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      01-13-2011, 11:25 PM   #1
dbs600
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USB Hard Drives

The Owner's Manual states: "Do not connect USB hard drives." Why is this the case? Has anyone connected one?

I ask because I'm starting to build my music collection, but it takes forever to store CD's! And, I'm thinking to put all CD's onto an external hard drive and connect...

Another question: Will artist / album / track name not be included if I import via USB hard drive (or flash / jump drive, for that matter)?
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      01-14-2011, 12:50 AM   #2
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Hard drives are not supported and not recommended for a few reasons but mainly because of power draw. Most USB powered hard disk drives require more than 500mA to spin-up and or operate. The USB specifications state that 500mA (@ 5V = 2.5W) is the maximum a device is allowed to draw in high power mode. It also depends on the maximum power the USB port in the car will actually supply.

Other things you should keep in mind is the heat buildup in the compartment that might lead to premature failure of the hard drive and if your hdd is in a case which it most likely would be, the temperature inside will be considerably higher than in the compartment! most drives will start to give you trouble above 50 degC which is easily reached in hot climates or on hot summer days in the compartment with the hdd powered!

Another issue is vibration and/or shock. Even though most of these drives are specifically designed for portable equipment, they still don't like shocks or vibrations and again this can lead to premature failure.

I use a 64GB USB stick, it uses less space and power, is faster in terms of access and smaller and easier for me to take along (not that I really do that but if I wanted to update my collection, it's easier than having to lug around a USB HDD).
I ripped all my CDs onto my home media server and stored them in lossless mp4 format (14000+ songs) which I then convert into 256kb mp4s for storage on the USB stick. The 64GB stick holds just over 7000 songs. You can also create playlists and store them on your memory device and the car will pick them up and play them for you!
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      01-14-2011, 12:54 AM   #3
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Interesting, does the BMW system support FLAC's . I currently have majority of the cd's as WAV. XDrive you made some good points about the heat.
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      01-14-2011, 01:04 AM   #4
dbs600
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Wow; thanks for the very detailed and technical reply xDrive! I should have been more clear, however. Instead of storing one CD at a time onto the car's hard drive, I planned to save all CD's onto an external hard drive, connect the external hard drive to the car, and hope that storing the contents of the external hard drive onto the car's hard drive would be quicker than doing it one CD at a time. I do not plan to keep the external hard drive connected to the car for any longer than necessary to store its contents onto the car's hard drive. Does this make any sense? Would it be quicker? Do I risk damaging / shorting anything? Thanks again!

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      01-14-2011, 03:04 PM   #5
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cracker123: Not sure what formats the system supports with the latest firmware out there as it's been almost 2 years since I tried all the different formats to see what the car would actually support and let me play back. I do remember that back when I tried all sorts of different settings, that the original firmware did not support playing lossless mp4 files but did support almost all other mp4 formats. I wasn't too surprised about this since the lossless mp4 format I was using was from the iTunes program and that is as far as I know a proprietary Apple mp4 format. Maybe the latest firmware releases support this format since the new (MY 2011 I believe) now allow you to play mp4 directly from an iPod/iPhone via the USB cable through your car stereo (meaning the car stereo is actually decoding/converting the mp4 file into analog signal vs the iPod/iPhone in previous systems where you still had to use the Y cable with the analog audio output).

WAV files are no problem as those are the same format as what a CD normally contains anyway.

dbs600: Ok, now I understand what you are trying. Not sure if that would make much of a difference. I assume you are using an external HDD that also requires an AC adapter for power?!?
You have to use the glove compartment USB interface to transfer your music onto the cars HDD not the center console USB interface!
I would just transfer the files onto a USB memory stick, plug it into the glove compartment USB socket and import your music that way...
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      01-14-2011, 05:55 PM   #6
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The HDD I would use is in an enclosure and would not require AC power. Otherwise, I would use a flash drive, but the largest one I have at the moment is 512MB, as I recently lost my 4GB one. Either way, at about 700MB per disc, I'd need something larger - like a HDD - to make the transfer of like at least 25 CD's. Does transferring items onto a HDD or flash drive not allow the car to automatically detect the artist, album, and track name or otherwise keep everything organized according to album? I don't know. I have to give it all a try later tonight / this weekend... Thanks.
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      01-14-2011, 10:08 PM   #7
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If you have the BMW assist system setup, I think it may work but I'm not sure. The car is capable of detecting album, song and artist information and get the necessary info from gracenotes automatically. I have never used this feature as I always convert my songs to mp3s and label them via iTunes. I'm not sure if the car is still capable of detecting and labeling each song if you rip the CDs onto a HDD first. That's something you would have to try. I assume that access to gracenotes would require either direct internet access from the car (as it is possible in Germany and some other countries but not in the US or in Canada at the moment) or it may actually work via the BMW assist network?!? Again, this is something you would have to try. Personally, I prefer to label the songs the way I want to see them listed and not what a program or other people labeled them as...
What program are you thinking of using to transfer your CDs onto the HDD?
Also, the HDD you intend on using may or may not work as per my previous post (#2 above) due to the power draw on the USB port. You can give it a try and see if it works... Just remember that if the drive does draw to much power, it may get shut down in the middle of a transfer. Not sure how the car would handle an interrupted file transfer... Keep us posted on your endeavor...
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      01-15-2011, 01:34 AM   #8
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Earlier tonight I saved one song to the main directory of a USB HDD and to a flash drive. I then attempted to connect the USB HDD to the car, which was not recognized, whether connected to the port in the glove compartment or to the one in the center console. Next, I connected the flash drive to the port in the glove compartment and was impressed with how quickly the car imported the song, but I was more surprised that it found other files on the drive that were deeply embedded in the drive folder structure in that short time, items I totally forgot about over the years. Anyway, it seem that the quickest way to import songs would be via a flash drive, but I'm still not sure how the car will organize same; I don't think it will vs. CD by CD rip method, which would be more organized. As far as software, I’d use either iTunes or Media Player. Hmm...

