How Does a FM Modulator Work?

by Tim McQuade

An FM modulator allows you to be able to hook up an auxiliary device (such as an iPod or satellite radio receiver) through a car's regular radio channels. FM modulators come in many shapes and sizes and have a wide price range.

Function

FM modulators come in two forms: wireless and hard-wired. A wireless FM modulator (also referred to as an FM Transmitter) plugs a listening device straight into your car's cigarette lighter socket. The wireless FM modulator then broadcasts a weak, low-range signal so your car's radio can pick it up and play it. A hard-wired FM modulator is connected via wires directly to your car's antenna unit, creating a solid connection for the listening device.

Pros and Cons

The wireless and hard-wired FM modulators have pros and cons. For instance, a wireless FM modulator is far cheaper but it has a weak connection to the radio and poor sound quality results from outside radio interference. A hard-wired FM modulator will have a clean signal almost all the time; however, it costs more because (to ensure proper installation quality) it must be professionally installed.

Benefits

An FM modulator is a beneficial tool. No longer do you need CDs or cassettes in your car. In fact, you never have to listen to the radio anymore. You can simply plug your iPod or other listening device straight into your car's cigarette lighter socket and play your own music. Of course, depending on how much you are willing to spend determines the sound quality an FM modulator will provide.

About the Author

Tim McQuade began writing in 1999. He has worked for two newspapers, including "The Ithaca Times," and has had a short story published. McQuade received a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Ithaca College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera convertible car interior image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com