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  1.    #1  
    I wanted to post a review/my experiences with a home-brewed car kit solution that newtreouser has come up with, and I bought from him. And no, I'm not in any way affiliated with him. Found him on the Car Kit thread that's been going on interminably.

    He set a price at around $60, which isn't so bad, given the cost of the alternatives, as well as the time he probably put into figuring out how to wire it all together.

    The kit he's selling is a single cable running from the 600's headset jack into a switch. From there, 2 lines run out: one is a stereo line-out to your car stereo; the other is a mic jack. The switch toggles between mp3 playback and phone use. More on that later.

    My needs were a bit odd (unusual cable lengths for each of the leads coming off the switch). Newtreouser was extremely flexible in custom-building the kit to my needs at no extra charge, including a 10' run to the mic, swapping his headphone jack for an L-shaped jack at the Treo end (for which he charged me the cost of a new jack, since he had to buiy one), and giving me a male stereo-mini line-out on the stereo side. All to my specs.

    Ordered Friday, got the kit Tuesday.

    I've got Aux inputs on my stereo, so that solved the whole cassette-adapter/FM modulator conundrum that plagues so many of us. Just ran the line up under the dash into the back of the stereo. Likewise the mic line: up under the dash and up the seam along my windshield. Almost completely invisible.

    The switch was the only dubious part. Had to find a place to mount it. In my case, found the perfect solution in a dummy switch for an accessory that my car doesn't have. Looks almost invisible, and if I ever get rid of all of this, I'll just get a new dummy.

    How does it all go together? Pretty seamlessly, if you ask me. Leave it switched to music, and I've got Pocket Tunes playing through my stereo beautifully. If a call comes in, Lightwave announces the call over the stereo. I answer the call on the Treo like usual, then flip the switch for voice, which activates the mic line. I hear callers over the stereo, and the mic picks me up just fine. Don't know if the THB unit even allows for music.

    Robin posted to the Car Kit thread that calls don't sound THAT hot on the THB kit; same here. You aren't going to fool too many people that you're actually on the handset, but I doubt it's worse than any other car solution, including PalmOne's.

    Other issues? Well, one of my lines was orange, which sucked. But I buried the line so it's invisible, and if you care, tell him not to give you colored lines. There was noise in the line when I plugged in the cigarette lighter adapter, which would have been a deal-breaker, but I think the lines were just too close together: some fiddling (jiggling more than anything else) and the problem went away and hasn't returned. Those were truly my only issues with the whole transaction.

    Anyway, that's my 5. Why the long-winded shill? Well, I told newtreouser that if this worked out I'd sing his praises loud and clear, and, well, here I am. It's a LOT cheaper than the $200+shipping+install of the THB/Palm unit, and it works as advertised.

    I'm a happy customer.

    Adam
  2. hall316's Avatar
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    #2  
    pics?
  3.    #3  
    I'll work on it. Though there really isn't much to show. Newtreouser posted some pix of the kit itself on another thread (sir? perhaps you can re-post them here). But it doesn't look all that impressive. Which is the point: it disappears into the car.

    Man, am I long-winded. Short answer: I'll get 'em up in a day or two.
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by Waldman
    I wanted to post a review/my experiences with a home-brewed car kit solution that newtreouser has come up with, and I bought from him. And no, I'm not in any way affiliated with him. Found him on the Car Kit thread that's been going on interminably.
    No antenna adapter, no interest. Oh well.
  5. #5  
    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for writing the review on my car kit. I am happy to gain another happy customer.

    How do you have the mic routed? Can you position it within 3 to 12 inches of your mouth as I recommended? It does make quite a difference in sound quality to the person you are talking to.

    Normal length mic cables come with moulded connectors and are in black. Because you needed the special 10 ft length, I had to custom splice in the extra length and orange was the only mic cable I have in that length. I figured it's not a real issue since it is hidden anyway.

    As for the noise problem you had, I suspect it was a ground loop problem. When you jiggled the connectors, a better connection was made and the (open) ground loop went away.

    My car kit works with cassette adapter, FM transmitter, or stereo input ( as in your case). It also plays MP3 stereo! Everything plugs in for an easy install. No soldering required!

    I am away from home with only my treo and do not have the pics of my car kit with me. I will post them in this thread when I return home. For now, you can see pics in post #113 of this thread:

    http://discussion.treocentral.com/sh...hlight=car+kit

    My car kit is very affordable at $59 plus $5 s&h. If you wish to order one, have questions, or have custom requirements, or like a demo call from my car kit, please e-mail me at

    firepiston@yahoo.com

    You will get exc service and a response directly from me, not some canned computer reply.

    Steve

    Quote Originally Posted by Waldman
    I wanted to post a review/my experiences with a home-brewed car kit solution that newtreouser has come up with, and I bought from him. And no, I'm not in any way affiliated with him. Found him on the Car Kit thread that's been going on interminably.

