car stereo usb input not recognizing all files

maqskywalker used Ask the Experts™
Hi experts,

I have noticed on a couple cars that have a USB input for the car stereo it exhibited the following issue.

I have a SanDisk 128GB USB flash drive. Looking at the file system the flash drive is set to FAT32.

I have 454 albums in mp3 format stored on the flash drive.

So in the flash drive there are 454 folders. One for each album and each folder contains the mp3s of that album.

When I copied these 454 folders onto the flash drive i did it all at once so I selected all 454 folders and clicked copy and then pasted them onto the flash drive using windows explorer.

So that transferred them onto my flash drive.

So then when I plug the usb flash drive into in the USB input on my vehicles stereo.
My stereo reads and plays them fine but I noticed that it only recognizing 96 albums because when I go through the selection on the stereo's screen it only lists 96 albums.
This stereo is the stock stereo that came with the vehicle.

But in my previous car I purchased a JVC after market dvd stereo and that stereo did the same.
When I plugged the usb flash drive it didn't recognize all the albums on the flash drive either.

Am I missing something?
Anyone ever have this issue? Do USB inputs in car stereos have a certain limitation?
I have tried several different usb flash drives but they do the same.
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RaminTechnical Advisor

Check if those directories are Hidden.
Decrease the folder name length of those directories to short name just for test and Retest.
and just use normal characters  for naming those folders.


They are not hidden.

When I plug the usb into my computer its the E: drive.

So then the folder structure is setup like this.

The folder names are not that long.

E:\Aerosmith - Pump
E:\Bon Jovi - Greatest Hits
E:\Megadeth - Dystopia
E:\Nirvana - Nevermind

Inside the thriller folder at this location:
E:\Michael Jackson - Thriller

This is how the mp3 files inside this folder are are named:
I used this naming convention in all the other albums as well.
E:\Michael Jackson - Thriller\01 - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin
E:\Michael Jackson - Thriller\02 - Baby Be Mine
E:\Michael Jackson - Thriller\03 - The Girl Is Mine
E:\Michael Jackson - Thriller\04 - Thriller
RaminTechnical Advisor

Don't put space or - between them,  Just for test, try on one of them.

for example Aerosmith - Pump

change it to Aerosmith
and test and post the result here.
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The reason i have them in that format is because many artists have multiple albums

So on windows explorer they look like this:

E:\Aerosmith - Pump
E:\Aerosmith - Big Ones
E:\Aerosmith - Get a Grip

I will try to put all aerosmith albums in one folder called Aerosmith and see what happens.
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Check the bitrates of your MP3's - Car MP3 players are ridiculously inflexible about playback and if you have a selection of 192kbps, 320kbps and 128kbps may only display/play one of those bitrates.
Technical Advisor
just for test make a duplicate of one of those directory that can be played on your stereo and only change the last character.

suppose your Stereo can recognize this folder Aerosmith - Pump  
then copy it from flash drive to desktop, change the last character like this: Aerosmith - Pum
copy back this folder to flash drive.
check if system can recognize it.
if no, then there might be some limitation on number of folders on your stereo system.


Ramin. Thanks for your help. I kept the naming convention the same as I had it I didn't change it. I just went to make a list of the albums that weren't showing.
But when I was doing that I realized I wasn't reading the display on my car's stereo correctly.
So it was a human error.
The car stereo is recognizing my files.
The number where I was looking on the stereo screen which i though was 96 albums turns out was 96 groups of 5 albums each that display at a time on the screen.
My mistake.


RaminTechnical Advisor

I'm glad I could help, and Thanks.

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