some extra USB connectors right on the box. I tried my USB power cords I had but none of them fit! It was back to China for me! Those people are wonderful. To find these, use these search terms: USB A to Mini B 4-Pin Data Cable Adapter Male. I paid $1.58 each for them. I ordered an extra to keep on hand.

With those two connections made, I was ready to use my FM transmitter. I used my PL-118 Tecsun DSP FM radio to listen to my transmitter. The audio is very clear and there are no adjustments required. Of course you can connect to other devices, such as a shortwave radio, a home stereo or even your 8 track player!

I have more of these FM transmitters on order. I have already tested it with my cable box. I can listen to tv audio around the house now. I will set the new FM transmitters on different frequencies and select which audio I want to listen to by tuning the radio. Another use is if you have a good AM radio, perhaps connected to an external antenna in a quiet location away from the rest of the house electronics. Use this FM transmitter for noise and static free reception. These little Chinese FM transmitters are devices I can recommend!

73, Dave – N2DS