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Power socket splitters

Hi,



I have a 2004 Toyota Camry. I’m thinking about getting a portable XM radio for the car but when I use my GPS at the same time I will need a power socket splitter. Will the drain on my battery be too much with 2 devices sucking juice at the same time? Thanks!





You car is equipped with a charging system,it is not totally dependant upon inital battery charge,the battery is replenished as engine is operated and load is carried by alternator,besides that the load from the devices you describe is very low.

Many of today’s power sockets supply 10 to 15 amps of power. I suspect 10 amps is more common. The socket rating for our Toyota Sienna is 10 amps. Your owners manual will tell you what your socket is rated at.

As long as the current draw from your two devices is less than the rated current supply from the outlet, you’ll be OK. If you draw more current, you’ll blow a fuse. No big deal.

Look at the current draw for your GPS and XM radio and make sure they add up to less than what the socket provides.

If the GPS and XM radio give their ratings in watts, then simple math will get you what you need (watts = current x voltage). Your car’s voltage will likely be in the 13-13.8 volt range.

As a previous customer of Sirius/XM (same company now), I recommend you get an iPod instead. With an iPod, you will not have to pay a monthly fee and you can choose your own content. Also, the talk radio channels on satellite radio have commercials. Why would you want to pay a subscription fee to listen to commercials? You are better off downloading podcasts of your favorite shows and listening to them on your iPod.

Remember the old song Video Killed the Radio Star? Maybe it didn’t, but the smartest radio personalities make their content available via podcasts. Pretty soon we will be singing The iPod Killed Satellite Radio and you could be left with useless hardware if you buy the satellite radio. Almost all of the radio shows worth listening to are available in podcasts.

As to the electrical issue, if you get an iPod instead, it will have its own battery, which you can plug into the charger if you need to. However the answer as to whether or not it is safe with the GPS depends on how much power the GPS uses.

Please think about my advise and consider an iPod instead. I think you would be much happier.

As a present customer of Sirius/XM (and who also owns an Mp3 player) I disagree. It takes time to keep the iPod loaded up and if you don’t want to end up listening to basically the same thing over and over again, you need to spend a lot of effort actively seeking out new stuff. I really like how the satellite radio has such a huge range of genres and in the couple of genres I listen to regularly the stations have exposed me to a lot of new artists I like. Also, even if they have commercials, I think it’s more than worth it to have a talk radio that’s not right-wing gasbag. If you’re one of those people who’d spend hours seeking out new music anyways an iPod is fine, but I’d rather be listening.

As for the OP’s question, I have a cheap $5 splitter that I got from target that has two cigarette lighter sockets and a USB port. I routinely have the satellite radio, a battery charger with 4 AA’s in it and a GPS plugged in with no problems whatsoever. I have also accidentally left the satellite radio on for days without draining the battery, so I’m guessing the draw from it is next to nothing (although I just have the cheapo radio with the 1-line LCD-- maybe the fancy ones draw more).

I will concede that some of the stations are much, much better than others so it might be worth doing the online trial subscription to see if you like their take on whatever genre you’re into. Also, one other thing they don’t mention is that even though the stations are pretty much the same across both networks, there still is a big difference in the signal. The XM satellites are in geostationary orbit around the equator, but the the Sirius ones are in high-altitude polar orbits. So the Sirius signal comes from a higher altitude, which results in better signal around trees, buildings, mountains, etc. especially in areas that are further north. On the other hand, if you live in a big urban area, XM has more terrestrial repeaters.

It doesn’t bother you that Sirius/XM claims its music channels are commercial free when they aren’t? On the music channels they advertise the the talk channels. On the talk channels, have paid advertisements. Contrary to their claims, none of their content is commercial free…and yet you have to pay for it. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with that?

Sirius/XM lost me when they canceled my favorite channel (Backspin), without any warning or notice when I paid my dues. Then, after they canceled my favorite channel, they didn’t want to refund my remaining balance.

Have you ever tried to file a warranty claim when the hardware stops working? Heaven help you if you do. They won’t send you the component that no longer works (in my case, a power cord). They will charge you for the whole kit, send it to you so you can swap the bad part, and let you pay to send it all back. Then, if you are lucky, they will credit your account for the price of the kit, but only after making 10-12 phone calls.

Sirius/XM has a monopoly, and the customer service is terrible. I will concede that keeping the content on my iPod is time consuming, but iTunes automatically downloads my favorite NPR shows each week for me. Then when I plug in the iPod to sync and charge it, updating the content takes about 90 seconds.

In iTunes, you can subscribe to free new music downloads. If exposure to new music is your thing, you can go with satellite radio, who plays new music from the artists who pay them the most, or you can be your own DJ.

The music channels (at least the ones I listen to) are for all practical purposes commercial free. The little promos for other stations don’t really bother me-- I’ve discovered some new stations I like that way. I think its no more hypocritical than, say, NPR claiming they’re commercial-free when obviously companies and organizations are supporting them for name exposure.

I’ve had decent customer service from them. At one point I had my radio stolen out of my car and they sent me a new one for free, which I appreciated. I’ve broken a few antennas and power cords moving the radio from car to car, but there’s plenty of these out there on eBay for cheap. I was annoyed when they started charging for the internet radio, but they gave plenty of warning.

I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I think most people would think it’s worth the 13 bucks. Especially if you’re someone like me who drives a lot and lives in an area with really crummy terrestrial radio options.