The Return of the MP3 Player

I’ve posted before about my Insignia Sport 4 GB cheapo MP3 player, and also about how I fit it into my podcast listening workflow. I’ve had a few hitches in that but am now in better shape and am happier with my podcast consumption than ever before.

First, for years I’ve been listening in my car via one of those cassette adapters. I get mine for $9 at CVS drugstores. Recently the tape deck in my car died and won’t play either real cassettes or my fake cassette in the adapter. In the year 2009, I’m not shelling out extra money to replace a car cassette deck (or 8 track either for that matter.) I decided to spring for one of those cheapo FM transmitters. This would give me a standard way of working with any car, my own or my wife’s or a rental.

What I did was pick up this cheap ass FM transmitter from Deal Extreme for $7.50. I bought essentially 2 versions of the same thing because I also bought this other similar but not quite identical FM transmitter but it is still unopened. That first one has some kind of crazy thermometer on it which I guess can be interesting to know exactly how hot your car is when you get in it. I’ve been using this for a little over a month and I’m insanely happy with it. It has a USB power input but I just run it off the three AAA batteries in there and never bother with the adapter. I might switch back to that later, as it didn’t work right with the cigarette lighter port doubler but I don’t actually need that now as I’ll get to directly. I bought a big pack of Costco AAA batteries thinking this thing would chew threw them, but I got about a month on the first set.

The other big thing is that after a solid year of pretty much all day every day use, the battery in the Insignia sport had given up. It got to where I couldn’t go all day on one charge, and then to where I could only get to lunchtime, would recharge in my car at lunchtime and then again on the drive home. Finally, it only held about 10 seconds of charge. I’m sure I got at least my 500 cycles in there. What made me insane is that they guy who sits next to me at work had the same player but cracked his screen and I never thought to harvest his battery and eventually he threw it away. Doh! This is why I was using the cigarette lighter doubler, I had the USB power for the FM transmitter and also had to keep the MP3 player plugged in to USB power too. It was quite a pain to have this giant mass of chargers sticking out of my dashboard.

For all the reasons in the first post of mine I linked, I didn’t want to replace this MP3 player. It fits perfectly in my life and I don’t want to find another cheap player that does. Luckily, I found that at Best Buy’s Part Search store (which I had never heard of) you can replace this battery for $19 + shipping. Hell yeah! I dorked around and didn’t order and finally did last week and got the replacement battery a few days ago. I got 2 full days of listening on that first charge and am just now syncing and charging up again. Oh yeah! I no longer have to walk the dog in silence, I actually get some of that good podcast listening that I’m in the market for.

For both of these things, I dropped about $45 in merchandise and shipping and I could have easily saved $10 by only buying one FM transmitter. This has me back in business as good or better than I’ve ever been at a pretty low cost and with backups at that. Color me happy!

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.