Grom Audio, adding USB and Bluetooth to your car radio

I'm thinking of installing a Gromaudio device that, if your car radio has a CD changer input jack, allows for USB input, AUX input from a cellphone, and for another $50 Bluetooth use of the cellphone through the car speakers and an add-on microphone (in addition to the first $150).
The most important feature for me is the USB input.
Do any of you know anything good or bad about Grom audio? Do any of you know a competitor you would recommend (instead?)?
For example, Crutchfield sells a similar device that is only $70 for everything (except the microphone and I can't even figure out how to plug a microphone in). But assuming a microphone would work, would you assume the one that sells for $200 is better than the one that sells for 70?
I've read as many reviews as I can find, but I wanted your opinions, and I wanted to let you know such things are available. I never heard of them before 4 days ago.
Their webpages will tell you if your car factory radio is compatible. They say they even retain the use of SWC, steering wheel controls.
There are one or two other companies that sell devices that have everything but the USB input, and I found something on ebay that had everything and was only $18. At that price it's worth trying it just in case it works, but based on the pictures, I don't think I could find one that fit my particular jack. Hmm. Now it says "Only 4 available" and the price has gone up to $20.
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On Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 11:02:01 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

A microphone would go into the aux input.
But assuming a microphone would work, would you

I'd assume that it's available from China for $10, including shipping. Possibly for much less. Seriously, you're thinking of spending $150 for something that just turns aux input on a car to a USB input? And $50 more for bluetooth? Any company I'd do business with would have put all that in the first device and for an order of magnitude less than the $200.

What exactly is being done through this USB or bluetooth connection into the aux input on a car radio? The only connection there is audio, so it's only sound and it would have nothing to do with being compatible with any particular car beyond the car having an aux audio jack, no?
Also, I assume there is some player of some kind in this device that then allows one to insert a USB Flash Drive with music on it and play it? A link would be helpful.

The device you were talking about had:
"allows for USB input, AUX input from a cellphone, and for another $50 Bluetooth "
By subtraction that would mean that the other device is essentially a bluetooth adaptor.
and I found something on ebay that had

At least it's now getting in the right price range. I don't understand why there is a problem with the audio jack size, aren't they all the same? Even if different, there would only be maybe two and you'd think they would support both. My pair of old Sony headphones from the 70s fits into my new cellphone 3.5 mm jack. If they are different, get an adapter.
Ebay link?
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On Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 11:39:37 AM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:

Thinking about this some more, what's the objective here? Is it to listen to music from a USB flash drive? Why do it that way? There are cheap MP3 players, you put the music on that and you can play it anywhere, including through the existing car aux jack. Or you can put the music on a smartphone, which is what most people are doing now. You can feed that into the aux jack. Or you could buy one of those bluetooth to aux adapters and have the smartphone connect via bluetooth for music and calls. The bluetooth call part, using the car speakers, would only work if the radio is set to aux, ie when you're listening to music though. I'm having a hard time figuring out how that Grom thing can allow a cellphone to work for calls with an older car system not equipped for bluetooth. On an integrated system, when a call comes in, the radio/ stereo, cuts off from what it's playing and switches to the call. With an old radio with just an aux input, how does it take control of the radio/stereo? Seems to me it would only work if the radio was always set to aux input and you're using only that. Does not sound practical to me.
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micky wrote:

Forget the input jack and use FM wireless. Search Ebay.
IMO, bluetooth phone in a vehicle does not work very well. The outgoing sounds are muffled, distorted, and hard to understand. However, if you want to send music from your ipod to the vehicle audio it works well enough.
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In rec.autos.tech, on Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:30:27 -0500, Paul in Houston

Do you mean something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wireless-Music-to-Car-Radio-FM-Transmitter-For-3-5mm-MP3-iPod-iPhone-Tablets-US-/172506628087?hash=item282a323ff7:g:6qoAAOSwImRYjlrj
Or this one is ridiculously cheap http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/381848425256?chn=ps&dispItem=1 ? this uses a 3.5mm input from a cell phone, but I don't think I'll be using a cell phone. I can't afford unlimited data. Most likely I'll be dl'ing podcasts and putting them on a flashdrive. Although I have to say it might be worth buying this anyhow. It's only $2.85 with free shipping! OT3H I found a half dozen seller who'd sold over 1000 and only 1 review came back! He said it broke after a month. ;-)
How can cellphone makers consider getting rid of the 3.5mm jack with so many things that use it?

