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182 of 185 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great signal coverage but be careful - not Part 15 compliant!
I wanted to set up "whole home" audio around my house and yard. I didn't want some "toy" transmitter that goes 30 feet - I need a good signal out to a couple hundred feet. I ordered the Fail-Safe recently as it was on sale for $99.95. Though it was supposedly back-ordered a month away, I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in about a week. I opened the package and...
Published on November 15, 2011 by YellowAndGreenBoardBuddy

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34 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE! PIRACY ALERT
Unbelievable Experience!!! Quality is far from what I received from Quality Distribution!!! After my original purchase because of what was explained to be a result of Amazon's default "Low Price Provider", I ended up getting my item from Quality Distribution :-( I intended to purchase from F-S Electronics and intended on receiving a Fail-Safe 0.5 W FM Transmitter -- I...
Published on April 12, 2012 by Richard R. Dandrea


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182 of 185 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great signal coverage but be careful - not Part 15 compliant!, November 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
I wanted to set up "whole home" audio around my house and yard. I didn't want some "toy" transmitter that goes 30 feet - I need a good signal out to a couple hundred feet. I ordered the Fail-Safe recently as it was on sale for $99.95. Though it was supposedly back-ordered a month away, I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in about a week. I opened the package and was on-air within 5 minutes. It does everything it claims to do, and I am quite pleased.

The unit is quite compact - not much bigger than a bar of bath soap. The Xmtr looks a lot like the HLLY units you can find online, and like the HLLY, this one is Chinese-made, despite Fail-Safe's claims of "American made." In truth, they are "American sold." These are generic transmitters mass-produced overseas sold by numerous companies around the globe. That being said, I still chose the Fail-Safe over the lower-cost HLLY and others due to the good reviews about Fail-Safe's tech support. Nice to know I can call somebody in Indiana if I have a question or concern. Better to pay $100 and have domestic support than to pay $60 and give your credit card info to some guy in Guangzhou.

I set up the Xmtr in my home, at ground floor level, perhaps 6' height above average terrain (HAAT). I connected the antenna, plugged in the power supply, turned it on, set freq to an empty channel and connected my mp3 player. I set the power to low (100mW) and turned on radios around the house. The signal was rock-solid with very good fidelity. There is a small amount of noise in the signal, likely due to the switch-mode power supply. The noise is only apparent between songs, or when the music is very soft. Most of my music is very dynamic, so it won't be an issue.

I got in the car and drove around the neighborhood. I received a solid signal out to about 1/4 mile as the crow flies. I live in a suburban residential area with flat terrain. Beyond 1/4 mile the signal started to drop out, though I could still hear music fading in and out at a distance of 0.6 miles (according to my GPS). I also tested it with a portable pocket radio, but that lost the signal beyond 0.1 miles. Pretty good signal given that all I want is coverage for around the house and yard. I don't want to entertain the whole neighborhood. I moved the unit upstairs, about 15' HAAT, and the signal range was about the same.

I switched to high power (500mW) and there was a dramatic increase in range. I drove around and the signal stayed rock-solid to just over a mile with weaker coverage to about 1.5 miles. I switched the Tx back to 100mW, as that is more than enough power.

Keep in mind that this transmitter is NOT FCC Part 15 compliant. There is no Part 15 label on it, nor is there any transmitter certification. You're on your own here, and Fail-Safe makes that clear in their instruction sheet. In the U.S., the maximum for legal, unlicensed FM transmissions is 250uV/m, measured at 3 meters. Contrary to popular belief, the FCC does not state this limit in terms of power. Transmitter power is misleading - due to efficiencies, transmission line losses. antenna gain, antenna height, terrain, obstacles, etc., your mileage may vary. It's signal strength that matters to the FCC. I haven't measured the signal strength of the Fail-Safe unit, but I would not be surprised if it was several times that legal limit - even at the low power setting. So unless you live way out in the boonies, you might want to keep it at the 100mW setting if you want to avoid getting a NOUO letter from the FCC.

Whatever you do, don't ever transmit on an occupied channel. Radio stations take a dim view of people interfering with their signals. All it takes is one complaint and some FCC agent will be cruising your neighborhood in a van to triangulate your signal. And if you live close to an airport, you may want to think twice about operating one of these. The unit puts out some spurious harmonics and it may interfere with aircraft communications just above the FM band.

