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Feature Article

Controls

Controls - You mean the buttons on the head unit, right?

Well yes and no. Of course the most extensive set of controls is found on the head unit (and amplifier, if you've got one), but with the number of knobs and buttons it can be fiddly to make simple adjustments when you're driving. For that reason, there are a number of additional options to consider:

Remote Control

As with your home TV, video and hi-fi, a number of units come supplied with a remote control unit - some models have these as optional extras.

These units can be used from any position in the car with a clear view of the head unit being controlled, which makes them particularly suitable for use by passengers - if you can stand this peculiar style of back-seat driving. From the sole driver's point of view they can be less useful, even a liability as they can move around the car and require longer time with your hand off the wheel than some of the other options available.

Wheel-Mounted Control

Some units, possibly with the addition of an additional adapter, can be controlled by a small unit which can be mounted on the steering wheel itself, enabling the driver to control the most popular functions, such as volume and radio stations, without ever taking his/her hands off of the wheel. To avoid interfering with the driver's steering these take advantage of infra-red to control the head unit.

Steering Column Control

A number of vehicles come with an additional control similar to those for your windscreen wipers and headlights. For specialist installation into vehicles without the facility, these are also available separately. For those whose cars already have this control, you can purchase an adapter (if required) to ensure compatibility with whatever upgraded head unit you're trying to control, but in general these provide a high level of functionality whilst not disfiguring your car interior or getting in the way.

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