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i’ve got an itrip and up until recently, it performed pretty poorly. in concept, the itrip works well: plug it into your ipod and broadcast your music to any FM frequency. just tune any nearby radio to the chosen station and voila – your ipod plays over your stereo and you didn’t have to mess with any wires. the itrip looked perfect for playing my ipod over my car radio.

unfortunately, the itrip didn’t work well in practice. its FM transmitter strength was originally quite weak, meaning that it would only work if you set it to a frequency far from any strong local radio stations. therefore, if you lived in an urban area, the itrip was for all intents and purposes, useless.

while combing google for a solution, i came across chris gunton’s hack. gunton found out that by pulling the itrip’s small antenna out of its casing, he could improve the device’s signal strength.

i set out to replicate gunton’s work. ultimately, i think i’ve even improved upon it, using an obvious modification. all you need to do this is an itrip, some copper wire, a soldering iron and some solder, and some kind of cutting device (an exacto knife works; a dremel is faster, dirtier, and more fun).

i began with my virgin itrip:

i did try slicing it open with an exact-o knife, but that proved tedious and boring. luckily, this turned out to be another great excuse to bust out mr. dremel:

the rotary cutting blade made short work of the itrip’s plastic housing:

straightening out the copper antenna and turning on the ipod, i did notice a boost in the signal strength. however, that boost wasn’t anything to write home about. and, in the process of fiddling with the antenna, it snapped off! (see broken copper wire in lower right hand corner of picture below).

nonetheless, i didn’t fret too much. i figured the broken antenna was really tiny:

this being america, i decided that instead of simply replacing the broken part, i’d put something much bigger in its place. an antenna 64 inches (or one girlfriend) long, to be precise.

the new antenna was a simple length of copper wire, just soldered onto where the old one had broken off:

i then reseated the itrip:

and then sloppily glue-gunned the thing back together, taking care to thread the new antenna through those side vents.

since the new antenna was so long, i tried it out with the wire wrapped in a compact manner:

this didn’t work too well – my home stereo had a hard time picking up the itrip signal from only 10 feet away. but, when i straightened out the antenna, the stereo snapped to life, producing one of the clearest FM signals i’ve ever heard. same goes for when played in my car. the sound was markedly better than when i had simply exposed the antenna (before it had broken off). only problem is, this antenna’s pretty long:

nonetheless, i’m sure you could eventually find a shorter length of antenna to do the trick. something between 2 and 64 inches i bet.

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if that was helpful ...

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One Response to “extending the range of the itrip”

  1. on 10 Jan 2008 at 4:58 pm god

    im loving the way u opened it and i see u took care :)

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