Airplay enabled car

I solved a #firstworldproblem today – wireless audio in my car.

TL;DR – use an AirPort Express & replace its power supply with a 5V -> 3.3V step down module so it can be powered off USB/cigarette jack in the car.

Basically I was fed up with having so many cables floating around and getting tangled & I wasn’t happy with the compressed audio quality with Bluetooth, so I decided to come up with a wireless audio solution.

I did a bit of reading, and most people recommended an AirPort Express (APE) with an inverter running off the cigarette lighter jack. The idea is that you connect to the APE using wireless, then share music from your phone to the APE via AirPlay. The APE is then connected from its audio LineOut to your car via a headphone into the audio LineIn. I felt this solution was a bit wasteful, not to mention the the fact that it would be converting 12V DC to 110 AC, then down again when going into the APE. After waiting a few months, I did a bit more research and came across this post:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?p=39379974

In summary, the user enjoiful describes a way of opening up the APE, pulling out the PSU and replacing it with an alternative power supply – USB. The great thing about this is that USB provides 5V DC, and the APE requires 3.3V DC. The end result is that you just need to convert the 5V to 3.3V somehow so that you don’t overload the APE.

This was the perfect solution as I had a USB port in my car, as well as an audio lineIn.

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