One minor gripe: the swivel function of the rubber duck antenna is a bit loose, and the antenna tends to droop over. A piece of electrical tape wound around the swivel fitting keeps the antenna upright.

In all, I am happy with the Fail-Safe and would recommend it to others - with some caveats.

UPDATE: I decided that running even 100mW is too risky, given the onerous FCC penalties that can result from using this transmitter, and the ease at which they can find you. I bought a 50-ohm RF attenuator that connects between the transmitter's BNC jack and the ducky antenna. The attenuation is 10dB, which reduces the output power by a factor of 10.
[...]
My coverage at the low-power setting with the attenuator is about 1 - 2 blocks on a good car radio, and a couple hundred feet with a walkman-type portable radio. Just the power I need (10mW) and still a better signal than what you get from the toy transmitters.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Update: Adjustable Transmitter Power, March 4, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
Ordered on March 2nd and received on March 4th. Quick shipping! I found on the net through reading about similar transmitters that the power output is actually adjustable. To adjust the power from .500 watt to .100 of a watt. Here's all you need to do: Push in and hold the power on button then plug in the power cord the LCD will read "H" by using the frequency up & down buttons you can switch to "L" then unplug the power cord, then plug it back in and power on and now your broadcasting at low power which is perfect for working in the yard & around the house. Thanks Amazon :)
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!, September 3, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
All I can say is WOW! This is the best low cost FM Transmitter money can buy. I have tried several other FM Transmitters including the CCrane that can be modified to increase its range. This one simply blows them all away right out of the box. And I mean that literally.

If you are looking for a FM Transmitter, buy this one.

Shipping was fast.

Thanks guys for a super product.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great transmitter, but no overmodulation protection, August 22, 2011
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
This transmitter sounds great, good stereo and fidelity. But, it has no internal over modulation protection, so you can easily get a 'loud sound' from it on your radio, but you will be grossly over modulating the unit, and thus out of any sort of FCC modulation compliance, and easily identifiable by FCC as needing a technical visit. I'm saying this for US based users.

As best I can tell, the input audio stage of this transmitter must be carefully adjusted along with the careful adjustment of an external 'hard limiter' device to keep your audio from severely over modulating the transmitter.

If you adjust this transmitter's audio input (front panel) using your radio to get a loud signal 'just below distortion' you will be guaranteed to be in violation of FCC modulation rules for FM.

The manufacturer should have built in a 'brick wall' limiter to prevent this, but they didn't do that.

Be careful. You will notice that FM modulation monitors cost a lot of money, and that the manufacturer of this transmitter offers no modulation monitoring or 'over modulation' indicator on the unit, nor do they offer external FM modulation monitoring equipment for purchase.

If you live in an urban area this will be more of a problem than if you live in the middle of nowhere, but all it will take is one FCC scan of your transmitter's modulation and that could result in a visit and a fine.

This unit is made in China. They leave staying out of trouble totally up to you. If you have an FM tuner with a MPX output, you can add a home brew monitor to it to check your modulation, or you can find a broadcaster who will help you with their 20,000 dollar spectrum analyzer to verify your modulation and power level.

Word to the wise.

Update on 9/22/2012

Some reviews have mentioned audio quality. This unit uses European/Global pre-emphasis, not US pre-emphasis. Thus, you do not get crisp highs when you listen on a US FM radio or receiver. It sounds slightly muffled. The manufacturer should sell units in the US with US pre-emphasis of 75 microseconds, not 50.

As for modulation, I have looked at the modulation using an analyzer, and it is totally possible to overdrive this unit, causing it to significantly over modulate (illegal). You need to put a high quality audio limiter ahead of this transmitter's audio input and set it up to be FCC compliant---even at low power level setting. On high power, this is even more essential. You don't want someone to complain to their favorite station that they can't listen because of 'some other station' causing interference---these cases will be looked into, be assured.

I continue to notice that these China FM transmitter manufacturers DO NOT offer over modulation protection, either via an external device, or via internal protection electronics. It's all on the user to be compliant and a good neighbor on the FM band.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CZH-05B FM TRANSMITTER, November 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
Stop if your looking for a good qaulity FM transmitter, look no further. I live in a City accross from Detroit, MI. Where alot of music stations are powerfull.
I got this Unit and right out of the box, WOW. I set it to 87.7 and I got in my car and drove blocks and the radio station was still playing my source, (ipod).
I tried others and found them weak, and fade in and out, but not this guy, good sound al over my house. So if your in a market for a FM transmitter this is the one.

