sirius / stero tech question

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sirius / stero tech question

Postby swel304 » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:53 pm

I got a sirius unit the other day (stratus). It works fine but it picks up alot of alternator noise. I have another lighter plug in my trunk that is on a different circuit and it gets the same noise. Serious says my ground wires have to be loose (they could have just said GO AWAY!), but my stereo does not pick up the noise on its own and I am guessing its fairly unlikely that both are loose exactly the same way. I am direct connecting to the line in on my in dash so its not the fm transmitter.

Any of you car audio guys have any ideas? I know they make isolation transformers for car stereo's that go on the hotwire and eliminate the alternator buzz. Anyone ever seen one for a cig lighter plug? Sirius told me I would have to cut the wires to put one on. If Im gonna cut a power cord that probobly costs more than the unit itself ill just stick it in the fuse with the raido and ground it :lol:
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Postby Solty » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:58 pm

I've done some stereo install in my day.....

what i'd do is get an in line filter....i'd also try another power source...as the interference is from power...not necessarilty the ground.

Also...check to see if yer wires are shielded. Shielded cables reduce interference and can help stop the interference.

let me know how things go
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Postby Dogma » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:07 pm

Instead of cutting the power cord (which you may regret later if you change vehicles), you could cut a cig lighter extension cord (cheap) in half and wire the female end to your fusebox and then plug your power cord into it. You could also splice a filter between the receptacle and the fuse box to help eliminate the whine. Good luck!
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Postby swel304 » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:28 pm

eh but if I am going to cut the wires on the power adapter anyway I might as well put it on the circuit with the radio (which has to be clean) rather than finding a place to mount the isolator and routing a bunch of wires. I can always get another one. But it seems like I remember radio shack having a multi port lighter adapter that had a power filter in it.

the shielding on the power wire is pretty much nothing. My direct cable is a belkin so even though it looks fairly beefy its likely crap. but being that its just alternator interference Im pretty sure it has to be the power. if it was comeing completely from proximity to the alternator then the raido would have the problem too.
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Re: sirius / stero tech question

Postby Anakha » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:32 pm

swel304 wrote: I am direct connecting to the line in on my in dash so its not the fm transmitter.
How are you doing this? Is it an aftermarket deck? Is it rcas or a mini-plug?

I'm guessing the sirius is a plug & play module? Is the lighter plug adapter the only power source?

Have you tried using the fm transmitter instead of the aux, to check if it still whines, or plugged something else into the aux, to check?
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Postby Terrence » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:30 pm

I use a Sirius INV with the out put directly into the auxiliary on my CD player. It outputs some hiss and whine at higher volumes. I've found it gets louder and quieter from twisting the 1/8" plug from the output. Most of the time I can't hear it over the music. The direct connect input is still superior to the FM transmitter.

You could try buying a direct power line which runs off the battery instead of the lighter plug.
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Postby Anakha » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:15 am

mikesolt wrote:I've done some stereo install in my day.....

what i'd do is get an in line filter....i'd also try another power source...as the interference is from power...not necessarilty the ground.

Also...check to see if yer wires are shielded. Shielded cables reduce interference and can help stop the interference.

let me know how things go
What kinds of installs have you done? Just curious.

Filters will only mask the problem.

Ground is power fyi, it's part of the circuit...

Terrence wrote:The direct connect input is still superior to the FM transmitter.

You could try buying a direct power line which runs off the battery instead of the lighter plug.

I wasn't saying to change it to the transmitter to get rid of the problem, just trouble shooting.

And yes the ground on the cigarette lighter is more than likely is the problem, you can check this if you have a dmm, to see if your voltage is constant with other sources, and you could also check the resistance on your inputs to see if thats the problem, resistance should be under 1 ohm.(also, should show 00.00 not 0L)

If you decide to take out the adapter and hardwire, you can just cut the adapter off, and run it to your fuse box. But first, is your adapter wire and the signal output wire twisted, or close to each other?

Also if its not a plug and play, all the above still applies, but the antenna ground could be the problem too.

If you want to take the easy way out you can get one of these. But like I said, it's more of a band-aid than a fix.
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Postby swel304 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:07 am

Filters will only mask the problem.

Ground is power fyi, it's part of the circuit...


