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jikelly
jikelly New Reader
6/23/08 4:02 p.m.

Anyone have one of those newer car stereos with the USB/Flash drive ports?? I saw one when we were at this huge electronic store in Dallas. Fries I think it was. My old tape deck is on its way down and I'm just thinking about what I might want to replace it with when it finally drops off.

This article is old, but it talks about the tech. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/2006-01-04-ces-stereo-thumb-drives_x.htm

Salanis
Salanis Dork
6/23/08 4:07 p.m.

Yup. I have one in the BMW and love it.

The idea is simple. Your CD player can recognize a number of different formats (such as MP3). 1's and 0's are 1's and 0's. So what does it matter if your deck reads them from a CD or a flash drive?

I have a Kenwood Excelon CD deck, I forget the specific model number (KD7 X790, I think). Bought it through Crutchfield.com. It is otherwise a nice CD deck with the capability to read MP3. I went with this specific model because it was the only one in the line with a USB port. The port comes out the back of the deck, and I routed the cable to come out of the slot the OBDII port hides behind.

I have it hooked up to a 2gig flash drive. I can swap music on and off. The software that came with the deck also allows me to organize the music into playlists, artist, album, genre, etc. So I can put my favorite songs on, and shift what's playing based on my mood. When I get a new CD I want to listen to, I slap that in the bay. Also, the software has a voice function, so it will read off the name of the band (or whatever category I've chosen) as I flip through them.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy HalfDork
6/23/08 5:43 p.m.

I have a Clarion unit that reads flash drives (remotely hidden away in the glove box) as well as MP3 format CDs, and comes with a regular aux in and changer controls. It's a great litle unit, and was under $175 new last month from Crutchfield.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
6/23/08 5:49 p.m.

I have a stock AM/FM stereo in the Saturn ;)

Nitroracer
Nitroracer Dork
6/23/08 6:20 p.m.

I am using a newer blaupunkt head unit with a rear usb port for my music now too. I paired it up with a 5gb flash drive and swap out all the music every couple weeks so I always have something new to listen to. Not the easiest to navigate songs but I usually leave it on random anyway.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w New Reader
6/23/08 7:48 p.m.

I bought one at walmart for $75 that has USB, SD card reader, and aux in.

It does what is was designed to do. Just put it on random and go.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
6/23/08 7:53 p.m.

I go the cheap walmart one as well.... Its super cheap in all aspects. The buttons have little sharp edges on them.. ACK...

but it was cheap and works. I've found it dosen't like some brands of usb drives, namely ones I get for free, but name brand ones work fine. Also navigating directories is stupidly hard.

it's cheap and walmart.. you get what you pay for. I wouldn't go back though.

ditchdigger
ditchdigger Reader
6/23/08 8:28 p.m.

I have a clarion FB275T. No CD player, No AM radio just FM, Bluetooth and a SD card slot. I love it. I already use SD cards for MP3 and Cameras so I chose it over the USB units.

Once you step away from CD's you never want to go back. The convenience of 2GB memory cards means that you can go for weeks without hearing the same song twice. No added clutter of CD's and Jewel cases in the car. Track info is clearly displayed on the screen. And the Bluetooth audio streaming and more importantly the handsfree phone feature is awesome.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin Dork
6/23/08 8:55 p.m.

What I want to know is:

If you have a USB port in your head unit... will it power an external laptop HD for those long trips?

Nomad
Nomad New Reader
6/23/08 8:59 p.m.

yes, I have a clarion USB I think it's great. I have a 4GB flash drive and can change the music on it whenever i want. It shows track, name, file etc. Great sound too, for an average ear like mine.

billy3esq
billy3esq Dork
6/23/08 9:55 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: What I want to know is: If you have a USB port in your head unit... will it power an external laptop HD for those long trips?

Probably not. I suspect a HD needs more juice than whatever the max is for a bus powered USB device (500mA @ 5V, I think). That's why external hard drives have power and USB connections. There might be some ultra low powered HD that it could theoretically power, though.

Besides, a 4GB flash drive will hold something like 3.5 days worth of music.

patgizz
patgizz Dork
6/23/08 10:29 p.m.

i have a phase linear deal from target that was $100ish.

very decent stereo and the usb port can take my jump drives or plug in my cel phone or mp3 player.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w New Reader
6/23/08 10:46 p.m.