Shipping was great, 2 days to get unit.

Very happy....
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Higher power than stated in the specs, May 17, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
The unit transmits three times the power it states. I measured my version 1.2.3 unit purchased in May 2012 at 320 mW in low and 1.5 Watts in high, the specs state it should be 100 mW and 0.5 Watts respectively. When the unit was in low power (320 mW) I could pick up the station 1.5 miles away via my car antenna. This was surprising as the unit was transmitting via the inferior "rubber ducky" antenna and was inside a wood-frame building. I did not test the range of the high power but would guess it's more like 2.5 miles.

This higher power may be seen as a plus but as you know the FCC regulates your Part 15 FM Transmitter output much lower than this. If you mess with a licensed signal and they report you to the FCC a field mobile unit will drive by your home, direction find you, and then send you a notice to stop in the mail. If you don't follow their instructions they typically fine you $10,000. They do this to pirate stations 60 to 120 times a year and typically to the major offenders, but still, it's our government being our government. If you do a search for, "fcc field issued citations" you'll find these notices of apparent liability they send out with fines. Also, as of this review transmitting out of Part 15 is a felony in New Jersey, Florida, and New York, meaning it's not just a civil fine it's a criminal on your record sort of thing. I don't mean to ruin anyones fun or freedom here since I don't agree with FCC's rules on micro power FM Transmitting but I do want to make everyone aware of how things stand with the said enforcement authorities today.

I'd recommend you buy a "50 ohm 10 db BNC attenuator" from eBay to knock this unit down to the 20 mW transmit range. If you really want to be confident stack a 10 db with a 3 or 6 db or try a 20 db. I do a form of the later and find it is now within the FCC Part 15 rules which makes me sleep well at night. Remember that the FCC regulates Part 15 via the sentence, "250 µV/m at a distance of 3 m from the antenna." They don't give you a wattage since it varies widely on the antenna, height, and the immediate structure around. I've heard the 250 µV/m @ 3m as being close to 10 or 20 mW or 0.01/0.02 watts, or 75 times less than what this unit transmits in the low power setting. Since RF frequency works on a log scale it halves every 3db, so you can see how a 20 dB attenuate may get you to the 250 µV/m @ 3m limit with napkin math, though I'm not qualified to tell you it's going to get you there 100% but I'm guessing it's close.

You can purchase this unit directly from the website of the China manufacture, HLLYE or fmuser. They have this unit for about $49 USD. If you buy 10 or more they become ridiculously cheap, which is what this seller is probably doing, then marking them up -- so goes the market place. They also have a ton of other transmitters to pick from and most are cheap. They do ship from China so you have a 15-25 day wait. That said, if you want to pay a bit more and deal with a US warehouse, the Fail-Safe company seems to be the one to buy from, vs. Quality Distributors.

Enjoy the freedom of micro radio and in my view, speech, with this little guy. It's an A+ in my book.

Update: Here is an Amateur Radio Operator's (KA5S) post on a ham forum of what the FCC Part 15 output limits are when converted to watts. It seems that it comes down to if you can hear your transmitter more than 300' away with your car radio using a half wave vertical (what's on your car) then you're probably running too much power. Here's the quote, "Part 15: 150 uV/m limit at 88-216 MHz is just under 60 picowatts per meter, and a sphere 3 meters in diameter (the FCC measuring distance) has a surface of 113 square meters, for 6.75 nanowatts total. A dipole has gain over an isotropic radiator so it takes less power to reach the FCC limit. " Yeah, he said nanowatts, that's 10 to the negative ninth power. Hmmm.

I hate to be a Part 15 nanny but I feel everyone should know even though I disagree with the entire US micro FM broadcasting rules.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fragile yet Effective, June 8, 2012
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This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
Length:: 6:15 Mins

Here's a video review of this FM Transmitter. It is quite a bit fragile, however the transmission capability seems clean and strong.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive FM Transmitter!, February 16, 2011
By 
J. L. Barr (Huntington, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
I purchased this FM transmitter based on other reviews on Amazon. What a phenominal transmitter! My home is located on steeply sloping property about three stories above the road. I purchased this transmitter to broadcast throughout my home. It does that perfectly...in fact, it broadcasts throught most of my community!