True, but i would rather mask the problem than rewire my car.

And he is right. Contrary to what most people belive, current actually flows from neg to pos. Not that it really matters, since breaking the circuit anywhere renders it useless.

And yes the ground on the cigarette lighter is more than likely is the problem, you can check this if you have a dmm, to see if your voltage is constant with other sources, and you could also check the resistance on your inputs to see if thats the problem, resistance should be under 1 ohm.(also, should show 00.00 not 0L)


I have 2 lighter plugs, one in the dash and one in the trunk, both on different circuits and both give the noise. voltage is good. I dont know a whole hell of alot about cars but I would imagine that any decent vehicle manufacturer probobly installs an isolator on the stereo system wiring so they dont have to deal with irate customers everytime a wire somewhere gets a little loose. Im also guessing that is why my stereo itself does not pick up the noise.

If you decide to take out the adapter and hardwire, you can just cut the adapter off, and run it to your fuse box. But first, is your adapter wire and the signal output wire twisted, or close to each other?


no they are not twisted or too close together.

Also if its not a plug and play, all the above still applies, but the antenna ground could be the problem too.


it is plug and play.

If you want to take the easy way out you can get one of these. But like I said, it's more of a band-aid than a fix.


I actually have one of thos but thats not the kind of connections I need and I dont think that is going to filter out alternator noise as that is an audio ground loop isolator which would be in line after the alternator noise has already passed through the amplifier.

How are you doing this? Is it an aftermarket deck? Is it rcas or a mini-plug?

I'm guessing the sirius is a plug & play module? Is the lighter plug adapter the only power source?

Have you tried using the fm transmitter instead of the aux, to check if it still whines, or plugged something else into the aux, to check?


it is an aftermarket deck with an 1/8 stereo plug on the front for mp3 players ect..

direct connection is the highest quality connection you can use with the sirius unit. I have tried through the fm transmitter and it might not be making the noise that way but the sound quality is so poor its hard to tell. I cant find a station that doesnt crackle and pop like crazy.
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Postby garublador » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:50 am

Anakha wrote:Ground is power fyi, it's part of the circuit...

*Engineer sense tingling*

I'm not trying to say you aren't right, I'm 100% sure you know more about automotive wiring than I do. However, I'm not sure I agree with this statement in general.

While you are probably right that the noise probably has something to do with power, when it comes to debugging it's generally a good idea to think of power and ground problems as different. Changing a power supply (alternator in this case) could fix a power supply problem (e.g. noisy 12V power), but wouldn't help if it was a ground problem (e.g. ground loops picking up noise). If things were't grounded correctly you could get noise even the cleanest power supply. I suspect that you already understand this, though, considering you're recommending a ground loop isolator instead of a filter for the power supply. I honestly wouldn't know which to try given the symptoms.

It's also true that electrons flow from negative to positive, but I'd advise against using that convention when talking about electircity in any sort of practical discussion. It's easier to think about a positive flow from the positive to ground when you're talking about electricity with others because, well, that's just how everyone does it. I understand this was just a little FYI, but I just wanted to say that to avoid confusion for anyone trying to learn about electricity on a disc golf message board.
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Postby Anakha » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:54 am

swel304 wrote:I actually have one of thos but thats not the kind of connections I need and I dont think that is going to filter out alternator noise as that is an audio ground loop isolator which would be in line after the alternator noise has already passed through the amplifier.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here, I thought you were having problems with the Sirius/power adapter, it would be before the amp, because you put the isolator(the one in the link) in the Sirius to receiver audio outs, which if the loop is caused from the power adapter on the Sirius, that would be the correct place.
swel304 wrote:it is an aftermarket deck with an 1/8 stereo plug on the front for mp3 players ect..
You can buy a mini-plug to rca adapter, if you already have the inline signal isolator.

Anyway, if this doesn't work, or you don't want to try it, you wouldn't have to rewire your car :? Just cut the lighter plug off the adapter, run the wire to your in-car fuse box, ground and pos. Simple.


Also I noticed you said you have a boss deck, could be the ground on the input. Do you have the whine using the input with anything else? Something battery powered?
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Postby Anakha » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:11 am

garublador wrote:
Anakha wrote:Ground is power fyi, it's part of the circuit...

