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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a Mazda 3S GT, and started scratching the surface of the infotainment system. There seems to be a maximum memory capacity for USB sticks that the system will accept, but I had no luck so far finding what that spec is anywhere in my owner's manual. Anyone know what the limit is, and how I should best organize songs on a USB stick to be compatible with this infotainment system? e.g., dump all songs in root directory, or create artist/album folders?

Anyway, I have a couple of 32Gbyte memory sticks that contain my entire MP3 collection. I've used these sticks on an aftermarket JVC stereo that is in my RX7, and they play the MP3's just fine in there, so I know the sticks are good. On that JVC system, the best way to organize my files is to just dump every MP3 song file into the root directory - then the JVC unit organizes them by artist/album based on the ID3 tags. Ideally it would be nice to be able to do the same thing with the infotainment system in the 3S - plug a couple of sticks in the USB ports and have my entire music library at my fingertips.

I tried using the same two 32Gbyte sticks in my 3S, and when you do the "select audio source", the USB1 & USB2 ports show as grayed out, as if the sticks were not even plugged in.

Next thing I tried was a 16Gbyte stick in one of the ports. This stick happened to have the songs stored in folders though - artist at top level, then albums. This time around the USB was recognized, and it started to play the first artist/album folder, in alphabetical order. But then when I tried navigating thru the directories to select something different to listen to, the system crashed & rebooted. FWIW, I wasn't driving the car at the time, just messing around with it in the driveway on ACC power if that matters. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Pete
 

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I've only used an 8 Gb stick with songs using ID3 tags and it worked fine.

Of course, I've used 32Gb, 64Gb iPhones & 160Gb iPod without any issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quick update - Haven't found out if there's an upper capacity limit on USB sticks the system will read, but I searched the forum here and found another thread that had a solution that worked on my 32 Gbyte stick. The gist of it was to re-format the USB stick as a FAT32 format, reload your music to it and it will read just fine. So far I've only filled the drive about half way, but it's working well. Will fill it to capacity and see if there are any issues. FWIW, I have my files organized in folders in the root dir - artist folder, then albums under each. Navigating thru seems relatively quick.
 

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I've recently purchased a 64 gb USB 3.0 for my music.
[ame]http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra-Series-Flash-SDCZ43-064G-G46/dp/B00LLEODCK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414417490&sr=8-1&keywords=ultra+fit+64+gb[/ame]

I had to reformat it to FAT32. The minor issue is that I had to use 3rd party formatting software to do it. Apparently by default Windows 7/8.1 will not let you choose the FAT32 format when reformatting anything over 32 GB.

Once I reformatted it everything worked great. There is no noticeable lag when indexing songs. Folder and file structure does not matter. The infotainment system has it's own structure that sorts the music by Artist, Song Name, Album, etc


exFAT is not the same as FAT32.
 

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i'm running a 1.0TB external HD.
whatever you use it just needs to be FAT32 or the system will not read it. Also, the system seems to have issues with anything but a simple file structure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've recently purchased a 64 gb USB 3.0 for my music.
Amazon.com: SanDisk 64GB CZ43 Ultra Fit Series USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ43-064G-G46): Computers & Accessories

I had to reformat it to FAT32. The minor issue is that I had to use 3rd party formatting software to do it. Apparently by default Windows 7/8.1 will not let you choose the FAT32 format when reformatting anything over 32 GB.

Once I reformatted it everything worked great. There is no noticeable lag when indexing songs. Folder and file structure does not matter. The infotainment system has it's own structure that sorts the music by Artist, Song Name, Album, etc


exFAT is not the same as FAT32.
I've done the exact same thing, but while my 64Gbyte stick is recognized by the system, the infotainment system never quite manages to index all the songs - it just keeps rebooting itself. That 64Gbyte stick has about 5000 MP3s filled to approx. 40Gbytes. Same stick works fine in the aftermarket unit in my RX7, and in my girl friend's Honda. I did a little experiment and removed about 1/2 the files on my stick, it now loads up fine, albeit a bit slow. My infotainment SW & Gracenotes DB was just updated at the dealer too to the latest versions

Curious on how many MP3 files & Gbytes you managed to load successfully on your 64Gbyte USB stick?

i'm running a 1.0TB external HD.
whatever you use it just needs to be FAT32 or the system will not read it. Also, the system seems to have issues with anything but a simple file structure.
Same question for you - how many MP3s & how many Gbytes are used up on that 1.0TB drive you're running, and does it load/index properly on the infotainment system?
 

