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Thread: Guide to USB stick usage with the Micra stereo

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    Guide to USB stick usage with the Micra stereo

    NOTE: this post will be broken up into several posts for easier reading/editing.


    This is a guide to creating USB sticks for Micras featuring the top-end stereo system (SR or SV with convenience package). USB sticks are so inexpensive that you should be able to travel with your entire music collection on just a few tiny devices, each about the size of the tip of your finger! This guide is only for plain USB sticks and does not cover iPod/iPhone connections.

    SOME BASIC INFORMATION

    1) the USB stick must be FAT32 format. Pretty much all standard USB sticks you buy come in this format. If you have one that is not in FAT32 format, you can reformat it on a Windows PC by right-clicking on the drive in Explorer and selecting Format, and making sure you select FAT32. Be very careful: this will wipe all the files. **Make sure you don't accidentally select your hard drive!!!**

    2) The Micra stereo system reads files on the USB stick in the order they were written. This means that the folder list will not be in alphabetical order unless you write the folders to the USB in this order, and the same for files. Step 7 will show you a way to copy the files properly.

    3) The Micra shows about 25 characters for folder names (it is a proportional font so this will vary slightly). If you have longer names, you might want to try to shorten them as they will simply be cut off on the display.



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    SETTING UP FOLDERS AND FILES

    4) Nested folders will not be shown as nested, so it is best to just create all of your folders in the root directory of the USB stick. I recommend naming folders with a numerical prefix and artist name to help with sorting and visibility. For example:
    Folders in Windows Explorer:
    Name:  FolderStructure.jpg
Views: 792
Size:  12.7 KB
    Folders on the stereo screen:
    Name:  StereoAlbums.jpg
Views: 845
Size:  77.6 KB

    5) I highly recommend naming your song files with the track number as a prefix - many media players do this by default, or have settings to allow you to set it up.
    Files in Windows Explorer:
    Name:  FileStructure.jpg
Views: 784
Size:  24.4 KB
    Files on the stereo screen:
    Name:  StereoSongs.jpg
Views: 834
Size:  79.1 KB

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    COPYING FOLDERS/FILES

    6) The easiest way to get properly ordered folders and songs is to stage them on your computer hard drive: create all of the folders and files in a new folder (call it "Micra Music" for example). Optionally you can copy them directly from wherever they currently sit, but you might have trouble getting them onto the USB in the correct order.

    7) Once you have the folders/files setup on your PC, use an ordered copy program such as "CopyInOrder" from Compulsive Code (link below) to properly copy the folders and files, in alphabetical order, to the USB stick.
    **Using standard Windows copy will not guarantee that the files will be put on the USB stick in the proper order.**
    http://www.compulsivecode.com/project_copyinorder.aspx

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    FURTHER INFORMATION

    8) Based on my testing, the stereo only supports MP3 files, not AAC(m4a) or other audio files. You can expect to get about 200 files for every GB available on your USB stick (so 8GB = approximately 1600 files). Of course this depends on song length, bit rate, and other encoding factors. If you have audio files in formats other than MP3, you'll need to Google to find ways to convert your files to MP3.

    9) If you plan on leaving a USB stick in the slot, you can remove the cover. Warning: this could possibly damage the cover or the USB slot if not done carefully. I was able to get it off by slightly lifting the plastic surrounding the USB port and giving a tug on the USB cover. There was a residual piece of plastic on the tab (see pic) but I think it could be reattached by lifting up the USB port and reinserting the tab, if you knew what you were doing.
    Name:  USBCoverSmall.jpg
Views: 860
Size:  76.3 KB

    10) Buy a small USB stick that will be unobtrusive in the USB slot. I purchased the Kingston DataTraveller Micro but there are lots of other options. The Kingston is so small it is almost unnoticable.
    Name:  USBinSlotSmall.jpg
Views: 858
Size:  72.4 KB

    11) When you insert the USB stick, the stereo should read the USB stick and display the folders in the order they were copied to the USB, which should be alphabetical if you followed the previous steps properly. You can then use the normal stereo functions to play folders in order, play random songs, or repeat songs/folders.

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    FILE FORMATS

    I tested the Micra stereo with some common file types to determine what it supports. Below are the results:

    File types tested (file extension in brackets):
    192-bit MP3 file (.mp3) - plays successfully
    128-bit Variable bit rate MP3 file (.mp3) - plays successfully
    128-bit AAC file (.m4a) - fail (does not show in list)
    256-bit AAC file (.m4a) - fail (does not show in list)
    AIFF file (.aif) - fail (does not show in list)
    Apple Lossless file (.m4a)
    Image and video files (JPG, MP4, etc) - don't display in the list (ignored by the stereo)

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    STORING USB STICKS

    I used velcro to store the USB sticks in my glove box by attaching the caps of the USB drives to the door of the glove box. Then I can just pull out the individual USB stick whenever I want to play different music. I created a "greatest hits" USB stick with all of my favourite songs to play on random (sorted into folders by artist), and a couple of "albums" USB sticks which have full albums for the times I want to listen to the whole album in order.
    Name:  USBStorageSmall.jpg
Views: 850
Size:  60.2 KB
    Note: that is 40GB of storage shown: one 8GB stick and 2 16GB sticks. Can hold approximately 8000 songs!

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    Reserving one more post just in case of future information.

    Suggestions/questions/comments welcome!

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    I noticed that files on my USB stick are displayed/played in alphabetical order, even though I just copied the files with no special software or planning. I figure this is either because a) newer units are smarter about reading data, or b) I have a Mac and somehow the file copying is different. Regardless, by having a sequential number prefix to each song the album gets played in the correct order, for me.

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    Folder limits???

    Thanks for the info BrennerM.

    Has anyone else noticed that if you have more than 180 folders you only see the oldest 180 folders in the root of the USB stick? It was driving me nuts wondering where they were!

    I ended up cutting and pasting the files into folders until I achieved the magic 180!

    A bit of a pain though.

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    Thanks, the song order was driving me nuts! Now I know what to do!

    In addition to this, while there's no USB source button on the head unit, pressing the aux button twice will allow the driver to switch directly to the USB drive.



    In our culture obsessed with absurd excess, the Nissan Micra is my counterculture car of choice.
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