Actually, the radio itself has plenty of music and I just want to send talk, downloaded podcasts. That requires even less quality, iiuc.
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micky wrote:

What is a "flashdrive"? If it is a usb stick then there are devices to play usb music with fm. My son had one in his last car but I don't know which brand. It worked pretty good.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bluetooth-Wireless-Car-Aux-Stereo-Usb-Charger-Audio-Receiver-Fm-Radio-Sd-Adapter/382234256138?_trkparms=aid "2007&algo=SIM.MBE&ao=2&ascG507&meidH182c1016f24b978496634f4e4d0ba8&pid0623&rk=2&rkt=6&sd2247227744&_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bluetooth-Wireless-Car-AUX-Stereo-Audio-Receiver-FM-Radio-Adapter-USB-Charger-SD-/192247227744?epid !003076227&hash=item2cc2d3e560:g:TeIAAOSw~e5ZQEdu
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On Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 12:37:42 AM UTC-4, Paul in Houston TX wrot e:

s

a

!

io-Receiver-Fm-Radio-Sd-Adapter/382234256138?_trkparms=aid"2007&algo =SIM.MBE&ao=2&ascG507&meidH182c1016f24b978496634f4e4d0ba8&pid 0623&rk=2&rkt=6&sd2247227744&_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1

FM-Radio-Adapter-USB-Charger-SD-/192247227744?epid!003076227&hash=ite m2cc2d3e560:g:TeIAAOSw~e5ZQEdu
So, like I thought, they are available for ~$10.
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In sci.electronics.repair, on Sat, 23 Sep 2017 23:37:31 -0500, Paul in

Yes, that's it.

It's amazing that they have a remote control for a car. Maybe the people in the back seat will use it.

Thanks.
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In sci.electronics.repair, on Sat, 23 Sep 2017 22:50:26 -0400, micky

Yes, I'm sure you do. I bought it. And I've tested it in the car with a little MP3 player and it works well afaict so far. Now to load up the MP3 player before my trip in November.

I think for $3 I'll buy another one, for when I break the first one.

Very interesting. I have one that plugs into the cig lighter, but I've only made one call and, at my request, received one call. I was able to talk and drive that time, because of the route, but I'm not sure I could other times.

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In rec.autos.tech, on Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:14:05 -0400, micky

This seemed to work well the first time, but it might be that the battery went way down even when I wasn't using it and after recharging, the sound still wasn't as good as the first time. Maybe I picked a bad vacant frequency. Maybe I'll find the same sort of thing for more money and that will mean it's better?

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On Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 11:30:05 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

IDK why you bought something that relies on FM transmission to the radio when you had choices that plugged directly into the AUX input on the car.
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In rec.autos.tech, on Sat, 23 Sep 2017 11:01:57 -0400, micky

Correction: It only has USB and AUX. When I came across it, totally by chance, I didn't think I could add on even that much. I thought I'd have to buy a newer radio, and I certainly hadn't considered Bluetooth.

