problem connecting fuze to car radio's USB connector

I have an aftermarket Kenwood Exelon model KDC-X590 that is a few years old which I run in tandom with an external amp, subwoofers, the works…  And, since the Headunit has a USB cable out the back for use with storage devices containing MP3 or WMA files, and supports the usb 1 and 2 specs, I thought I was in luck. So this morning, I tried making the connection to my 8gb Fuze… The Fuze showed the ‘Connected’ graphic in the window, but the car’s Headunit showed that it didnt recognize the device.

Ive read elsewhere that the Headunit is expecting to see a usb device using the fat or perhaps, fat32 format.

Can anybody think of any reason why the Headunit is not recognizing the  Fuze, despite the fact that the Fuze seems to be seeing the Head Unit?  BTW, Ive set the Fuze up in the Autodetect mode… I would think that would handle any potential issue I might have expected had I connected to the car’s receiver in MTP mode.  So why is it not being recognized?  Anybody  have an idea or any experience with this type of problem?

Whats my alternative if I want to play my music library on my car?  Would a USB thumbdrive onto which Ive copied my mp3 files work?  Why would that work but not the Fuze…


Try using MSC mode instead of Auto or MTP mode.  It might be necessary to transfer a few files to the player in MSC mode in order for the files to be seen by the head unit.  Also, it might be necessary to put the files in the root directory of the player.  As your first experiment, put the Fuze in MSC mode and then drag and drop 3 tunes to its root directory.  The head unit should be able to find and play those 3 files easily enough.  From there you can experiment with putting files into subfolders.  Alternatively, if your head unit has an AUX -IN port, you could just connect to that with a male-to-male 3.5mm cable.

Edit:  Yes, a thumb drive would also work.  I would think the Fuze (in MSC mode) would appear as a thumb drive to the head unit.

Message Edited by TheMarkster on 06-23-2008 03:36 AM

Yea, you would think so.  No matter what mode I put the Fuze in, it appears as a dead device to the car Headunit.  Yet, no matter where I put the mp3 files in the directory of the thumb drive, root or otherwise, its easily seen and works great, and searches til it finds something  ‘playable’.

I received this from tech support at Kenwood who seems well aware of the issue:

"… As an authorized agent for Kenwood, we are responding to your recent email inquiry.

The USB on this headunit is meant for mass storage class devices. In most cases with MP3 players, the radio will read the software/operating system rather than the MP3 files themselves.  "

So, Ill just use a flash drive.  4gb flashdrives can be had for under 20 bucks,  so its no big deal.   

By saying in layman’s terms, “the radio will read the operating system rather than the MP3 files”, I think they’re speaking of MTP versus MSC.

MTP’s interface is made to look like the basic MSC operation, but there are some obvious differences.

I don’t know if the head unit will have trouble reading a higher capacity drive (FAT32) as the head may have been built to read an earlier type.  Remember that we’re not dealing with a supercomputer here.  Putting the data port on the BACK or on a pigtail speaks volumes…sounds like a quick add-on in production.

Bob  :wink:

I’ll try my Fuze on my Kenwood 590 tonight. I typically use USB flash drives with my 590. My Fuze is entirely MSC mode. I have used it with an iPod (which would be MSC mode) and a Creative Zen Vision:M (which only supports MTP mode). It didn’t recognize any directory or tag structure; it just saw them as a single list of several thousand songs - pretty useless. Line-out from the iPod or Zen worked great. Headphone-out from anything sounds awful, and unfortunately that’s all the Fuze supports.

You absolutely can use USB flash drives with the 590. That’s all I ever use. In that case, it does recognize a directory structure. I’m not sure why the Fuze wouldn’t be seen (particularly in MSC mode) as just a drive. I’ve even connected USB hard drives up to 120GB, but that was just for fun (it took a long time to start up). The 590 re-reads the USB directory every time it powers up, so you’ll want to get a fast USB drive. This could be a problem for the Fuze, even if it works - its internal flash seems to be pretty slow (compared to any micro-SD cards I’ve tried).

Bob: The USB port on the back is actually a very nice feature. Only the cheaper models have the USB on the front. Having it on the back allows one to place the USB interconnect anywhere - like many people, I ran it to an enclosed compartment to keep the car uncluttered & the attached devices secure.

BDB… My kingston flash drive works great with my Kenwood Excelon 590… I can store the music in any directory and its found, and, the device is instantly recognized… However, Ive tried the Fuze in MPT and MSC modes, and, to the 590 head unit, the device is not seen.  Its not that the music cant be found; its that the device isnt even recognized.  This doesnt surprise Kenwood, and it doesnt surprise tech support at Sandisk… Try it and youll see what I mean. Please report back.

Lastly, I ordered another Kingston flash drive; a 4gb one WITHOUT the U3 spec, as Ive read that at least on some flashdrives, youve got to remove the U3 launchpad in order for the drive to mount as a true Mass Storage Device so that it may be seen by the head unit .   Ive read accounts that, while youre supposed to be able to reinstall the U3 launchpad, in practice, the drives have gotten trashed…  Id expect the Cruzers to work better in this respect since Sandisk was in on the U3 spec development.  But ive been so happy with the simple, inexpensive Kingston flashdrives, that at 17 bucks for a new 4gb version, its kind of a no brainer…  Im not sold on the U3 spec yet… first you have to have a need for it; second, youve got to have the kind of data stored on the device that is so unique that odds favor the programs needed to work  with that data will be absent from the computer thats being used with it, etc, etc. I like the idea of it, but unless its implemented similarly and seemleslly across the board, it could cause more problems than it solves.   Also, if the first thing you want to do with your new U3 enabled flash drive is remove the U3 launchpad,  Id question whether or not this is a solution in search of a problem  for that individual.

