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Old 27th December 2012, 14:59   #31
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

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I had faced this earlier and had reported it to Mahindra service center once. They told me that its a problem with a virus in my device and somehow I let it go at that point of time. Now with more concrete information about the reasons, I won't let the service center guys get away with it.
Virus?? That's a really "original" thought process! Have you checked the file format of the songs that don't play? The problem is that we copy music from our PCs (with vlc able to play most formats) onto these pen drives, but the HU in the car supports limited formats. Some only do mp3, mp4, flac or wmv or others are not supported.
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Old 27th December 2012, 14:59   #32
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

I have noticed this problem in my friend's Sony. When my Transcend 16GB pen-drive is played through it, only the tracks in the root folder are played and none from the subfolders.

No such problem with my Pioneer though.
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Old 27th December 2012, 21:46   #33
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

Here is my understanding of problems head units (and also some old phones and/or chinese MP3 players) seem to have with pendrives (or memory cards in case of phones and mp3 players):

Capacity - problem with sizes above 2GB or 4GB is common. Check the manual of the head-unit to confirm this. Really good ones can even play audio from portable HDDs, while at the other end of the spectrum some units refuse to recognize flash drives over 2GB.

File System - FAT16 is most widely supported, followed by FAT32 and NTFS. Juggle
between them to see if it fixes your problem. As to HOW, you need to first back-up all data and (for windows users only) right click on the drive and click format.

Tree Depth
- This relates to how many subfolders can be accessed. Devices exist which can play only files placed in the root. This problem is often seen in conjunction with the problem stated as the next point.

Number of Files/Folders
- There are often problems with more than "N" files/folders inside any particular folder or even the total number of files/folders. Caps exist on total number of files, files per folder, total number of folders, subfolders per folder, etc.

USB Speed Support
- Some devices operate by default in USB 1.1 even if the device is USB 2.0 complaint. Common with old or really cheap chinese products. Symptoms may be long time to play large or high bit-rate files.

Handling Fragmented Files - Sometimes you may see problems with a USB drive that has a filesystem which has suffered extensive fragmentation. This would lead to longer retrieval times and unresponsiveness at times or a long indexing/initialization time. Backing up files, fully formatting the memory and copying back the files, or simply defragmentation should solve the problem. NTFS supporting units shouldn't normally worry about fragmentation though.

MP3 Format Issues
- This problem is VERY common because of the numerous ways MP3 files are encoded in. The least annoying problem could be problem reading tags due to incompatibility with certain formats. After this is the more serious trouble of inability to play VBR (variable bit-rate) audio. Even for VBR encoded MP3, some files play and some (mainly those ripped from the audio track of youtube videos) simply refuse to play. Then there may be problem with certain higher bit-rate audio as well, or problem with sampling rate due to which sound may be absent, speeded up or slowed down.


My own conclusion: To be honest, there is NOTHING you can do about it. In a country like USofA, there'll be fine-print stating what the HU can do and what it cannot or people will sue the manufacturer. But in India, you're expected to simply learn to live with these low-tech head units. Much of this is attributed to the fact that even the best sounding head units are generations (in digital era terms) behind current technology of format support, file system support, etc despite having excellent sound quality. The only (and effective) work-around is to use that Portable Media Player or Smart Phone to play audio through the friendly neighbourhood AUX port (which IMO is the most important basic feature any ICE should have).
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Old 28th December 2012, 10:19   #34
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

MHG that is a superb post there. For those who are not tech savvy (like myself) it helps explain a lot. The Yeti would be proud.
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Old 28th December 2012, 11:41   #35
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

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Originally Posted by spiritofmars View Post
Virus?? That's a really "original" thought process! ... the HU in the car supports limited formats. Some only do mp3, mp4, flac or wmv or others are not supported.
Not really. Whoever said this told half of the story in reverse sequence. Early last year, a 'shaukeen' mechanic had copied songs from my pendrive, which I had forgotten to remove before the car went for service. A couple of days later, when I inserted that pen-drive into my PC to load songs, I got a virus alert and was not able to use the pendrive till the virus was killed. Later I moved to a Macbook Pro as my main computer, and haven't bothered about getting a virus. So, that person was talking of PCs injecting virus, and PCs not being able to read the drive - he assumed the same thing happens in the HU.