*Engineer sense tingling*

I'm not trying to say you aren't right, I'm 100% sure you know more about automotive wiring than I do. However, I'm not sure I agree with this statement in general.

While you are probably right that the noise probably has something to do with power, when it comes to debugging it's generally a good idea to think of power and ground problems as different. Changing a power supply (alternator in this case) could fix a power supply problem (e.g. noisy 12V power), but wouldn't help if it was a ground problem (e.g. ground loops picking up noise). If things were't grounded correctly you could get noise even the cleanest power supply. I suspect that you already understand this, though, considering you're recommending a ground loop isolator instead of a filter for the power supply. I honestly wouldn't know which to try given the symptoms.

It's also true that electrons flow from negative to positive, but I'd advise against using that convention when talking about electircity in any sort of practical discussion. It's easier to think about a positive flow from the positive to ground when you're talking about electricity with others because, well, that's just how everyone does it. I understand this was just a little FYI, but I just wanted to say that to avoid confusion for anyone trying to learn about electricity on a disc golf message board.
Yes, I know, I was trying not to get to technical.:wink: I hope nobody would be looking at a DG forum for electricity lessons.:P

Conventional, yes, pos-neg, I was just saying it flows through it, I've never caught alternator whine because of a bad power connection, Dirty power, fluctuation, distortion yes, whine no. I'm not saying it's not possible, but most cases, its a ground loop.

What do you do, if you don't mind me asking?
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Postby garublador » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:40 am

Anakha wrote:Yes, I know, I was trying not to get to technical.:wink:
With me around the chances of that are minimized. ;)

Anakha wrote:What do you do, if you don't mind me asking?

Electrical engineer. I worked for 5 years at Unisys (enterprise level servers) up in MPLS in the PCB design group and now I work at as an EE for company that makes specailty equipment used in crop research, mostly planters and combines.
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Postby Anakha » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:17 pm

garublador wrote:Electrical engineer. I worked for 5 years at Unisys (enterprise level servers) up in MPLS in the PCB design group and now I work at as an EE for company that makes specailty equipment used in crop research, mostly planters and combines.
Nice. I was going to go deep into EE and physics, but now, I've decided that I prefer to just go to work and not have to think about it at the end of the day.

That, and I made too many mistakes when I was younger, and being a single father at a young age, didn't have the time or money, for the schooling I wanted.(go big or go home) I am content being a blue collar, but now that she's older, I think it's time to get back to dedicated learning. Not so much to do what I intended in the first place, but I feel the need.
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Postby Solty » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:14 pm

after reviewing all the posts after mine....i am going to forego any more input to the situation. Apparently we have pro's here...

best of luck!
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Postby swel304 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:53 pm

Anakha wrote:
swel304 wrote:I actually have one of thos but thats not the kind of connections I need and I dont think that is going to filter out alternator noise as that is an audio ground loop isolator which would be in line after the alternator noise has already passed through the amplifier.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here, I thought you were having problems with the Sirius/power adapter, it would be before the amp, because you put the isolator(the one in the link) in the Sirius to receiver audio outs, which if the loop is caused from the power adapter on the Sirius, that would be the correct place.
swel304 wrote:it is an aftermarket deck with an 1/8 stereo plug on the front for mp3 players ect..
You can buy a mini-plug to rca adapter, if you already have the inline signal isolator.

Anyway, if this doesn't work, or you don't want to try it, you wouldn't have to rewire your car :? Just cut the lighter plug off the adapter, run the wire to your in-car fuse box, ground and pos. Simple.


Also I noticed you said you have a boss deck, could be the ground on the input. Do you have the whine using the input with anything else? Something battery powered?


what i mean is the alternator noise is coming in through the power. Once inside the sirius unit it bleeds to the audio, so I dont think the ground isolator between the audio ports would help. Guess it might be worth a shot but im gonna need some adapters heh. I suppose its not an amp per say but wouldnt there have to be some kind of amp/preamp to keep the line level output steady?

The noise doesnt occure with anything else I plug in. And it goes away if I turn off the engine.

I guess so long as I leave enough to splice back together I can just try the fusebox/frame ground. Seems like the logical way to go other than the fact that I will have to buy another power adapter to be able to take it in another car.
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