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Tomtom TMC antenna -- horizontal or vertical?
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PicklesDad
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Joined: Jan 06, 2008
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah thanks.

That bad news is good news for me, as I still have the possibility that in East Anglia it will get better when the new stations go online.
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carl_w
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you the dad of Pickles, the cam7 regular?
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Greenglide
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Joined: Apr 04, 2006
Posts: 295
Location: South East Northumberland, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:44 am    Post subject: Aerial splitter on Zafira Reply with quote

Obtained a TMC splitter from www.cartft.com (excellent service, ordered on Wednesday arrived on Thursday and this is a German company!).

It has DIN-ISO connectors which are the same as the connectors on the radio. With the previous model Zafira to get the manufacturers original radio out you remove 4 grub screws with an allen key which fill the standard DIN mountings. The radio comes out as a single unit but is incredibly hard as the aerial lead if fixed to the cage as is the connector - you have to pull hard enough the pull out the multiplug!

Cut the TomTom lead just below the thick bit which is where the screened bit ends giving me a standard thin co-ax. The splitter has a 2.5mm stereo jack plug and an adaptor to convert to a 3.5mm with 4 connector.

As I had a 2.5mm in line mono socket in my spares box I soldered that to the lead from the TT unit. Connected up the TT unit, switched on the ignition (to power the aerial amplifier - the DC (if present at the head unit - it isnt powered from there) is blocked by the splitter) and got a lock.

Still not perfect but much, much improved. Going to Lytham tomorrow (must look for the Windmill (directions from Heyhouses Lane or a Post Code?!)) so it should be a good test.

One warning, the splitter seems to introduce noise (possibly IF breakthrough from the electronics in the TT unit) but only when the TT aerial is connected and switched on.

If it proves OK tomorrow I will cut off the 2.5mm jack plug from the splitter and use a mono to mono 2.5mm connection with a connection on the "piece of string" left for use in other vehicles.
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mikealder
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Location: Blackpool , Lancs

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you take the unit out next time any chance you can take some pictures with a digital camera? If you don't know how to post the pictures to the site e-mail them to me and I will add them to your post.

You might be able to reduce the interference by looping the aerial feed to the TomTom through a larger ferrite, these are available from Maplins, I found doing this improved reception on one of the earlier RDS TMC devices.

As for the windmill 53.73573N 2.96215W will find it. -Mike
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Greenglide
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Joined: Apr 04, 2006
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Location: South East Northumberland, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:24 pm    Post subject: Aerial splitter on Zafira Reply with quote

Obtained a TMC splitter from www.cartft.com (excellent service, ordered on Wednesday arrived on Thursday and this is a German company!).

It has DIN-ISO connectors which are the same as the connectors on the radio. With the previous model Zafira to get the manufacturers original radio out you remove 4 grub screws with an allen key which fill the standard DIN mountings. The radio comes out as a single unit but is incredibly hard as the aerial lead if fixed to the cage as is the connector - you have to pull hard enough the pull out the multiplug!

Cut the TomTom lead just below the thick bit which is where the screened bit ends giving me a standard thin co-ax. The splitter has a 2.5mm stereo jack plug and an adaptor to convert to a 3.5mm with 4 connector.

As I had a 2.5mm in line mono socket in my spares box I soldered that to the lead from the TT unit. Connected up the TT unit, switched on the ignition (to power the aerial amplifier - the DC (if present at the head unit - it isnt powered from there) is blocked by the splitter) and got a lock.

Still not perfect but much, much improved. Going to Lytham tomorrow (must look for the Windmill (directions from Heyhouses Lane or a Post Code?!)) so it should be a good test.

One warning, the splitter seems to introduce noise (possibly IF breakthrough from the electronics in the TT unit) but only when the TT aerial is connected and switched on.

If it proves OK tomorrow I will cut off the 2.5mm jack plug from the splitter and use a mono to mono 2.5mm connection with a connection on the "piece of string" left for use in other vehicles.
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PicklesDad
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Are you the dad of Pickles, the cam7 regular?


No a father of a five year old daughter who had to take colic drops that smelled of pickled gherkins when she was a baby. Very Happy

Greenglide, thanks for the detailed explanation. My radio is also linked to a dashboard display, hopefully that won't cause extra problems if I go down this route. Once the radio is back in place how did you route the cable out of the centre console? Did you have to remove any of the panels by the drivers feet?
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Greenglide
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Joined: Apr 04, 2006
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Location: South East Northumberland, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PicklesDad I removed the panel under the glove compartment and the glove compartment itself - lots of room then but not convinced that this was actually necessary - I had intended to fit a self made USB power unit and neaded room to fit the regulator unit somewhere - this was overtaken by events, my PDA had an accident in my laptop bag and broke the screen (waiting a new screen from EBAY) and got the TT one 520T as a distressed purchase Wink and, to be fair, it is loads better than the PDA with TT V6.