[quote=speedmunster;3000947... only the tracks in the root folder are played and none from the subfolders. ... No such problem with my Pioneer though.[/quote]My Kenwood x994 plays only from top-level directories, not from sub-directories at the next level. Doesn't really bother me, since all my music is organized in top-level folders.

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... these low-tech head units. Much of this is attributed to the fact that even the best sounding head units are generations (in digital era terms) behind current technology of format support, file system support, etc despite having excellent sound quality. ...
Nice post, but ... What makes you say that? Please look around - even the PC media players, barring VLC, have a limited set of codecs that come by default. The HU, unlike a PC, is not a device with unlimited hardware resources. The problems highlighted by people here are quite different from what you are talking about.

Before denigrating the sets sold in India, please do check what their manual says. These sets are not manufactured solely for India. Some of the OE ones are not sold anywhere else, but they are generic, not India-specific. Even sets sold in US don't have limitations mentioned in most cases, other than the max. capacity of drives mentioned sometimes (in which case they appear in the manuals of Indian sets also). Manufacturers make language-specific manuals, not country-specific.

The choice of file system and codec support is not based on 'modern'-ness, it is simply a set which is most popular with users. Providing codec and file-system support costs money (nothing comes for free). Also, all the soft functionality in this context is in silicon in the HU, not storage-based for on-demand loading as in PCs. Would you expect buyers to pay top dollar for a comprehensive codec and file-system support, and then use only 1 or 2?

Last edited by DerAlte : 28th December 2012 at 11:57.
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Old 28th December 2012, 11:47   #36
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

A tool I found for people who need to format their devices into another format:

Panasonic SD Card Formater - A shutter happy friend uses this tool for the memory cards he uses in his DSLR. It is supposed make a very compliant device out of any storage unit. I will use this today evening on pendrives, and post an update.
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Old 28th December 2012, 15:07   #37
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Nice post, but ... What makes you say that? Please look around - even the PC media players, barring VLC, have a limited set of codecs that come by default. The HU, unlike a PC, is not a device with unlimited hardware resources. The problems highlighted by people here are quite different from what you are talking about.

Before denigrating the sets sold in India, please do check what their manual says. These sets are not manufactured solely for India. Some of the OE ones are not sold anywhere else, but they are generic, not India-specific. Even sets sold in US don't have limitations mentioned in most cases, other than the max. capacity of drives mentioned sometimes (in which case they appear in the manuals of Indian sets also). Manufacturers make language-specific manuals, not country-specific.

The choice of file system and codec support is not based on 'modern'-ness, it is simply a set which is most popular with users. Providing codec and file-system support costs money (nothing comes for free). Also, all the soft functionality in this context is in silicon in the HU, not storage-based for on-demand loading as in PCs. Would you expect buyers to pay top dollar for a comprehensive codec and file-system support, and then use only 1 or 2?
Look, I'm not degrading anything. I'm only comparing the level of format support in PCs and embedded platforms like mp3 players and car audio systems. I've files in formats ranging from ogg vorbis to mp3 to APE to FLAC to real audio on my HDD. Obviously I cannot play them all on my phone or my car audio system. But its a true fact that there is definitely a generation gap between decoding technology in both platforms. Remember, over here generation means a couple of years or more. Its obviously unwise to expect such frequent updates. And I accept it. I just wanted to put the reality in a slightly harsh way and I apologise for it. Perils of being an IT guy
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Old 28th December 2012, 15:40   #38
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

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Look, I'm not degrading anything. I'm only comparing the level of format support in PCs and embedded platforms like mp3 players and car audio systems. I've files in formats ranging from ogg vorbis to mp3 to APE to FLAC to real audio on my HDD. Obviously I cannot play them all on my phone or my car audio system. But its a true fact that there is definitely a generation gap between decoding technology in both platforms.
Agree with you. The least that reputable manufacturers can do is start rolling out firmware upgrades. Would help sort out these small irritants. I don't see why this should be a problem - the technology is around, just needs to be adapted. One pays over 7-8K atleast for a decent HU, the manufacturer can easily offer some basic support for these devices. Price surely can't be a constraint for doing this
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Old 28th December 2012, 15:42   #39
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

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... there is definitely a generation gap between decoding technology in both platforms. ...
Reality, in many cases, is different from perception, and you have perceived it wrongly. There have been no new codecs for a long time - no new need. All the codecs are quite old, much older than you think (some more than 30 years). Even their implementations in silicon, or in microcontroller software, are older than you think. Implementation on a new controller is not 'new decoding technology'. Do read up on the maths of codecs - you will know what I am referring to.