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I've done the exact same thing, but while my 64Gbyte stick is recognized by the system, the infotainment system never quite manages to index all the songs - it just keeps rebooting itself. That 64Gbyte stick has about 5000 MP3s filled to approx. 40Gbytes. Same stick works fine in the aftermarket unit in my RX7, and in my girl friend's Honda. I did a little experiment and removed about 1/2 the files on my stick, it now loads up fine, albeit a bit slow. My infotainment SW & Gracenotes DB was just updated at the dealer too to the latest versions

Curious on how many MP3 files & Gbytes you managed to load successfully on your 64Gbyte USB stick?



Same question for you - how many MP3s & how many Gbytes are used up on that 1.0TB drive you're running, and does it load/index properly on the infotainment system?


I have just around 2,000 songs on my USB 3.0 Ultra Fit (Amazon.com: SanDisk 64GB CZ43 Ultra Fit Series USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ43-064G-G46): Computers & Accessories)

I was hoping to add more music and not expect any issues. I'll definitely try to load more songs and see the consequences of it on the infotainment system. Maybe once I hit at least 4K songs on it it may start to slow down or problems arise.

As a side note:
A great tool for automatically updating ID3 tags on music files is MusicBrainz Picard. I used it on all my uncategorized music and it works wonders!
https://picard.musicbrainz.org/

Definitely recommend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did some more experimenting with playing MP3s thru the USB port, below are my results. My goal here is to be able to carry my entire MP3 collection (which fits easily on a single 64G stick) and be able to play them in the car.

Infotainment system is running V.33.00.500, just updated by the dealer. Gracenotes V.00.04.00

In each case below, the USB stick was formatted FAT32 using a low level format program (didn't use Windows quick format option). Test procedure was to: (1) Start & run the car, (2) Let system boot up and wait for the safety nag screen to time out, (3) Select either FM or CD (play anything other than USB or BT audio), (4) Plug a single USB stick in USB port #1 (nothing else plugged into USB port #2), then (5) WAIT AT LEAST 10 MINUTES before selecting the USB from audio sources. Intent there is to give Gracenotes a chance to index the songs in the background before trying to play anything. The following USB combinations DID NOT work:

- 64GB stick, filled to 38.9GB, total of 4881 MP3 files and 159 folders under root DIR (Artist folders only, no further subfolders).

- 32GB stick, filled to 18.4GB, total of 2237 MP3 files and 87 folders under root DIR (Artist folders only, no further subfolders).

In each case, the failure mode was the same. A few seconds after installing the USB stick, a message pops up at the top of the screen saying that the USB stick is recognized/installed; then about a few minutes later (but before my 10 minute waiting period is up) the infotainment system reboots itself. If you go beyond 10 minutes, this reboot cycle will repeat every few minutes. Whatever FM or CD audio I was listening to continues to play during the reboot. Switching audio source to USB after it comes out of a reboot (past nag screen) will play the 1st song in the first folder, but none of the artist/album info is indexed yet - you can try navigating thru folders, but the screen says "loading" with the circle swirly graphic, then eventually hangs & reboot again. When it comes out of reboot, the FM or CD audio I was listening to before comes back up.

This next test combo DID work:

- 16GB stick, filled to 13.36GB, total of 1633 MP3 files with a total of 171 folders. 38 folders were under root DIR (Artist folders), and 133 sub-folders (Albums). FWIW, this had letters L thru Z in my music collection.

Using the same procedure as above, when I switched audio source to USB, I was able to navigate to any song on the USB using the Artist/Album index that Gracenotes provides. Was a tad slow to scroll thru, but not too bad.

My next test was to see if I could add a 2nd USB stick to USB port #2 that is similar in size/file structure to the one that worked. That was another 16GB stick, filled to 12.7GB, with 1666 MP3 files in 70 root folders (artist) and 128 sub-folders (albums). Result was another failure, same as before. The system recognized the additional USB stick, but failed to build/append the Gracenotes index. Same reboot behavior as before.

Any ideas on what to do next? Dealer is clueless.
 

