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Lessons we have learned fitting DAB in car!

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It was 1st December 2012, I remember it well...It was the day that we launched JustCONNECT, our exclusive in car DAB online retail shop www.justconnectme.co.uk

I am one of 4 founders in the company, we had all worked in the Automotive car audio aftermarket for 20+ years, and nothing could have prepared us for our journey into supplying and fitting our JustDRIVE DAB add-on kits. Fast forward to today, and we have served thousands of customers, selling and successfully fitting our JustDRIVE kit into their cars.

It is a good job we decided to launch a supply and fit service, as if we hadn’t we would not have enjoyed the success we have, I am certain of that! We learned pretty much straight away that fitting DAB kits into cars is a very tricky thing to do, there are many obstacles to overcome in each car, and most of them are different from car to car. Here are the 5 biggest obstacles that we have come across;

1. Antenna location

The optimum antenna location varies from car to car. The main issues have been from heated front windscreens, laminated glass, automatic windscreen wipers and windscreen rake. We have built an extensive car database up of where the best fitting location is from car to car. We can confidently identify issues prior to installation, pick the best location and now we even guarantee signal performance

2. Control box location

This is where the DAB+ chip sits, inside on the main circuit board. Just like the antenna issue so the optimum fixing position for the box matters here too. Fibre optics in cars can massively affect the performance of a DAB+ chip, as can the metal chassis points of the vehicle, and other wireless radio frequencies that car makers use around their ignition systems.

We learned through installing our kit where these problems existed and on what cars. We have built out our extensive car database to include the best DAB control box mounting positions from car to car. We know where to fix the control box to ensure an totally uninterrupted DAB service is received.

3. DAB station coverage expectation

We try to make all of our customers aware of what DAB stations they will get once the kit is fitted, and this varies massively depending where you are based in the UK. We use the Governemtns official DAB coverage checker as a bench mark, and we link to it from our website here - http://www.justconnectme.co.uk/uk-digital-radio-coverage/ - It is usual to expect you will pick up around 75 - 80 DAB stations in London, but unlikely that will get more than maybe 30-35 in parts of Lancashire for example. We like the Governments checker as it marks DAB stations as good coverage or fair coverage on the results table it serves up, once you put in your postcode.

It has been designed to inform for both home and car use, so we say “unless the station you want appears in the good coverage section you are unlikely to get it in your car”. Fair coverage usually means the station is nearly out of reach , so a static DAB radio at home will pick it up, because it is static and not moving around at the speeds a car drives around.

4. Other non E Marked products being used in the car

This is a big issue in cars. It is amazing how many products appear on the market that have CE marking, but not E Marking. If you are buying products for automotive use it is important you ensure the product carries both marks. They will be identified separately on the product you are using. Customers normally think if they see a CE mark it is ok, it is only okay if you are not using that product in your car. The purpose of E Marking is to confirm that the product is okay for car use and emits no interference. Non E Mark products will affect DAB signal, they directly interfere with each other. Other equipment in the car will also be interrupted by non E Mark products. So be sure you check for both markings. Usual products found without the correct E Marking are replacement 12V cigar lighter chargers for phones and sat-navs, 12V cigar lighter to USB converters and Dashboard cameras.

5. Auto START/STOP technology

It turns out that if you drive a car with auto START/STOP technology then it will affect your DAB kit, due to the way the DAB kits wiring is configured. We have designed a new wiring configuration in all of our kits to ensure that the DAB signal is uninterrupted when the START/STOP technology is in use.

These are just 5 of the biggest challenges we face when fitting DAB in car. This is why we recommend that you chose to have a professionally qualified fitter install your DAB kit, to ensure it works 100%. All of our fitters have completed the Government's certification programme for installing Digital Radio, the installer tick mark certifies that the installer has completed and passed the official IMI training programme and is fully qualified to install for you.

We are fully qualified and experienced to handle the safe and proper installation of DAB into your car. Our service to customers is a complete service that includes all the parts required and the fitting at your home or work address…...anywhere in the UK...

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0161 864 6440 Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm