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Pioneer USB receivers, need help...

Car Audio, Video, & GPS

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Pioneer USB receivers, need help...

  • I'm planning on replacing my tired Pioneer DEH-P4700MP with the Pioneer DEH-P6000UB head unit, as soon as Crutchfield gets them in stock. I'm pretty familiar with Pioneer head units, but when it comes to their new USB inputs, I have no idea. If anyone who owns/used a Pioneer USB receiver (DEH-P6900UB, P4000UB, P5000UB, etc.) and can answer some of these questions, I'd really appreciate it.

    Would the Pioneer be able to run a Seagate 80GB portable hard drive without using an external power supply? Second, would a hard drive even survive living in a truck's glovebox? I don't do any extreme offroading, but this truck sees a lot more rough terrain than the average car does. It seems that a flash drive would be my best option, but it sucks to think that I could have an 80GB hard drive for the same price as an 8GB flash drive.

    Third, does the Pioneer play files on the USB drive exactly as it would if they were on CD? Do the files play in alphabetical order or in the order they were written to the drive (like Sony's units)? Can you still seek through a song on the USB drive? I see that Dual's units cannot.

    Fourth, Does the Pioneer have to re-index the USB drive every time the head unit is turned on or only when you unplug the drive?

     Thanks for your help!
     



    [edited by: thunderstruck at 2:11 PM (GMT -5) on Wed, Jan 09 2008]

    1995 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado

    Kenwood eXcelon | Diamond Audio | Kicker | RAAMaudio

  • I'm pretty sure Daniel has a USB Pioneer, but I don't know that he's tested what you are asking on it. I'll post my opinions, but they are based on what I have read from Kenwood (other people) and Sony (personal use)

    thunderstruck:
    Would the Pioneer be able to run a Seagate 80GB portable hard drive without using an external power supply?

    I think the problem here is index time.  Daniel posted that his unit is about the same as mine or about 6-7 seconds per GB.  That's 8 minutes before you can listen to music.  There may be limitations on file length and number of folders as well.  You could always power the drive externally, but I don't know what this would entail. 

    Second, would a hard drive even survive living in a truck's glovebox? I don't do any extreme offroading, but this truck sees a lot more rough terrain than the average car does. It seems that a flash drive would be my best option, but it sucks to think that I could have an 80GB hard drive for the same price as an 8GB flash drive.

    It wouldn't be good for it.  The advantage to a flash drive is there are no moving parts.  I've had HD's fail.  I've had USB flash drives lose all data, but I've never had one that I couldn't re-format and keep using. 

    Third, does the Pioneer play files on the USB drive exactly as it would if they were on CD? Do the files play in alphabetical order or in the order they were written to the drive (like Sony's units)?

    Kenwood's do this also, not sure about Pioneer.  On a flash drive, there are ways to write the files in alphabetical order, and this should work on a portable HD as well, except you are less likely to have a spare 80Gb of temp storage on your main HD to make it work. 

    Can you still seek through a song on the USB drive? I see that Dual's units cannot.

    Not sure what you mean here? 

    Fourth, Does the Pioneer have to re-index the USB drive every time the head unit is turned on or only when you unplug the drive?

    Sony and Pioneer are everytime you turn the HU on and off.

    If nobody answers for sure, you can answer the sorting, seeking, and re-indexing questions by burning a few MP3 songs to a small flash drive and testing on a display Pioneer at CC or Best Buy.  (You could answer all of them with an 80Gb external HD, but you probably don't have one now or any way to borrow one.) 

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • TigerHeli:
    thunderstruck:
    Would the Pioneer be able to run a Seagate 80GB portable hard drive without using an external power supply?

    I think the problem here is index time.  Daniel posted that his unit is about the same as mine or about 6-7 seconds per GB.  That's 8 minutes before you can listen to music.  There may be limitations on file length and number of folders as well.  You could always power the drive externally, but I don't know what this would entail.

