A Guide to Buying the Best Radio Control Module
The radio control module is the part of your radio that serves as your interface or control panel for it. It's the module where all the controls for the radio are located, from band switches to volume control as well as the station changer. The radio usually comes with its own module, but sometimes certain buttons, switches, and dials break down, necessitating repair. When too many buttons or switches end up busted, then it may be time for you to look for a new radio control module (if only to avoid the more expensive prospect of buying a new car radio altogether).
Types of Radio Control Modules
Your type of radio control module depends on the type of radio you have.
- Car Radio (AM/FM): This basic module should have buttons or dials for altering the volume, changing the radio station, and switching from either AM or FM. It helps you control your basic radio to allow you to listen for weather, local traffic, classic songs, popular hits, talk radio, sports, and religious programming. Listen to interviews or music at will with this specific module.
- Satellite Radio: This module type is used on special radios that offer a crystal-clear listening experience regardless of where the listener is. There are also a wide selection of artists and genres available in exclusive contracts for this subscription-based radio format (like Howard Stern on Sirius Radio).
- Cassette Player: There should be some space on your module for the cassette player if your radio still uses the music medium of playing music through a cassette with magnetic tape inside it. Tapes, however, have a tendency to get worn or stretched over time, but it's still being used today by classic radio aficionados.
- CD Player: If your radio has a CD player included, then your module should accommodate this feature. CDs have been available since the Eighties, first as a high-end alternative to cassette tapes then as the mainstream means of music distribution until digital music and the MP3 format came to be.
- MP3 Player: The most advanced type of music player bundled with car radios to date. Modules for car radios with MP3 players have USB ports and slots for iPods, Zune, and other MP3 player brands because these devices are capable of holding millions of songs in storage. You can even use flash disks on these radios.
Considerations When Shopping for a Radio Control Module
- Radio Compatibility and Easy Installation: If you have a "generic" radio that makes use of a certain set of controls, then any universal-fit module replacement will do. If you have a more sophisticated or advanced radio on hand, then something more OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) instead of OES (Original Equipment Standard) is called for. The more compatible your radio module is to your radio the simpler the installation will be.
- Aesthetics versus Functionality: Aside from buying a perfect-fitment kind of module that you slap unto your module-less radio so that it doesn't end up in the scrapyard, you can also upgrade the look and feel of your old radio to make it more appealing to you, even if the changes are strictly design-wise (like getting a glow-in-the-dark radio module). You can get a digital-display radio with Bluetooth and touchscreen capabilities added on to even a tape-based radio if you care more about features than a simple upgrade in looks.