Delphi SkyFi XM Satelite at home.. RULES!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Brett DiMichele, May 10, 2003.

  1. Mark Beise

    Mark Beise Agent

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    Totally agreed. Yesterday I picked up the XM tuner, the boombox, and the home adapter kit. Who know radio could be so good? XM is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Im into alternative music and they play just unbelievably good music on some of these stations. I feel like I died and went to radio heaven.
     
  2. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    I got hooked on XM Radio when Ron Epstein reviewed it and the SkyFi unit came out. I even purchased the "Boom Box" for convenience (as well as all the goodies to connect to my auto cassette and home system.)

    I now find that I'm using the "boom box" solution almost exclusively and I will definitely be ordering an XM receiver in my next car this fall. The new "family plan" (where additional units are licensed at $6.95/month) makes this very attractive to me instead of switching my SkyFi unit in and out of car, home, etc.

    If I were to do it all again I would get SkyFi + BoomBox and then have a dedicated XM radio in my car. If I regularly used two or more cars I might consider the cassette adapter SkyFi option to save a bit of money.

    No matter what way you slice it, XM radio has been well worth it for me. No matter what mood I'm in there's a station to satisfy me.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Rob,

    What do you think made me so eager to get XM? Rons Post! [​IMG]

    I read your experiances as well as others and then when I
    heard it in a friends car I was HOOKED!

    I am not a boombox guy but I can understand how that would
    be usefull if you are out in the yard or at the pool or on
    the golf course etc! For me I do a lot of music listening
    on the 2 channel setup and XM was a natural addition to
    the "tuner" input of my PreAmp. Much more of a viable option
    than radio dare I say. I could have went out and wasted
    $800.00 on a matching AM/FM Tuner for my Pre only to sit
    and listen to 3 hours worth of commercials for every 30
    mintues of music.

    XM is my new Tuner and the ONLY tuner in my setup!

    Now I need to get one of the PIE adaptors and the car install
    kit. I already have an XM Ready Pioneer head unit so all I
    need is the harness to plug it into the Pio and I am good
    to go!
     
  4. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    How much does the boombox option cost. It would be nice to sit in the backyard and have Sattelite Radio playing instead of horrible Commercial Radio.
     
  5. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    I was able to pick up the BoomBox option for $89 during a sale at "Circus" City (Circuit City). I think it lists between $99-129 but is sometimes on special. For a while it was in short supply but that should be over by now (although I haven't priced/shopped it lately.)

    And Brett, yes, attaching the XM radio to my Pre/Pro is something that I do on occasion (especially since I originally purchased the home attachment kit as well as the Car Kit when I got the SkyFi.) Since the radio in my Impala SS (Pioneer with XM ready status) is also XM capable (and has no Cassette player) I guess I should be looking for a PIE adapter, eh? Would that allow me to bring the SkyFi into my 1995 Impala SS with little hassle?

    Like Ron, I favor hard wiring the XM radio rather than the cassette route (where available) since I believe it gives a clearer sound. And the reason that I've chosen not to get a full blown XM Radio install in the Impala SS is because it is my "baby" that I only use >1000 miles a year. Incidentally, I'm saving everything for "classic status in another 10 years. At that time all original equipment (including the radio) goes back in.

    But I definitely will be adding XM radio to my new car in the fall. I hope by then Acura offers it across their entire 2004 line (one of their current models has it, but the salespeople didn't know if this would be extended to the full line.) I'm looking at an Acura MDX (2004 model).

    Take care.
     
  6. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Ron,

    PIE makes a range of adaptors for hard wiring the units.
    Be advised though, that the power will still come from the
    ciggarette lighter unless you get creative.

    Next weekend I will be doing a SkyFi install into one of my
    friends show cars. He has a 2000 Black WS-6 TransAm and he
    wants a professional install that is reversible to stock
    with no cut wires.

    He had to order a specific PIE unit because his year was
    the only year Monsoon system that didn't support more than
    one external device (he already has the CD Changer) so in
    his case the PIE unit will plug into the GM-9 Plug on the
    back of the factory head unit then the CD Changer and the
    XM Harness will go into the Pie Adaptor. This particular
    adaptor has a remote display which lets you switch between
    the inputs so he can still retain functionality of his OEM
    CD Changer and the Radio and the XM.

    He does not want the ciggarette adaptor so I am going to
    hard wire the unit. I am going to take a radio shack project
    case (plastic box) and put the transformer in the box and
    mount that behind the factory head unit and I am going to
    run hard lines to the ciggarette lighter wiring behind the
    dash.

    He also bought the factory mounting bracket that bolts to
    the side of the head unit and stick outs over the side of
    the dash. It will look super clean. I am going to use tech
    flex braided mesh on the wires between the cradle and the
    dash (not that you will see them but if you do they will
    be very neatly done).

    All you need for your ImpSS (sweet car by the way) is the
    Pioneer to XM adaptor harness that Pie sells.. You can get
    it through XMfan.com or others..
     
  7. Brian Schucher

    Brian Schucher Supporting Actor

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    I personally had a probelm with the boombox. No matter how hard i tried I was unable to get a signal for my wife in her office. I do think it is the best thing i have bought in years though and just love my car install...
     
  8. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Brett,

    My local XM installer tells me that they are now using a wireless unit that allows them to adapt XM radio to just about any manufacturer's vehicle without compromising the wiring, etc. He said this can even be used to adapt the SkyFi to my Impala. This is important to me since I want to avoid interfering with the original wiring for when I want to restore the SS to stock.

    He'll also get the power from the fuse box so I don't have to worry about losing the use of the cigarette lighter for other power (Valentine, etc.)

    Have you heard of these wireless XM adapters? My guy says that they do not compromise the XM sound. In other words, they are closer to a hard wired installation rather than to the quality of a cassette interface installation.

    Thanks.
     
  9. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Robert,

    Yes I have heard of these adaptors they have been in use for
    years for installing a CD Changer into a vehicle not set up
    for one. They are called FM Modulators and they do affect
    the sound quality. They broadcast on FM so you need to tune
    the radio into a certain channel and they can add "grain"
    to the music which IMHO SkyFi has absolutely no grain. I
    think XM's music is so smooth it's scary and I wouldn't want
    to sacrifice anything by using a Modulator. But that's just
    me..

    I can tie the power line for the SkyFi in anywhere but the
    backside of the cig lighter (behind the dash) is perfect
    since it won't affect the use of the lighter (not that he
    uses it anyway) and it hides the wiring and keeps the leads
    as short as possible.

    I have been doing this stuff for way too long and I think I
    am pretty darn good at it (better than most "pro" installers
    at least from what I have seen).

    My bud wouldn't let anyone but me touch his WS6 and I can
    understand why. I wouldn't let anyone touch my Vette's either [​IMG]


    Either way I would not go with the Modulator. Not when PIE
    makes an adaptor for almost any combination and they are
    relatively cheap.

    This is what you would need to install it (assuming you have
    a newer Pioneer head unit with the P-Bus connection)

    http://www.pie.net/sec14sb2.htm

    Scroll down to this part PIO/P-RCA

    This is what it looks like.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. MikeSRC

    MikeSRC Second Unit

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    I agree about the FM modulator. The standard vehicle kit with the cassette adaptor has better sound than the FM modulator. The PIE kits are definitely the way to go if they have one for your vehicle.

    I don't spend that much time in the car, so being able to use the Skyfi in the house was very important to me. However, I needed an antenna extension to get to a southern exposure. For whatever reason, the Skyfi antenna extension cable is near impossible to find, but for those who need one, the extension cables (with passive amp) made by Antenna Specialists work great. Because they're made for vehicles and other XM radios, you just need to remove the plastic covers on the Fakra connectors, and only use the "Sat" connector.

