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TomTom 720 FM Transmitter

Tim 1271 Points
edited November -1 in TomTom Car Forum
Let's discuss the FM transmitter on the TomTom 720 here.
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Comments

  • Tim, thanks for opening up a separate thread for this. If I understood you right, you said that it that you had better sound volume on your car radio by turning up the volume to 100% on your TT720. Correct?
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Sort of. I never tried it on anything but 100% until today. :)

    For me, I do need to turn the stereo in my car up higher with the FM transmitter than I do with regular FM radio stations. However in looking at other FM transmitters I have (one for an iPod, one stand-alone transmitter) I also need to turn the car stereo volume up there just as much as I do with the 720 at 100%.

    Thus the performance I'm getting out of the 720 at max volume is very similar to the performance I'm getting from other similar transmitters. In each case, however, I need to turn the stereo's volume up higher with the FM transmitter than I do when listening to regular radio.
  • I presume that we should turn off the setting that allows the TT to adjust the volume depending on ambient noise when using the FM transmitter (or does this setting not affect the output?).
  • Tim 1271 Points
    I'll have to look again but I thought the automatic volume adjustment was linked to your speed, not the ambient noise.?.?
  • I was wondering whether anyone has or has tried the ipod cable connector for the TT720. I just picked mine up (720) and was wondering whether I could transmit my ipod through the tom tom's FM transmitter? it says I can "control the ipod" and also "play the ipod through my stereo" but then it also mentions connecting the ipod to my stereo via a audio cable.. so whats the deal?..
  • Tim 1271 Points
    While I haven't tried that, I believe it should work that way.
  • droh 0 Points
    I've had about the same experience as everyone else with the FM transmitter. The volume is really low compared to any other input. The problem is even worse in my case because my antenna is at the back of the car so the signal is pretty weak as well. Bottom line is I can't use it. But I use a cassette adapter instead - that sounds pretty great, just adds another wire to the mix.

    Ipod support works great, I've hooked up both a video ipod and an iphone. Connects okay, but sometimes takes two tries for some reason. It playes through either the audio output (to cassette adpater in my case) or you can go out FM transmitter. The nice thing is it lowers the ipod volume AND pauses the song when it gives directions. Ipod control is pretty nice too, just like it's own jukebox functions. The only thing I wish it could do is make the song slider interactive so you can move more quickly through a song, or more to the point through a podcast. You can hold down the FF button, but it's slow.
  • I was having FM Transmitter issues when I first tried it with my 720's volume set to 70%. But, when I put it to 100%, I only needed to turn up my radio's volume slightly higher than normal to get an acceptable output level.
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Ipod support works great, I've hooked up both a video ipod and an iphone.
    I haven't gotten around to testing mine yet, but I presume connecting the cable makes your iPhone go into airplane mode?
  • quick question.. where did u guys get ur ipod cables from?
  • Tim 1271 Points
    I think it is the same iPod connection cable as available for the 510/910.
  • droh 0 Points
    Tim, actually the iPhone asks you if you want to go into airplane mode. But I usually say "no" it means I get occasional static over the radio but that way I can still use the phone. And I am using the iPhone (as a handfree phone) via bluetooth - so it can do double duty.

    I bought my iPod cable at Circuit City and what i bought is the one for the 510/710/910 - it works just fine, same tomtom connector.

    What will be a bummer is that the TMC traffic reciever needs that same port -so I'll have to choose between the iPod or traffic.
  • I have a question regarding the fm transmitter.

    I got the music and navigation instructions to play through my car stereo with not problem. However, can the phone calls be routed through the transmitter? i only asked b/c on the tomtom website they advertise the device having the capability of doing so.

    The interesting thing is for the first two days,i was getting calls routed to my car stereo, it was great!, but that didn't last...I contacted customer service and got the response that my Spring ppc6700 is not a supported phone...so why it worked in the first place is still a mystery to me.

    Also, I tried my girlfriends motorola raza V3, which is listed as a supported phone for tomtom 720 and no calls were routed to my stereo. Everything is still through the internal speaker.
  • Tim 1271 Points
    That is the first report I've heard that voice calls were routed through the FM transmitter. The manual (top of page 21) says this is not possible:
    Hands-free calls are always played over the internal speaker.
  • Hey Tim,

    I just checked the tomtom website again to make sure i wasn't going blind.
    If you check the tt720 info site, check under the "functionalitues" tab they have and under that the "smart and fun extras" category, you will see a description of the fm transmitter where they state the following:

    "Plays your device's audio wirelessly through your car stereo including MP3 music,navigation instructions and handsfree calls."

