Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Ten Uh

I've long been a critic of powered accessories in vehicles. Power windows, door locks, mirrors and such increase cost, add weight, consume power, and decrease reliability compared to their manual counterparts. Unfortunately, my Miata, Mia, came with "power everything," and it has caught up with me after only half a year of ownership. A few weeks ago, my power reacting antenna failed, and in the lowered position. This failure meant that I could only listen to CDs in the car. Fortunately, my desire to listen to new music and the NPR withdrawal I've been experiencing has motivated me to address the issue.

I could have tried to repair the motor, but I elected to replace the antenna with a fixed one, and I was glad I made that decision when I pulled out the trunk liner and saw how enormous the OEM antenna/motor assembly was. The photo above illustrates the size of this assembly, most of which is due to the motor.

The new antenna is one of the stubby kind that are so common today. It's not the tiny shark-fin style, but it still looks fairly sleek. It has an amplifier built in, to compensate for its short length, which means it must be tied into the car's 12-volt system. Fortunately, since the original antenna was powered, that operation wasn't difficult. Even with the amplifier, the new antenna only extends down into the car about as far as the red marks on the OEM model.

After the installation, I confirmed that the radio works again. It sounds fine, so I'm quite pleased with this minor modification.

When I set out to take these photos, I realized that I haven't documented a couple of other small changes I've made to the car. More on that soon.

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