I installed an aux in connector when I changed the radio (a while ago). In the old model Zafira there are two dummy push buttons on either side of the hazard warning light switch. These prise out and I ran the aux cable through the holes in the plastic and mounted a stero jack socket inside the dummy switch - quite neat except when there is a cable plugged in!

I intend connecting the TMC aerial to the other dummy switch. I had hoped that the aux in would be redundant but the TT one 520T refuses to connect to (or even see) the bluetooth radio which has hi-fi stereo capabilities Crying or Very sad

The surgery certainly makes a difference!

Drove to Lytham yesterday - no signal at home ( Crying or Very sad ) but picked up a solid lock within half a mile. Maintained the lock down the A1 to Scotch Corner except when going through the Tyne Valley. From Scotch Corner the lock continued along the A66 and the A685 until Kirkby Steven (impressed). Unfortunately just before the lock was lost I got a notification of high winds on the M6 with a 100 minute delay. Ignored this (it wasn't windy and there was no alternative sensible route by then!) and there were no delays on the M6 Evil or Very Mad

Got a lock again just before Killington Lakes services and maintained this on the M6, along the M55 until about 100yards from my destination on Heyhouses Lane (Government Buildings).

On the way back went to have a look at mikealder's windmill in Lytham and had a lock along the sea front until about 100 yards from the windmill (it's quite attractive - floodlit at night!). The TT route from there to the M55 gave a lock approximately half of the time. From the M55 a solid lock until junction 37 then picked up again at junction 39 (about 20 miles). Solid from there to the turning for A69 and along the A69 except for a couple of drop outs about half way along. Once the hilly bit was out of the way maintained a lock all the way home.

Vastly better than the wet string but the quality of the information was rubbish. At exactly 9 pm got a warning of road works on M6, delay of over four hours! Arrival time changed from 22:40 to 03:10!! The road works were immediately before the A69 turn off and the M6 in that area is never busy at that time. Turned out to be two sets of road works (still putting cones out) first was one lane closed the second was two lanes closed (busy making a contra-flow) and even with two lanes closed there was no queue Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

ITIS / TomTom seriously need to get their act together!

When I do a proper installation (need to visit Maplin, cure the breakthrough on the radio (was using the TT mp3 player via the aux in on the head unit - works fine) and find the time!) I will take some pictures of the surgery required to do this (very simple).

Note this will invalidate the TT warranty on the TMC receiver and they aren't cheap. What I should have done was to "accidentally" forgotten to include the receiver in the box when the system was exchanged because of the buzzing noise on the hands free Cool
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DaveMatthews
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Joined: Dec 25, 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greenglide - I'm amazed you got such a good signal along the M55 and into Lytham. I travel there from Lancaster every day and even with my radio antenna splitter coupled with either Navigon MN4 or a NavMan S90i, I get absolutely nothing once I turn off the M6 onto the M55. Admittedly it's been a while since I last bothered to try it - do you know if your signal was coming solely from Classic FM ? Perhaps some of the stations that have been in talks with iTIS are finally on-stream?

--

Cheers,


Dave
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PicklesDad
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for spending the time to provide that update.

I have a 2003 Zafira GSi and it too has those dummy buttons. I've just ordered a cable splitter from CarTFT. --- From the posts I read I think they owe this site a commission --- Wink I now just have to find time in between installing our downstairs toilet.

Not too bothered about the guarantee on the TMC cable, as for me it can't be used otherwise and would only be good for resale. I have three choices, no traffic, traffic via TMC modded, or traffic over GSM.

All that said you're experiences of the quality of TMC announcements do make me wonder if it is worth while. I just get fed up with the local radio informing me of problems that actually cleared up an hour prior to the announcement. Sometimes they don't broadcast a problem since it's not time for the travel slot, by which time I've passed the alternative route junction. Evil or Very Mad
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Greenglide
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DaveMatthews The TT 520 doesnt actually identify the station but the extra stations are not on line yet otherwise I would expect the whole area around there to be covered - it is obviously the Morecambe Bay Classic transmitter.

The Zafira does have an aerial amplifier as standard as it is only a short aerial - I assume could be the difference.