    Well, I'd only really be using about 5GB, which would take only 30+ seconds, but still enough to get annoying considering it will have to reindex every time I turn on the unit like you said. If you wondering why I'd get an hard drive for just 5GB, I would just get an 8GB flash drive, but I'm worried that eventually I'll fill that one up (I want all my music on one drive so I have everything on hand, otherwise I might as well just stick to CD-RWs), and 16GB flash drives are insanely overpriced.

    I definitely don't want to have to power it from an external source, I'd like to keep my interior uncluttered and free of wires.

    Can you still seek through a song on the USB drive? I see that Dual's units cannot.

    Not sure what you mean here?

    Like "rewind" and "fast-forward" through a song.

        Thanks for your help. 

    1995 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado

    Kenwood eXcelon | Diamond Audio | Kicker | RAAMaudio

  • thunderstruck:
    Well, I'd only really be using about 5GB, which would take only 30+ seconds, but still enough to get annoying considering it will have to reindex every time I turn on the unit like you said.

    True.  FWIW, I just picked up a 2GB flash drive.  Index time is approx 12 seconds, which is very liveable, but yes, anything approaching 30 seconds would get old very quickly. 

    If you wondering why I'd get an hard drive for just 5GB, I would just get an 8GB flash drive, but I'm worried that eventually I'll fill that one up (I want all my music on one drive so I have everything on hand, otherwise I might as well just stick to CD-RWs), and 16GB flash drives are insanely overpriced.

    My advice here - I paid $20 for my 2GB USB drive.  If you have a MicroCenter near you (I don't work for them) -  They have a generic 4GB flash drive for $20, 8GB drives for $30, and 16GB flash for $180.  The 8GB is a great buy, and by the time you fill it up, there will probably be 64GB drives for $180 and 16GB drives will be $30.  (If I'm wrong about this, just pick up two 8GB drives - it is much less inconvenient to carry two 8GB drives than 23 CD-RW's and you also avoid some of the index time problems as well (what I mean here is if you had four 4GB drives, you could have the same  storage capacity, 24 second access instead of 96 seconds, and only have to swap drives when you wanted a different batch of 80 albums).

    Keep your data on the HD in case the thumb drive loses it whatever you do, though!!! 

    I definitely don't want to have to power it from an external source, I'd like to keep my interior uncluttered and free of wires.

    You wouldn't need wires showing anyway - the Pioneer has a rear USB port, IIRC.  What I don't know is if the USB HD has an external power connector (easy to tap into) or only the USB line.  If it is only the USB line, I know the cable is power, data hi, data lo, and gnd - but I don't know if the power is 12V or 5V, and what order they are in.  Google could tell you that though.  Get a USB A-A M-F extension cable (so you don't obviously violate drive or HU warranties), connect a transformer (if required), splice into the cable, and BOOM!!! full alternator power to the HD and all the wiring and the HD itself could be hidden behind the dash (depending on your vehicle).

    Like "rewind" and "fast-forward" through a song.

    Wow, Dual's can't do that?  (I thought all USB HU's would be able to.)  Anyway, as stated find or borrow if you don't have one a small thumb drive.  Copy two folders onto it with two songs in each.  Have one folder named Z and one named A and one song named A and one named Z in each, create the Z folder on the drive first and then copy the Z song and the A song, then create the A folder and copy the Z song and then the A song.

    Find a display radio and you have your answers on seek and indexing and searching through songs.

    BTW - I suspect that it will order the songs in the order written rather than alphabetical, but now that I know you are only dealing with about 5GB there's an easy solution for you (assuming you have your files on a PC with at least 8GB free):

    • If you put all the folders that you want on the USB drive in a temporary folder and use the dreaded DOS XCOPY command, the files will be transferred alphabetically.  I.e. put all the folders that you want to put on the USB drive in C:\Temp.  Open a command prompt window at C:\Temp and type in “xcopy *.* /s e:\”, where E: is the letter of your USB drive and the /s parameter tell the command to include subdirectories.  The drawback to this is it is a bit slow and it requires you to have available free space on your HD equal to the size of your USB drive, not bad for a small flash drive, not good for a 1TB portable drive.
     Hope This Helps!!!!