I have a few 2.5" hdd enclosures that run on a single usb power connection.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin Dork
6/24/08 6:24 a.m.
billy3esq wrote:
ProDarwin wrote: What I want to know is: If you have a USB port in your head unit... will it power an external laptop HD for those long trips?
Probably not. I suspect a HD needs more juice than whatever the max is for a bus powered USB device (500mA @ 5V, I think). That's why external hard drives have power and USB connections. There might be some ultra low powered HD that it could theoretically power, though. Besides, a 4GB flash drive will hold something like 3.5 days worth of music.
m4ff3w wrote: I have a few 2.5" hdd enclosures that run on a single usb power connection.

That why I said laptop hd. Most laptop HD enclosures do not require any auxiliary power sources. So my question is does the head unit provide enough power.

Yes, I know 4gigs lasts a long time, but sometimes on long trips its nice to have the selection even when you know you wont listen to all of it.

boofighter
boofighter HalfDork
6/24/08 9:58 a.m.

go to a big box store that has a very liberal return policy and try it out.

skruffy
skruffy Dork
6/24/08 10:18 a.m.

FireLite makes some usb powered external hard drives. I have the 80GB model and it's awesome. I have no idea if a car stereo would have the guts or the proper drivers to run it, though.

jikelly
jikelly New Reader
6/24/08 11:08 a.m.
ditchdigger wrote: I have a clarion FB275T. No CD player, No AM radio just FM, Bluetooth and a SD card slot. I love it. I already use SD cards for MP3 and Cameras so I chose it over the USB units. Once you step away from CD's you never want to go back. The convenience of 2GB memory cards means that you can go for weeks without hearing the same song twice. No added clutter of CD's and Jewel cases in the car. Track info is clearly displayed on the screen. And the Bluetooth audio streaming and more importantly the handsfree phone feature is awesome.

Does the bluetooth allow you to connect to your cell phone?

SupraWes
SupraWes HalfDork
6/24/08 4:35 p.m.

Ive got a JVC with a USB port, it will also read MP3's off of DVD's, so 8.5 gigs there! My only complaint with the USB port is that when you turn the car off and then restart it the player starts over with the first track, I use it mainly to listen to talk radio recordings that are 2 hours long so I need something that can resume from the exact place I left off. MY stereo resumes just fine when reading from CD/DVD but not from the USB drive for some reason.

patgizz
patgizz Dork
6/24/08 5:20 p.m.

mine resumes from where i left off with the USB drive plugged in.

ditchdigger
ditchdigger Reader
6/24/08 6:17 p.m.
jikelly wrote: Does the bluetooth allow you to connect to your cell phone?

Yep. It will stream music from the phone or work as a handsfree unit.

Black Stig
Black Stig New Reader
6/24/08 6:31 p.m.
ProDarwin wrote: What I want to know is: If you have a USB port in your head unit... will it power an external laptop HD for those long trips?

Yes, I used my old 40 Gigger for driving to TN when we had the drifting event out there . . .it was awesome, just plug it in, tuck the drive away somewhere it won't jostle too much and drive as 40,000 minutes worth of music bump into your ears ^_^

-Stig

:::::EDIT:::::

It will also charge phones, PSPs and it'll even work one of those USB laptop lights, the only downfall is that you have to be in USB mode for any of that to work, it's great, however, if your Miata's cigarette lighter doesn't work and you're almost out of battery, LOL!

chknhwk
chknhwk New Reader
7/8/08 2:38 p.m.

My next stereo purchase (besides replacing the 4" door speakers in my Accent) will be a USB headunit. I think I'll have to find one that at least has AM or FM, I can't imagine not being able to listen to highway advisories on long trips.

I just saw this on http://www.passwird.com
Toshiba 160GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive $59.99 shipped at Office Depot Office Depot has the Toshiba 160GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive at $59.99 with free shipping. Features: USB-powered -- no external power supply required. OFFICE DEPOT

Sounds like that would be the ticket. Get it while it's hot.

neon4891
neon4891 HalfDork
7/8/08 3:32 p.m.

I would sooner opt for a head unit with a headphone type Aux input and just plug in your MP3. No need to load up a seperate device and it will most likey have easier controls.

Nomad
Nomad New Reader
7/9/08 8:55 a.m.

Mine only resets if i take the usb out and put it back in after starting the car. I like to take it out when i park to discourage thieves.

If i spent money on a fancy ipod then I'd probably use the aux input but I've avoided those due to the annoyance I have with the proprietary files and so far it's been fine. USB for the car and a cheap mp3 player for the gym. I'm set.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
7/9/08 9:10 a.m.

I use my iPod in the car occasionally (satellite radio is usually OK by me). I use a very old-fashioned cassette-tape adapter! But it gives me access to 80gigs worth of music so it is great on long trips. I need a new radio for the MR2 and I will definetaly go with an Aux port as well as USB if I can.

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