    He set a price at around $60, which isn't so bad, given the cost of the alternatives, as well as the time he probably put into figuring out how to wire it all together.

    The kit he's selling is a single cable running from the 600's headset jack into a switch. From there, 2 lines run out: one is a stereo line-out to your car stereo; the other is a mic jack. The switch toggles between mp3 playback and phone use. More on that later.

    My needs were a bit odd (unusual cable lengths for each of the leads coming off the switch). Newtreouser was extremely flexible in custom-building the kit to my needs at no extra charge, including a 10' run to the mic, swapping his headphone jack for an L-shaped jack at the Treo end (for which he charged me the cost of a new jack, since he had to buiy one), and giving me a male stereo-mini line-out on the stereo side. All to my specs.

    Ordered Friday, got the kit Tuesday.

    I've got Aux inputs on my stereo, so that solved the whole cassette-adapter/FM modulator conundrum that plagues so many of us. Just ran the line up under the dash into the back of the stereo. Likewise the mic line: up under the dash and up the seam along my windshield. Almost completely invisible.

    The switch was the only dubious part. Had to find a place to mount it. In my case, found the perfect solution in a dummy switch for an accessory that my car doesn't have. Looks almost invisible, and if I ever get rid of all of this, I'll just get a new dummy.

    How does it all go together? Pretty seamlessly, if you ask me. Leave it switched to music, and I've got Pocket Tunes playing through my stereo beautifully. If a call comes in, Lightwave announces the call over the stereo. I answer the call on the Treo like usual, then flip the switch for voice, which activates the mic line. I hear callers over the stereo, and the mic picks me up just fine. Don't know if the THB unit even allows for music.

    Robin posted to the Car Kit thread that calls don't sound THAT hot on the THB kit; same here. You aren't going to fool too many people that you're actually on the handset, but I doubt it's worse than any other car solution, including PalmOne's.

    Other issues? Well, one of my lines was orange, which sucked. But I buried the line so it's invisible, and if you care, tell him not to give you colored lines. There was noise in the line when I plugged in the cigarette lighter adapter, which would have been a deal-breaker, but I think the lines were just too close together: some fiddling (jiggling more than anything else) and the problem went away and hasn't returned. Those were truly my only issues with the whole transaction.

    Anyway, that's my 5. Why the long-winded shill? Well, I told newtreouser that if this worked out I'd sing his praises loud and clear, and, well, here I am. It's a LOT cheaper than the $200+shipping+install of the THB/Palm unit, and it works as advertised.

    I'm a happy customer.

    Adam
  6. #6  
    Why? Do you think an external antenna will always give you better reception? I don't know how good the THB external antenna is, but I have have seen car kits with external antennas giving worse performance than not having it. Impedence matching an external antenna at microwave frequencies of mobile phones is tricky and lots can go wrong. An external antenna also makes the install more difficult. Do you really want a hole drilled through the roof of your new car?

    I do not see much difference in signal strength with my treo inside or outside the car. Microwaves has very short wavelengths and the car does not block microwaves very well.

    Try this test:

    Put your phone in the freezer and call it. It will ring with no problem!

    I have been using my car kit whenever I drive in the North east and let me say that reception without an external antenna has not been a problem. I am seldom without a signal.



    Quote Originally Posted by dbrashear
    No antenna adapter, no interest. Oh well.
  7. #7  
    I can see why someone would want a kit with an external antenna. While a car does not block a cell signal, and a phone can work inside of a freezer, the phone has a limited transmit power and receiver threshold since it has to be against your head. Since an external antenna is not against your head, it can transit at a higher power and get better reception through the use of the higher gain antenna. A properly designed phone kit with amplified external antenna should always transmit at a higher power and receive towers from further away. I am sure that their are kits that do not, but this is what this type of setup is supposed to do.
  8.    #8  
    I probably do have the mic too far from my mouth, but there's no surface closer without reaching for it when I answer a call, which I'm unwilling to do; or letting it dangle in space in front of my face.

    Again, this is a problem that isn't unique to this kit. It depends on the car you drive. So I'm not faulting the kit; just my car.

    I'm working on those pix...
  9. Minsc's Avatar
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    #9  
    A few quetsions:

    1. what type of cradle are you using to hold the Treo? (I assume this doesn't come with the kit?

    2. Is the MP3 playback in stereo?

    3. Do you need lightwave? It was my understanding that if you're playing mp3's through pockettunes and a call comes in, the Treo automatically switches to the call and pauses your song.
  10.    #10  
    Ah, the cradle. Well, that's another bit of DIY that I actually prefer to the prefab solutions. Had a Pro-Clip mount, but REALLY hated the finish on it. Felt like I was wrapping caviar in Velveeta.

    I found a plastic L-bracket that I mounted to the side of my console, and put a piece of grippy material on the face of. It folds away when not in use, and is invisible under the Treo. Looks like the 600 is floating next to the console. Very cool.