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • Thanks for all your help, TigerHeli. I think I'll just play it safe and buy a flash drive.

    I still need to know whether the Pioneer plays in alphabetical order or not. If it plays in order of when the files are written, I won't be buying it. My cell phone does the same thing and I hate it. I appreciate your workaround, but I would have to do that every time I get a new song or CD.



    [edited by: thunderstruck at 3:17 PM (GMT -5) on Fri, Jan 11 2008]

    1995 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado

    Kenwood eXcelon | Diamond Audio | Kicker | RAAMaudio

  • thunderstruck:
    I still need to know whether the Pioneer plays in alphabetical order or not.

    Again - I suspect it plays in the order songs are written, but just get or borrow a small thumb drive and copy a "Z" file name first and an "A" file name second and try it on a demo unit. 

    If it plays in order of when the files are written, I won't be buying it. My cell phone does the same thing and I hate it. I appreciate your workaround, but I would have to do that every time I get a new song or CD.

    Personally, my biggest gripes with modern car audio:

    • USB drives should sort alphabetically - I believe CD drives do - How hard could this be to implement?
    • USB index data should be stored in RAM on the HU - RAM is cheap - you could have a limit and if the drive capacity exceeded that it would get buffered, but I think that part is done now anyway.
    • Presets and EQ settings should be stored in RAM incase you disconnected the battery you don't have to reset everything (my Focus factory radio did this, so it is very feasible.
    • More radios should have variable illumination - In the late 80's there were several radios with hundreds of color choices.  Now it's hard to find units with any color besides red or blue.

    On point - I think you are making too big a deal of the alphabetical thing.  Consider highly the following points:

    • You want to store your songs on the PC HD (and DVD backups, preferably).  That will always be alphabetical.  The flash drive is just temporary portable storage for the files (Flash drives can and do get corrupt - don't have it as your primary storage.)
    • If you do that - whenever you add a new CD to your home collection - bring the flash drive in, erase it, and XCOPY all the files back onto it - takes about 5-10 minutes, and you can do other things while it is happening.
    • Even if you didn't store the songs on the HD - the altenative is 1) MOVE the files from the flash drive to the HD, 2) Move the new files to the same directory, 3) XCOPY that back to the flash drive.  Takes about 5 minutes more than above.

    I agree, it's inconvenient, but it's a lot better than burning a new set of CD-RW's each time you add an album (if you want you entire collection alphabetical, like I do, and it sounds like you do).

    Hope This Helps!!!! 



    [edited by: TigerHeli at 6:02 AM (GMT -5) on Sat, Jan 12 2008]

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • TigerHeli:
    If you do that - whenever you add a new CD to your home collection - bring the flash drive in, erase it, and XCOPY all the files back onto it - takes about 5-10 minutes, and you can do other things while it is happening.

    That's just the thing, I wish it would only take 5-10 minutes to transfer 5GBs. I'm running an old machine with Windows 98SE, which I believe is only USB 1.1 compatible. That means at 1.5MB per second, it would take about 57 minutes.

    Not that it matters, I've been reading about the DEH-P6900UB, it seems that it plays in alphabetical order just like a CD.
     



    [edited by: thunderstruck at 7:11 PM (GMT -5) on Sun, Jan 13 2008]

    1995 Chevrolet C1500 Silverado

    Kenwood eXcelon | Diamond Audio | Kicker | RAAMaudio

  • thunderstruck:
    That's just the thing, I wish it would only take 5-10 minutes to transfer 5GBs. I'm running an old machine with Windows 98SE, which I believe is only USB 1.1 compatible. That means at 1.5MB per second, it would take about 57 minutes.