PicklesDad With the standard fit radio you will have to remove the radio and then the cage as the DIN aerial connection and the DIN connector are fastened to that. I think there is onl one (or possibly 2) screws at the back.

The dummy switches prise out with a small screwdriver inserted between the plastic and the main dash - they are just a push fit but cannot be pushed out from behind. Took ages to figure that out.

The TT device is more than a cable - the egg shaped bit is the actual receiver. The position of the cut in the cable is important as well - it must be before the slightly thicker bit where it changes from a coax to a single cable.

The quality of TMC seems to have gone down significantly since TT got the software wrong. Having said that I don't think ITIS give delay information as such and TT choose a random speed and apply that over the whole road section. 10MPH over 30 miles of motorway does generate a large delay!

Think I would rather do the TMC than the toilet Cool
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DaveMatthews
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greenglide wrote:
DaveMatthews The TT 520 doesnt actually identify the station but the extra stations are not on line yet otherwise I would expect the whole area around there to be covered - it is obviously the Morecambe Bay Classic transmitter.


Indeed, that's what I thought. Hmmm... perhaps my car's (Mondeo Mk 3) aerial isn't amplified. I always get terrific radio reception through it, though.

--

Cheers,


Dave
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mikealder
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greenglide wrote:
DaveMatthews The TT 520 doesnt actually identify the station but the extra stations are not on line yet otherwise I would expect the whole area around there to be covered - it is obviously the Morecambe Bay Classic transmitter.
The TomTom will state Classic FM and the tuned frequency when locked to a station, tap the right hand traffic bar to get access to the menu, the information is at the bottom left of the screen.

Reception around Lancashire is often using 101,1 which is the Holme Moss transmitter, Morecambe Bay uses 101,8 but seems to only really cover the Lakes - I have had reception from the 101,8 frequency and seen data from it when in Blackpool, but not too often - Mike
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DaveMatthews
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikealder wrote:
I have had reception from the 101,8 frequency and seen data from it when in Blackpool, but not too often - Mike


Yes, that mirrors my own experience. I would assume that travelling north up the coast to, say, Fleetwood should garner a more consistent signal? After all it's "directly opposite" the transmitter across the bay with very little land in between.

--

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Dave
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Greenglide
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odd - I had this feeling that the 520T was originally showing me the station name (it is after all using RDS data!) but it has stopped doing that - all I get is the frequency displayed.

Time for a reboot .....

From the time I picked up the signal on the M6 (Killington Lake services) to losing it at Heyhouses Lane I didnt notice a search for new stations but I did occasionally look at the road!
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philpugh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DaveMatthews wrote:
Greenglide wrote:
DaveMatthews The TT 520 doesnt actually identify the station but the extra stations are not on line yet otherwise I would expect the whole area around there to be covered - it is obviously the Morecambe Bay Classic transmitter.


Indeed, that's what I thought. Hmmm... perhaps my car's (Mondeo Mk 3) aerial isn't amplified. I always get terrific radio reception through it, though.


If it's a bee-sting type then the odds are that it is - sorry not familiar with the aerial on the Mondeo Mk3 (or any of the Mondeos Crying or Very sad )

It's worth checking to see if it is amplified and that you aren't blocking the DC component to the amplifier in any way. If you have access to a voltmeter see if the aerial socket on the radio is providing 12V+ on the centre conductor - if it is then your aerial is amplified. Careful not to short the centre to ground - it can be a spectacular but short lived incident.

If it isn't ampified then double check your installation - it's very easy to get the earth braid to short across to the centre conductor - a single thin strand is all it takes. However if your signal to the radio is still good then this is probably NOT happening - just check all the connection points. I put insulating tape around my Y-splitter to car aerial and TMS aerial connectors to prevent accidental disconnection when re-fitting the radio.

Disconnect your splitter and put car aerial back into radio. Check the signal on a difficult to recieve station - one that is giving a little bit of noise on the sound. Now disconnect aerial and re-fit splitter and connect it to your TMC/sat nav and power the lot on. Check the same station. I would expect worse reception (i.e. more noise) if it's working correctly as the station power to the radio should halved by the splitter. This will work with or without an amplified aerial (unless you insert an amplifier AFTER the splitter). I know this is very subjective - but it can give you an idea if things are working.
Another way would be to disconnect the car radio aerail from the splitter and see if touching the centre conductor at the TNC end of the splitter 'improves' the radio reception (it will be pretty awful under these circumstances.). This will test the end-to-end connection.
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