    Y'know what: I REALLY need to post pix. That'll tell the story better than I'm attempting to. Today. Seriously. You can trust me to do it just like you can trust PalmOne to deliver a patch for the THB unit today.

    As for MP3, it's absolutely in stereo. A close match to my iPod...which I've given away to my wife at this point.

    Don't need LightWav: I just like it. The system works equally well without it. Some have argued better.
  11. #11  
    So, newtreouser, if I wanted to make something like this for myself would the wiring be as shown in the diagram attached below?

    Just a note for anyone else thinking about making their own, my estimate is that for the price of parts, labor, and wiring/soldering neatness and expertise, the $60 price given by newtreouser is very reasonable. I just like making stuff. If my diagram isn't obviously understandable, you probably don't want to be messing about with electricity and your very expensive PDA phone!
    Attached Images Attached Images
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by Waldman
    I probably do have the mic too far from my mouth, but there's no surface closer without reaching for it when I answer a call, which I'm unwilling to do; or letting it dangle in space in front of my face.

    Again, this is a problem that isn't unique to this kit. It depends on the car you drive. So I'm not faulting the kit; just my car.

    I'm working on those pix...
    On my install, I have the mic taped to a 1 ft length of solid house wiring, which is routed in the visor. With the positioning of the visor and the stiff wire, I can easily position the mic to close proximity of my mouth. When the mic is not in use, it can be stowed away and is invisible.
  13. #13  
    Mercer,

    Your diagram will not work. Hey, I am trying trying to make a few bucks for my hard work. Is that OK? I am not making very much at the $59 introductory price. Price will likely go up once established with a good reputation, which I hope it will.

    What more do you want, my car kit which provides a speakerphone that sounds better than the THB unit, with MP3 stereo playback, which the THB unit does not have. And my speakerphone WORKS, NOW, TODAY!

    To disclose my design would be counterproductive for me. Hope you understand. How about asking THB instead?

    Quote Originally Posted by mercer
    So, newtreouser, if I wanted to make something like this for myself would the wiring be as shown in the diagram attached below?

    Just a note for anyone else thinking about making their own, my estimate is that for the price of parts, labor, and wiring/soldering neatness and expertise, the $60 price given by newtreouser is very reasonable. I just like making stuff. If my diagram isn't obviously understandable, you probably don't want to be messing about with electricity and your very expensive PDA phone!
  14. #14  
    newtreouser,
    What type of microphone do you recommend with your kit?
  15. #15  
    GalenMD, the mic/earset that came with your Treo works well, or you can use any mic/earset with a 2.5 mm plug. The beauty with my kit is you can plug in different mics. Different mics give you different sound, sensitivity, pickup pattern.

    I use a cheaper old $9.95 mic from Sprint that is not as sensitive as the Treo's mic and it works well also.
  16. #16  
    That confuses me a bit. I thought this was designed for seperate signals: one for the mic and one for the speaker. Why would I plug in a combo device for the mic jack? The mic/earset that comes with the Treo is pretty junky, and besides, the mic was designed to be inches away from your mouth.
    Would a solitary mic work by itself? I have a couple of mics with 6 foot cables that I can run to my visor (these came with older nokia car-kits).
  17. #17  
    Only the mic is used, not the ear bud (you can cut it away if it gets in the way). The mic plugs into a jack on my adapter harness and routed to the Treo. Having a jack for the mic allows you to plug in different mics. A solitary mic will work if it terminates in a 2.5 mm plug.

    Quote Originally Posted by GalenMD
    That confuses me a bit. I thought this was designed for seperate signals: one for the mic and one for the speaker. Why would I plug in a combo device for the mic jack? The mic/earset that comes with the Treo is pretty junky, and besides, the mic was designed to be inches away from your mouth.
    Would a solitary mic work by itself? I have a couple of mics with 6 foot cables that I can run to my visor (these came with older nokia car-kits).
  18. #18  
    When I tried building my own ( with no success), I considered using this mic:
    http://www.aaaprice.com/sonyecmdm5p.html

    I think it's 3.5mm, but I don't know for sure. Sony's site does not say. It appears to be one of the only high quality mics that I could find.
  19. #19  
    Galen, no problem, I can custom build a car kit for you to accept a mic with 3.5 mm plug.
  20. #20  
    I will be releasing my updated car kit to now include 2 new features:

    1. A high quality, excellent sounding microphone with 8 ft cabling.

    2. A Low profile L connetor to the Treo

    My car kit provides the following functionality:

    1. Great sounding MP3 stereo playback through your car stereo speakers via the following inputs:

    casette adapter (not included), or
    FM transmitter (not included), or
    Auxiliary car stereo input (male to male stereo adapter cable required- $4.95 extra for adapter cable)

    2. Great sounding full duplex handsfree speaker phone with external mic via your car stereo speakers.

    Price will be $75 plus $5 shipping and handling in the USA.

    Pictures coming.

    Email me at firepiston@yahoo.com if you have any questions or special requirements
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