    Okay, that isn't that good then, but still - typically you aren't going to add a new album each day.  Even if you did, get it set up and run xcopy before you go to bed at night and then in the morning, it will be ready for you to use. 

    Not that it matters, I've been reading about the DEH-P6900UB, it seems that it plays in alphabetical order just like a CD.

    That's good then - actually, I don't think my Sony even plays CD's in alphabetical order - it's just that Nero burns them that way so it doesn't matter. 

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • TigerHeli:

    Personally, my biggest gripes with modern car audio:

    • USB drives should sort alphabetically - I believe CD drives do - How hard could this be to implement?

    There's a free tool available on the the web that allows you to do just that. Its much faster than doing xcopy (took 15secs on my USB 2.0 4GB drive), operates directly on the USB drive (no hard-disk space constraints) and is free! Its Anerty's DriveSort. Check it out here
    http://www.anerty.net/software/file/DriveSort.php

  • Great find - thanks!!!

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • Just got around to trying Drive Sort - great program, but I have a question - It can sort on Long or Short (8.3) file name.  Normally it doesn't matter, but does anyone know what car HU's read and which one should be used?

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • I have the Pioneer DEH-P4700MP and I use a Creative MP3 Player with a 30gb drive.  Creative lets you format 15 gb to fat32.   I have this close to full with music and music is playing by the time I drive a block.  You will need 2 usb plugs if the 80gb drive you have is a 2.5 drive.  I originally had  a 30gb 2.5 drive and I used a usb power plug in the lighter for the second plug.  My recommendation would be a MP3 player with a large hard drive that allows you to format to fat32.  This eliminates your concern about the hard drive surviving in the car and it gives you the added bonus of a MP3 portable player.
  • Just take a flash drive loaded with music into a "big box electronics store" which has a Pioneer on display and test it.  That's what I did when I was looking at the Sony's last June - and this is why I did not get the Sony GT610Ui (bright glowing blue lights) and why I avoided the Kenwoods (I didn't like the control knobs - just my personal preferance) - I went with the Sony GT410U through Crutchfield. 

    As far as fast-forwarding / rewinding through a track, are you sure Dual won't do it?  I can't imagine them not putting that into the system, but as stated above Sonys definately do it - or they did, new Sony HU's don't have the USB port anymore.  The Sony fastforward / rewind is about 7x or 10x, but it does move along.  It is kind of a pain skipping through 30 or 40 minutes of a podcast but it can be done.  The one thing that Sony's don't do which I wish they did would be to have the option of displaying the remaining time in a song as opposed to only the elapsed time.

    And the color options that TigerHeli mentioned is really nice, the GT410U has the option of red or green illumination - the green perfectly matches my interior.



    [edited by: Heat at 4:38 PM (GMT -5) on Thu, Mar 20 2008] [edited by: Heat at 4:37 PM (GMT -5) on Thu, Mar 20 2008]
  • Great tips regarding transfering and fixing folder structures to retain alphabetic listing on Pioneer HU's.  I just installed an FH-P8000BT and was totally confused by the folder listing on my 8GB flash drive.  I assumed it would be alphabetical but that is apparently too logical! 

    A few other discoveries during my research:

    In Vista xcopy has been deprecated in favor of robocopy.  xcopy works but isn't supported and lacks robocopy's features.  Read this wikipedia article.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy.  It took about 20 minutes to trasfer 7GB.  I haven't tested FileSort on Vista but that's my next step.

    I later found a robocopy GUI here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc160891.aspx.  I have not tested this utility yet but it looks promising.

    To open a command prompt in Vista try this: http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2006/09/18/windows-vista-secret-1-open-command-prompt-here.aspx.  Make sure that the folder is in the right pane of your Explorer window (parent folder in left pane).  For whatever reason, the extra menu items only work from the right pane.  

      

  • I don't use Vista, but if you're taking 20 minutes to transfer 7GB, driveSort is likely a much better option.

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs