Connecting an iPad to Your Car Stereo

More and more people are owning iPads and one of the things they want to do with their new toys is to connect it to their car stereo systems. This isn’t as hard as many people believe and can even be made into a permanent fixture in your car with the right equipment and a little fabrication, and you can have a set-up like some of the new cars coming on the market with iPads pre-installed.

First thing you need to decide is if you want to go for the cheaper analog method or spend a little more on going digital. The digital will give a better sound and is just as easy to set up as the analog, the only real difference being in the cost of the parts.

Let’s start with the analog method. First you will need a pocket dock which will give you ports for both an audio out and a mini usb port for charging. To provide the power, all you need is an iPad car charger, just make sure it is made for an iPad and not just an iPod as you will find it won’t supply the required power to charge your iPad. I know that’s just common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people misread the labels on these products and end up with a charger that won’t (charge that is). The last item is a remote level controller that can be mounted to your dash to allow control of the volume of the iPad.

Hooking these parts up should be fairly easy, plug the charger into the cigarette lighter, run a usb cable form it to the pocket dock connector (I assume you know where to plug that into your iPad), and connect the controller from the iPad to your car stereo. That last part may be a little fiddly depending on your system so don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help if you need it. Also hiding the cables can be either easy or difficult depending on your car, and having a housing for the iPad can certainly come in handy for not only hiding the cables, but also providing a place for it to sit whil in use.

The next method is the digital method, and the only difference from the analog method is that instead of using the pocket dock, you need to use a HRT iStreamer Outboard DAC for iDevices (pictured above) Other than that the setup should be the same for both methods. As I said earlier the difference is in the cost and the current difference between these 2 products is $170 when bought from Amazon, so it really is an important decision as to whether you really need the improved sound that will come from the digital connection.

If you want to have a nice clean install I would recommend getting a custom dash made for your vehicle. Of course you could always make it yourself if you have the skills but for many of us doing something like this is beyond our capabilities, especially if we want a professional looking finish. I have also seen 90 degree connectors around that will go between the iPad and the pocket dock/iStreamer but am not sure where they can be purchased. If you have access to them they amy help in keeping the cables tidy by turing the connection to the iPad 90 degrees so that the pocket dock/istreamer plugs in to the port facing the bak rather than from the bottom.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment