The stereo transmitter plugs into a standard vehicle cigarette lighter and pipes music from the portable player through an unused FM frequency on the radio. This allows motorists to take a largelibrary of music — as many as 48 hours of MP3 music and 96 hours of WMA music — when using a Sansa 1-gigabyte player combined with an optional SanDisk 2GB SD flash memory card.
The Sansa Car Transmitter is a one-piece system that has a custom holder for the player. Attached to this is a flexible steel neck for easy positioning and, at the opposite end, a 12-volt connector for the lighter socket. The vehicle’s power system runs the player, thus conserving the life of the Sansa’s battery.
Mating the Sansa Car Transmitter to the FM radio is an easy three-step process. First, tune the car radio to an unused or weak FM frequency, which often can be found at each end of the dial. Then, locate the same frequency on the Car Transmitter by using the channel search buttons, and then press play. (Up to three presets can be programmed with the memory buttons, and frequencies can be viewed on the blue backlit LCD screen.)
The transmitter will be sold initially in the United States, with shipments to retailers starting this fall. With a suggested retail price of $59.99, the device comes with a durable transparent belt clip, which is necessary for inserting the player into the transmitter cradle, and rubber gaskets to establish a snug fit in the 12-volt lighter socket.
“The belt clip serves a dual purpose. It holds the Sansa in the transmitter and it also allows you to carry the player with you when you leave your vehicle,” said Matthijs Hutten, product marketing manager for the Sansa accessory line. “You simply attach it to your clothing, plug in your earphones and continue to use it while walking or exercising.”
The transmitter covers the full FM band, from 88.1 to 107.9 megahertz (MHz), so a user can select any weak frequency.
The transmitter is part of a new accessory line for the Sansa e100 series of MP3/WMA players. SanDisk introduced the players, which come with embedded memory of 512 megabytes (MB) or 1GB, last spring. With the player’s built-in SD card slot, users can add as much as 2GB of supplemental memory, giving the 1GB Sansa (model e140) a capacity of 3GB. And by using the Windows Media Audio (WMA) compression format, that expanded memory can store up to 96 hours of music, or the content of approximately 100 CDs.