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Use Portable USB Hard Drive with Car Stereo USB Port?

Posted on 2007-03-28
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a car stereo which has a USB port and I can play MP3 files directly from a USB memory stick (4gb). I also have a spare 80gb portable USB hard drive which I use for backups. It's actually a Toshiba laptop drive with a third party case and USB cable. How can I use the 80gb with my car stereo like I do with the memory stick/key?
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Question by:rdperkins
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by:Caseybea
ID: 18811853
You should be able to do it, but you may have to format the portable drive as FAT16.   This is also assuming that the portable laptop drive enclosure is "usb powered".
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Davis McCarn earned 250 total points
ID: 18813018
Since Fat16 has a 2 gigabyte limit (except under NT), I'll bet your USB stick is already Fat32.  You can check it by right-clicking on it in My Computer and left-clicking Properties.  If that is true, follow the directions in this article ( http://www.allensmith.net/Storage/HDDlimit/FAT32.htm ) to create an 80GB Fat32 partition on the USB hard drive and you should be good to go.

BE WARNED! The process will wipe the contents of the 80G drive so back it up first!
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by:nobus
nobus earned 250 total points
ID: 18814278
i would make sure the external usb box is NOT powered from the usb, but from the car battery (or lighter) ; usb ports only support 0.5 A at 5V max. --> So you can burn out your usb port easily . . .
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by:rdperkins
ID: 18821964
The hard drive is formated as NTFS and the USB device FAT32. The NTFS drive is actually 120gb. Can I convert the 120GB NTFS to FAT32 without problems?
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by:nobus
ID: 18822121
I do not think so.  why would you try that ?  Loook here :
http://faq.arstechnica.com/link.php?i=1820
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 18822588
Windows 2000 and XP won't let you create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB.  The article I posted earlier was instructions on how to use Ranish Partition Manager to do it, after which, it will work fine.
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by:nobus
ID: 18822913
that is true, but fdisk will, up to 128 GB
www.bootdisk.com
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by:Barthax
ID: 18838696
The "correct" manner in which to "convert" an NTFS partition into FAT32 is, alas, backup+format (i.e., start again): there is no true conversion. :(
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by:rdperkins
ID: 18842266
I've formatted the drive as FAT32 and placed some sample MP3s on it. The car stereo recognizes that a USB device is plugged in, but doesn't display any files. I suspect it is not supplying enough power to the drive. Any ideas about an external source for the drive?
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by:nobus
ID: 18842386
see my previous post : use the car lighter
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 18842420
If the drive only has one USB connector, it may be tricky to get supplemental power to it.  The other possibility, too, is that the stereo may not recognize FAT32 above a certain size.
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by:rdperkins
ID: 18859746
The spare drive I have has a separate power input plug, one that attached to a second USB port on the computer. I could jury rig this to work. My great concern is the amperage and voltage. I believe the auto system is 12-14 volts, and don't know the amps. Couldn't this be a large problem, potentially burning out the hard drive?
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 18861014
Yes; but people already make USB car power adapters.  Here's one: http://www.amazon.com/Zip-Linq-12V-Auto-Adapter-ZIPPWR-DC/dp/B000167V50
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Author Comment

by:rdperkins
ID: 18881338
I am going to buy the power adapter to try this, but it may take me some time go get one as I'm living and working in Qatar and there isn't a Best Buy down the street. This post may need to stay open a few weeks, but I suspect more than one person would like to know the results.
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by:rdperkins
ID: 18899854
Closing this one out.  Bought the power adapter, formatted the drive as FAT32, separate power and USB cables attached to the car stereo, but it didn't work.
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