    I do not know what to make of this... :shock:
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Yes, I've seen that too. It directly contradicts what the manual seems to state.
  • kgman 0 Points
    In my 2006 Honda Accord, the FM Transmitter does not work very well. I have an FM Transmitter for my iPod that works much better. The signal that the TomTom produces is very weak even with the volume set to 100%. I tried many different dead stations and none produce a clear signal for me. Unfortunately, the Accord doesn't have a cassette nor a line in port (at least not one that is easy accessible).
  • Tim 1271 Points
    kgman, to eliminate the last variable, is your 720 in the same location as your iPod. (I don't expect your results to change, but it would be good to further validate the issue by eliminating the variable of transmitter location.)
  • Perhaps time to buy a new head unit with better controls, sound, etc., but especially an Aux interface on the front bezel?
  • kgman 0 Points
    I'll have to try moving my tomtom down to where my ipod transmitter is. My TomTom is to the left of my steering wheel and the ipod transmitter sits right below the head unit - so the distance could be a factor.
  • I've now had the chance try the 720 in both our cars... in the Mini it only works when the charger is plugged in (I guess it give it a bit of extra antenna and with the mini on the centre of the roof, the tomtom isn't that close to it),but in our Suzuki it works fine off the battery. I have been placing the unit on the driver's side of the car, which on the Suzuki is right under the aeriel,which is why I guess it works well there.

    The volume has to be 100% on the 720 and then there's not much difference between the 720 channel and the normal radio volume.

    I have found that the ringing tone when making hands-free calls (which have to go through the internal speaker) can get a bit distorted at that volume - at one point yesterday it would only not distort if the volume was at circa 60%, which is a bit annoying when it has to go back to 100% for the FM transmitter.
  • kgman 0 Points
    I placed my TomTom in the same location as where my iPod FM transmitter goes and still found that the TomTom FM transmitter does not provide a clear signal. I had the TomTom at full volume and still heard pops and static.
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Thanks, kgman. Good verification. (I see you are in NH, I paddled my kayak in Winnipesaukee today.)
  • Found this product description on circuitcity regarding the tt720.

    Multimedia options: Built-in FM transmitter allows you to play your device's audio wirelessly through your car stereo including MP3 music, navigation instructions, and Bluetooth® calls. Listen to your own music on the go with the MP3 player, headphone jack, and an SD card slot for adding memory with your SD card. Load, store and preview photos from your digital camera so when you’re not navigating, you can enjoy a slide show.

    i feel like i'm been cheated with this device seeing how tomtom and the stores state that the phone calls can be routed to the stereo.
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Yea, CC's description is incorrect. TomTom's website now states "plays your music wirelessly over your car stereo while seamlessly handling navigation instructions and handsfree calling."
  • Hey Tim,

    Thanks for such quick responds.
    I just checked tomtom's site again on their description.
    Under the tab labeled "functionalities" and select "smarts and fun," the description for the built in fm transmitter states

    "Plays your device's audio wirelessly through your car stereo including MP3 music,navigation instructions and handsfree calls"

    I sorry if I am making a big deal about this. It's just one of the reasons I bought this unit to use such function
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Yes, we talked about that earlier in this tread.
  • kgman 0 Points
    I tried this again but did a little more research into my station selection. I finally found one that is reasonable to use for my commute. The sound quality is much better with the new station I selected. I have even decided to move my TomTom to the center of the windshield. That probably is helping with the reception problems. I used this web site to find the station: http://stationfinder.griffintechnology.com/

    Now I can plan to get the iPod cable and see how it sounds. I really don't want to go ripping the electronics out of my car to insert a new line in input. I think I can live with the FM transmitter as is. :D
  • steveb 0 Points
    I'll have to look again but I thought the automatic volume adjustment was linked to your speed, not the ambient noise.?.?
    Have you had a chance to verify this? The mic on mine is not working so if it uses the mic for ambient noise this would affect the output I'm guessing.

