Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Starmate Replay ST2 DC adaptor failure

The day the music died...

I listened to Stern on the way to work this morning and then when I went out again to listen on my lunch break, my Starmate wouldn't power up. I use the DC adaptor which I plug in and unplug each time I take the unit in and out of my truck, and this time it just didn't work. After moving the adaptor around in the cigarette lighter jack the tuner would periodically power up and would sometimes stay powered up as long as I kept pushing the adaptor into the plug, but once I released it power was lost. I tried all three of my power jacks, all with the same result.

I actually had to listen to regular FM freakin' radio during lunch.

The humanity!

I don't know how widespread this is or might be, but I was surprised at this failure less than five months after purchasing the unit. There is no way short of breakage to open the plug to check for a fuse, so I stopped by Radio Shack after work and picked up a new "Universal Adaptaplug DC Power Cord," part number 270-1594, for $13.46 including tax. It's definitely nicer than the SIRIUS-supplied power cord, and fairly cheap, but it would've been nice to not have to purchase it at all. I've had my cell phone car charger for 4 years with no problems.

By the way, the staff at Radio Shack was extremely helpful. I brought in my tuner and power cord and they opened up a new Starmate Replay accessory bag to check the manual for the power requirement, opened up the power cord I ended up buying, figured out which polarity was correct (the "outside" of the plug should be the negative part, the "tip" is inside and positive) and even tried it out to make sure it worked. Did you know that Radio Shack actually has cigarette lighter sockets right in the store to try this stuff out? I didn't.

The cool thing about the new adaptor is that it has an on/off switch (I can now leave the plug in the cig jack), a replaceable fuse, a light to show when power is flowing, and it includes 4 plug adaptors ("Adaptaplugs") for different sizes of power jacks. The plug adaptors can even be rotated 180 degrees on the wire to change polarity.

FYI, the Starmate Replay's power requirements according to the manual are 9-16 volts, Negative Ground, DC. Anyone else have a similar experience with a SIRIUS or XM tuner using the factory-supplied cigarette lighter power cord?

Related posts: Chevy S10 install; SIRIUS activation; SIRIUS rebate received; SIRIUS billing; SIRIUS impressions; Howard 100 audio spam

Friday, May 12, 2006

Wii for the win

If the length of lines waiting to play new consoles at E3 is any indication, people are much more interested in Nintendo's Wii console than Sony's PS3. While PS3 screams incremental advancement and a total lack of creative thought, Wii wins on all counts. Brute-force powerful hardware cannot overpower risk-taking originality.

The only console of this next generation that I will have no hesitation pre-ordering and/or waiting in line for is Nintendo's Wii. There will be great games and a new way to interface with those games, plus I just want to see what it can do. I have a feeling I know exactly what PS3 will be able to do -- play hi-def versions of the games I played on PS2 and Xbox. X360 is much the same story as PS3, but at least it has a robust online component and the fact that Microsoft appears to have going for it the fact that it listened to consumers and has given us what we want in a gaming machine.

The only way I'm going to shell out $600 for PS3 is if Blu-Ray becomes the hi-def DVD standard and I ever own a HDTV. Even my obsession with the Metal Gear Solid series (amazing 15 minute E3 trailer here [large] and here [small]) will not compel me to purchase the infernal machine before its time.

I'm thinking 2008.

Related post: PS3 launch disappointment