Airplay in a car with Airport Express

Why?

If you have a Bluetooth capable car stereo, there’s no real reason why you would try to install an Airport Express in your car. My previous car could stream music with bluetooth. Since 2 months I own a new car (a Peugeot RCZ) with (what I thought) state-of-the-art audio/video capabilities, thanks to the WIP COM 3D (with multimedia and navigation).

Apparently, it only supports bluetooth for telephone, not for streaming music :-(. So, if I want to play my iTunes songs, I had to convert them all to mp3, copy them to the internal car harddisk or an SD-card, and then… use the way playlists work in the car, t.i. sorted by song title. If I want to hear a song starting with a V, I could force my hand just by the number of turns on the huge button to make.

Cables cables

But wait! There are other connectivity options! I can connect the good old analog way with RCA. I found an headphone-jack-to-RCA-connector (from Belkin) to connect my iPod/iPhone with my car stereo. Downside: I have to connect it manually, and some ugly white cable is coming out of the glove compartment. Looking further, I found there’s a bluetooth-to-jack connection from Belkin as well. But that would mean: buying another connector, and I read somewhere that sound quality only is so-so.

Then I read on a forum the idea of using Airplay (Airtunes?) in-car. In the near future manufacturers will have solutions for this, but meanwhile I wanted to use the Airport Express I have at home (unused).

Setup

  1. Setup your Airport Express in Airport Configuration program; let it Create a wireless network
  2. Find a power convertor that converts the 12V of your car to 220V (or whatever is appropriate in your country). I bought this one from Belkin (around 40 euros).
  3. I put it in the glove compartment and let it power the Airport Express. The only cable coming out is the cable to the 12V in the mid console of the car. Luckily enough a black cable.
  4. Connect the Airport Express with the aux or RCA-connection of your car and set this as the audio source on your car stereo.
  5. Connect your iPod/iPhone to your wireless network you created on the Airport Express.
  6. Start playing your music and select you want to use Airplay for playing back the music.

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