Remember to get back to us after you try and mount your Fuze to your KDC-X590 using the teathered usb port.

When you connect the Fuze to the computer in MSC mode can you see the files in Windows Explorer in the root directory?  Try this:  find the drive letter assigned by windows and make a note of it.  Let’s suppose the drive letter is f:.  Open a command prompt console window:  Start -> Run -> cmd.exe

At the console window type:

dir f:*.mp3 (replacing f: with the actual drive letter assigned, of course)

Does the directory listing show any mp3 files?  If not, then you didn’t put any mp3 files in the player’s root directory.  If the computer can’t see them you can’t expect the Kenwood to see them, either.  Drag and drop a few mp3 files to the player’s root directory.  Now try connecting the Fuze (still in MSC mode) to the Kenwood’s USB port.  I don’t think the files will need to be in the root directory in order to play them, but if the directory they are in is hidden, the Kenwood might not be able to find them.  Also, navigating through the directories and subdirectories might require thumbing through the owner’s manual.  Files in the root directory should be readily available for playing.

Bob:  My Clarion head unit has the USB in the back, too.  It’s not a big deal.  In fact, it works better because I ran the cable into a closed compartment.  It removes clutter and hides the stuff connected from would be thieves.  Out of site out of mind, hopefully.  I would have preferred a front panel port, but now that I have it in the back I wouldn’t trade it for a front panel port.

Markster, you are right… my test has not included putting any files in the fuze’s root directory. Interestingly, neither were the mp3 files put in my flash drive’s root directory either, but that did not stop the car’s head unit from recognizing the device, and flagging down the material to be played…

Since when I connect the Fuze to the head unit and turn the head unit’s source to USB, it shows the same unrecognized device no matter whether Im in MTP or MSC mode, or whether I connect the Fuze or connect nothing, this tells me its got nothing to do with where the mp3 files are put. There is a problem because apparently, even in MSC mode, it is not being seen as a USB Mass Storage Unit of the kind that my 2gb Kingston thumb drive is being seen as, regardless of where the files are stored.

Hmmmm… any chance the 8gb fuze capacity is the issue?

Message Edited by boostm3 on 06-23-2008 05:10 PM

Apparently the kenwood won’t work with devices having multiple partitions.  Does the Fuze have multiple partitions?  Most likely the firmware is in a separate partition?  Both FAT16 and FAT32 are supported, so I don’t think there is a problem with the 8GB Fuze, which is FAT32 unless I’m much mistaken.

Ah, I think youve nailed it . . Im not connected with the fuze now, but, I dont recall seeing any OS components in the partitition I was connecting to with windows Explorer before …  But because the car’s head unit doesnt even  ‘know’ when the Fuze is connected, ie it shows the same error msg after changing the head unit’s source button to ‘USB’ whether the fuze is connected to the usb teather or not, its got to be a problem at a very basic level, ie, something akin to multiple partitions.  Good catch I think.

OK, I just tested my 8GB Fuze, but as it turns out I have a KDC-X 591 , not a 590.

First test was in MSC mode, which I typically use. It worked right off. Interestingly enough, even the MTP songs showed up - under some directories with seemingly random names, but still under Music. In MTP mode, only the few songs in MTP mode (mostly the stuff that came with it) showed up. Both worked, though. I’m not sure if my microSD was being recognized; I suspect not. Apparently its an issue with your older model, though I really don’t understand why MSC mode didn’t even work.

One of my flash thumb drives came with the U3 stuff; I have no use for it and just deleted it when I got it. I haven’t noticed that the Kenwood gets bothered by non-music files, though (it just ignores them). I mostly got them because they were fast and on sale. Maybe the Kingstons have gotten faster than the ones I have; I did some read tests on my PC and they were several times slower, and the directory read time was considerably different.

BDB, thanks for the update.  Surprising that youre 591 had no problems, but my 590 got nowhere.  I checked the 591 manual and compared it to my 590. Clearly, the 591 is a more advanced  head unit… Its got a large section devoted to using it with an Ipod which is totally lacking in mine… IT appears that there is built in USB functionality on your headunit that is lacking in mine, leading, undoubtedly to youre being able to make the connection.

Its ok though. .Now that IVe seen how well my Kingston drive works with it, once my 4gb drive gets here, Ill be in good shape.  In a way, getting the flash drive and leaving it in the car with the head unit leaves me free to not have to schlepp the Fuze  down to the car every time I feel like listening there. 

Interesting that the USB connections are “hidden”.  Come to think of it, this is a wise move, both from a “stealth”  viewpoint, as well as product safety.

One shouldn’t have protrusions like that in the dashboard in the event of a collision.

Volkswagen has incorporated collapsing control knobs on the radio and climate controls these past few years, preventing knee “modifications” during a crash.

I’d wonder what the ER physician would think, upon seeing that your knee has a USB port.  He’d probably want to know where your batteries are accessed from…

I ran with Kenwood units for years, favoring their ham radio look years ago.

Bob  :stuck_out_tongue:

I wasn’t so much worried about collisions (or even theft of a $20 thumbdrive), as just the idea of having a thumb drive protruding a couple of inches out the front of the player. How long would that last without getting bumped & broken?