The real reasons are not something that you were aware of, especially if you think what happens in PC world, happens or is required on gadgets and 'embedded' devices - that world uses a different logic for appropriateness.

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... Perils of being an IT guy ...
Sure, I agree, presumption comes a lot easier to IT guys than reading the why's before.

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Originally Posted by spiritofmars View Post
... rolling out firmware upgrades. Would help sort out these small irritants. ... Price surely can't be a constraint for doing this
Sure, it is always nice to get something for free, right, like on PCs? OTOH, if you wanted to read, for example, Ogg Vorbis format files on the HU, and only a few others did (desperate enough), would you agree to buy the firmware update at a cost? Nothing comes for free, you know, considering that firmware updates costs a lot more than what a couple of 100 HUs cost. As long as someone somewhere pays, the HU manufacturer will get motivation to do it.

Last edited by DerAlte : 28th December 2012 at 16:01.
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Old 28th December 2012, 20:09   #40
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

Hello All

Just want to highlight all , the same data ( mo of folders ) works with Kingston and sandisk in my headunit , but HP , transcend are giving issues .I have tried reformatting drives and also copied the data again but issue persists . This issue is related to the hardware reading latency of these hp , sony and transcend . This is the same problem happening with pioneer touchscreen headunits as well
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Old 29th December 2012, 11:49   #41
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

I am not good at making spreadsheets, but ...

Can someone start and upload a spreadsheet of makes / models / size of pendrives (rows) and makes of HUs (columns)? We could perhaps mark Y or N at the intersections to indicate which make of pendrive works with which HU make (actual observation), and which doesn't? Perhaps one could include cell comments if there was a transient problem.

It would help others a lot if there was a comprehensive list pooling everyone's experience in one place.
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Old 31st December 2012, 15:41   #42
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

The default HU on my Honda Brio reads my 16 GB Corsair (mostly 14GB used), absolutely fine. What i realized that the HU's need a little space to create a temp file, to build the list of files. Also the good age old defragmentation helps
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Old 31st December 2012, 16:09   #43
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

I have a basic Sony HU on which I tried to use a USB pen drive. However, the one I tried today had the songs in folders and the HU just says no music available.
Is there any way I can get that HU to read the folder contents? the only button available is to change the source.
I know I can copy the contents to the root folder, but what if I want to use folders to sort the music?
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Old 31st December 2012, 18:59   #44
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

I think its more a software issue- Today had my XUV software upgraded- The same pen drive takes time to read all folders - I have many!
The same ipod is now having difficulty being read!!! Damn thing worked in front of the Nippon guys -But on the way back home just would not get out of the song being played over and over again!!!
Disconnected tried again- plays the same song! Then after a while you can select Artist /Album/ Song/ etc.

Last edited by Gerardfdz : 31st December 2012 at 19:08.
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Old 1st January 2013, 10:10   #45
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Default re: Pen Drives : Compatibility issues with Head-Units

Another observation: I had two identical Sandisk 8GB pendrives, one of which I was using in the car. After it fell down once, HU was no longer detecting it but it still works fine on the PC. I copied the collection to the other Sandisk and HU recognizes it without any issues. It could be possible that the HU firmware/software might not be having bad sector handling as good as on modern OS.

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I have a basic Sony HU on which I tried to use a USB pen drive. However, the one I tried today had the songs in folders and the HU just says no music available.
Is there any way I can get that HU to read the folder contents? the only button available is to change the source.
I know I can copy the contents to the root folder, but what if I want to use folders to sort the music?
Can you please specify the model number instead of being generic? Manuals should be having instructions like 'how to move to next track/album etc. What does your manual say? I have a Sony GT470US which allows folder structure. '1'/'2' keys are used to jump to prev/next album. (Album is the name they used to give for folders.)

Again, features determine the price. Lack of some features might be the reason the HU is priced so low.
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