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      01-15-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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I've since decided to do one CD at a time. It's actually not too terrible (about 6 minutes per disc). When driving, the time goes by more quickly. I added 9 CD's to the car today. Should be able to knock everything out in one week.

Does anyone know if it's possible rename albums, tracks, etc., with upper and lower case letters, instead of with all upper case letters?
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      01-27-2011, 08:40 PM   #10
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I am having problems transferring my music from the flash drive to the built in hard drive. I go to the import via usb option and it starts and stops immediately. I am able to play music off the flash drive via the center console and I was able to export my profile settings to the drive. I am not sure what I'm doing wrong.
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      01-28-2011, 09:18 AM   #11
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hammadurb: what file format and encoding (if any) did you use for the music on the USB memory stick?

I assume that when you say that you were able to export your profile settings to the USB memory stick that this was done via the passenger side glove compartment USB interface?
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      01-28-2011, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xDrive50i View Post
hammadurb: what file format and encoding (if any) did you use for the music on the USB memory stick?

I assume that when you say that you were able to export your profile settings to the USB memory stick that this was done via the passenger side glove compartment USB interface?
I am using the usb port in the glove compartment. You can see that the BMWData folder is present.
All the files are mp3 format and the drive is formatted using FAT32. I am able to play the files via the center console but I am unable to copy to the hard drive for some reason.
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      01-28-2011, 08:24 PM   #13
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Hmm, I never copied any songs onto the HDD, I keep all my songs on a 64GB USB stick in the center console.

Maybe it has something to do with the way you labeled the songs?

Try renaming them simply to 1.mp3, 2.mp3, etc and see if takes them then ?!?
I remember when I originally experimented with different compression types and rates, it would show them but not play them, you could select them but nothing would happen. I guess maybe similar to what you are experiencing ?!?

What did you encode them to ? There are certain limits that the system has meaning once you go over the rate the system can handle, it will show the file name and let you select it (in my case it would actually show the title and artist and total play time on the screen but it simply refused to play back the song. Same for lossless compressed mp4 files (compressed via iTunes lossless codec)!
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      01-29-2011, 04:09 PM   #14
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Anyone know how approximately how many CD's can be stored on the car's hard drive?
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      01-29-2011, 09:33 PM   #15
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If memory serves me right, there is a total of 12GB available for you to store music on. I'm not sure if the system compresses the music from CDs you transfer or if it takes the files 'AS-IS' and stores them on the HDD. If it stores them in raw format, then it should let you store between 17 to 25 CDs (assuming 17 discs @ 700MB and 25 discs @ 480MB). Now if you take mp3's and transfer those, you should definitely get more stored on there...
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      01-29-2011, 11:21 PM   #16
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I was able to transfer some of my music using a very old 1gb flash drive. The drive was formatted to FAT32 and the filenames were the same as my screenshot listed on my earlier post. I was trying to transfer 17gb but if there is only 12gb allocated for music, maybe that's why the transfer was not going through. I am going to try 12gb and see if I can transfer that. Maybe it didn't read the 32gb drive and I might have to try a smaller drive like a 16gb or 8gb.
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      01-31-2011, 04:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xDrive50i View Post
If memory serves me right, there is a total of 12GB available. If it stores them in raw format, then it should let you store between 17 to 25 CDs (assuming 17 discs @ 700MB and 25 discs @ 480MB)
I've been storing CD's since I took delivery three weeks ago. I counted today, and I am up to 100, with no sign of the hard drive being full.
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      01-31-2011, 05:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copasetic222 View Post
I've been storing CD's since I took delivery three weeks ago. I counted today, and I am up to 100, with no sign of the hard drive being full.
I read somewhere that the drive is 80gb. The navigation data is stored on the the drive and the rest is for music. I wish there was a way to see the capacity.
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      01-31-2011, 05:35 PM   #19
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I do remember that it's explained somewhere. 80GB is the total capacity of the drive with most of it reserved for the navigation system, system software, miscellaneous storage (profiles, etc) and 12GB reserved for you to store music on.

Copasetic222: If you were able to store over 100 CDs on the drive already, I guess the car does apply compression (wasn't sure if it did or not). I doubt you have control over the compression settings though...
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      02-04-2011, 01:40 AM   #20
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Anyone back up their "Music Collection" yet? What format are the files saved in? Are they able to be played back on / saved to a computer? I wonder if you can organize the "Music Collection" on a computer and then recopy to the car...
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      02-04-2011, 02:27 PM   #21
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Why go through all that work instead of doing it on the computer in the first place and then transfer it to the car? Wouldn't that make more sense and be a lot easier not to mention that you can organize them the way you want them first?
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      02-05-2011, 01:43 AM   #22
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Yes, you make perfect sense, but when it comes to iTunes, iPods, etc., I'm not up to speed (never owned an iPod or MP3 player), and my laptop doesn't have an optical drive; albeit a nice piece of machinery: a Sony Vaio G1, not officially available for the US market, which I've had since '07 and which, since intro, has remained the lightest full size notebook standing, at 1.89 lbs due its use of full carbon fiber casing and SSD (thought you'd might appreciate this, since you seem to be gadget-wise).

This is what I'm referring to, but I'd appreciate any superior / further info / a known workable solution for converting:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=279294

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=337241

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