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Any ideas on what to do next? Dealer is clueless.
Basically it's a bug in their code. Dealer won't be able to do anything - the software developers will need to fix it. Chances are they only tested it with small test data sets, and are using algorithms that don't scale well with larger data sets.

So in short not much you can do until JCI or whoever it is fixes it.
 

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I've done the exact same thing, but while my 64Gbyte stick is recognized by the system, the infotainment system never quite manages to index all the songs - it just keeps rebooting itself. That 64Gbyte stick has about 5000 MP3s filled to approx. 40Gbytes. Same stick works fine in the aftermarket unit in my RX7, and in my girl friend's Honda. I did a little experiment and removed about 1/2 the files on my stick, it now loads up fine, albeit a bit slow. My infotainment SW & Gracenotes DB was just updated at the dealer too to the latest versions

Curious on how many MP3 files & Gbytes you managed to load successfully on your 64Gbyte USB stick?



Same question for you - how many MP3s & how many Gbytes are used up on that 1.0TB drive you're running, and does it load/index properly on the infotainment system?
probably 80-100gb of music. it freezes every so often, but that could be because my folder structure is laughable and i haven't got around to fixing it. It also has issues with showing the genre's and artist associated.
 

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Hey pete_89t2,

I've the same SW version on my system as you and I'm using a 64 GB USB stick (Amazon) with about 6.000 MP3 files / about 28 GB. It works without any problems like you have. The only problem that I have sometimes is, that the system didn't continue the music where it stopped when i start the engine. Then it begins with the first file in the folder.

What I found out is that the system is very sensitive for faulty MP3 files or leading spaces in tags. Also MP3 files with VBR make often problems.
In the beginning I had also some reboots of the system. Then I repaired all my MP3 files (with MP3Diag), delete leading spaces in all Tags (with MP3Tag), re-encoded all files from VBR to CBR, and changed big covers in the MP3 files to smaller ones ("someone" added HD pictures as a cover to the files). Now the reboots are gone.

So I would suggest that you check your MP3 files for any errors. A 64GB USB should definitely work.

Jas
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey pete_89t2,

I've the same SW version on my system as you and I'm using a 64 GB USB stick (Amazon) with about 6.000 MP3 files / about 28 GB. It works without any problems like you have. The only problem that I have sometimes is, that the system didn't continue the music where it stopped when i start the engine. Then it begins with the first file in the folder.

What I found out is that the system is very sensitive for faulty MP3 files or leading spaces in tags. Also MP3 files with VBR make often problems.
In the beginning I had also some reboots of the system. Then I repaired all my MP3 files (with MP3Diag), delete leading spaces in all Tags (with MP3Tag), re-encoded all files from VBR to CBR, and changed big covers in the MP3 files to smaller ones ("someone" added HD pictures as a cover to the files). Now the reboots are gone.

So I would suggest that you check your MP3 files for any errors. A 64GB USB should definitely work.

Jas
Hey Jas, thanks for the tip! I think you're definitely on to something here that I'll have to try.

I've done a bit more testing with it, this time iteratively adding about 5 artist folders at a time to an empty FAT32 formatted USB stick, and then checking to see how the infotainment system handles them. If it works fine, I'd go ahead and add the next batch of artist folders. Kept doing that until it failed; what I found was that for some unknown reason, certain folders full of MP3s would cause the reboot/fail to load issue to come back. Appears to have nothing to do with GB capacity, # of folders or # of files, as I now have about 30GB worth of files on it that it will load up fine.

Now I just have to ID all the "problem files" in my collection and fix the MP3 tags as you suggested. I'm not sure at this point if converting all of them to CBR is necessary, as I have a fair # of VBR files in my collection that seem to work fine on the infotainment system as-is.
 

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The only problem that I have sometimes is, that the system didn't continue the music where it stopped when i start the engine. Then it begins with the first file in the folder.
I came here looking for a solution for this. I have a similar (or perhaps the same) problem.

2015 Mazda 3, V33. 64GB USB stick, formatted FAT32 on a Mac. Disk is about 70% full. After loading the music on it, I then loaded it onto a PC to strip out all the random .DS_Store and other weird dot files that MacOS littered everywhere.

I can access everything OK, and about 80% of the time, when I get back in the car music playback picks up where it left off. But the other 20% it reverts to the first song in the first directory. It's gotten to be an annoyance and was hoping there was a known cause for this.