    I set mine to auto volume and I don't get any sound out of the TT. I switched to the FM transmitter and have to turn the volume way up on my radio.
  • Tim 1271 Points
    There is a "volume preference" that says "link volume to car speed".
  • Anyone know if TT has any plans to make the 720's BT work over the radio? That would be key. Although they will probly just wait until the 020 comes out to include it.
  • I tried this again but did a little more research into my station selection. I finally found one that is reasonable to use for my commute. The sound quality is much better with the new station I selected. I have even decided to move my TomTom to the center of the windshield. That probably is helping with the reception problems. I used this web site to find the station: http://stationfinder.griffintechnology.com/

    Now I can plan to get the iPod cable and see how it sounds. I really don't want to go ripping the electronics out of my car to insert a new line in input. I think I can live with the FM transmitter as is. :D
    I'm not sure I understand .. I thought you needed an unused channel for the fm transmitter .. The ones it showed for annapolis maryland are all the most powerful stations?
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Hmmm, well that isn't the way that site is supposed to work, todd.sinclair. I've used it a few times and in the areas I tried it it worked well.
  • Just a thought here...

    When using the FM transmitter functionality last night, I commented to my friend that it seems like the transmitter exceeds FCC requirements as to its power output. As someone who has played around with a lot of FM modulators and transmitters, my guess is that they suppressed the Bluetooth ability for FM in the US version because it would likely carry over to another car at a light or similar and someone else could hear part of your conversation.

    That said, the functionality sort of doesn't even make sense with the use, because, assuming that you have the FM transmitter enabled, it runs all the time, and thus, you have to leave your radio on and listen to stuff through the Jukebox, or sit in silence waiting for the next direction to come up. I would have expected a "interrupt" functionality where you could listen to the radio, and it would come in and tell you the next direction or alert you to a call, etc.
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Hi MiniforMe, and welcome to the forums!

    Of course TomTom must submit the device to a lab for the FCC tests to be performed so they can show compliance. I would doubt that they forged the tests, or produced a different device than what was submitted for testing, or otherwise falsified the FCC compliance testing. I've heard quite a few reports too that other FM transmitters people own have worked better from the same location as the 720 which would also lead me to believe that the 720 transmitter probably isn't outside of FCC requirements.

    I think the reason people expect hands-free calls to be transmitted over the FM transmitter is for two reasons. First because TomTom's website alluded that it would work that way, but more importantly because other GPS devices do work that way... running all the time with mostly silence.

    But yes, manufacturers need to make some decisions about what types of audio (voice prompts, hands free calls, MP3 music, etc) can be transferred to what type of devices (internal speaker, Bluetooth hi-fi, FM transmitter, line out, etc) and what services (like music) can be interrupted for more important things like voice prompts. I haven't done the math, but that leaves dozens of different rules and possibilities and what each manufacturer picks won't likely exactly match what each of us picked as our own preferences since there are so many options.
  • quick question.. where did u guys get ur ipod cables from?
    Amazon.com sells them and so does TigerGPS.com, and if you don't live outside the USA, you can get it from Tomtom directly as well.
  • I think it is the same iPod connection cable as available for the 510/910.
    That's correct. Here's my question. My car stereo does not have an audio input jack. The 720 has an FM transmitter, obviously. So I'm wondering can I use just the Connect Cable that comes in the package and control the iPod from the 720 and have it broadcast to the FM radio? Seems like that's correct but just want to be 110% sure. Thanks, everyone! :)
  • quick question.. where did u guys get ur ipod cables from?


    Amazon.com sells them and so does TigerGPS.com, and if you don't live outside the USA, you can get it from Tomtom directly as well.
    I got mine from Mobile Planet (http://www.mobileplanet.com).
  • New 720 owner, I have the original TTG300.

    What are the primary uses of the FM transmitter? The reason why I ask:

    I do not have (yet) an SD card loaded with MP3's, So my primary purpose for the FM transmitter is to hear voice prompts while listening to the radio or xm. since xm is already using an fm frequency. I do not hear anything when I set the 720 to the same station. If I set the 720 to the same station as my local FM station I get static over the FM and do not hear the commands.


    Thanks for your help
  • Tim 1271 Points
    That is correct, doublestuff. You need an "open" frequency to broadcast over. You can't listen to a radio station and use the FM transmitter nor use two different FM transmitters broadcasting to the same station.

    The common way to use it is to play MP3 music from the TomTom and then send the voice prompts and music over the FM transmitter to your car stereo or just send the voice prompts without MP3 music and forgo any other audio source.
  • The problem that I have with FM transmission is the ability to get my car radio to stop at each station increment, in order to find an unused station. Does anyone else have that problem? I will try the 3 Los Angeles stations identified on http://stationfinder.griffintechnology.com/, in hope that one of those will work, but I kind of thought the ratio should be manually tunable to whatever I wanted, which mine is not :(
  • That is correct, doublestuff. You need an "open" frequency to broadcast over. You can't listen to a radio station and use the FM transmitter nor use two different FM transmitters broadcasting to the same station.

