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1985 posts

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# 100048 2-Apr-2012 13:06
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I have a 2011 Holden Cruze which has a USB port in the centre console.  This port is used to either plug in an iPod/iPhone or a USB flash drive to play the music stored on these devices via the car stereo.  All song info is displayed on the car's info screen.

I'd like to have a device which holds my entire music collection on it, permanently plugged into my car's USB port.  The most obvious answer is a high capacity USB flash drive, but given the cost of these is currently over $1,000 for a 256GB drive, I was wondering if there were any alternatives.

I've tried plugging in a standard 2.5" external HDD, but the USB port will not power the drive (and I don't want to hook up any other messy power options.  The other option I thought might work is a SSD with an external case.  The question is though would this work?  Would an external SSD have the same power requirements of a USB flash drive?

Any help/thoughts would be appreciated.


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4854 posts

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  # 603782 2-Apr-2012 13:12
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I know you said you did not want to worry about power on an external drive, but have you tried one that is powered up (like, run an extension cord from your house to your car to a powered drive) just to see if your car can 'see' the external drive?

It's possible the car can spin the drive up, but just cannot read it (maybe only reads FAT32?).

I would have thought an SSD would work though.

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  # 603786 2-Apr-2012 13:15
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The drive does spin when I plug it in but it sounds to only spin for a short second then stop.  Then spin again and stop.  Repeat that cycle for as long as you like.

In short, the USB isn't sufficiently powering a HDD.

It kinda makes sense that an SSD would be fine, but it would be an expensive mistake to make if it doesn't! 


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  # 603797 2-Apr-2012 13:23
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Agreed with that. Would be pretty cool though.

An ugly solution would be one of theose USB cables two A plugs (one for power and one for data) and a USB cigarette lighter adaptor.

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  # 603798 2-Apr-2012 13:25
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trig42: An ugly solution would be one of theose USB cables two A plugs (one for power and one for data) and a USB cigarette lighter adaptor.

Hence why I stated I didn't want any messy externally powered options.  Plus it would just advertise to thieves that I have something juicy in the car... 

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  # 603803 2-Apr-2012 13:28
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Car headunits as mentioned, are pretty much restricted to FAT32, odds are any 2.5" drive will be in an incompatible format.

Not all headunits supply a decent level of current, there's not a lot you can do about this, if you plug a portable device (cellphone, ipod etc) into it, and it goes into "charging" mode, then it _probably_ supplies enough current to run an external drive, as long as a) You use a very short, low-loss cable, and b) the USB->SATA controller in the drive is efficient enough.

I've got a couple of drives, one of which works in my car as long as I use a short (approx 20cm) USB cable or a thick well shielded cable. If I use a cheap and/or long cable, it just sits there chirping at me.

The other drive won't run no way, no how, but works ok on my laptop.

I'd be tempted to get a smaller (32-64GB) flashdrive and just put the music that you might actually want to listen to while driving on there. >200GB is an obscene amount of music. 

I've got a USB cable spliced into the remote/accessory line on the car into a "regular" lighter-powered USB adaptor, all hidden behind the dash.

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  # 603810 2-Apr-2012 13:31
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Unless the user interface is really good (which the cheap indash system in a friends car I was borrowing was far from) then navigating a decent amount of content is a pain in the...... No search, just a forward and back by folder and no ability to navigate nested folders beyond forward and back.

Check you can find what you want before shelling out lots on a solution, otherwise a handfull of flashdrives might be an easier way - it sure is in the cheap shuttle I have in the car, which also wont random play any more than about 1000 tracks.


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  # 603812 2-Apr-2012 13:32
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Thanks for your reply stevenz.

I don't want an externally powered option as mentioned a couple of times already.  And I'm not really after feedback on the amount of music I wish to store either.

But thanks for your other suggestions and input, as they are helpful. 

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