Hacked an iPhone car kit for the Nexus One

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February 25, 2010

Even while I had my iPhone as my primary mobile device, I had been interested in a car dock of some kind that didn’t involve a suction cup to my windshield or dashboard that could power the device and play audio into my car speakers. A coworker at Armor Games had a neat device, the Pixxo PF-C001 All-in-One Hands-Free Car Kit and Charger for iPhone or iPod w/ FM transmitter. It was $15-$25 at mwave.com, $27 on eBay at the moment, and there are several similar items on Amazon for $15+. I went to Fry’s Electronics looking for something similar and only found iPhone-related gear. While the Pixxo device has an additional USB port on the side of the FM Transmitter, it would be inconvenient to have to use that to charge the primary device that’s being docked once my Nexus One arrived. What to do?

First off, my apologies for lack of photos. I thought about documenting it while I worked, but it was late last night. However, I do need to replace some of my handiwork with proper stuff like heat shrink and insulated wires to cut down on some radio interference.

First, I cut the iPod/iPhone adapter from the Pixxo unit, and saw that there were 8 wires (red, black, white, green, yellow, brown, purple and orange). Next, I spliced a micro USB cable and saw that while it was well shielded on the outside, inside the foil insulator were only four wires (red, black, white and green). I twisted the matching wires together, taped it up enough that nothing was shorted, and tested it in the car, and my Nexus One started charging. w00t

Only thing left was to trim the wires back as far as I felt comfortable, shorten up the micro USB plug, and get everything taped up better. Which worked like a champ, except that I had no electrical tape, and I’m sure that as good as blue 3M Painter tape is, actual electrical tape or heat shrink would do a much better job.

Then, I shortened and spliced a stereo 3.5mm audio cable, as the one that shipped with the Pixxo unit was about two inches two short.

The net result was a car dock I used for a while. I’ve since lost the photo of the unit.