Correction, now for this particular car, it says 0 available but good news, the price is down to $18.
If you want to look for more, the search terms are car kit . I find that amazing considering there must be kits for all sorts of things, but apparently they don't get to use the term car kit.
Crutchfield has 13 things, not all with good reviews: https://www.crutchfield.com/S-gdyc2ktbWNt/g_324750/Bluetooth-Car-Adapters-Hands-free-Kits.html I can't find the one I looked at before, unless it was the one for 89 dollars
but there are loads of other by lots of companies running from $40 to 270. the last one includes HD radio, but for that you have to mount an antenna a little smaller than a bic lighter inside the windshield or so.
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No comment on them but a general 2-cent comment.
Keep in mind that most of these "adapters" need power, usually by a rechargeable battery built into them and that is the major pain in the ass.
I had a 97 Lincoln that had a non-replaceable radio (amps and other parts of it were scattered all over the car), it had a cassette player and 10 disc cd changer but since you can get like 1400 mp3's on a cheap 16GB ipod, I wanted to use one of those.
They probably are still made (maybe) but there was a cassette to bluetooth adapter and it really worked well, provided it was charged up. Battery life was only 4-6 hours and it really sucked when 15 minutes into a 2 hour drive it starts beeping at you to charge it up. Back to the radio.
I'd really recommend if whatever you are looking at isn't wired into the car, forget it.
My overall recommendation is screw all these adapters and replace the radio.
I don't know what kind of car or truck you have but you should be able to find from Crutchfield, a radio, wiring harness that supports the steering wheel controls and if needed, the adapter plate (bezel) for $150 or less.
Most of those under $100 radios they sell have at least 1 usb port (the dual ones are front/back, the back if you want to run a cable somewhere), usually bluetooth and have a aux input.
My point is, it's a little more expensive than it seems you are planning on, will take at least an afternoon of work to install but once it's done, you just don't have to worry about anything. Provided you remember to bring the phone/ipod or usb stick with you, it just works.
I put up with that cassette adapter for 4-5 years and although it was worth the $35 or so it just wasn't dependable. I replaced the car earlier this year with another used Lincoln, but the at least the radio was more standard. I wanted to try that apple carplay and although it ran almost $500 for everything, I'd never get another car without it.
I'm pushing 60 and the last car radio I installed was back when dashboards were still made of steel and although it took me 3 attempts over 3 days to get everything to work right (who would of thunk to attach the tripwire for the amps to the power antenna lead from the radio), I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
I stuffed all the wiring via the shift tunnel into the center console thing and don't have any wires or plugs exposed. If you go on a short trip and don't plug the phone/ipod in, the radio does a search for a bluetooth connection automatically and off ya go. Can still switch tracks and control volume from the steering wheel and make hands-free phone calls.
All those adapters have their place but for long term enjoyment, replace the radio.
-bruce snipped-for-privacy@ripco.com
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In sci.electronics.repair, on Sun, 24 Sep 2017 10:29:35 +0000 (UTC),

Yeah it is. I'd forgotten about your answer and Houston Paul's and I started a new likely-to-be short thread.

I looked at other radios but this one has GPS and a map and I know I'll get bored by it in a while, but not yet, so maybe then I'll replace the radio.

Not me.

It's easier now because you don't have to lie on your back with your head under the dash. Things go in and out from the front.
But there are still other things that require one's head under the dash, and I'm 70 y.o. now. That's not really a problem but they weight I gained is.

A lot of them, all that I saw, keep the SWC (steering wheel controls, that's the abbreviation they use.) still working. It seems a challenge to make the SWC, the radio, the adapter, and a cell phone all work together.

Some day maybe. But for $10 I bought a Wireless to FM transmitter. They sell them for as little as $3 but you have to wait until they come from China. It seems to work pretty well with my little SanDisk Clip. I glued a kitchen match to it to fill in the space and used a rubber band to hold them together.
The Clip holds 4Gig and the SD card holds another 4Gig, but you can get up to 8 plus 32gig. 3Gig holds about 2000 songs (I'm going to use Find Everything to find and delete the duplicates, which have (1 , (2, or (3 in the title, buit there are about 1100 distinct 50's and 60's songs, and there are even more on a different station.) I'm going to start on podcasts science and history podcasts (Science Friday and Back Story) in a couple days.
I thought the $18 item referred to in the new thread would not fit my radio, but after a while I decided it should. It should come within a week. So it's only 18 instead of 200. No bluetooth but no one calls me anyhow. And I guess the USB jack won't accomplish anything, but the 3.5mm jack should plug straight into the MP3 player, so I won't need the wireless then.

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In rec.autos.tech, on Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:50:54 -0400, micky

It finally came (after spending 3 days in Sacramento) and it might not be the item's fault but it doesn't work. My radio has a CD changer jack that matched the plug on this adapter, but now I see that nothing in the radio's manual says anything about a CD changer. JBL or Toyotal E7001, in an early 2005 Solara. There is an E7002 also in later cars.
Could they have put in a jack in mine that has no purpose?

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On Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 11:36:17 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

That seems very unlikely.
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