The reason I took off one star in the rating is because the audio quality is not what I expected. I was able to improve the quality by connecting the transmitter to an output on my receiver that allows me to adjust bass and treble. Without this compensation, the signal is dull and lacking bass on various FM receivers in my home.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect For Streaming Internet Radio Around The House, May 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
I bought this product as an upgrade to the CCrane FM transmitter with range modification. The results have been stellar. The first thing I noticed is that the received signal on my radios around the house just sounded more "solid". No static or drop outs to report. The location of my transmitter is by no means optimal, I keep it on a shelf with some other computer equipment using just the stock antenna. I was curious how far the signal was broadcasting, so I got in my car, tuned to the station and went for a drive. I was still receiving the signal nearly a half mile away! At that distance, the signal had begun to break up considerably, but it was still distinguishable. As much as I knew my community would love my eclectic taste in music that I stream from the internet, I came to the conclusion that I didn't need to be broadcasting this strong of a signal. I read in other reviews on Amazon how to lower the signal strength by unplugging the unit and then plugging it back in while holding the power button and selecting "L". After performing those steps and re-testing, my signal at the lower setting is still strong and clear all around my house and yard, and is somewhat detectable approximately a half block from my house. Perfect!
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34 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE! PIRACY ALERT, April 12, 2012
By 
Richard R. Dandrea "RRD13" (Allegany, N.Y. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 0.5 W Fail-Safe Long Range FM Transmitter - FS CZH-05B - Newly Revised: Dual Mode now with RCA Inputs (Electronics)
Unbelievable Experience!!! Quality is far from what I received from Quality Distribution!!! After my original purchase because of what was explained to be a result of Amazon's default "Low Price Provider", I ended up getting my item from Quality Distribution :-( I intended to purchase from F-S Electronics and intended on receiving a Fail-Safe 0.5 W FM Transmitter -- I was confused and sorely wrong!! What I got was a poor attempt at wannabeing! For starters, the product arrived a day later than the touted "Second Day Shipping", next, the product was in frigging bubble wrap and a bubble envelope, not the box that is in the images I viewed on Amazon under the F-S listing. Then I was amazed to find a half sheet of "instructions" that the term chickenscratch would be complimentary! The instruction manual made no mention of anything other than how to go from H to L mode. When the unit hissed and hummed, there was nothing to refer to!

When I went back to my records, I had assumed that I purchased this from F-S Electronics as I spent countless time reading this product's reviews and F-S Electronics' seller ratings. I sent the following email to them not knowing that I had actually purchased from Quality Distribution:

"i just received my Fail-Safe CZH 05B, and i cannot understand why these directions are so bad...poor grammar, poor punctuation, but most importantly no directions worth a damn at all! i cannot understand why i paid over 100 dollars for such poor quality control!
is there a number i can call to talk to somebody, to help me with this product!
in this day and age i cannot fathom why i have such endure such poor service..no directions..no hookup prints, no troubleshoot pages..no contact info..nothing..good gosh folks..you should be embarassed with such bull that i just received!"

To my response, I received the following from F-S:
"Richard,

I am "you folks", a one man show -- call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx at your convenience. I am on Eastern time, so please be respectful. I am not sure where you are coming up with poor grammar and punctuation...but regardless I am here to help! I do not have record of your purchase, so I am guessing you purchased from an one of my competitors that should not be on Amazon and are not selling Fail-Safe Transmitters. I would love to help, but if you chose to buy from Quality Distribution or LA Supermart, that is not me -- they are pirating use of my Fail-Safe name and service!

I apologize for the convenience, but try my best to warn of this. Amazon should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen despite me contacting them over 10x now! It is of course a process :-(

Thank you!

Fail-Safe Electronics, USA"

I have now spoken directly to F-S's tech support department and he was even willing to help me fix my issues, but I cannot fathom why he would be willing to do so without personal gain--the service is why I wanted a Fail-Safe Transmitter! I read that these things could be challenging, but never assumed that the buying part would be. I felt I was a seasoned veteran at internet purchasing, but once again I was swindled by an irresponsible seller! It is a shame if F-S's comment about contacting Amazon 10x is true for I went to Amazon to avoid issues like this from arising! The good news about Quality Distribution is at least they understand the RMA process--I am quite surprised!

My faith in American business has been restored now as a result of my experience with F-S Electronics, but I will forever proceed with caution as a result of my dealings with Quality Distribution! Please do yourself a favor and make sure when purchasing, even if for a few extra bucks shipping, that this product ships from Indiana and is from F-S Electronics. I wasted a ton of time and frustration over just a couple mouse clicks! Proceed with caution.
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