I may go back to a smaller setup on an 8GB stick and see if it happens with that also.

I have not tried cleaning up the ID tags. I am sure some of these tracks are VBR, I really hope that isn't the cause.
 

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@pete_89t2: I had only a few reboots in the beginning and after re-encoding the files from VBR to CBR, the reboots where gone. So I guess it was VBR, but it could be also another problem that was solved with the re-encoding of the files.
Correcting the MP3 tags is definitely at alll a good idea :)

@obdave: That is exactly the same problem as I have (and a lot of other users).
The re-encoding from VBR to CBR did not solved this problem for me. I tried also the following things:
- changed Kingstone 64GB stick to a Verbatim 16GB stick
- corrected all MP3 tags (removed unnecessary spaces)
- removed all images from MP3 files (could be a problem when the size of the image is to large)
- copied all files to the root folder of the stick to exclude a problem with the folder structure

But the problem is still present. :sad:
Today I realized that I've different charsets in my MP3 files. Some files have UTF-16 and some have ISO-8859-1. Both are valid charsets for MP3 files, but maybe the JCI system has a problem with one of it.
I'm changing the charset of my files to ISO-8859-1 at the moment. I will report if it helps or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think I finally got my USB to working the way I want it to! :thumbup 1:

As of now, I have about 50+ Gbytes worth of MP3s (and a some M4A's) and about 8000 songs on that same 64G stick, they loaded up fine and were indexed properly by Gracenotes without the endless reboots I had before. So far, the behavior is that when you switch from USB to another audio source or shut off the car, the next time you go back to USB it plays the last song that was on right where I last left it.

Quick summary of how I did it:

1. Formatted USB stick as a FAT32 drive.

2. Put all the music files I wanted on that USB stick. Organized as "artist" folders under root, and then "album" folders under each artist folder.

3. Searched the USB stick for any unnecessary files that I might have pulled over along with the MP3s (e.g., album booklets, image files & related crap) and any hidden files that Windows might have added to the folders (e.g., "thumbs", desktop.ini, *.jpg, etc.) and deleted them all.

4. Used the "MP3Diags" program (freeware) that JasMan suggested to inspect & correct my MP3s for incorrect formatting of tag info, VBR headers, and any similar issues and correct them all. Since I'm not a MP3 geek, I just took the nuclear approach and trusted the program to do the right thing... Since my music collection was fully backed up, I used the most aggressive pre-configured "transformation list #4" that the MP3Diags program provides, and let it do it's thing on the entire collection. The scan of the music collection took about 2-1/2 hours, and the repairs to each MP3 took about 4 more hours total. Note that I didn't have to convert any VBR files to CBR files, but I had a bunch of VBR files with buggered up Xing headers that MP3Diag fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks very much for the update! Eagerly standing by to hear if this does the trick.
So far I haven't seen the USB reset behavior yet, whenever I switch back to USB from another audio source or start the car up after last leaving it on USB, it comes back to the last song being played. Delay is kind of lengthy though. Yesterday on the way to & from work, I kept intentionally switching between USB and other audio sources (FM & CD mostly) to see if it would eventually crash the USB. Got in maybe 20 transitions between sources without a hiccup.

There is one other odd behavior I noted when playing MP3s that are part of a multi-CD set. Seems that Gracenotes interprets the track order info contained within the tags incorrectly...

Instead of playing tracks 1 thru "N" of disk 1, then playing tracks 1 thru "N" of disk 2 and so on, it plays track 1 of disk 1, then track 1 of disk 2, track 1 of disk "N", track 2/disk 1, track 2/disk "N"... and so on. Very annoying. I checked the offending files, and it appears that all have the correct track # and disk # information contained within. I might try to edit those files tags so they "look" like they come from a single disk (i.e., re-number the tracks 1 to "n", and set the disk #'s to 1 of 1)
 

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Instead of playing tracks 1 thru "N" of disk 1, then playing tracks 1 thru "N" of disk 2 and so on, it plays track 1 of disk 1, then track 1 of disk 2, track 1 of disk "N", track 2/disk 1, track 2/disk "N"... and so on. Very annoying.

Every player out there other than an Apple iOS device, does this with multi-disc albums when it comes to playing back iTunes encoded AAC files (which btw the Mazda Connect System digests like a charm).
 
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