Kiiro Wireless Car Stereo Adapter – Review


I use the stereo in the car when I'm driving to and from work to listen to the local fm radio, and when I'm travelling any further I tend to have a talkie book on cassette.

When I recently changed my car I got a CD player thrown in, but only afterwards realised that I couldn't plug my tape adaptor into the new stereo. I've recently spent ages converting mp3 and cassette audio books onto MDLP, which is much more portable than lugging multiple cassettes (or audio CDs) about. I normally plug the Minidisc player into a cassette adaptor and listen away.


So without an audio input how do I play my talkie books? My mind wondered to the Scan Cardap but I can't find a supplier for these in this country anymore as scan aren't doing them. Mark put me on to one that Amazon (but they only sell books don't they?) supplies. A week later a huge box arrived. Opening the box I was rewarded with the little blister pack that you can see on above.


What the device does is to take an audio source, and transmit it over FM radio to your radio in the car, thus negating the need for a separate audio input in your car stereo. There are numerous other uses for this that immediately spring to mind, such as transmitting your MP3 output from your PC to radios in the rest of the house amongst other things.

I excitedly opened the blister pack. The device is very small – at 70x53x22mm and exceptionally light without a battery in it. It is made out of a nice if not slightly tacky silver plastic. If you see the other pictures it really matches my minidisk player well, and even 'mates' up with it nicely – I was considering sticking a bit of Velcro to both of the devices to keep them together.


It has a built in 3.5mm stereo jack plug that you plug into the headphone socket of your audio device, with approximately 20cm of lead. The other controls are an on and off switch and a tuning dial.


The unit takes a single AA battery for power. Now the thing I liked about my minidisc player was I get an astounding 40 hours playback from a single AA Duracell, and was slightly worried that I needed to power another device in the car as well (the scan Cardap got its power from the cigarette lighter if I recall). The lid on the battery compartment slides and twists to open, and then the whole device suddenly begins to feel less well made. In fact I'm sure that if my 3 year old got hold of it, the lid would be broken quicker that he can find the horn in any car. So I'm hoping that I don't have to change the battery too often. The quoted battery lifespan is about 500 hours on an alkaline – I've not verified this, as you'll see later.


So powered up I plugged the device into my minidisk player and tuned in on a little FM radio we have kicking around the office. The frequency that it uses is between 88 and 88.5 Mhz, which is just at the edge of the dial. On the manual tuning radio I was using it tuned in quickly, although I discovered that radio 2 are on 88.5Mhz here, so I had to fiddle with the radio tuning and the transmitter tuning a bit to get it on 88Mhz. I walked away from the desk and its range was about 6 feet – but the office is stuffed with PC's and other electrical equipment. Just like the node zero where a UKHA'er might put it – so bear that in mind.


Lunchtime came and I trotted down to my car. I thought that I could just tune the stereo in quickly as it was now on a channel that didn't conflict with radio 2. Wrong!


After having to RTFM of the stereo an tremendous fiddling, the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter crept into hearing, but 3 seconds later the stereo clicked back onto Radio 2. The signal was really really weak, and the digital tuner – no matter what buttons I pressed, just wanted to ignore it. I'd been using a rechargeable battery of dubious origin throughout this exercise so drove to Tesco and bought a Duracell, with the same results.


So to me – not a lot of use. To an UKHA'er – probably not a lot of use. "Hello is that Amazon's return department?" Scan have stopped selling their Cardap as they had "problems with the radio people." To me this implies that the Cardap gives off a stronger signal, so if I ever get hold of one it may be more use.



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