Powering two devices from one car power port

Q: I listen to my iPod in the car using an iRiver adapter that transmits a low-power FM signal to the car radio. It plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter for power. I’m thinking about getting a car GPS unit, but all the GPS units I’m looking at also use the cigarette lighter as a power source. I know some GPS units have built-in mp3 player capacity, but I don’t know if they work with iPods. How can I listen to my iPod and use a GPS unit at the same time?

– Cameron

A: While many GPS units can indeed accept external audio via a line-in port so that you can listen to your music and turn-by-turn directions at the same time, this is irrelevant to the power concerns you have.

Luckily, the power problem can be easily fixed with a simple car power splitter like two-device model or this three-device model, both available online and in-store from RadioShack.

These devices will allow you to simultaneously power your iPod and GPS unit from a single car power port. With this solved, you can begin to look for a GPS unit which will share audio output with your iPod. To get you started, take a look at the new TomTom GO units, which not only share audio output with an iPod, but can control an iPod via their touch screens also!

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