    Also, I don't know if it was mentioned on a previous thread, but if you want to more accurately set up a home antenna, press 2-0-7 and the XM button, and the radio will turn on in a "service" mode. If you then push the display button 3 times, you'll get a display of columns with Sat1, Sat2 and Terr. Below them will be various values. Look at the BER% and that will tell you the signal strength. The lower that number is the better, with 5.0 being the highest you could have before losing signal. For example, since I added the AS extension, I have 0.0 on Sat1 and 1.0 on Sat2. Repeatedly pushing the Display wil scroll through more screens and you'll get back to the normal display. Love that XM Radio!
     
  11. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Brett,

    Thanks for the information on the FM Modulator and Mike, thanks for the follow-up. I am aware of FM modulators and I didn't realize that the installer was talking about these devices when he mentioned the "new wireless devices." Yes, I agree that FM modulation is actually a step down in quality from the SkyFi cassette adapter.

    After hearing of Ron Epstein's experiences with this cassette adapter and his choice to have XM radio hardwired into his car I'm convinced that this is the way to go so I will definitely have that done when I get my new car in the fall (90% sure of an Acura MDX and there is a slight chance that the 2004 model will be redesigned with XM availability as an option).

    As to my home based SkyFi (which, as I stated, I'm hooked on) and the ability to adapt it for occasional use in my Impala SS, I think (thanks to your help) that I've got it figured out. My Pioneer head unit is "XM ready" so I assume that with the correct PIE adapter and a power source that I'm ready to go. I just have to figure out the best way to place all the connections so that I maintain the integrity of my SS without cutting any major holes, etc. in the original vehicle.

    Brett, one question: I already have the SkyFi Auto adapter kit which uses the cassette interface, mounting bracket, etc. I'm a little confused how the PIE adapter would fit into all this. The site you pointed me to discusses having a Pioneer radio with P-bus connector (which I have) and a Pioneer XM module (which I don't have). Does the SkyFi replace that, and if so, do I still use the PIE connector?

    Obviously, for a permanent installation the Pioneer XM module is the way to go, but since I only drive the SS about 500-1000 miles a year it doesn't make sense to have a separate XM radio subscription (even at $7/month) for something that gets so little use. And the Cassette adapter is of no use to me in the SS since there is no cassette player, only CD.

    Thoughts on this?

    Thanks.
     
  12. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Rob,

    The Pioneer P-Bus adaptor for XM adapts the SkyFi to the
    Pio head unit negating the need for Pioneers external XM
    tuner (since the Pio Head Units don't have the XM tuner in
    them.)

    So the P-Bus connector plugs into the back of the Head Unit
    and then the RCA's from the Delphi SkyFi plug into the PIE's
    RCA's.

    Then you just need to run the antenna and the power wires
    how you see fit.
    I would email PIE just to confirm that what I say is accurate.

    The way I understand it you can switch your Pioneer to "AUX"
    (I can do that with mine) and that's when the PBUS is active
    and then the XM signal will input through the PBUS into
    the head unit.

    You can most likely get an "exact fit" bracket for your
    Impalla. For my friends install we got a custom made metal
    bracket that bolts to the stock head unit bolts and it
    comes out the side of the head unit and is bent over towards
    the passenger side and the Dephi "Car" cradle mounts to
    this metal bracket permanently. You can still remove the
    reciever but the bracket and cradle are bolted down.

    What I am going to do with his install is to run all the
    wires inside of some black Techflex braiding and heat shrink
    the ends for a nice finish. I am then going run the wires
    somehow without cutting anything (haven't gotten that far
    yet but I will..)
     
  13. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Brett,

    Thanks for your help.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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  15. Cliff Olson

    Cliff Olson Stunt Coordinator

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    Has anyone compared XM Radio to Music Choice programming on Directv? I have never been very satisfied with the MC sound quality (it's NOT CD quality as they claim), so I would assume that XM must be better? Thanks.
     
  16. MikeSRC

    MikeSRC Second Unit

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    Yes, I have both and I find the XM sound quality to be superior to MC, not to mention the programming. [​IMG]
     
  17. Cliff Olson

    Cliff Olson Stunt Coordinator

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    Cool. I've been debating the XM for quite some time.
     

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