    The common way to use it is to play MP3 music from the TomTom and then send the voice prompts and music over the FM transmitter to your car stereo or just send the voice prompts without MP3 music and forgo any other audio source.
    Thanks Tim! Have been lurking here for a while while waiting for the 720 to arrive and I agree with the other posters here. You provide such a value to TT users, you reply quickly and accurately. Thanks again.

    Doublestuff
  • I am a new to the board and 720.
    My fm transmitter gives static on multiple channels I have tried to broadcast through. In addition to the previous link, more unused fm stations can be found here:
    http://www.dlo.com/openfm/openfm_web.tpl
    I mounted the 720 on the dash, my antenna is in the front of my car, and I have the 720 volume at max. I intended to use the 720 to broadcast my ipod since i have no aux port in the vehicle but it sounds like I am listening to a bad radio station. I've heard some transmitters for ipods don't work well in some vehicles, perhaps the same goes for the tomtom's. Anyone else have the same woes?
  • Mark29 0 Points
    When I got my mp3 player (not an iPod) a couple years ago, I got an external FM transmitter to play it thru my radio. The sound quality wasn't great even with the player volume all the way up. My antenna is also external to the vehicle, so maybe that is one reason. Later I upgraded my radio to one that has an aux input - much better!

    I haven't needed to use the aux input with my TomTom920, the built-in speaker is plenty loud - even 70% is a bit too loud. I have a somewhat loud custom exhaust on my car, so I was glad I could still use my mp3 player simultaneously 8)

    Mark
  • Tim 1271 Points
    Sometimes these FM transmitters (on any device) work a bit better with the volume at 50-75% than at 100%.
  • hudel 0 Points
    In my 2006 Honda Accord, the FM Transmitter does not work very well. I have an FM Transmitter for my iPod that works much better. The signal that the TomTom produces is very weak even with the volume set to 100%. I tried many different dead stations and none produce a clear signal for me. Unfortunately, the Accord doesn't have a cassette nor a line in port (at least not one that is easy accessible).
    I agree, TOMTOM FM signal even at 100% in TT comes out very weak, much wea1ker than iTrip with iPod. Definitely a PROBLEM.
  • While the first thing that you want to do with ANY fm transmitter is find a clear station on your radio, this is easier said than done. A station that -appears- to be clear in one location, may have something start to appear on it just a few blocks away. As well, be sure to find a station that gives you nothing but white noise. If you are on a station that just appears to be totally quiet, there IS at least a "carrier" (signal) being broadcast on that station. And of course you want to make sure that your FM transmitter is OFF while you are searching for clear frequencies on your radio.

    Even armed with the aforementioned information, I still had a little bit of difficulty getting my TOMTOM's FM transmitter to sound good. What I discovered was that it NEVER works well without the power cable attached, so I am assuming that the power cable also functions, or helps to function as an antenna. I also discovered that even though the 1st 2 or 3 freqs I chose "appeared" to be clear when I first checked them, they apparently weren't.

    Between the freqs being less than perfect and not originally having the power cable plugged in, my first impression of the TT FM transmitter was that it was a useless waste of time. However, after trying a few more freqs and realizing that the power cable makes a huge difference, I would now say with absolute certainty that my go 720 has probably one of the best FM transmitters I have ever owned. It is now crystal clear with typical FM fidelity and dynamic range. I am very happy with it. I am very thankful that I kept experimenting rather than simply giving up.

    Regarding the volume control on the TOMTOM, my experience has been that keeping the volume at 90-100% has HUGE signal to noise benefits and is highly recommended.

    Cheers!
  • Does anyone know of any FM transmitters that work well? I don't, they're all problematic, especially if you're in the middle of a busy downtown core - trying to find a clear station is a hit and miss that can get very frustrating - clear one second, busy the next ... And even when you finally get one, the sound is mediocre at best!

    An Audio-Out port connected to the AUX port on your car audio system is the only solution IMHO that works all the time, without any fuss. Most newer car stereo systems nowadays come with the AUX port, but not all PND devices come with the Audio-Out port, hence a good reason to include this on your list of features when shopping for a GPS device.

    Cheers!

    HappyTrails! Drive Safe!
  • Nammy 0 Points
    Agree, The FM transmitters sucks! I got a 1gig chip with my TomTom, just for mp3's, waist of money for the chip!
    Tom Tom is great other than that!
  • rav 0 Points
    Forget any FM transmitter from any company here in North America. FCC has capped off everything good about it.
    Go to a 3rd world country and buy a better one.
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